“smart” picking?

Guitar Tricks Forum > Open Discussion > “smart” picking?

sixgearz

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Joined: 01/26/20

Posts: 9

Hi folks, I'm new here but I will get to the point. I'm trying to learn "Sultans of Swing" by my new hero Mark Knopfler, who is a finger picker.

I've always used a pick, and tho' I've tried fingerstyle a number of times, I'm not interested in it.

What Knopfler is a master at is playing only certain strings, while I usuall strum all of them, which I know is a mistake.

Is it possible to develop the ability to pick certain strings without being a fingerstyle user?

Thanks?

#1

Hi folks, I'm new here but I will get to the point. I'm trying to learn "Sultans of Swing" by my new hero Mark Knopfler, who is a finger picker.

I've always used a pick, and tho' I've tried fingerstyle a number of times, I'm not interested in it.

What Knopfler is a master at is playing only certain strings, while I usuall strum all of them, which I know is a mistake.

Is it possible to develop the ability to pick certain strings without being a fingerstyle user?

Thanks?

snojones

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Joined: 04/17/13

Posts: 611

It is absolutly possible to pick single, individual notes with a pick. You can flatpick leads, chords, and combinations of both with a flatpick. I just takes time to develope the needed motion and accuracy with the pick.

It also...may take a little time to develop to the level of Mark Knoffler's riffing. He is the Sultan of Swing... after all.

Captcha is a total pain in the........

#2

It is absolutly possible to pick single, individual notes with a pick. You can flatpick leads, chords, and combinations of both with a flatpick. I just takes time to develope the needed motion and accuracy with the pick.

It also...may take a little time to develop to the level of Mark Knoffler's riffing. He is the Sultan of Swing... after all.

Captcha is a total pain in the........

davem_or

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Joined: 10/30/17

Posts: 140

You bet. Bluegrass players do this a lot and it's called flat picking. You can also look into hybrid picking which is definitely taught on GT.

#3

You bet. Bluegrass players do this a lot and it's called flat picking. You can also look into hybrid picking which is definitely taught on GT.

sixgearz

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Joined: 01/26/20

Posts: 9

wow, thanks guys. I know I'll never approach 1/1000th of Knopfler, but his style is one of my inspirations!

#4

wow, thanks guys. I know I'll never approach 1/1000th of Knopfler, but his style is one of my inspirations!

DraconusJLM

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Joined: 06/21/21

Posts: 358

Mark Knopfler doesn't solely use the technique known as "flat picking", although I have seen him use a pick at times.

He plays "fingerstyle" mainly and will simultaneously pluck several strings which are not adjacent (I challenge any player to do that with just a pick).

Hybrid picking is a similar technique which he also uses, which is where you use a pick and picking-hand fingers to pluck strings.

Sorry, but if you want to play like him one day, then fingerstyle is pretty much the only route. You will also need to be comfortable using a whammy bar and wah pedal, along with reverb and delay, if you're after a similar sound.

I wish this forum had a "block user" feature. Possibly I'm not the only one......

#5

Mark Knopfler doesn't solely use the technique known as "flat picking", although I have seen him use a pick at times.

He plays "fingerstyle" mainly and will simultaneously pluck several strings which are not adjacent (I challenge any player to do that with just a pick).

Hybrid picking is a similar technique which he also uses, which is where you use a pick and picking-hand fingers to pluck strings.

Sorry, but if you want to play like him one day, then fingerstyle is pretty much the only route. You will also need to be comfortable using a whammy bar and wah pedal, along with reverb and delay, if you're after a similar sound.

I wish this forum had a "block user" feature. Possibly I'm not the only one......

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7652

Hey & welcome to GT!

Originally Posted by: sixgearz

Hi folks, I'm new here but I will get to the point. I'm trying to learn "Sultans of Swing" by my new hero Mark Knopfler, who is a finger picker.

It's possible to play that tune using fingerstyle without a pick & it's possible imitate it with a pick. I've done it.

The bigger problem here is that regardless of whether or not you use a pick, the guitar parts in that tune are pretty advanced material.

And I don't know what your current level of skill & knowledge is.

The first step would be to just learn the chord progression & play it in time. Then start to work on the licks & tricks used to play those chords & the fills, the lead. Unfortunately, GT doesn't have a license to teach the song. So I recommend looking online for an accurate transcription. This one looks good & shows the notation for both guitar parts.

https://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0087011

Keep in mind what you are hearing in that song is 2 guitars. David Knopfler, Mark's brother, plays rhythm guitar fleshing out the chord progression.

Originally Posted by: sixgearz
What Knopfler is a master at is playing only certain strings, while I usuall strum all of them, which I know is a mistake.

It's possible to use a pick with hammer-ons & pull-offs to get those licks done. The iconic quick arpeggio section of the lead is something fairly commonly done in pop & rock solos. Dave does a similiar approach in this lesson for example.

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=23829

Originally Posted by: sixgearz
Is it possible to develop the ability to pick certain strings without being a fingerstyle user?[/p]

Thanks?

Absolutely. In fact, I'd argue that the ability to isolate strings & play quick passages is more common among pick users than fingerstyle players. But if you are only used to strumming, then it's going to take some serious practice time to develop the economical, minimal motions required compared to strumming.

I suggest starting with some scale practice to get used to the technique.

Major Scale Patterns 1

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=453

Minor Scale Patterns 1

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=887

Hope that helps! Please ask more if necessary & best of success!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#6

Hey & welcome to GT!

Originally Posted by: sixgearz

Hi folks, I'm new here but I will get to the point. I'm trying to learn "Sultans of Swing" by my new hero Mark Knopfler, who is a finger picker.

It's possible to play that tune using fingerstyle without a pick & it's possible imitate it with a pick. I've done it.

The bigger problem here is that regardless of whether or not you use a pick, the guitar parts in that tune are pretty advanced material.

And I don't know what your current level of skill & knowledge is.

The first step would be to just learn the chord progression & play it in time. Then start to work on the licks & tricks used to play those chords & the fills, the lead. Unfortunately, GT doesn't have a license to teach the song. So I recommend looking online for an accurate transcription. This one looks good & shows the notation for both guitar parts.

https://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0087011

Keep in mind what you are hearing in that song is 2 guitars. David Knopfler, Mark's brother, plays rhythm guitar fleshing out the chord progression.

Originally Posted by: sixgearz
What Knopfler is a master at is playing only certain strings, while I usuall strum all of them, which I know is a mistake.

It's possible to use a pick with hammer-ons & pull-offs to get those licks done. The iconic quick arpeggio section of the lead is something fairly commonly done in pop & rock solos. Dave does a similiar approach in this lesson for example.

https://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=23829

Originally Posted by: sixgearz
Is it possible to develop the ability to pick certain strings without being a fingerstyle user?[/p]

Thanks?

Absolutely. In fact, I'd argue that the ability to isolate strings & play quick passages is more common among pick users than fingerstyle players. But if you are only used to strumming, then it's going to take some serious practice time to develop the economical, minimal motions required compared to strumming.

I suggest starting with some scale practice to get used to the technique.

Major Scale Patterns 1

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=453

Minor Scale Patterns 1

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=887

Hope that helps! Please ask more if necessary & best of success!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

sixgearz

Full Access

Joined: 01/26/20

Posts: 9

Chris, thank you so much! I've got a lot to do!

I'm not that naive to think I can play like him, I'd just like to be able to play the song competently with perhaps a few licks here and there.

#7

Chris, thank you so much! I've got a lot to do!

I'm not that naive to think I can play like him, I'd just like to be able to play the song competently with perhaps a few licks here and there.

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7652

Originally Posted by: sixgearz

Chris, thank you so much! I've got a lot to do!

I'm not that naive to think I can play like him, I'd just like to be able to play the song competently with perhaps a few licks here and there.

You're welcome! If you can play barre chords in time, then you can play the basic form of this song. That's where you should start.

Getting some of Knopfler's specific licks under your hands is just going to be the gravy. Have fun with it!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#8

Originally Posted by: sixgearz

Chris, thank you so much! I've got a lot to do!

I'm not that naive to think I can play like him, I'd just like to be able to play the song competently with perhaps a few licks here and there.

You're welcome! If you can play barre chords in time, then you can play the basic form of this song. That's where you should start.

Getting some of Knopfler's specific licks under your hands is just going to be the gravy. Have fun with it!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

W.A.S.P.

Registered User

Joined: 12/29/20

Posts: 17

Keith Richards HonkyTonk woman, classic example of hybrid picking

#9

Keith Richards HonkyTonk woman, classic example of hybrid picking

sixgearz

Full Access

Joined: 01/26/20

Posts: 9

Again thanks Chris. I play Barre chords in A and E shape and their corresponding minor and 7ths. I'm 'getting' the chord sections of "Sultans' but I can hear the difference between Knopfler's finger picking and me using a pick. He can play only the strings he wants AND picks them simultaneously, resulting in a different sound.

#10

Again thanks Chris. I play Barre chords in A and E shape and their corresponding minor and 7ths. I'm 'getting' the chord sections of "Sultans' but I can hear the difference between Knopfler's finger picking and me using a pick. He can play only the strings he wants AND picks them simultaneously, resulting in a different sound.