I really have to learn to relax.

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rpavich
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I really have to learn to relax.

Post by rpavich » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:59 pm

ive been watching videos and reading up on the proper sitting, and hand positions while also learning a very simple first position piece.
One bit of advice that really jumped out at me was that the fretting isn’t done with a lot of finger/thumb clamp pressure but it was more arm weight. I really have a problem tensing up and clamping my hand too hard. I think it’s just a bad habit carried over from my rock guitar days.

I want to do things right this time, getting tunes down isnt my goal, having solid technique is.

Did you tend to tense up in your beginning days also?

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robin loops
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by robin loops » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:22 pm

Used to. Several methods to help with it discussed at length here. The arm thing is a big one. One thing that helped a lot in my case was practicing scales without the thumb. Adding vibrato in helped in the beginning. Also resetting the thumb dynamically helped a lot. As in don't just plant it and leave it until you absolutely have to move it but rather continually adjust its position as you would any other finger. Then you can also try playing pieces with no thumb (except when absolutely necessaty). The point of this execise is less to develop technique (as no thumb is not really a technique you want to adopt). It's more to develop a feel for how little pressure is rquired. Then add thumb back in for 'stability' rather than strength/pressure.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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muirtan
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by muirtan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:12 pm

Hi rpavich I still tense up but less so these days. You need to be aware of your body and how it feels, for this I am practising feldenkais, it helps me. Another thing, my teacher often says what's happening to ...... as I'm playing . Also marking relaxation points or breathing points in the music. I have more breathe/ relax/ arm type markings on my music than fingerings.

How do you start your paractise sessions? I always start with some sort of relaxation technique or loosening the shoulders, there is a lot of tension held in the shoulders. Anything to make you aware of how the body feels.

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bear
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by bear » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:33 pm

I grip the floor with my toes (my shoes are on, so not much actual gripping). I'm apt to do this when trying to figure out new fingering. The more I concentrate the tighter the grip.
So far, I've never lost a shoe.
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robin loops
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by robin loops » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:37 am

Also for me I found that learning to relax went much further than the guitar. I found it common to be too tense for many many things. Gripping a pencil too tight or pressing keyboard keys too hard are just a couple of examples. So I found that this was something I needed to work in in general and that helped too, I think.

And in this context, breathing and relaxation execises also help.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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lagartija
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by lagartija » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:43 am

bear wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:33 pm
I grip the floor with my toes (my shoes are on, so not much actual gripping). I'm apt to do this when trying to figure out new fingering. The more I concentrate the tighter the grip.
So far, I've never lost a shoe.
Doin’ better than your horses, Bear! :-P

I’ve only gripped the toes in performance when I had a really long phrase to play at a fast tempo. My problem is that my feet are prone to cramp and that would be really bad! So I do train myself to uncurl my toes...
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

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bear
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by bear » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:02 am

lagartija wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:43 am
bear wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:33 pm
I grip the floor with my toes (my shoes are on, so not much actual gripping). I'm apt to do this when trying to figure out new fingering. The more I concentrate the tighter the grip.
So far, I've never lost a shoe.
Doin’ better than your horses, Bear! :-P

I’ve only gripped the toes in performance when I had a really long phrase to play at a fast tempo. My problem is that my feet are prone to cramp and that would be really bad! So I do train myself to uncurl my toes...
good one.
mine go numb.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:04 am

I learned a great tip from this site. Play something, a scale maybe, as you normally would. Then play it just barely touching the strings, sound muted. Then press just enough to buzz the strings. Then slightly harder biz and clean mixied in. The press just enough to get clear notes. Note how little pressure you really need. Then less pressure and buZz. Then more pressure and clear notes. You will begin to realize just how little pressure is needed to get a clear tone.
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rpavich
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by rpavich » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:17 am

Thanks everyone,
I guess I'm not that unique after all :)

I'll definitely start trying to play with as little pressure as possible starting with Rick B's method above and practicing without my thumb coming into play. At this point it seams unreal that that could work but I'm ready to try. After years of gripping the neck like a baseball bat I'm ready to fix it.

rpavich
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by rpavich » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:07 am

One thing that I just learned was that my fingers should be pressing down just behind the frets and in doing so, needs even less pressure.

I just spent a few minutes trying to play with as little pressure as possible and I must say..I'm shocked. It IS possible to play without even having the thumb back there!

I'm truly amazed. This is a revelation that will take some time to incorporate.

Wow.

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lagartija
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by lagartija » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:37 pm

rpavich wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:17 am
Thanks everyone,
I guess I'm not that unique after all :)

I'll definitely start trying to play with as little pressure as possible starting with Rick B's method above and practicing without my thumb coming into play. At this point it seams unreal that that could work but I'm ready to try. After years of gripping the neck like a baseball bat I'm ready to fix it.
No, you aren’t the only one with what I call a “death grip” on the neck! :lol: It is a common problem. There are several reasons why it might happen. When you play several notes at the same time and you hear a buzz, if you don’t know which note is the cause, the tendency is to grip *all* fingers to make it stop. Sometimes all fingers grip because of insufficient finger independence. Sometimes the left grips tightly when you play forte with the right in a tendency to mirror effort between the two hands. Sometimes the left grips tightly because of tension caused by the multitasking required to play. Sometimes the tension comes from playing something too difficult or playing too fast (beyond where you have control).
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

razz
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by razz » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:46 pm

I have to remind myself frequently to relax and use gravity when I'm learning something new. Unfamiliar shifts or note sequences pose the biggest challenge. Playing relaxed is easier for me when I'm working on more familiar material.

JeffR709
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by JeffR709 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:56 pm

I wish I read this topic before I started a topic in the "Guitar Classes" section of the forum. I had a horrible practice last Tuesday and it probably has some to do with learning to relax. They offered tips there for me too. I should probably make a mental note on my next lesson to see if I am holding the guitar to tight as well.
Last edited by JeffR709 on Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rpavich
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by rpavich » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:03 pm

JeffR709 wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:56 pm
I wish I read this topic before I started a topic in the "Guitar Classes" section of the forum. I had a horrible practice last Tuesday and it probably has some to do with learning to relax. They offered too tips there for me too. I should probably make a mental note on my next lesson to see if I am holding the guitar to tight as well.
I've heard people say "relax" before but it never dawned on me the extent of what was happening. I'm quite surprised and shocked.
The other thing is that the finger should be right behind the fret, not in the middle between frets. Shove them up as close to the fret as possible, the closer your finger is to the fret, the less pressure you need to sound the note.

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robin loops
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Re: I really have to learn to relax.

Post by robin loops » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:56 pm

At the risk of starting a Segovia vs technique war I'm gonna go ahead and throw this out there... Take a look at how much Segovia resets his thumb. The concept for using the thumb dynamically is very noticeable (if not exaggerated) in Segovia's playing.

Disclaimer: I don't endorse trying to copy/emulate any other player's technique by watching Youtube videos. However many helpful things can be observed and borrowed from other players.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

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