support for the right hand

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Dominique
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

support for the right hand

Post by Dominique » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:10 pm

I play "Alabama song" from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. I prefer the sonority of the original over the Doors version. So, I made my own arrangement, based on the original piano partition. To play it, I experimented different techniques and for the refrain, the best suited is inspired from the flamenco playing. It is a basic and repetitive rhythm, "play, play, play, silent/sustain" which is played very fast. Flamenco players put their thumb on the sixth chord and can play it using annular, major and index, each after the other. Putting the thumb on the sixth chord allow to play very fast and precisely. In Flamenco, it is a lot of variations using this technique.

But I need, for some chords of the refrain, to also play the sixth chord, so I cannot put my thumb on it. And it become very difficult to play such a repetitive figure - it must be played fast in order to sound good.

So, I am thinking to put some kind of support of my guitar, in order to be able to put the palm of the right hand when I play. That way the hand can be precisely positioned and relaxed at the same time. I am wandering how to do it, and what will be the best materials to do it. I can think of 2 different ways.

1) Glue a piece of wood on the guitar with a bit of cloth or leather on it. The palm being in contact with the leather.

2) Make some kind of pillow, and glue it on the guitar.

The first solution seam to me to be the better, because the high will be set more precisely than with a pillow, and also because a pillow will absorb somewhat the vibrations of the tables. Have anyone here some experience with supports for the right hand? Any kind of advice will be welcome!
Last edited by Dominique on Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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guitarrista
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Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: support for the right hand

Post by guitarrista » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:11 pm

Dominique wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:10 pm
I play "Alabama song" from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. I prefer the sonority of the original over the Doors version. So, I made my own arrangement. I experimented different techniques and for the refrain, the best suited is inspired from the flamenco playing. It is a basic and repetitive rhythm, "silent, play, play, play" which is played very fast. Flamenco players put their thumb on the sixth chord and can play it using index, major and annular, each after the other. Putting the thumb on the sixth chord allow to play very fast and precisely.

But I need, for some chords of the refrain, to also play the sixth chord, so I cannot put my thumb on it. And it become very difficult to play such a repetitive figure - it must be played fast in order to sound good.
I would like to offer an idea of how to steady your hand - also borrowed from flamenco - so that you do not have to put a piece on the guitar.

If I understand correctly, you are describing something very similar to doing ami rasgueados in flamenco. When you have to also strum the sixth string (corde), you can put your thumb on the top plate just "above" the 6th string. Then you have that "anchor" to steady your hand while you do the ami (or ima) strums. The way flamencos do it is that you put your thumb on the top plate in a way that keeps the same distance vertically between the hand and the strings - same as when the thumb was on the 6th string - so your hand setup, in terms of your fingers approaching the strings, does not change.
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Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

Dominique
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Re: support for the right hand

Post by Dominique » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:07 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:11 pm
I would like to offer an idea of how to steady your hand - also borrowed from flamenco - so that you do not have to put a piece on the guitar.

If I understand correctly, you are describing something very similar to doing ami rasgueados in flamenco. When you have to also strum the sixth string (corde), you can put your thumb on the top plate just "above" the 6th string. Then you have that "anchor" to steady your hand while you do the ami (or ima) strums. The way flamencos do it is that you put your thumb on the top plate in a way that keeps the same distance vertically between the hand and the strings - same as when the thumb was on the 6th string - so your hand setup, in terms of your fingers approaching the strings, does not change.
Thank you, I will try again that technique. I did tried it once, but was not very comfortable doing it. I guess I have try again and insist. And you are right, I am talking about ami strums (I edited the first message of that discussion).

Dominique
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Re: support for the right hand

Post by Dominique » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:49 am

I try with the thumb on the top plate, and with a taped support. The advantage of the second solution is I get an immediate result.

The main issue I have with the thumb on the top plate is than the thumb is moving all the time, it just slips back and forth in all directions. Which imply I will have to glue something on the top board anyway. It will not arm, I already glued a thin plexi board on the other sides of the strings, that in order to protect the top board.

Dominique
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Re: support for the right hand

Post by Dominique » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:03 am

I just try with some tape on the top board, and the thumb is still moving. Maybe the right solution for me is something in between. Some bass players have a piece screwed on the top plate of their bass. That piece allow them to place their thumb on it in order to get a fast grip. Or glue a piece of caoutchouc. I must made more experiment.

Dominique
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Re: support for the right hand

Post by Dominique » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:40 pm

I glued a couatchouc piece, and it work very well. It is 4 mm. thick, which is good because that guitar, an old framus, have a lot of action between the strings and the top plate. At the same time, I removed the plexi piece and changed it against a caoutchouc piece. The sound is more round, especially the basses, than with the plexi.

Also, my thumb doesn't move at all, and is a little bit higher than before, which give me the same immediate result than with a support. Now, all I have to do is to practice. :D

Again, thanks a lot guitarrista for your advice to put my thumb on the top board. :bravo:

Pete Beer
Luthier
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Re: support for the right hand

Post by Pete Beer » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:44 pm

Amongst electric bass players, it is common to refer to 5 string basses as having a "full length thumb rest". In jest, I assume.

So perhaps you need a 7 string guitar!

Dominique
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:14 pm
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Re: support for the right hand

Post by Dominique » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:13 pm

Pete Beer wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:44 pm
So perhaps you need a 7 string guitar!
No thanks, I am fine with a 6 strings guitar :D . But maybe next time I travel to Cuba, I will buy a tres. They say it is very easy to play... You have 6 strings, but they are grouped 2 by 2, which give you a mix between a guitar and a balalaika. The sound is more powerful than with a normal guitar, and they use them mostly to play solos and melodic figures.

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guitarrista
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Re: support for the right hand

Post by guitarrista » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:35 pm

Excellent! Have fun practicing! :bravo:
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

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