Avoiding Thumb Drag

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
twistedblues
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:48 pm

Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby twistedblues » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:41 pm

You know how you're not supposed to let your thumb drag behind when shifting?

Do you release (off the back of the neck) your thumb at all when shifting and keeping it in place with your hand? Or drag it (thumb remains in contact with the back of the neck) while keeping it in place?

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:43 pm

twistedblues wrote:You know how you're not supposed to let your thumb drag behind when shifting?

Do you release (off the back of the neck) your thumb at all when shifting and keeping it in place with your hand? Or drag it (thumb remains in contact with the back of the neck) while keeping it in place?

  1. If you are using so much pressure with your left thumb that you need to release in order to shift position, then you are doing something wrong.
  2. I learned that when shifting temporarily to a new position, it is OK to leave the thumb where it was. This facilitates shifting back accurately.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

HoboJeff
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:14 am

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby HoboJeff » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:21 am

I'd say that maybe you're putting the cart before the horse here. It's not a good thumb position that marks a good shift, it's the relaxation in the hand right after a position that allows you to shift smoothly.

I usually find that my thumb stays in contact with the neck, also to keep a physical point of reference, but not so much that the friction causes the thumb to drag. It glides over the neck ever so lightly. Or maybe the drag is caused by a turning of the hand when shifting and you should pay attention to that. Hope this helps!

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:21 pm

HoboJeff wrote: It's not a good thumb position that marks a good shift, it's the relaxation in the hand right after a position that allows you to shift smoothly.

Did you mean relaxation in the left hand, or do you know something about shifting that is over my head?
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9737
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby lagartija » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:49 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
HoboJeff wrote: It's not a good thumb position that marks a good shift, it's the relaxation in the hand right after a position that allows you to shift smoothly.

Did you mean relaxation in the left hand, or do you know something about shifting that is over my head?

I believe he meant: to make a good shift, one must relax the fretting hand just before moving to the next position. Although he said "hand right after", the construction of the sentence implies relaxing the left hand in the instant after the position is no longer needed.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

twistedblues
Posts: 156
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 7:48 pm

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby twistedblues » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:17 pm

Awesome, guys!

User avatar
guitareleven
Posts: 654
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:48 pm

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby guitareleven » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:12 am

Optimum general positioning of the thumb when fingers are distributed along four contiguous frets would be for the thumb to be anywhere from directly behind the 2nd finger, to somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd-- much like holding a pencil along its length between the thumb and fingers with a balance of opposition between the thumb and the fingers. In actual playing, exigencies of particular situations will have a modifying effect, but in practicing maintenance of this general position through shifts in linear passages and scalar patterns, which are typically the ground on which this is inculcated in practice, imagine that in upward shifts the thumb takes off a micro second before the fingers, and energizes the move, pulling the fingers along just slightly behind. In downward shifts, imagine the opposite-- the fingers move, pulling the thumb. In either case, the actuality will be that the entirety of the hand array moves simultaneously, which is what you want, with no component taking off before the others. But, it's a useful illusory mind-trick to keep things in line, and once the mechanics are internalized as an autonomous response, the need for indulging in the illusion goes away.

HoboJeff
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:14 am

Re: Avoiding Thumb Drag

Postby HoboJeff » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:50 am

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
HoboJeff wrote: It's not a good thumb position that marks a good shift, it's the relaxation in the hand right after a position that allows you to shift smoothly.

Did you mean relaxation in the left hand, or do you know something about shifting that is over my head?


Sorry for the confusing sentence structure, English guitar lingo is still somewhat foreign to me :)


Return to “Classical Guitar Classes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Annette, Bing [Bot], CGCristian92, CommonCrawl [Bot], coot, Smudger5150 and 2 guests