Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by guitarrista » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:16 pm

Sorry if I was unclear - my contention is that the basic functional unit is the motor unit (with several to hundreds of muscle fibers within it), not the muscle itself which has hundreds of motor units.
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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by guitarrista » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:17 pm

Mr Kite wrote:
guitarrista wrote:
Mr Kite wrote:I think your point 3 is right, but the assumption lower down is that these muscles (if properly trained) can do everything that the forearm muscles can do, at which point you can stop using the forearm muscles and will have independence.
Hmm.. I am not sure where you got this but it is not correct.
Or are we saying the same thing and just misunderstanding each other - I was saying the assumption lower down in dtoh's list was that the intrinsic muscles, if properly trained, will can everything that the forearm muscles can do. I went on to say that I didn't think that was right. Perhaps you are also saying that you don't think it's right.
Yes I don't think it is correct - but also I don't think dtoh was claiming otherwise. A misunderstanding indeed.
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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by dtoh » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:34 am

I do think we use the forearm a little... but not much. Try this experiment. Curl all of your left hand fingers into a comfortable natural position. Place your right hand fingers on your left hand forearm so you can feel the muscles and tendon. Try moving moving just one LH finger while keeping your other fingers absolutely still and motionless. You should feel no movement or tension in your forearm muscles or tendons. If you feel movement, it will almost always be because you are not keep your other fingers motionless.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by guitarrista » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:40 am

dtoh wrote:Try this experiment. Curl all of your left hand fingers into a comfortable natural position. Place your right hand fingers on your left hand forearm so you can feel the muscles and tendon. Try moving moving just one LH finger while keeping your other fingers absolutely still and motionless. You should feel no movement or tension in your forearm muscles or tendons.
It does not mean it is not happening, it is just buried too deep into your forearm. Here's the anatomy+muscles controlling flexion/extension of fingers: (this is the palm side of the left hand)
forearm.JPG
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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by dtoh » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:05 am

guitarrista wrote:It does not mean it is not happening, it is just buried too deep into your forearm. Here's the anatomy+muscles controlling flexion/extension of fingers: (this is the palm side of the left hand)
forearm.JPG
Thanks for posting the pic. I'm by no means sure I'm right, but.... the tendons going to the fingers are pretty exposed and it seems like it's pretty easy to feel what's going on. Also I think the issue is not one of independence of the muscle fiber but rather the fact that you have some shared tendons between fingers and that tendons next to each other bind together, both of which makes it physically impossible to perform certain finger movements independently using just the muscles in the arm.

I'd be interested to hear other people's opinion here. I've put a lot of effort into developing finger independence (and still have a long way to go) but it seems to me anyway that it comes mostly from developing strength and coordination in hand (rather than the arm) muscles especially when we're talking about the 3rd and 4th fingers of the LH.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by Mr Kite » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:03 am

This pic may also be useful https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensor_ ... ray416.png. You can see that the tendons that flex the middle and tip joints directly belong to the flexor digitorum muscles, which are in the forearm. The dorsal interosseus inserts at the base of the first phalange, just past the main knuckle, so any pull on the second or third phalanges (corresponding to movement at the middle or tip joints) is indirect. If you hold 3 straight with your RH and then line the fingertip of 4 up with the middle joint of 3, I think that is the interosseus working.

If I do this and, still holding 3, flex 4 at the main knuckle, the middle and tip joints straighten. That is (I believe) because I am holding the far end of the flexor digitorum muscles still by preventing 3 from bending, whereas they need to shorten if they are going to bend 4. However, I can bend 2 - at the moment I can't explain this.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by Mr Kite » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:09 am

Mr Kite wrote:However, I can bend 2 - at the moment I can't explain this.
It is because it's a composite muscle which has separate innervation for fingers 2/3 and fingers 3/4, I think. In other words I can control these regions of the flexors separately because they have separate innervation.

The fact that this category of muscle exists tends to suggest that individual motor units cannot be independently controlled in the way we'd need.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by dtoh » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:42 am

Frousse wrote:
astro64 wrote:My gut feeling is that if you don't learn this separation from young age, it is going to be a long battle. It took me forever to learn a 4-3 slur (pull-off). The two fingers would always move together. Only one teacher out of many over the past decades had the right advise that worked after a lot of patience and practice. But it will never be as fast or easy as any of the other finger combinations, I think. The one big disadvantage to starting late with any instrument is the difficulty in learning the things that our hands normally don't do at later age. This includes speed and finger independence. You can make progress but it doesn't come naturally...
i concur fully.
But I think we can make up for a lot of the physical advantages of youth with the advantages of age, for example, diligence and discipline. I had the same issue with a 4-3 slur. But you practice it 100,000 times (a few minutes a day for 6 months), and it's pretty easy.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by astro64 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:19 pm

dtoh wrote:
Frousse wrote:
astro64 wrote:My gut feeling is that if you don't learn this separation from young age, it is going to be a long battle. It took me forever to learn a 4-3 slur (pull-off). The two fingers would always move together. Only one teacher out of many over the past decades had the right advise that worked after a lot of patience and practice. But it will never be as fast or easy as any of the other finger combinations, I think. The one big disadvantage to starting late with any instrument is the difficulty in learning the things that our hands normally don't do at later age. This includes speed and finger independence. You can make progress but it doesn't come naturally...
i concur fully.
But I think we can make up for a lot of the physical advantages of youth with the advantages of age, for example, diligence and discipline. I had the same issue with a 4-3 slur. But you practice it 100,000 times (a few minutes a day for 6 months), and it's pretty easy.
Once you know how to do it, and your fingers follow your brain, practicing helps. If you don't know how to do it (in my case both fingers moved no matter what), you can practice all you want and it won't get better. So the key is to first learn the most basic sense of separation between the two fingers. Getting that control does not follow from any of the many books with slur exercises. It came from one specific exercise my instructor had me do, that I had never seen in any book or heard in any technique class by an advanced player. It sometimes does not help to learn from the most advanced players. They can not imagine why you can't do something basic that comes easy to them because they learned it at age 6.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by dtoh » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:17 am

astro64 wrote:
dtoh wrote:
Frousse wrote:
i concur fully.
But I think we can make up for a lot of the physical advantages of youth with the advantages of age, for example, diligence and discipline. I had the same issue with a 4-3 slur. But you practice it 100,000 times (a few minutes a day for 6 months), and it's pretty easy.
Once you know how to do it, and your fingers follow your brain, practicing helps. If you don't know how to do it (in my case both fingers moved no matter what), you can practice all you want and it won't get better. So the key is to first learn the most basic sense of separation between the two fingers. Getting that control does not follow from any of the many books with slur exercises. It came from one specific exercise my instructor had me do, that I had never seen in any book or heard in any technique class by an advanced player. It sometimes does not help to learn from the most advanced players. They can not imagine why you can't do something basic that comes easy to them because they learned it at age 6.
I had the same issue. It was really bad. I just concentrated and kept working on it. Eventually I developed the skill. Not to say your case might be different. I was also doing a lot of other exercises at the same time to develop finger independence so those probably helped as well.

I'm a big believer that people are different and in experimenting to find out what works best for you.

I'm curious what the exercise was that helped you to overcome the problem.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by astro64 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:30 am

Dtoh, as you note it is very important to pay attention to your problem and then find the solution. The problem was trying to do a 4-3 slur, the 3 would move along with the 4 so the slur was at best weak. Slurring 4-2 while holding a note with 3 on the neighboring string was impossible. The 3rd finger would always dampen the 4-2 slur because it would move along with 4. For the 4-3 slur, the solution was to focus on 3 first, before doing the slur, by slightly increasing pressure on it and pushing it up a bit in opposite direction from the slur motion. Then try the slur. Very slow, every time always first slightly push 3 in opposite direction before pulling off with 4. After a few weeks the brain had adjusted and it became easier. If you look carefully, this opposite motion is what other finger combinations do naturally, that is in all other slur combinations the finger that holds the note will move slightly in opposite direction to allow a powerful slur. But 4-3 is the one exception because 3 really wants to move with 4.

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by dtoh » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:22 am

astro64 wrote:Dtoh, as you note it is very important to pay attention to your problem and then find the solution. The problem was trying to do a 4-3 slur, the 3 would move along with the 4 so the slur was at best weak. Slurring 4-2 while holding a note with 3 on the neighboring string was impossible. The 3rd finger would always dampen the 4-2 slur because it would move along with 4. For the 4-3 slur, the solution was to focus on 3 first, before doing the slur, by slightly increasing pressure on it and pushing it up a bit in opposite direction from the slur motion. Then try the slur. Very slow, every time always first slightly push 3 in opposite direction before pulling off with 4. After a few weeks the brain had adjusted and it became easier. If you look carefully, this opposite motion is what other finger combinations do naturally, that is in all other slur combinations the finger that holds the note will move slightly in opposite direction to allow a powerful slur. But 4-3 is the one exception because 3 really wants to move with 4.
That's exactly the problem I had. I basically worked on it by concentrating on keeping 3 very still while just slightly sliding 4 off the string. Then gradually increasing the force on both fingers. I wasn't really conscious of applying opposing force, but when I think about it I'm pretty sure that's what happening. I also feel like I'm applying a bit more downward pressure to increase friction on the fret and fretboard.

I'm still not sure how much of this and other finger independence skills are dependent on strength and how much is dependent on coordination. If I look at the umbricals/interossei in my hands, the LH muscles are huge compared to the RH.

Mr Kite

Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by Mr Kite » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:39 am

astro64 wrote:For the 4-3 slur, the solution was to focus on 3 first, before doing the slur, by slightly increasing pressure on it and pushing it up a bit in opposite direction from the slur motion.
Funny, I did practically the same thing just last week on a RH exercise from Stanley Yates' book - once I started kicking the finger out in the opposite direction I got the hang of keeping it still. With the slur, for me it also helps to think of the movement as being down towards the fingerboard rather than out across the string.
dtoh wrote:I'm still not sure how much of this and other finger independence skills are dependent on strength and how much is dependent on coordination. If I look at the umbricals/interossei in my hands, the LH muscles are huge compared to the RH.
I believe you need both of those things - I think it's about coordination rather than isolation, but either way you need some strength. I found a useful article last night and now think that the problem of bringing 3 across the fretboard while leaving 4 in place is about using the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles together, but that the intrinsic muscles have to be be strong enough to affect the action of the extrinsic muscles, whereas generally it's the other way round. The kicking-out thing I described above worked in a matter of hours BTW, so in that particular case it must have been the coordination that was lacking.

Mr Kite

Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by Mr Kite » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:35 pm

From Gray's anatomy (linked to by dtoh in the thread "Right hand technique - what really is happening?")

"Many individuals cannot flex the [PIP] of the little finger alone, usually because of linkage between the tendons of the ring and little finger flexor digitorum superficialis, but occasionally because superficialis is deficient."

Of course they are not talking about individuals who have worked hard to develop this ability, but if it's to do with the tendons being interlinked it doesn't sound as though there's much you can do.

The slur is different, I think, because you can do it by moving 4 from the MCP as well as the PIP, and simultaneously extending the MCP of 3 (that seems to be what is happening when I try the same action with my hand just in the air).

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Re: Separating LH fingers 3 and 4

Post by RectifiedGTRz » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:34 pm

Do some simple pull off and hammer on exercises. Take the low E string, put your first LH finger in the first fret, strike the note with a finger of the RH, then hammer on to the 2nd fret with the 2nd finger of the LH, and repeat until you get all four fingers on the finger board. Don't move the fingers. Then reverse the process and do pull offs with the LH starting with the fourth finger on the 4th fret. Then continue when you are finished by moving chromatically up the finger board. Then go up as high up the fingerboard as comfortably as possible and go back down. Then start on the next string and repeat until all strings have been done. You can alternate free stroke and rest stroke with the RH and change dynamics etc.

You can then do a variant on this by using a hammer on and pull off between the first and the third fingers of he left habd and the second and fourth fingers.

I believe this was in one of the Noad guitar books but I've used this for electrics way before I learned classical guitar.

You can also do "trill" exercises by doing slow hammer on and pull offs with the third and fourth fingers anywhere on the fingerboard and move it chromatically up as well. Pumping nylon may have this in there as do many piano daily exercise books.

Don't overwork. 5-10 mins a day is enough to start with and then take a breather.

If it's stretching, you could do first finger on first fret of high e pluck the string 2nd finger on 2nd fret of b string then pluck third finger on third fret high e again and fourth finger on fourth fret of b string and hold all fingers down while doing that. Then move the 2nd and fourth fingers to the g string on repeats. Again don't overdo it; if you feel pain stop immediately. Then repeat after a couple of hours or so.
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