Brent Mason Style Study

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INFO & EXPLANATION

THE PICK WITH FINGER TECHNIQUEThe style used in this lesson is sometimes referred to as the "Chicken Pickin" style. The reason for this has to do with the punchy sound of this technique. There are a few signature licks that actually mimick the typical sound a chicken makes when feeding. We'll be adding a "Chicken Pickin'" lick or two in the Tips, Tricks and Licks area soon, so be sure to check 'em out! Now, on to how to execute this tone or sound...

The technique that allows you to do this is Pick and Finger Technique. Using the pick with the middle and/or ring finger, you can achieve a rapid-fire sequence of right hand strokes. The key to getting the tone has to do with the way you execute the fingered notes. It's similar to the technique used by bassists when they "slap."

Give It A Try...
Pick up your guitar and, with your pick between the first and 2nd finger, place your right hand middle finger on, and slightly under, the 3rd string open. Now pull up and away from the guitar neck so that you cause the string to somewhat slap back against the neck of the guitar. It's a pretty extreme method of plucking the string but that's the technique. Using varying degrees of upward pressure you can achieve some pretty interesting tones.

Now (with the left hand) finger the same note (G) on the 4th string at the 5th fret using your 3rd finger. Pluck it with your pick followed by the open 3rd string again using your middle finger. Alternate these back and forth until you're able to achieve a fairly rapid repeating sequence. Getting used to this back and forth movement is the key to this style of playing. Make sure, as you do this, that you keep the notes clean and evenly spaced in time. Use the lick from the 1st 2 measures of this lesson to practice this technique. Limit your hand movement and concentrate on staying relaxed.FINGER-TIPS, FINGER-NAIL OR FINGER-PICKS?If you're a classic player or have some experience in fingerpicking, you have probably already faced this issue and made a decision as to which way you want to go.

FINGERTIPS
Many good country pickers use the flesh of their finger-tips to pluck the strings. If you're a nail-biter you may want to use this method as well. Remember that it'll take a little time to get your fingertips in shape for this, much like what you went through with the callous affair on your left hand as a beginner. Once you get the tips of your fingers in shape though, you'll find that you can really pop those strings with some attitude!

FINGER-NAIL
This is the choice of most classic guitarists. The only problem with this is that constant picking on metal coiled strings will grind your finger-nails down. The classic player uses the fingernails all the time but, since a classic guitar has nylon strings and the method is a little more refined, the fingernails don't get much abuse. If you like using your nails (which is my personal choice) and you don't play this style all the time, this is the better choice. You'll have more feel and more control over the strings this way.

FINGER-PICKS
If you plan to play this style all the time and don't want to use your finger-tips this is the best choice for you. Using your finger-nails, as stated above, will only work for a little while. The aggressive nature of this style will keep them worn down and you'll eventually use your fingertips anyway. Fingerpicks are the choice of many good players as they give you a consistent sound and they don't wear down. In addition, if you use your nails to do more refined finger-picking or classic playing, you'll save them for that. Finger-picks come in many shapes, sizes and materials, so go to your local music store and pick (no pun intended) out a few to take home and try. Fingerpicks take a little getting used to but given a little time you'll be playing them like a champ.

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