Left hand stability

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Briant
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by Briant » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:04 pm

We think of Villa Llobos prelude no 1 as an excercise for the right hand. But, maybe there is much to learn with the position changes and elbow position.

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lagartija
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by lagartija » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:45 pm

Robin, that is all so true! My teacher's instructions to me to be aware of my elbow and it's position was really to bring awareness to that whole complex movement you detailed so well. Once I started to allow more mobility of my forearm angle with respect to the position of my hand, I became more aware of the appropriate rotation of the shoulder and wrist position. The interesting thing is that the original intuitive (and unconscious) thought that stability would come with less motion (and therefore less chance of ending up in the wrong place), was exactly opposite of the reality. By allowing more motion, the hand has more stability while playing, not less. This is why having a good teacher is so important; they find the thing that is standing in your way.
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lagartija
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by lagartija » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:48 pm

Briant wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:04 pm
We think of Villa Llobos prelude no 1 as an excercise for the right hand. But, maybe there is much to learn with the position changes and elbow position.
Yes, that was one of the first pieces in which I applied what I was learning about the movement of elbow.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

niasla
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by niasla » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:15 am

The shoulder joints are ball joints. They are able to move the arm closer to and away from the body, forward and backward plus they move in circular motion allowing for a variety of positions and angles. The ability of our shoulder joint to support the left hand is directly related to the player's sitting position and the size and position of the guitar.
Beautiful.. Thanks Robin for this detailed description.
Indeed I got back to the roots: Scales. Started applying what Robin mentioned about shoulders and voila! I feel much comfortable for example when executing Segovia's G Scale when reaching the higher notes. Now I lower my shoulder and move slightly inward (closer to the fretboard) when reaching the high E and I can press with more stability the high F# and G.

I'll focus more on this and re-study previous pieces with left hand "awareness" in mind.

Thank you all!
Jean-Luc Joie Alma 2011

msa3psu
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by msa3psu » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:45 pm

To follow up on Stephen Kenyon and Larry MacDonald, they speak about the necessity to change position for stability as needed but they also talk about preparation and forethought for this. An underlying presumption of this is key to a stable left hand and that is that one must try to eliminate random and unnecessary movement of the hand, arms and fingers. There are many degrees of freedom of motion and the more of these in play, the more complex the motion and more difficult to repeat with precision. Note that Larry has a 'default' parallel position which is normal for most of us and makes careful application of other positions. It is not random or haphazard. I find many students who seem to have a different hand/arm position for every different chord shape. This is not helpful for a stable or precise hand. Try to find the position that allows for the widest range of finger movement and stick with it. Change when best but know when and why and also how and when to get back to the default position. Watch for other erratic movement such as fly away fingers, allowing your fingers to close unnecessarily rather than a nice spread across 4 frets, dropping your hand excessively when play on the first and second strings, etc.

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Re: Left hand stability

Post by Rasputin » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:33 am

Yes, it's easier if you can basically keep a parallel position and let the individual fingers do the work. For lots of people that is realistic and maybe they have the greatest potential in guitar, because - as you say - if you start involving joints higher up the chain the whole thing becomes more complex and that makes it much harder to achieve consistency.

At the same time, not everyone is blessed with hands that lend themselves to that approach. You can always work on finger independence, but if you have already done a lot of work on that and are seeing no further improvement, that is a clue that you have gone as far as you can.

Personally I hate myths around guitar that are based on the idea that everyone's hands are the same.

In practice, the difficult part is to know when moving the hand is cheating (i.e. when you should keep trying, because eventually you will be able to do it just as well with your fingers) and when it really is the best option, given your personal physiology.

I also think it's important to recognise that there are many degrees of freedom - as you say - and it is not just a case of rotation in a single plane.

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lagartija
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by lagartija » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:24 pm

Very well said. :okok:
It helps to have a very good teacher when it comes to determining whether you need to work more to develop a skill or whether an accommodation needs to be made due to your individual physiology.
When such an accommodation is necessary, my teacher has shown me how to use that motion to aid in musical expression. As an experienced teacher, he knows that one size does not fit all. Finding the best solution for each person is what makes him the excellent teacher that he is.
Rasputin wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:33 am
Yes, it's easier if you can basically keep a parallel position and let the individual fingers do the work. For lots of people that is realistic and maybe they have the greatest potential in guitar, because - as you say - if you start involving joints higher up the chain the whole thing becomes more complex and that makes it much harder to achieve consistency.

At the same time, not everyone is blessed with hands that lend themselves to that approach. You can always work on finger independence, but if you have already done a lot of work on that and are seeing no further improvement, that is a clue that you have gone as far as you can.

Personally I hate myths around guitar that are based on the idea that everyone's hands are the same.

In practice, the difficult part is to know when moving the hand is cheating (i.e. when you should keep trying, because eventually you will be able to do it just as well with your fingers) and when it really is the best option, given your personal physiology.

I also think it's important to recognise that there are many degrees of freedom - as you say - and it is not just a case of rotation in a single plane.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

msa3psu
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by msa3psu » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:15 pm

Yes, I agree with lagartija and rasputin that a rigid hand/arm/wrist position is not needed or desirable but my point of view is that moving your arm or hand away from YOUR base or 'normal' position in order to put the fingers somewhere should not be a first choice or instinctive reactive choice. It should be bit of a big deal and not done lightly. I know that neither of you are really saying that it is a first action but more inexperienced players may read this into your ideas and beginners especially should be working to develop a stable normal hand position and get the fingers to do the work. Thank you.

rajesh_3615
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by rajesh_3615 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:04 am

I was wondering if someone can help me find some good exercise for right had M A finger independence. I am looking to make them even like I & M finger control.

Any help is much appreciated.

Thank You

msa3psu
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by msa3psu » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:07 pm

Hello Rajesh_3615, As you may know m and a are not anatomically as independent as m and i, but that doesn't mean they can't play as evenly in dynamics, articulation and rhythm but few can play as fast with ma as mi. Practice rest and free stroke scales slowly and evenly using the plant/damp technique. That is, play m followed quickly by a planting and damping the sound. The tempo can be very slow but the plant is as quick as you can make it. Plant cleanly and firmly and with the plant finger in position to play without further adjustment after the plant. You may have seen this and practiced other right hand technical issues this way. It is useful in many situations. Also, practice the Villa Lobos etude 1 right hand pattern with the Villa Lobos fingering of pipi pmia maim pipi . The second and third beat are very good training for m and a. Use the same plant/damp, vary accents, play dotted rhythms and other techniques to challenge the motor control.

msa3psu
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by msa3psu » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:37 pm

Rajesh_3615,
I also meant to suggest that you post your question in the classical guitar classes subforum as a separate topic, perhaps "exercises for right hand m and a". You're sure to get more response if you do.

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robin loops
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by robin loops » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:09 pm

For me the biggest issue with left hand stability is stability of the guitar itself. If the guitar is held solid (using legs and right arm) then my left hand is more stable (actually the guitar itself is more stable under the left hand fingers). If the neck of the guitar has any movement (wobble) I find that two problems with the left hand occur. First, fretting becomes more difficult and second, I tend to use my left hand to provide more stability (to the guitar) and this causes extra tension.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

Michael Butten
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Re: Left hand stability

Post by Michael Butten » Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:46 pm

The main problem I see in students is their LH wrist position. 70-80% of the time, a straighter wrist is best. Lots of beginners (and more advanced students!) have trouble getting their fingers down in the right positions, and default to their wrist suddenly bending to straighten their fingers and allow them to put the fingers down perpendicularly to the fretboard. This is usually the opposite of what is most relaxed, which is to relax the wrist, keep it in a 'neutral' position, and curve the fingers more so they come down onto the fingerboard like little hammers. By going the 'wrong' way, we open up our fingers to collapsing joints. If you feel your fingertip joint collapsing often, this is probably why.

One other thing that I'm guilty of (but working away from now I've noticed it), and many others, is letting the hand tilt so the pinky finger knuckle is further away from the neck than the index finger knuckle. This means the pinky flaps at the fret you're aiming for losing control. This caused some fairly scary times for me when I got nervous and things went really bad in performance, with my hand going further and further into a bad position with me thinking it was helping. Glad I've noticed it now though!

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