Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Omar Garcia
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by Omar Garcia » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:57 pm

Hi everyone,
Need a bit of help here. When I try to increase the volume
By striking the strings hard with the right hand fingers,
I find myself pressing the strings hard with the left hand also
I've been trying to correct this by playing scales painfully
Slow, hard with the right, light with the left, but progress
Is slow. Any other remedies or suggestions?
Thanks for your help.
Omat

dtoh
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by dtoh » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:24 pm

Omar Garcia wrote:Hi everyone,
Need a bit of help here. When I try to increase the volume
By striking the strings hard with the right hand fingers,
I find myself pressing the strings hard with the left hand also
I've been trying to correct this by playing scales painfully
Slow, hard with the right, light with the left, but progress
Is slow. Any other remedies or suggestions?
Thanks for your help.
Omat
Keep practicing :D

A lot of exercises involve accenting just one of the RH fingers, e.g. very soft with i and a, loud and hard with M. That might help also.

User avatar
guitarrista
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by guitarrista » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:32 pm

Try this: press with the left hand fingers just light enough so there is a bit of buzz when you sound it out. Now play it really loud with the RH fingers - make sure your LH keeps the pressure light enough so the sound is still buzzy.

This should let you start separating in your brain LH from RH in terms of how hard to engage the muscles.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

mmapag
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Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:33 pm
Location: Philadelphia Area

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by mmapag » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:42 am

Staccato scales with a strong right hand attack.
'13 Esteve 7 SM
'75 Takamine 132 S
'99 G.V. Rubio Estudio, Cedar, Palo Escrito

Robbie Flamerock
Posts: 579
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:24 am

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by Robbie Flamerock » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:56 pm

Develop your left hand strength with ligado exercises.

Vasco Passeira
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:14 am

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by Vasco Passeira » Thu May 11, 2017 8:17 am

This used to be a problem for me, which I overcame by practicing scales this way:
1. Prepare the fingering for a scale (let's say chromatic in the the V position);
2. Lightly place your index finger on the C note on the 3rs string, in order to mute the note;
3. Start (and keep) plucking the 3rd string with the RH while you increase the pressure on the LH index finger until you hear a clear note with no buzzing. Once you do, keep that exact pressure. You've found the perfect point of pressure, where any additional amount of energy is useless.
4. Use the same drill for the rest of the notes in the scale.
5. Once you've mastered this part, practice this and other scales, keeping your focus on your LH and varying the volume of the notes with your LH.
The trick is to keep yourself focused on the LH fingers, like if you were pressing the string with your brain and not your fingers.
This worked for me and yielded results much faster than I expected, so hope it helps.

3score&10
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:39 am
Location: NSW Australia

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by 3score&10 » Thu May 18, 2017 6:34 am

This is the problem I am having too. When practising the pressure &'release technique I'm ok if I concentrate really hard, but when I start playing and come to a difficult part of the music I tend to tighten my left hand and hang on to the neck like it's going to run away......result sore hand and arm....will slowing down in practice help with this do you think?
'Everything passes
Everything changes
Just do what you think you must do'
Bob Dylan in lyrics from 'To Ramona'

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guitarrista
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by guitarrista » Thu May 18, 2017 4:52 pm

3score&10 wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 6:34 am
This is the problem I am having too. When practising the pressure &'release technique I'm ok if I concentrate really hard, but when I start playing and come to a difficult part of the music I tend to tighten my left hand and hang on to the neck like it's going to run away......result sore hand and arm....will slowing down in practice help with this do you think?
Isolate just the difficult bit and practice just that, slowly.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

Robin
Posts: 676
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 11:42 am
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by Robin » Thu May 18, 2017 6:40 pm

Dear Omar,

In addition to previous suggestions:

Learn to breathe into and out of difficult passages. This is not as easy as it sounds. I have to practice this technique and I write it on my score, just like any other fingering or dynamics indications. I usually have to highlight it with color because if I'm nervous during performance, I often will miss it! It is best to breath with your mouth slightly open since it forces you to relax muscles in your jaw, neck and shoulders.

Practice at varied tempi, alternating slower with faster. This builds resilience and, like some one playing sports, teaches the body and brain to learn multiple strategies to cope with various (and sometimes unexpected) experiences playing the passage.

Work on left hand finger independence. I truly believe that the ability to apply and release tension at will originates in left hand flexibility and finger independence. Time spent working on this for a few minutes every day is time well spent.

Wishing you all the best,

Robin
So much music, so little time.

dtoh
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by dtoh » Thu May 18, 2017 11:44 pm

Robin wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 6:40 pm
Work on left hand finger independence. I truly believe that the ability to apply and release tension at will originates in left hand flexibility and finger independence. Time spent working on this for a few minutes every day is time well spent.
+1000. The main reason for applying excess thumb pressure is because you don't have the strength, flexibility and finger independence to get your fingers into position without using your thumb as a lever.

Elman Concepcion
Luthier
Posts: 544
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:03 pm
Location: Windermere, Florida USA

Re: Unnecessary pressure with the left hand

Post by Elman Concepcion » Fri May 19, 2017 9:51 pm

Omar Garcia wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:57 pm
Hi everyone,
Need a bit of help here. When I try to increase the volume
By striking the strings hard with the right hand fingers,
I find myself pressing the strings hard with the left hand also
I've been trying to correct this by playing scales painfully
Slow, hard with the right, light with the left, but progress
Is slow. Any other remedies or suggestions?
Thanks for your help.
Omat
Try this.

When you do a FS or a RT.
Think about the amount of time the right hand takes to go through the string.
The amount of time it takes to go through the string, is the amount of time you need to press the string with the left hand.
Don’t think about left hand pressure - Think about synchronizing the left hand with the right hand.

Hope that makes sense.

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