Tone production

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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rafitas123
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Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:30 pm

Hello all,

I am an amateur player with a reasonable level of technique. Even though I can play some pieces like Vals Venozalono 2 and 3, Choro N1, Etude N1. I feel that my tone production is very poor. What could I do to get more sound of my guitar :P and improve further my playing?

Thank you,
Rafael

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lagartija
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Re: Tone production

Post by lagartija » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:21 pm

The best thing would be to work with a good teacher. :-)
If there is not one near you, there are some who will give lessons by Skype. Not nearly as good as face to face, though.
Your hand position, the stroke you use, your nail shape and length...so many things affect your tone quality and projection.
If you go to masterclasses or guitar festivals, you can sometimes get some insights , but best would be regular lessons where your particular issues can be addressed.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

rafitas123
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Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:39 am

Thank you for the reply! I am already working with a very good teacher but I still think I need a lot to play good. :)
We are focusing at the moment in a type of music called choro and the function of the 7 strings guitar as an accompaniment instrument. Attending masterclasses to improve further my playing is a great idea, I will look out to find them around!

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Tone production

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:30 pm

Being an amateur player myself and playing similar pieces I would suggest that the most important single step to do is, instead of hurrying to get a piece working, to play very simple things and really, really listen attentively to your playing while playing (knowing the piece by heart helps a lot not to be busy with decifering sheet music).

Best would be to start with slow easy pieces and let them sound really good. (Recordins yourself also helps to overcome the tendency to self-deception that we all have).
Good luck Robert
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rafitas123
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Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:50 pm

Hi Robert,

Thank you for the tip! I already started implementing it in a beautiful but simple piece by Baden Powell, Euridice. It is not a classical tune, but there is a lot to be explored tonewise!

Agc17
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Re: Tone production

Post by Agc17 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:58 pm

Hi Rafael,

As mentioned in the previous comments, I think it is wise to work on it with a teacher because there are many factors affecting tone production and you don't want to get bad habits that can lead to injuries.

Here are however a few suggestions
- First, its important to shape your nails and polish them properly with very fine sand paper. Here is a great video by Matthew McAllister on how to shape nails : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT-_2Z3cN2k

- Another factor that affects tone is the angle of attack of the right hand fingers and the shape of your wrist (this is where you really want to ask a teacher's advice to do it properly). In general, you can get a good tone by plucking the string right at the intersection between the nail and the flesh and pushing your fingers back towards the palm of your hand. Your Right wrist should also always be slightly curved, and in a position that allows your fingers to move freely without putting strains on your muscles. It helps to practice tone production out of context by incorporating it into your technical warm up, away from the pieces your playing so that you can really focus on sound specifically and eventually incorporate it into your playing.

- Finally, check that your left hand fingers are not too close to the frets (but not to far either...) as it produces a dull sound.

I hope this is of any help!

Agnes :D

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Tone production

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:32 pm

Agc17 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:58 pm
Here are however a few suggestions
- First, its important to shape your nails and polish them properly with very fine sand paper. Here is a great video by Matthew McAllister on how to shape nails : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT-_2Z3cN2k

- Another factor that affects tone is the angle of attack of the right hand fingers and the shape of your wrist (this is where you really want to ask a teacher's advice to do it properly). In general, you can get a good tone by plucking the string right at the intersection between the nail and the flesh and pushing your fingers back towards the palm of your hand.
<snip>

Agnes :D
I disagree with Agnes on a few small points. As long as your nails are smooth, well polished, and short, the exact shape is not so critical. The important part is correct planting, plucking, and releasing. While Agnes is right in a high-level view, you need to develop your tone in super-slow motion step by step.
  1. Plant the finger on the string. Make sure that only the flesh at the fingertip touches the string, not the nail.
  2. Depress the string slightly. The amount you depress the string determines the volume of the tone. At this point, the string should just make contact with the nail.
  3. Now pluck the string by moving from your proximal phalanx. The distal phalanx should move toward the palm as if you are making a fist.
Practice this in very slow motion until you have no extraneous nail noise or scraping and your tone is round and beautiful. Do NOT do any exercises for tone until you have this perfect. Look for the exact point on your fingertip to depress the string, and make sure that when you release, the string immediately glides off your finger without catching or making any noise other than beautiful tone. I suggest starting with the second string. You may need to shape your fingernail to get it perfect. Each finger is different, and you have to start by practicing on each finger individually. If your nail resists the string, you will get an ugly sound. You will have to adjust the nail accordingly, probably by filing it down slightly from the middle point diagonally downward to the right. I hope this helps. It is helping me.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

rafitas123
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Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:37 pm

Hi Agnes,

Thank you for your tips! I did not knew about the problem of the left hand finger being too close to the fret I was thought it was ideal to get a clear sound!

Btw, I just recorded a fragment of the prelude n4 by Villa Lobos. Could you give a look and tell me some points of improvement, the piece is getting quite fluid but I see my interpretation as a bit dull xD.

https://youtu.be/HJme55CHvrk

Best regards,
Rafael

rafitas123
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Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:39 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:32 pm
Agc17 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:58 pm
Here are however a few suggestions
- First, its important to shape your nails and polish them properly with very fine sand paper. Here is a great video by Matthew McAllister on how to shape nails : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT-_2Z3cN2k

- Another factor that affects tone is the angle of attack of the right hand fingers and the shape of your wrist (this is where you really want to ask a teacher's advice to do it properly). In general, you can get a good tone by plucking the string right at the intersection between the nail and the flesh and pushing your fingers back towards the palm of your hand.
<snip>

Agnes :D
I disagree with Agnes on a few small points. As long as your nails are smooth, well polished, and short, the exact shape is not so critical. The important part is correct planting, plucking, and releasing. While Agnes is right in a high-level view, you need to develop your tone in super-slow motion step by step.
  1. Plant the finger on the string. Make sure that only the flesh at the fingertip touches the string, not the nail.
  2. Depress the string slightly. The amount you depress the string determines the volume of the tone. At this point, the string should just make contact with the nail.
  3. Now pluck the string by moving from your proximal phalanx. The distal phalanx should move toward the palm as if you are making a fist.
Practice this in very slow motion until you have no extraneous nail noise or scraping and your tone is round and beautiful. Do NOT do any exercises for tone until you have this perfect. Look for the exact point on your fingertip to depress the string, and make sure that when you release, the string immediately glides off your finger without catching or making any noise other than beautiful tone. I suggest starting with the second string. You may need to shape your fingernail to get it perfect. Each finger is different, and you have to start by practicing on each finger individually. If your nail resists the string, you will get an ugly sound. You will have to adjust the nail accordingly, probably by filing it down slightly from the middle point diagonally downward to the right. I hope this helps. It is helping me.
Thanks for the tip! I just keep decreasing the size of my nail :lol:

rafitas123
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Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:51 pm

I think what I mean is not exactly tone, but mainly the dynamics of a piece

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Tone production

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:32 pm

rafitas123 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:51 pm
I think what I mean is not exactly tone, but mainly the dynamics of a piece
Assuming that I did not misunderstand you a second time, the following book is the only one I know of that talks about how to work out the dynamics of a piece exactly: Metodologìa de estudio para la ejecuciòn e interpretaciòn de la guitarra clàsica by Mario Amaya (available for free on the internet). I have to hope that you can read Spanish. My high school Spanish is sufficient to read the entire book without difficulty. Great book. Discusses many aspects of interpretation for the guitar that I have not seen elsewhere.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

Agc17
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Re: Tone production

Post by Agc17 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:57 pm

haha that a different issue are you referring to phrasing? :D

If so it really depends on the piece and its structure and style and the best is to work on it with your teacher because I don't think it can really be solved in an online forum or in a book! It's basically the question that lies at the heart of music! I guess it can help to have some understanding of theory and spend some time with the score marking the phrases and finding out what their general movement is. Or if its a specific piece listening to recordings or master classes.

Regarding your video, I think you're right it needs a bit more phrasing but again hard to explain how in writting. I'm not an expert but it seem to me that you need a fuller sound on the bases in that piece. You should check with you teacher, but maybe it is to do with the way you use your thumb and how your thumb nail is hitting the base strings and also when you use it for strumming.

rafitas123
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Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 3:27 pm

Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:05 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:32 pm
rafitas123 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:51 pm
I think what I mean is not exactly tone, but mainly the dynamics of a piece
Assuming that I did not misunderstand you a second time, the following book is the only one I know of that talks about how to work out the dynamics of a piece exactly: Metodologìa de estudio para la ejecuciòn e interpretaciòn de la guitarra clàsica by Mario Amaya (available for free on the internet). I have to hope that you can read Spanish. My high school Spanish is sufficient to read the entire book without difficulty. Great book. Discusses many aspects of interpretation for the guitar that I have not seen elsewhere.
I will definitively read this book!

wchymeus
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Re: Tone production

Post by wchymeus » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:09 pm

Rafael,

It's really a good thing that you reflect on your playing and among other things your "sound". I guess you shared your concerns with your teacher and s/he probably did not offer you a satisfying answer... or maybe s/he did but you were not paying enough attention? ...
After watching your video, I believe you can definitely improve your right hand technique. I suggest you have a look at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ36c3_6jks&t=299s
Also, do some research on "planting" and finger preparation.
I also recommend you try to follow a master class... I had the privilege to follow some with Celino Romero, Pepe Romero and Roland Dyens. I always had the impression each time that my level was way too below what these masters would expect, but they all kindly offer precious advices and many of them were on my right hand technique (and maybe like you, I had a teacher back then and he focused more his attention on my left hand technique...).
Field 2014, Oberg 2013, Vincente Sachis Badia 1977

rafitas123
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Re: Tone production

Post by rafitas123 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:11 pm

Agc17 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:57 pm
haha that a different issue are you referring to phrasing? :D

If so it really depends on the piece and its structure and style and the best is to work on it with your teacher because I don't think it can really be solved in an online forum or in a book! It's basically the question that lies at the heart of music! I guess it can help to have some understanding of theory and spend some time with the score marking the phrases and finding out what their general movement is. Or if its a specific piece listening to recordings or master classes.

Regarding your video, I think you're right it needs a bit more phrasing but again hard to explain how in writting. I'm not an expert but it seem to me that you need a fuller sound on the bases in that piece. You should check with you teacher, but maybe it is to do with the way you use your thumb and how your thumb nail is hitting the base strings and also when you use it for strumming.
Exactly, that is what I was referring about :D ! I guess in the end is a more personal and detail wise question. I will definitively speak with my teacher to know how to achieve a wider array of sounds and tune better the piece!

Thank you for your tips and attention :D

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