Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

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.
User avatar
Tomzooki
Posts: 1415
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:12 am
Location: Quebec city, Canada

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Tomzooki » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:54 pm

Mr Kite wrote:This thread is a bit like trying to understand how the brick is made by looking at its molecular structure...


I love that analogy!!!! 8)

My 2 cents: if one wants to move the BK while keeping the MJ fixed he/she will need to use more muscles than moving BK and MJ together. BK and MJ flexing goes together, so fixing the MJ need another group of muscles to work, hence more work, and as the whole process is not natural, a high risk to induce tension. The TJ can stay easily relaxed while the other two are flexing, though. The important point here is the direction of the attack - partly toward the soundboard, I suggest you aim your movement toward your armpit - with this very simple idea of a movement in head and a relaxed right hand you will notice than while both BK and MJ are flexing, most of the work comes from the BK. Bingo!!
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
Yamaha GC-3A
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW

User avatar
guitarrista
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby guitarrista » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:59 pm

Soundminer wrote:Ok, i would like to start with a free stroke and how I believe it really works, and what actually is going on.

4 relative easy to understand steps. ( I like to use these terms: BK= big knuckle, MK= middle knuckle, TJ= tipjoint or little knuckle)

1. The BK brings the finger to the string, it lands/contacts in it's middle range of motion or there about.


That's not the first thing to establish, though - if you are looking for a complete picture. There are a few other inter-dependent things that come before that:
  • the position of the hand with respect to the string being played - especially BK - how high above and its projection onto the strings plane
  • how "deep" does the fingertip go when when touching the string - which, in conjunction with the above, determines how the fingertip can clear the next string in terms of BK and MK
  • nail shape, from which , in order to produce a good sound, the amount of angling of the hand with respect to along-string direction;

For example, if the hand (palm/wrist) is not very close to the soundboard, the projection of the BK is right on the string being played, the fingertip when touching the string barely goes below the strings' plane, and the hand is angled a bit, it is very easy to produce a beautiful full sound by using just the BK as the driver of the main movement (not talking about after; i.e. only talking about string displacement and release). This is because the radius of the arch traced by moving from the BK when executing the stroke to produce the sound is relatively large and the arch "shallow" and the curve's centre is symmetric with respect to the string being played, so it is easy to clear the next string as in a free stroke - especially if angled a bit which gives a bit more distance between the strings along the path of movement.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:43 pm

dtoh wrote:
astro64 wrote:If the string catapults the fingertip away, then there is not going to be much sound....Just displace the string, relax the finger, and let the string push the finger tip away. Whatever joint does the work, the fingertip with nail has to pull through the string to make it sound. So it is the finger that catapults the string away, not the string that catapults the finger away.


Seems to me that someone (maybe Newton) said that for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction.... when I jump the earth moves. Same with the string and finger. They are both creating force and causing the other to move. So maybe what's happening (and I'm speculating) is that we adjust the tension in the MK and TJ to change the relative force of the finger, which in turns affects the movement (deflection) of the string.



dtoh..could you maybe rephrase this thought in a way you would tell a student, so as simple as possible without losing the gest. Never mind if you actually would. thanks

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:54 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Soundminer wrote:Ok, i would like to start with a free stroke and how I believe it really works, and what actually is going on.

4 relative easy to understand steps. ( I like to use these terms: BK= big knuckle, MK= middle knuckle, TJ= tipjoint or little knuckle)

1. The BK brings the finger to the string, it lands/contacts in it's middle range of motion or there about.


That's not the first thing to establish, though - if you are looking for a complete picture. There are a few other inter-dependent things that come before that:
  • the position of the hand with respect to the string being played - especially BK - how high above and its projection onto the strings plane
  • how "deep" does the fingertip go when when touching the string - which, in conjunction with the above, determines how the fingertip can clear the next string in terms of BK and MK
  • nail shape, from which , in order to produce a good sound, the amount of angling of the hand with respect to along-string direction;

For example, if the hand (palm/wrist) is not very close to the soundboard, the projection of the BK is right on the string being played, the fingertip when touching the string barely goes below the strings' plane, and the hand is angled a bit, it is very easy to produce a beautiful full sound by using just the BK as the driver of the main movement (not talking about after; i.e. only talking about string displacement and release). This is because the radius of the arch traced by moving from the BK when executing the stroke to produce the sound is relatively large and the arch "shallow" and the curve's centre is symmetric with respect to the string being played, so it is easy to clear the next string as in a free stroke - especially if angled a bit which gives a bit more distance between the strings along the path of movement.



Great post and I agree with everything....but making contact with the BK in middle range and the finger in a natural curve will suffice for now as step 1 as far as I'm concerned. These subjects are in my opinion the things one can and has to work on if and when someone succeeds at the first skill...making that string pop and sing. I know these things are inter-depedent in a way, but in a very personal way. I'm looking for the core of the movement.

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:04 pm

Tomzooki wrote:
Mr Kite wrote:This thread is a bit like trying to understand how the brick is made by looking at its molecular structure...


I love that analogy!!!! 8)

My 2 cents: if one wants to move the BK while keeping the MJ fixed he/she will need to use more muscles than moving BK and MJ together. BK and MJ flexing goes together, so fixing the MJ need another group of muscles to work, hence more work, and as the whole process is not natural, a high risk to induce tension. The TJ can stay easily relaxed while the other two are flexing, though. The important point here is the direction of the attack - partly toward the soundboard, I suggest you aim your movement toward your armpit - with this very simple idea of a movement in head and a relaxed right hand you will notice than while both BK and MJ are flexing, most of the work comes from the BK. Bingo!!


Good two cents!

It probably can but for a whole lot of people, students, it won't do so naturally. in fact the opposite, it will tense up to counter the force of the string pushing back.

So relaxation in the fingertip is crucial in my opinion and I'm not even talking about collapsing the tip, just relaxing it.

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:19 pm

scottszone wrote:I think it's a bit like learning how to walk, at first it's awkward and you stumble. Through the process of learning etudes and paying attention to your hand and finger movements you eventually fall into a grove that works for you. Hand position and finger movements are slightly different for everyone, there's no one perfect way. Minimizing motion and consistency helps, and lots of focused practice. [b]Over-intellectualizing[/b] it will only get you so far, technique is ultimately a learned instinct.


Agree with everything you're saying..except that, that term has the air of pretentiousness..which is never a good direction. It think it's more analyzing..thinking about it. Ultimately for the sake of teaching it in the most effective way. Teach a man to fish and all that.. :)

dtoh
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby dtoh » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:06 am

Soundminer wrote:dtoh..could you maybe rephrase this thought in a way you would tell a student, so as simple as possible without losing the gest. Never mind if you actually would. thanks


I'm not sure it would be particularly useful from a pedagogical point of view. IMHO, this is all a bit like telling someone how to hold a glass of water without spilling it. Sure we can say things like don't tilt the glass, hold it tight enough so it doesn't slip out of your hand, don't jump up and down, etc. But ultimately it's about trial and error and internalizing the movements which produce a successful outcome.

User avatar
scottszone
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:19 pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby scottszone » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:49 am

Soundminer wrote:
scottszone wrote:I think it's a bit like learning how to walk, at first it's awkward and you stumble. Through the process of learning etudes and paying attention to your hand and finger movements you eventually fall into a grove that works for you. Hand position and finger movements are slightly different for everyone, there's no one perfect way. Minimizing motion and consistency helps, and lots of focused practice. [b]Over-intellectualizing[/b] it will only get you so far, technique is ultimately a learned instinct.


Agree with everything you're saying..except that, that term has the air of pretentiousness..which is never a good direction. It think it's more analyzing..thinking about it. Ultimately for the sake of teaching it in the most effective way. Teach a man to fish and all that.. :)


To a point. Ask guitarists with great right hand technique how much they think about it and I bet the answer more often than not is not much at all. Great technique emerges at a point where the mind can no longer cope.
2006 Manuel Contreras II C-5 Cedar/IRW
2016 Cordoba C7-CE Cedar/IRW
2006 Cordoba GK Studio Spruce/Cypress

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 850
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:44 am

I have read most of the big right-hand thread and found much of value there. However, there is a fundamental problem concerned with describing "correct" technique - a problem which also shows signs of manifesting itself in this thread.

If the goal is to determine a possible "correct" manner of execution in terms of ergonomics, physical health etc. then yes, focusing on the hands/body is obviously paramount but, in determining methods where producing predictable qualities of sound is the main object, one must begin with the string.

Once the movement of the string is understood we find that there are several solutions to the problem of achieving chosen effects with both efficiency and safety; hence the disparity in execution between players.

The idea to re-address this fundamental aspect of teaching is a good one - a logical approach (as suggested by the O.P.) might begin:

1. How should the string move?

2. By what method(s) may this movement be achieved?
For simplicity a division into three main components may facilitate our understanding i.e.
a) Contact
b) Displacement
c) Release

A fully articulated execution requires a further component of control to be considered i.e.
d) Cessation

3. How may these methods be executed efficiently, consistently and safely?

Any method of execution be it an extreme flat picado, a classic high-wrist thumb-over or the intimate flesh-only approach demonstrated so ably by the likes of Rob MacKillop can then be examined on their own terms and with due regard to physiology, neuroscience etc.

The continuing problem of a pedagogy based on the, "Do as I say, not as I do!" model is another matter - well exposed in "guit-box's" mega-thread.

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:51 am

I agree fully with the last three posts!! You think, you stink...this is very true

My goal however is to come closer in describing that feeling. you know..where the mind can't cope anymore and it's purely fysical, feel.

move from this that bla bla bla...Is that really the best we can do?

The more I try to think about what's happening when I play, the more I arrive at one thing that seems to be very crucial


The moment we touch the string...we have to relax for a split second so the string tells you..OK, you touched me, now I'll touch you back. If we don't let it do that there is no MUTUAL contact...just force upon the string, which is a one sided affair.

Maybe a good analogy is a human hug...that feeling. You touch and hold and so does the other one.


This is usefull in describing to a student. You can focus on this feeling when making contact with the string.

Then when you feel the connection, you can go to work...

energize the string. So maybe the most important part of teaching guitar is just trying to get across the importance of that first touch.

Making up exercises and analogys for this initial contact is what I'm looking for. This so the student doesn't rush over (or tries to enforce what can't be enforced) that crucial first feeling.


How about this?....Touch the string like you are giving a hug, not like you are giving a push

Once internalized this touch gets to be second nature and one doesn't have to think about it. You can do it at lightning speed

But first.....SLOWLY

Ok, I feel like I'm ranting to myself now :)

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:58 am

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:I have read most of the big right-hand thread and found much of value there. However, there is a fundamental problem concerned with describing "correct" technique - a problem which also shows signs of manifesting itself in this thread.

If the goal is to determine a possible "correct" manner of execution in terms of ergonomics, physical health etc. then yes, focusing on the hands/body is obviously paramount but, in determining methods where producing predictable qualities of sound is the main object, one must begin with the string.

Once the movement of the string is understood we find that there are several solutions to the problem of achieving chosen effects with both efficiency and safety; hence the disparity in execution between players.

The idea to re-address this fundamental aspect of teaching is a good one - a logical approach (as suggested by the O.P.) might begin:

1. How should the string move?

2. By what method(s) may this movement be achieved?
For simplicity a division into three main components may facilitate our understanding i.e.
a) Contact
b) Displacement
c) Release

A fully articulated execution requires a further component of control to be considered i.e.
d) Cessation

3. How may these methods be executed efficiently, consistently and safely?

Any method of execution be it an extreme flat picado, a classic high-wrist thumb-over or the intimate flesh-only approach demonstrated so ably by the likes of Rob MacKillop can then be examined on their own terms and with due regard to physiology, neuroscience etc.

The continuing problem of a pedagogy based on the, "Do as I say, not as I do!" model is another matter - well exposed in "guit-box's" mega-thread.



Great post Sir! :merci:

If the goal is to determine a possible "correct" manner of execution in terms of ergonomics, physical health etc. then yes, focusing on the hands/body is obviously paramount but, in determining methods where producing predictable qualities of sound is the main object, one must begin with the string.


This is very well described and a real problem in pedagogy. I think you have captured the problem in one sentence which is by no means an easy thing to do. I couldn't have done it, at the same time it's the very thing I'm trying to address. The order of the two goals as described by you, should be reversed in pedagogy . It's not about the teacher and his technique...it's about the student and the string firstly.




Could you maybe elaborate a bit on point d..Cessation

A fully articulated execution requires a further component of control to be considered i.e


I like this very much..it resonates. This should be the main focus point...If we only can describe that further component of control as closely as we can..for the student to envision. This is what it's all about in my opinion....The common factor! Everything else I feel is indeed very personal..So I feel there should be a switch in the pedagogy as to what actually matters the most

guit-box
Posts: 704
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby guit-box » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:49 pm

i remember being told by a teacher to drum my fingers on a table top with the force coming from the main KJ (MP joint). That, I was told, was the basis for the strokes. Of course when you do that on a table top, the drumming produces a thud, but if you move this precise movement to a guitar string you get no sound. You may hit the string with some force and velocity and the string will likely displace some, but the moment the KJ releases its pressure, the string springs back and no sound is ever produced. This is because the main KJ is NOT the producer of the pluck as was being taught. Of course it plays a critical role, it brings the finger to the string quickly and efficiently and the KJ needs to be trained to do that. It may provide some gripping pressure that allows the eventual sound to be produced, but the main KJ by itself is not the producer of the sound, the flexion of the MJ is. If you do the same table top experiment with the tips of the finger already touching the table and flexion towards the hand from the MJ, then you'll hear a scratching sound produced on the table top. It's a shhhhhht shhhhht shhhhht sound. This sound can be produced with very minimal help from the main KJ, all that joint is doing is holding the finger in place so the MJ can make that sound. For a pianissimo sound, that minimal weight of the finger on the table top is probably enough, but for a louder sound then the main KJ probably needs to grip more. You can transfer this precise motion to a guitar string and a sound will be produced. So, it's really the MJ flexion that is the producer of the sound, and of course the main KJ is playing an important role, but that role has been over-emphasized historically in the pedagogy. The correct free stroke, (the stroke that all the concert guitarists are doing in the videos) as demonstrated on a table top would have a thud followed instantaneously by a scratch. The scratch occurs at the very instant the thud is sounded, and it is so perfectly coordinated that it seems as if the thud and the scratch are one sound and it also appears visually to an observer that the main KJ did all the work, but it's not the case. It's a two-step, highly coordinated exchange from one joint to the next. Many people who believe and teach that the main KJ should follow through into the palm likely believe that is true because they feel or sense that the main KJ is in flexion at the moment of the pluck, but they are wrong. What they are feeling is the KJ releasing (extending) at the moment the MJ takes over and they are confusing that release for main KJ flexion. Everything in our world has to follow the rules of physics, even fingers, and if you don't see the main KJ and it's corresponding phalange moving in a flexion direction towards the palm at the instant the sound is produced or in the milliseconds after, that is because it isn't, simple as that.
It's all true, except for the stuff that's not.

Soundminer
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:42 am

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby Soundminer » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:25 pm

Thank you guit-box

If you think about it we are both adressing the same thing. A basic fault in the pedagogy

I don't know if it is as simple as you describe here...It might well be.

What would these rules of physics sound like (no pun) when it comes to this thud...and shhht motion. Why can't the thud also deliver the shhht sound?
What is the role of the fingertip....does it aid in anyway


The thud and the 'sigh' (as i always call it :)) are definitely there before any sound emerges. If the sound has any clarity or projection that is...and that is what we are aiming for as guitarplayers.


I wonder what you think and how you would translate this to the action of the thumb. Since it has a phalange less and is kind of a different animal

User avatar
guitarrista
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby guitarrista » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:28 pm

What's with the cut-and-paste of a giant paragraph from just 4 days ago from the other thread, without acknowledging so, especially since one can just link to it - viewtopic.php?f=6&p=1185741#p1185734? Strange :roll:
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

User avatar
guitarrista
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Right hand technique~what REALLY is happening

Postby guitarrista » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:37 pm

Soundminer wrote:The moment we touch the string...we have to relax for a split second so the string tells you..OK, you touched me, now I'll touch you back. If we don't let it do that there is no MUTUAL contact...just force upon the string, which is a one sided affair.


If you are implicitly referencing physics here, it does not work like that.When you have displaced the string and are holding it there (still with tension; no relaxing), it is a dynamic equilibrium - the string IS pushing back, which is why you have not sunk into the guitar, string and all. So what you have described above is not correct. Also the string does not bounce your fingertip when you relax your push-down - that would likely result in a thud rather than a nice guitar sound. Instead you have to get out of the way quick enough so the string can bounce back freely and keep vibrating.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez


Return to “Classical Guitar technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], RectifiedGTRz, Yahoo [Bot] and 13 guests