Fluid right hand picking technique is important for the expressive jazz guitarist. With great technique, you will be able to articulate your music with clarity, conviction and confidence.

In this master class, you will learn how Howard Alden uses gypsy style arpeggio picking in jazz standards. Although most often associated with the music of Django Reinhardt, this picking technique is useful even in swing and modern jazz settings. Even if you’ve never tried this picking style before, you will discover how to incorporate this useful tool into your music.

Howard shares the basics, including the kinds of picks that he now uses as well as a simple exercise that will give you the foundation of this technique. Gypsy Style Arpeggio Picking is a focused masterclass that is designed to help you develop your playing technically and musically.

In addition to the basics, Howard also shares powerful variations that will be useful for more experienced guitarists. Besides getting practical technique tips from Howard, you will also be able to see how he applies this technique on two songs, Prelude to a Kiss and Mood Indigo. Seeing the approach used in context will be helpful for more advanced guitarists who want to immediately use this technique on their next gig.

This is a unique masterclass that you can watch again and again as your skills develop.

  • 4 pages of PDF written material notated in standard notation, TAB (with Howard’s personal fretting hand fingerings indicated)
  • Soundsliced versions of the transcription (standard notation and TAB with adjustable tempo, looping for effective practice and study)
  • Running time: 28 minutes
Editor Review by Az Samad

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Class Content

Full Class + Download
Gypsy Style Arpeggio Picking 00:21:52
Arpeggio Example 2 00:06:40
Introduction 00:01:38
The Picks I Use 00:00:51
A Simple Exercise 00:01:10
The Diminished Triad Exercise 00:01:26
When I Played the Tenor Banjo 00:00:40
Where to Play the Upstroke 00:00:58
A More Swinging Phrasing 00:00:58
Dominant 7th Chord Application 00:00:53
Exercise based on Prelude to a Kiss 00:01:02
Prelude to a Kiss – Performance Example 00:02:17
Adding Moving Lines 00:01:50
Mood Indigo – Basic Song Performance 00:01:37
Little Four Note Chords and Song Performance 00:03:20
Diminished Scale – Variations and Suspensions 00:03:14
Soundslice Enhanced
Arpeggio Example 1 00:02:25
Arpeggio Example 2A 00:00:28
Arpeggio Example 2B 00:00:45
Arpeggio Example 2B 2 00:00:25
Arpeggio Example 2C 00:00:22

Course Reviews


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  1. Another great mechanism for guitar


    This class revealed another part of the guitar playing puzzle. Howard was clear and concise and presented the material in nice bite size chunks. I find Howards videos to be great resources to improve my playing.

    by Robert Minchin
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