Bracing fingers

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Luke Bartlett
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Bracing fingers

Post by Luke Bartlett » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:58 pm

So I'm currently learning Carcassi Etude 17 (from Opus 60) which mostly involves P-I alternation. My question is; is it ok if my other right hand fingers rest on strings higher than the ones I'm playing on. For example, if my I finger is playing on the B string, would it be ok if my M and A fingers were braced on the high E to stabilise my hand? This feels natural to me but I'm concerned it is adding unnecessary tention and limiting my technique.

Thanks
Luke

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andi33x
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by andi33x » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:49 pm

Hi,
I think, it is not "ok" except when you use this as a training for getting out of other (whatever) bad habits. On the other side, doing this "as normal" itself is a bad habit.

Normally you play notes where you cannot do that and then you should be able to orientate and stabilize your hand without this method. So I would suggest, don't begin with this.
There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of a guitar - maybe aside from that of two guitars (Frederic Chopin)

kmurdick
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by kmurdick » Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:58 pm

When I taught guitar, I did not let students touch any strings they weren't playing or damping. However, you tube has taught us that some of the best players in the world routinely do this. So I would say this: how bad can it be?

mChavez
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by mChavez » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:10 pm

Another classical beginner with a question here.

What are the drawbacks of planting your hand on the inactive strings?
E.g. when playing the banjo you would just plant your ring finger on the banjo head and that would stabilise your hand. The guitar has more strings and the ring finger is used when playing, so planting it on the soundboard is not an option, but why not plant the inactive fingers for added stability and damping effect?
As I am re-learning my right hand technique, it would be good to know whether planting the hand is a good or bad idea.

Thank you.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:33 pm

The problem with letting oneself do this at this kind of stage is that it becomes a crutch you can't do without - big no-no! There are plenty of things that serious players do, which close-up videos reveal - often long after the event - which nobody would counsel early or intermediate players do. Its really not a 'do as I say not as I do' thing, more, we have to be able to choose whether or not to do a particular thing at a particular for a particular reason. And the thing we have to be able to do when required is keep the fingers free, so I would prefer to keep to that, though damping is kind of a tangential reason for doing it - so yes OK if damping is required, but again, don't start to feel you need it to be secure.
Carcassi 17 is getting well up the scale of things but Luke I suggest if you have the question go for the freedom - even when that can be the freedom to miss!
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
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mChavez
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by mChavez » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:54 pm

Thank you very much, Stephen.

hpaulj
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by hpaulj » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:16 pm

While not exactly applicable in this Carcassi piece with alternating pi(m), there are manuals that recommend resting one or more of the fingers or thumb on an unused string. For example I was just looking at:

Catharina Pratten's Guitar School (1859) recommends (page 7)
It is advisable that when any of the three fingers are used without the thumb, the thumb should rest on one of the silver strings, and also, if the thumb alone is striking a succession of notes on the silver strings, the three fingers should rest on the gut strings, as shown in the frontispiece.
http://danielnistico.weebly.com/sidney-pratten.html

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:27 pm

hpaulj wrote:
Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:16 pm
While not exactly applicable in this Carcassi piece with alternating pi(m), there are manuals that recommend resting one or more of the fingers or thumb on an unused string. For example I was just looking at:
Catharina Pratten's Guitar School (1859) recommends (page 7)
It is advisable that when any of the three fingers are used without the thumb, the thumb should rest on one of the silver strings, and also, if the thumb alone is striking a succession of notes on the silver strings, the three fingers should rest on the gut strings, as shown in the frontispiece.
Certainly anybody investigating historical playing styles will find various techniques of this kind, I do it myself on the baroque guitar. But many things were different about technique in former times, and the usual assumption would be that today's learners are best off with standard modern technique, trying out other things at a later time when it is appropriate for them.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

Kurt Penner
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Re: Bracing fingers

Post by Kurt Penner » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:46 am

Isn't this bracing on unused string really just a variation on planting? Which is much discussed as a useful way of achieving reliable precise secure playing?

Kp

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