It's true, many of the flamenco guitarists can play ridiculously fast rest strokes and free strokes and many of them have pinky fingers sticking way out. It looks very tense but they get the job done. I personally don't like the feeling of holding that kind of tension in my hand and I work really hard to get my pinky to follow the ring finger. Still, we can't ignore the fact that these players are playing fast scales with at least some un-needed tension.CactusWren wrote: ↑Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:59 amI agree that it's not relaxation, per se, but coordinated movement. Coordinated movement as I understand it means using the right muscles at the right time and by extension, _not_ using the wrong muscles or the right muscles at the wrong time, etc. Basically you need to be doing the right thing (the movement) and not do the wrong thing (tensing other muscles in a counterproductive way).
You see lots of flamenco players executing these scales faster than virtually all the CG repertoire at FF, so we know that speed and volume are not inversely related, as is sometimes said.
Did you learn free strokes first, and did you start your musical journey in classical guitar? The reason I ask is I have long felt that CG and its demand for purity of tone (and for perfection) seems to stunt the free, strong movements that virtuosity requires. Also, it seems to me that people who start out with free strokes seem to have a knack for overcomplicating rest strokes and building in counterproductive tension in them.
I don't remember if I learned rest strokes first or free strokes. I started in the Frederick Noad Solo Guitar Playing book. I likely started with single line rest stroke alternation but also did free strokes early on too. I was taught to think of the strokes primarily as a flexing movement from the large knuckle joint. Shortly after my first lessons, William Kanengeiser came out with his Effortless Classical GUitar and that totally cemented in my mind and hand that playing exclusively from the MCP (large knuckle joint) was the absolute correct movement. I tend to agree with you that too much rest stroke early on is bad for a person's technique. It's just too easy to use too much MCP flexion and not enough movement from other joints when doing so and that builds tension and heaviness into the hands.
It's interesting to me that over in the flamenco forum that you and I also participate in how locked into this large knuckle joint centric playing the players are. I showed that one great flamenco player a video of his own hand playing fast rest strokes where he moves the middle joint of his index finger way more than the main knuckle joint and still he insists he's only playing rest strokes with the main knuckle.