Left hand second and third finger separation

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dtoh
Posts: 224
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Left hand second and third finger separation

Post by dtoh » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:33 am

Just a couple of follow on observations.....and this is from my experience so it may not apply to all.

1. Through diligent exercise starting in the higher positions and carefully concentrating (this is really important) on trying to spread both the fingertips and the knuckles while extending and flexing the 3rd finger, you will develop the muscular strength and coordination to achieve greater separation between the 2nd and 3rd fingertips through both the ability to spread you fingers as well as increased ability rotate your fingers independently.

2. Anchoring one finger first, leveraging your fingers into position by planting your thumb, positioning your fingers diagonally to the frets, etc. are all a) bad techniques, b) will retard the development of finger independence, and c) could potentially lead to injury.

3. I don't think the tendons and ligaments are really the issue, it's much more an issue of strength and coordination of the hand muscles.

This all takes a lot of time and patience.

P.S. Per Gray's Anatomy, "Each interosseous has a considerable ability to rotate the digit at the [MCP] joint.

Mr Kite

Re: Left hand second and third finger separation

Post by Mr Kite » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:14 am

dtoh wrote:P.S. Per Gray's Anatomy, "Each interosseous has a considerable ability to rotate the digit at the [MCP] joint.
Thanks for this - I found the passage and it is talking about the palmar interossei, i.e. the ones that adduct the fingers or bring them back into contact with one another. Obviously if you have to adduct the fingers in order to get them to rotate it defeats the object - but maybe if you have really strong dorsal interossei they will hold the fingers apart against the action of the palmar interossei, which will then produce rotation only (as they do if you hold the fingers apart with your other hand while trying to pull them back together). Maybe that is what you've managed to achieve through your exercises.

I also found an extract saying that the inability to spread the fingers with the hand fully closed is due either to the interossei not being able to shorten (because their ends have been brought too close together by the flexion and they can't get taut) or to the line of pull changing due to the changed hand position. This suggests that it is not to do with ligaments and tendons. At any point where there is some ability to spread the fingers, strengthening the dorsal interossei is likely to help. Since the basic action of these muscles is to abduct straight fingers, the best way to strengthen them may be to practice making the Spock sign (and variants with other finger) with elastic bands around the fingertips.

This by the way from Yates, on the question of positioning the fingers diagonally to the frets: "A rotated hand position may be regarded as the default for playing in the lower position (a parallel position being used only when absolutely necessary)". The main reason given is that it reduces the need to separate the fingers laterally.

dtoh
Posts: 224
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Left hand second and third finger separation

Post by dtoh » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:03 am

Mr Kite wrote:At any point where there is some ability to spread the fingers, strengthening the dorsal interossei is likely to help. Since the basic action of these muscles is to abduct straight fingers, the best way to strengthen them may be to practice making the Spock sign (and variants with other finger) with elastic bands around the fingertips.
I'm getting in a little over my head here, but my perception is that the muscle coordination is different than the Spock sign. The Gray's articles says the muscles comes in pairs and my feeling is that you need to learn to work the two sides of the pair independently.

An exercise I use is four fingers on the 5th to 8th frets of the 2nd string. Then extend the 3rd finger up to the 4th string. For a normal person it will end up somewhere midway between the 6th and 7th frets. No do it really slowly and concentrate on trying to keep your knuckles apart and get your 3rd fingertip nearer the 7th fret. Do this and variations everyday for a month and you might gain 0.1 mm of additional separation. Do it for 4 years and you get an extra 1/2 cm of separation, which should allow you to fret cleanly with the 3rd finger when you're in the 5th position. Now work your way up to the 1st position. That will probably take another 3 or 4 years.

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