Tone production

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.
Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:55 pm

There is one point that always baffles me. In books and videos they say "don't pluck, push into the soundboard" (or something like that). Now, what I can't understand is how can one "push in the direction of the soundboard" unless you are playing like you would on the piano. But in this case how do you release the string? I can easily image pushing on the string parallel to the soundboard, I can understand plucking, but I physically can't imagine "pushing into". I know I must have got something wrong somewhere, so can anyone explain to me what it is that I am misunderstanding? Thank you.
Yamaha SLG N100

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Tone production

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:12 pm

Matilda wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:55 pm
There is one point that always baffles me. In books and videos they say "don't pluck, push into the soundboard" (or something like that). Now, what I can't understand is how can one "push in the direction of the soundboard" unless you are playing like you would on the piano. But in this case how do you release the string? I can easily image pushing on the string parallel to the soundboard, I can understand plucking, but I physically can't imagine "pushing into". I know I must have got something wrong somewhere, so can anyone explain to me what it is that I am misunderstanding? Thank you.
Its what you do when using rest-stroke. And its what you can do in free stroke if you push down and pull the finger in towards the palm of your hand just as the fingertip reaches the lowest point of the push. It is harder to do that than the similar thing in rest stroke because you have to avoid the neighbouring string, rather than just landing right on it.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:40 pm

So the displacement of the string should really go perpendicular to the soundboard in the direction of the soundboard and only at the last moment, when the finger slips off it the string is slightly displaced parallel to the soundboard. Is that correct? Do I get it right?
Yamaha SLG N100

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Tone production

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:48 pm

Matilda wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:40 pm
So the displacement of the string should really go perpendicular to the soundboard in the direction of the soundboard and only at the last moment, when the finger slips off it the string is slightly displaced parallel to the soundboard. Is that correct? Do I get it right?
Its always really hard to discuss these things in text like this ... ! ... but basically kind of. I wouldn't say the string goes parallel after quitting the fingertip, but, as I think was discussed earlier in this thread, sort of rolls around it and responds by vibrating almost perpendicular to the soundboard, though probably not quite literally. Main thing to get is a sense of push down and finger-to-palm action. Bear in mind this really only applies if you are at mf or above. Also depends somewhat on whether you have nails.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:55 pm

Thank you so much. But now another puzzle. What about "below mf"? How do I handle that?
Yamaha SLG N100

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Tone production

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:03 pm

Matilda wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:55 pm
Thank you so much. But now another puzzle. What about "below mf"? How do I handle that?
With lower dynamic levels the likelihood is the movement of the fingertip would not be enough to push the string much in any direction, though ideally you might still be instilling some downwards motion even in really soft dynamic. I guess I was making that original point because right now it sounds like you want to get a good strong sound and when you've got the idea should start to be able to translate that into what to do when playing softly. Certainly, I'm not saying start pulling sideways in soft dynamics.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:09 pm

Yes, sure, I understand. And my apologies for sidetracking the general discussion.
Yamaha SLG N100

kmurdick
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Tone production

Post by kmurdick » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:53 am

Matilda, one way of thinking of it is that the knuckle joint (large joint segment) brings the finger to the string, pushes down toward the sound board and when the pressure is adequate, supports the the finger while the middle joint flexes and plucks the string. The amount of pressure the knuckle applies before the middle joint flexes, determines the dynamics. The important thing here is that immediately after the string has sounded, the finger must release it's tension and return naturally to begin the next stroke. As Stephen says, you have to avoid hitting the next string. This is accomplished by starting with and maintaining a hand position and a finger angle that will allow this to happen. The maintaining this correct position is the trickiest part of learning free stroke, IMO, and you might need a teacher here.

Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:25 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:53 am
Matilda, one way of thinking of it is that the knuckle joint (large joint segment) brings the finger to the string, pushes down toward the sound board and when the pressure is adequate, supports the the finger while the middle joint flexes and plucks the string. The amount of pressure the knuckle applies before the middle joint flexes, determines the dynamics.
Thank you! Great explanation! You've clarified the physiological side of the movement superbly. Often just the right word or two can solve the problem you've been agonizing over for a long time.
Yamaha SLG N100

kmurdick
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Tone production

Post by kmurdick » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:14 pm

Matilda, this might be helpful. I have another video on free stroke itself, but I need to redo that video because I no long believe teaching a follow through in free stroke.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elfoDLy ... D7FA3F7B59

Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:07 pm

Thank you again. I found the videos (and the rest of them) quite helpful. Again those "little things".
Yamaha SLG N100

kmurdick
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Tone production

Post by kmurdick » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:40 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:14 pm
Matilda, this might be helpful. I have another video on free stroke itself, but I need to redo that video because I no longer believe in teaching a follow through in free stroke.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elfoDLy ... D7FA3F7B59

CactusWren
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:50 pm

Re: Tone production

Post by CactusWren » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:22 pm

Matilda wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:55 pm
There is one point that always baffles me. In books and videos they say "don't pluck, push into the soundboard" (or something like that). Now, what I can't understand is how can one "push in the direction of the soundboard" unless you are playing like you would on the piano. But in this case how do you release the string? I can easily image pushing on the string parallel to the soundboard, I can understand plucking, but I physically can't imagine "pushing into". I know I must have got something wrong somewhere, so can anyone explain to me what it is that I am misunderstanding? Thank you.
Matilda, here is how you can get the idea: Try these exercises.

1. put your fingers on the string. push the string under i in--down toward the soundhole. Then relax your muscles, keeping the tip in contact with the string. The string will return to its normal position. Do this a bunch of times with each finger. This gives you the feeling of pushing. The deeper you push the string before releasing (we'll get to releasing), the louder it will be, because the greater the amplitude of vibration.

2. put your fingers on a table top, in playing position. Scratch the tabletop, with your i finger, as if you were scratching a mosquito bite or itch. The finger stays in contact with the table. Do this a bunch of times with each finger.

3. Now you combine these two ideas. Push a string down, but instead of releasing the string, "scratch" it. Don't worry about how it sounds at this point. What has happened is you have combined the push and the release. The release is an active movement, a scratch. You can do with with firm, active fingertips. You can also let your fingertips relax and bend back a little for a better tone. For loud playing, you depress the string and scratch through. For normal playing, you may not need to do this much, or even at all. For soft playing, you might actually even lift up the string... But these are all adjustments which are easy to do if you start with the basics.

User avatar
guitarrista
Posts: 878
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:00 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Tone production

Post by guitarrista » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:46 am

Matilda wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:55 pm
There is one point that always baffles me. In books and videos they say "don't pluck, push into the soundboard" (or something like that). Now, what I can't understand is how can one "push in the direction of the soundboard" unless you are playing like you would on the piano.
It is a case of unclear wording. They mean that there should be a component of the push which is into the soundboard (along with a component parallel to it). Strictly speaking "push into the soundboard" is not false as it does not say "push into the soundboard only, without any parallel component" - however it is easily interpreted that way.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

Maria Anisimova
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 9:22 am

Re: Tone production

Post by Maria Anisimova » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:23 pm

Thank you, everybody!!! I finally got the idea of two movements combined. I can perfectly understand how to do it physiologically. The only little thing that remain is to actually do it with the guitar :wink: I'll try my best, now that I know what to do.
Yamaha SLG N100

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bchi123, CactusWren, CommonCrawl [Bot] and 26 guests