Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
DaveLeeNC
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby DaveLeeNC » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:54 pm

In thinking about the many reasons that I am not a "good" classical guitarist I realized that (IMHO) a good part of that is the accuracy of placing LH fingers when playing. Sometimes they mute strings that need to 'ring'. Or maybe in cases where that doesn't matter the placement of the LH finger is such that (for example) the note is not cleanly fretted, and so on. I am guessing that I am not the only person on the world who has encountered this :D

In thinking about how one would improve this accuracy the first thing that comes to mind is playing various scales carefully and cleanly. But when these issues are at their worst is when I am headed for a given string/fret from 'somewhere other than an adjacent string or (within one) fret'. So maybe scales are not the best platform on which to work on this.

One thing that is easy to do is to build your own exercises that go beyond nearby frets and the next string up/down.

Thoughts or comments? Thanks.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:28 pm

DaveLeeNC wrote:…I realized that (IMHO) a good part of that is the accuracy of placing LH fingers when playing.

Welcome to the club. I am also a member of this club. I am training myself to memorize pieces. Never did it before, but I cannot progress any further without overcoming the accuracy problem. I read music well, but you cannot read music and watch what you are doing at the same time. Moreover, there is an attention issue. You need to be able to play semi-mechanically so that your attention can circulate to the different issues that require attention: tone, left-hand placement and movement, right-hand placement and movement, rhythm, dynamics. It is called "practicing with rotating attentiveness " See Käppel's 21st century classical guitar technique, page 19. If you are already playing from memory, then practice rotating attention. I just started playing playing from memory. Right now I can only play one phrase (don't laugh, that took serious effort) from memory. Nonetheless, from being able to play that one phrase from memory, I am already able to address a lot of technical issues. Playing from memory is not that hard. But when you combine in with rotating attention and strive to make everything exact, it is very challenging. However, I am convinced it is the way forward.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

User avatar
markodarko
Posts: 1879
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:41 pm
Location: Leyenda-On-Sea

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby markodarko » Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:56 pm

Start by playing some scales (doesn't matter which) using only hammer-ons and pull-offs. No RH. Play them slooooowly and as accurate as you can. If you mess up, redo that part until you don't.

That'll improve things immensely. Once you have some coordination with hammer-ons then you can move into doing paired finger movements but that should keep you going for a while.
Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

Steve Langham
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:55 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby Steve Langham » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:17 am

DaveLeeNC wrote:But when these issues are at their worst is when I am headed for a given string/fret from 'somewhere other than an adjacent string or (within one) fret'. So maybe scales are not the best platform on which to work on this.

dave


I have/ did have this problem. I still do but I've improved over the last 3 months and this is down to sight reading and visualisation. I've been making an effort to do a bit of sight reading every day, just 10 mins, 15 mins max.
This has helped my general LH movement around random places over the fretboard.
One of the key things you could do, and you could do this as part of scale practice is to close your eyes and visualise, this has helped me a lot.
So, once you are generally familiar with the scale, close your eyes, say the note name, visualise 'in your minds eye' your left hand and where your finger needs to go just before it actually gets there. You can then also do this randomly. Say you are doing a simple C scale in 1st position, you could say out loud random notes in the scale, visualise with your eyes closed where your LH needs to go and then put your finger there.
This is hard work mentally and takes focus and your focus will come and go as you do it but you will find that when you concentrate well your LH placement will improve if you can visualise it beforehand.

User avatar
Jacek A. Rochacki
Posts: 1114
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:44 pm
Location: Bydgoszcz, Poland, Europe.

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby Jacek A. Rochacki » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:00 am

markodarko wrote:Start by playing some scales (doesn't matter which) using only hammer-ons and pull-offs. No RH. Play them slooooowly and as accurate as you can. If you mess up, redo that part until you don't.

That'll improve things immensely. Once you have some coordination with hammer-ons then you can move into doing paired finger movements but that should keep you going for a while.

Yes, it helps me a lot. Other helpful thing in my case is teaching by Kevin Gallagher - The 3 Left Hand Positions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwKnpalY4x8
Antonio Picado, model 60, 2015, Cedar/IRW. Scale 640 mm.
Kenny Hill, model Madrid, 2002, No. 2019, Cedar/IRW. Scale 650 mm.

acmost9
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:32 am

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby acmost9 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:10 pm

DaveLeeNC wrote:In thinking about the many reasons that I am not a "good" classical guitarist I realized that (IMHO) a good part of that is the accuracy of placing LH fingers when playing. Sometimes they mute strings that need to 'ring'.


I'd say concentrate/exaggerate playing on your fingertips. It's helped me recently & that's after hacking at classical on & off for many years. You(one) might think you're on your fingertips but they're probably slanted. If a string adjacent to the string you're playing is muted, it's most likely going to be because your left hand fingering is hitting it, just go back make an exercise with the problem & go slow until it rings clear. I realize this seems painfully obvious but it's a little thing that I've been concentrating on specifically lately & I've seen improvement in myself so I'm encouraged.

YMMV of course.

User avatar
markodarko
Posts: 1879
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:41 pm
Location: Leyenda-On-Sea

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby markodarko » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:13 pm

acmost9 wrote:You(one) might think you're on your fingertips but they're probably slanted.


...which is another reason why playing only with hammer-ons was prescribed. You can't hammer-on properly unless you have "correct" and clean technique.
Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:26 pm

markodarko wrote:...which is another reason why playing only with hammer-ons was prescribed. You can't hammer-on properly unless you have "correct" and clean technique.

Thanks for the explanation. I was wondering what the point was.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

JohnB
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:17 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby JohnB » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:43 pm

Poor LH finger placement with pieces you have already learnt gets continuously reinforced through repeated practice. So, when starting a new piece take time to practise slowly (no, even slower than you instinctively think) giving attention to your LH (as well as tone, phrasing, balance, etc) until you are fretting cleanly and accurately.

Similarly, for pieces you are currently playing - spend some time doing really slow practice (say half speed) with your attention on your LH accuracy and clean fretting. It will take time, of course, to embed the new finger movements.
Last edited by JohnB on Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

acmost9
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:32 am

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby acmost9 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:47 pm

markodarko wrote:
acmost9 wrote:You(one) might think you're on your fingertips but they're probably slanted.


...which is another reason why playing only with hammer-ons was prescribed. You can't hammer-on properly unless you have "correct" and clean technique.


No doubt, I'm not saying otherwise...all good.

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby DaveLeeNC » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:57 pm

Thanks for all the comments. Using Hammer-on's is interesting and appeals to me as it (kind of naturally) addresses more than one skill with a single exercise.

WRT the proper use of the tips of the fingers and this issue, I see it the other way around. In my mind using the flatter portion of the fingers is really a result of poor accuracy - it is easier to cleanly fret (for those cases where adjacent string muting doesn't matter or is even desired) using the 'wrong' portion of your fingers. So lack of accuracy tends to create this bad habit, rather than this bad habit leading to poor accuracy (for those, and only those, cases where adjacent string muting is OK).

One other comments about building your own exercises to address this stuff. If your focus is on allowing adjacent strings to 'ring', this is far easier to achieve when the adjacent string(s) is fretted vs. open (adjacent string is lower when fretted). Just something to keep in mind when building an exercise.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

dtoh
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby dtoh » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:35 am

I'm definitely a member of the club, but I've slowly improved. It's a just a question of practice. LOTS of practice. Do lots of different exercises. Go for accuracy over speed (most of the time.) Starting in the higher fretboard positions is easier. 1000 hours of practice and you'll definitely see a lot of improvement. This type of practice is pretty boring so I usually put on a pair of headphones and watch movies while I'm doing it.

User avatar
David_Norton
Posts: 3713
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby David_Norton » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:02 am

When Marcin Dylla did a masterclass here in Salt Lake in early October, he demonstrated what _HE_ means by slow practice: it was almost like watching a slo-mo film of a bullet bursting a balloon! With a new piece, he practices e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. m.o.t.i.o.n. (of BOTH hands) with that degree of exactitude, over and over, until the motion is totally programmed into his muscles, into his memory, and into his eyesight. And in this manner, in very short time, sometimes less than a day, he will have a complex piece fully memorized and ready to perform. First time I have ever observed what true SLOW PRACTICING looks like.


dtoh wrote: This type of practice is pretty boring so I usually put on a pair of headphones and watch movies while I'm doing it.


Precisely the type of "non-thinking false practice" which Dylla cautioned against doing. 100% of his attention is on the mechanical motion of his fingers. "No man can serve two masters" was the quote he used.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

User avatar
Yisrael van Handel
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Location: Modi'in Illit, Israel

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby Yisrael van Handel » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:26 am

David_Norton wrote:When Marcin Dylla did a masterclass here in Salt Lake in early October, he demonstrated what _HE_ means by slow practice: it was almost like watching a slo-mo film of a bullet bursting a balloon! With a new piece, he practices e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. m.o.t.i.o.n. (of BOTH hands) with that degree of exactitude, over and over, until the motion is totally programmed into his muscles, into his memory, and into his eyesight. And in this manner, in very short time, sometimes less than a day, he will have a complex piece fully memorized and ready to perform. First time I have ever observed what true SLOW PRACTICING looks like.

This makes total sense to me. But I do not see how playing scales will help. When playing polyphonic music, especially counterpoint, you often need to play one line of music on the first and second string and other line of music on the fifth and sixth string simultaneously. It is the nature of counterpoint that it is just as likely to move in the opposite direction as in the parallel direction. All the scales in the world will not prepare you for that. Better to play real music, no? It is when you are fingering or preparing to finger the first string, that it is really challenging to play the sixth string with the fingertips.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

dtoh
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Q: Regarding LH Accuracy

Postby dtoh » Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:54 am

David_Norton wrote:Precisely the type of "non-thinking false practice" which Dylla cautioned against doing. 100% of his attention is on the mechanical motion of his fingers. "No man can serve two masters" was the quote he used.


Think we might be talking about different things here. One of the main reasons for not being able finger accurately is a lack of strength and flexibility in the LH. It's like lifting weights, you can concentrate all you want but that won't help you to bench press 250 lbs. Developing strength and flexibility is a lot of brainless repetition. It would be ideal to concentrate 100% while doing this, but honestly I think that would bore or exhaust me and many people to death and we would never practice.

Once you've gotten the basic strength and flexibility, then developing real dexterity and precision requires a huge amount of concentration but I'm not sure that's the issue the OP is facing.


Return to “Classical Guitar technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], dtoh, guit-box, Leo Apray and 9 guests