Free stroke or rest stroke?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Tien Dat Nguyen
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Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by Tien Dat Nguyen » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:31 am

Hi everyone, I'm just an elementary player in the classical guitar world. My teacher wants me to play rest stroke whenever I can (when not to play tuplets). He explained that it just his personal point of view on sound quality. Rest stroke sounds more beautifully. But I see that classical guitarists use mainly free stroke. I am currently playing F.Carulli's pieces and I'm quite comfortable when I play rest stroke on them but when I try free stroke my hands seem really clumsy. is it harm in the long time when I keep playing like this? and please share your experiences
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:21 am

The normal modern approach is nearly all free stroke, and occasionally rest stroke, especially to make certain notes stronger or stand out, or to play scale passages within a piece.

Some people would never play Carulli rest stroke because I don't think that rest stroke was used when this music was composed.

You need to practise free stroke as it will be your main stroke. Start off playing on open strings, and then practise free stroke using scales. Of course, arpeggios are always played free stroke.
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Tom Poore
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by Tom Poore » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:59 am

The majority of your playing will be free stroke. That said, there are a great many players who do rest stroke badly or not at all. They are at a disadvantage compared to players who can easily do rest stroke. So I tend to agree with your teacher—get good at rest stroke.

Free stroke is something you’ll inevitably learn, because it’s used so much. You can’t play guitar without it. (You can play guitar without rest stroke, but you’d miss out on a lot of wonderful possibilities.) And ignore anyone who tells you that rest stroke is old-fashioned, unnecessary, or that great players don’t use it. They’re wrong.

I’ll add this about critiquing your teacher on the internet. We don’t know enough to say whether or not your teacher is teaching you well. And certainly we don’t know as much about you as he does. So really, we shouldn’t be questioning his judgment.

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DaveLloyd
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by DaveLloyd » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:50 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:59 am
And ignore anyone who tells you that rest stroke is old-fashioned, unnecessary, or that great players don’t use it. They’re wrong.
Like many others, no doubt, I've been a bit confused about the modern approach to rest stroke — when it's acceptable to use it, and when not to.

I don't want the free stroke police knocking on my door! :D

So, coming from someone of your stature, the advice you offer above is very welcome Tom.
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celestemcc
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by celestemcc » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:26 pm

Seconding Tom. Don't know why anyone would decry rest stroke. Granted many modern players do have a good strong free stroke, but the resistance to rest stroke has long puzzled me. Why *not learn this technique?
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Adrian Allan
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by Adrian Allan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:05 pm

I think it is a bit of reaction to the sound of Segovia, where a note was sometimes given undue prominence in a very nineteenth-century and Romantic style, and the tempo also bent around that note. This sometimes even happened in Baroque music.

There are some modern players whose free stroke can be so varied that there is no need for them to use rest stroke. I personally agree with this approach: if the player has a wide tonal palette with free stroke, and has a loud free stroke, it can be enough to play at the very highest standard.
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johnd
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by johnd » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:48 pm

I am a beginner teaching myself. I am not learning to wow the world with my abilities. I play for my own enjoyment. Rest strokes to me are a lot easier than free strokes. It kinda helps the fingers know where they are and where they are going.

mChavez
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by mChavez » Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:00 pm

Hi Tien,

I would second what johnd has said - I am also just learning the classical technique and I am loving the rest stroke so much that I am trying to use it as often as possible - I wish I learned it a lot earlier.

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Jim Davidson
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by Jim Davidson » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:40 pm

Why wouldn't you work on both?
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johnd
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by johnd » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:08 pm

Jim Davidson wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:40 pm
Why wouldn't you work on both?
Because I am not from Boston :lol:

Really - the rest stroke seems easier to play and seems easier on the right hand! I will be 78 years old in Sept. and some times the right hand hurts. I try to make things as easy as I can.

Some of it might be the guitar. I have an inexpensive (cheap) guitar and I get a lot more volume out of it with rest strokes.

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by DaveLeeNC » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:23 pm

Jim Davidson wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:40 pm
Why wouldn't you work on both?
If you really believe that a well executed rest stroke adds little to nothing to your playing, why would you spend time on it?

The truth of the speculation above - maybe or maybe not. I am kind of on the fence as to whether time spent on the rest stroke will add more to my playing than will that same time spent on other things. So for now I work on the rest stroke. Otherwise I will never know.

dave
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msa3psu
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by msa3psu » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:21 pm

I agree that much modern playing is free stroke but there is still plenty of use for rest stroke and it is important to be proficient at both. I know players that have a great free stroke sound and nearly indistinguishable from a good rest stroke. Even these players, though, use rest stroke in many of the normal situations (melody over an arpeggio, very scalar melodic passages and bridging scales, etc.) and not because of sound quality but because of the other aspect of rest stroke that is often not mentioned which is the added stability it provides for the right hand. A properly executed rest stroke will give the feel of a more solid base for the whole hand.

Tien Dat Nguyen
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by Tien Dat Nguyen » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:41 am

I do appreciate all your thoughts. Any suggestions for improving free stroke or right hand in general i.e. books, videos.. Thanks

davekear
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by davekear » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:50 am

Using rest strokes and free strokes are both basic classical guitar techniques. Both are techniques that should be learned when you are first learning to play the classical guitar. By the time you enter the "intermediate level", you should understand these basics, and have them down. Certainly by the time you get into playing say the 20 Sor studies for example, you should have these down.
A really good tune for practicing rest stroke is Romanza. Bring out the melody with your "a" finger. Use rest stroke with your "a' finger playing top melody all the way. Of course arpeggios are free stroke, so have at it.
It's really not an optional thing to just learn how to do a free stroke. You need to learn them both. Not hard, and after you do it will be 2nd nature. Rest strokes are a great tool for creating beautiful guitar music.

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joachim33
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Re: Free stroke or rest stroke?

Post by joachim33 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:03 am

Tien Dat Nguyen wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:41 am
I do appreciate all your thoughts. Any suggestions for improving free stroke or right hand in general i.e. books, videos.. Thanks
I think you should first of all discuss this and work on this with your teacher. Right hand technique is currently an important part of my lessons.

Having written that, I like Gohar Vardanyan's lessonettes on YouTube. She covers s very wide variety of topics. Her advice is typically in line with my tutor.

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