Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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kmurdick
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by kmurdick » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:21 am

git-box says: "The idea that the finger just reaches out for the string and the pluck should just be allowed to happen is interesting."

Why should you have to think about reaching out with the middle joint of the finger since it happens without any thought at all? I would agree that you shouldn't try to train your fingers not to reach out since the middle joint is clearly reaching out in all those videos. I could be wrong here, but I sense what you are talking about is teaching something that doesn't need to be taught. This might screw with the natural movement.

Peskyendeavour
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Peskyendeavour » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:04 am

I have been reading this thread since I joined the forum with interest. I haven't said anything till now as I am still discovering what I do - I'm sure I'm on a very long journey. And partly to do with that and that I'm a baby on this road has made me rather shy to say things here since so many teachers and knowledgeable folk are here on the forum, my thoughts and opinions are perhaps not really of much value. Though when I get to the end of message perhaps at the very least, if nothing else, my previous concert piano teacher's thinking/teaching that now translates to the guitar, may be helpful to some. At least it is to me...

This journey of discovery that specifically relates to RH includes placement, movement, shape of hand, shape and length of nails, and last but not least quality of tone.

I have decided to share a thought occurred to me here, now, as it is a thought that is thinking about the same problem from a completely different angle, partly prompted by my recent practising of tremolo, and pieces requiring m i alternation at speed. I say partly prompted because the other part of the journey of discovery is also prompted by my curiosity in learning the guitar with arthritis to all my joints.

Focus is that I want to make sure I don't accumulate bad habits ingrained to hurt my joints more, but to keep them moving and supple even while in pain. I also realise that my joint pain makes me very aware of what joints I'm using when, and that in itself is a very useful learning tool. (Silver lining of dark cloud?)

The way one plucks and uses joints seem to me to come from placement of hand. 1 Where you put your hand in relation to the strings. 2 The angle of approach / shape of hand.

Where you put your hand dictates how much your finger itself has to reach, move, and action. Move being relocation in relaxed manner and action being having energy in the movement (or applying force though i don't like that term as it sounds very forceful and effortful which is what I am not doing). This placement of hand whether it's above the strings closer to (6)below the strings closer to (1) long way away from the strings perpendicular to the sound board... all has an effect. [sounds like common sense?]

The angle of approach also changes the way you pluck, in fact how you pluck, and influences the finger movement, as well as length and shape of nails, all of which would then determine what sound you make. [again common sense, I'm sure you all know this already but there is a point of repeating this knowledge, I hope, if you read on]

25 years ago, my then piano teacher who's a concert pianist said to me, don't raise your fingers to hit the keys for a louder sound, in fact the energy should come from above your shoulders. Imagine water running down from above your shoulder (near base of neck) all the way down the arm and to your finger tips. (He traces a line from my shoulder down to my pinkie, weakest finger that can't play loudly because it's small and short and I can't raise it high enough to hit the key.) He said, look at how you are sitting in relation to the piano, you are sitting so low, so your wrist is below your hand and your hand almost below your fingers. The water flowing down from the shoulder stagnates at the wrist and goes no further. How's energy, this water, reaching your fingers?

I find this analogy beautiful and helpful through not only playing the piano but all other instruments - all of which require some dexterity, fast movement of fingers...

Think of fast notes as a string of droplets, light, small, each perfectly formed. Think of loud notes being larger amount of water flowing through. The energy is not force but a flow sometimes more than others, yet soft and scatters, bends, goes and takes new form of the vessel or what it's put into - the instrument/the sound.

I've recently put this advice to my guitar playing.
The water must flow.
The arm and hand and fingers must form a natural shape
(Despite Julian Bream's eminent success and no dispute about that I cannot condone to his RH shape at the wrist, I prefer what Scott Tennant says in Pumping Nylon and on YouTube you can find his tutorial on placement of arm)
Having determined what that natural shape is, Bend at elbow, more or less straight wrist but not in tension slightly curved fingers as you would be when relaxed... I place my arm over the guitar.

All of this then determines my nails' length and shape. Not the other way round. Of course also what sound I want to produce also determines nail length/shape having understoood what the shaping of nail is supposed to do in pressing and releasing by its angle etc.

I'm still exploring the nails part to be honest, but the fingers and how it moves in a relaxed and natural manner, allowing the "water to flow down from above the shoulder" helps fingers to move faster. The more relaxed I am the faster and in control I can move. The more tense and rigid I hold any part, the water stagnates there and it doesn't reach the string and produce the "water droplet" (note) I want.

So i try to think less of flex or extend this joint or that joint, but the water that flows and the natural energy, through connected muscles all the way from shoulder down, which becomes the notes through the tip of my fingers onto the strings.

Ignore all this if you think it rubbish, it's not even something a guitar teacher said to me but a cross applied principle from a different instrument that you may well think a waste of space. But at least that is how I now play and minimise my pain, I hope might give discussion if nothing else.

Rasputin
Posts: 427
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Rasputin » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:07 am

The water thing makes sense to me - I've come across a similar idea in Tai Chi.

From time to time people (I don't mean you pesky) pop up in this thread and attack it on the daft assumption that if someone is interested in what the fingers are doing, it means they think it's a good idea to try to micro-manage the movements. I don't see any incompatibility at all between an understanding of the joints and muscles involved in the pluck and a belief that visualisations like the one you mention are the way forward.

There was a practice in the States, sometimes called ideokinesis, that developed at about the same time as the Alexander Technique and is very similar in many respects. The main thing that distinguishes it from AT is its use of visualisations to realign the body for better freedom of movement and more natural and graceful movements. The basic idea is that, if we want such and such a joint to be in such and such a position, consciously trying to put it into that position is not very effective and can in fact be counterproductive. The way to achieve it is by visualisation. Proponents of ideokinesis like Lulu Sweigard for would go into a lot of detail about anatomy and musculature. They clearly did not perceive any conflict between that and their view that visualisations - you might even call them useful daydreams - are the best way to improve our movement patterns. I don't either.

CactusWren
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:50 pm

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by CactusWren » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Peskyendeavour wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:04 am
I have been reading this thread since I joined the forum with interest. I haven't said anything till now as I am still discovering what I do - I'm sure I'm on a very long journey. And partly to do with that and that I'm a baby on this road has made me rather shy to say things here since so many teachers and knowledgeable folk are here on the forum, my thoughts and opinions are perhaps not really of much value. Though when I get to the end of message perhaps at the very least, if nothing else, my previous concert piano teacher's thinking/teaching that now translates to the guitar, may be helpful to some. At least it is to me...

This journey of discovery that specifically relates to RH includes placement, movement, shape of hand, shape and length of nails, and last but not least quality of tone.

I have decided to share a thought occurred to me here, now, as it is a thought that is thinking about the same problem from a completely different angle, partly prompted by my recent practising of tremolo, and pieces requiring m i alternation at speed. I say partly prompted because the other part of the journey of discovery is also prompted by my curiosity in learning the guitar with arthritis to all my joints.

Focus is that I want to make sure I don't accumulate bad habits ingrained to hurt my joints more, but to keep them moving and supple even while in pain. I also realise that my joint pain makes me very aware of what joints I'm using when, and that in itself is a very useful learning tool. (Silver lining of dark cloud?)

The way one plucks and uses joints seem to me to come from placement of hand. 1 Where you put your hand in relation to the strings. 2 The angle of approach / shape of hand.

Where you put your hand dictates how much your finger itself has to reach, move, and action. Move being relocation in relaxed manner and action being having energy in the movement (or applying force though i don't like that term as it sounds very forceful and effortful which is what I am not doing). This placement of hand whether it's above the strings closer to (6)below the strings closer to (1) long way away from the strings perpendicular to the sound board... all has an effect. [sounds like common sense?]

The angle of approach also changes the way you pluck, in fact how you pluck, and influences the finger movement, as well as length and shape of nails, all of which would then determine what sound you make. [again common sense, I'm sure you all know this already but there is a point of repeating this knowledge, I hope, if you read on]

25 years ago, my then piano teacher who's a concert pianist said to me, don't raise your fingers to hit the keys for a louder sound, in fact the energy should come from above your shoulders. Imagine water running down from above your shoulder (near base of neck) all the way down the arm and to your finger tips. (He traces a line from my shoulder down to my pinkie, weakest finger that can't play loudly because it's small and short and I can't raise it high enough to hit the key.) He said, look at how you are sitting in relation to the piano, you are sitting so low, so your wrist is below your hand and your hand almost below your fingers. The water flowing down from the shoulder stagnates at the wrist and goes no further. How's energy, this water, reaching your fingers?

I find this analogy beautiful and helpful through not only playing the piano but all other instruments - all of which require some dexterity, fast movement of fingers...

Think of fast notes as a string of droplets, light, small, each perfectly formed. Think of loud notes being larger amount of water flowing through. The energy is not force but a flow sometimes more than others, yet soft and scatters, bends, goes and takes new form of the vessel or what it's put into - the instrument/the sound.

I've recently put this advice to my guitar playing.
The water must flow.
The arm and hand and fingers must form a natural shape
(Despite Julian Bream's eminent success and no dispute about that I cannot condone to his RH shape at the wrist, I prefer what Scott Tennant says in Pumping Nylon and on YouTube you can find his tutorial on placement of arm)
Having determined what that natural shape is, Bend at elbow, more or less straight wrist but not in tension slightly curved fingers as you would be when relaxed... I place my arm over the guitar.

All of this then determines my nails' length and shape. Not the other way round. Of course also what sound I want to produce also determines nail length/shape having understoood what the shaping of nail is supposed to do in pressing and releasing by its angle etc.

I'm still exploring the nails part to be honest, but the fingers and how it moves in a relaxed and natural manner, allowing the "water to flow down from above the shoulder" helps fingers to move faster. The more relaxed I am the faster and in control I can move. The more tense and rigid I hold any part, the water stagnates there and it doesn't reach the string and produce the "water droplet" (note) I want.

So i try to think less of flex or extend this joint or that joint, but the water that flows and the natural energy, through connected muscles all the way from shoulder down, which becomes the notes through the tip of my fingers onto the strings.

Ignore all this if you think it rubbish, it's not even something a guitar teacher said to me but a cross applied principle from a different instrument that you may well think a waste of space. But at least that is how I now play and minimise my pain, I hope might give discussion if nothing else.
Contrary to your teacher's theory, many great pianists sit low. The body has many joints and sitting high is not the sure path to success. I mean, Gould, Horowitz... That being said, if it feels good, flows, like water, there's a great chance you're on the right track.

Peskyendeavour
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 11:15 pm

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Peskyendeavour » Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:34 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:58 pm

Contrary to your teacher's theory, many great pianists sit low. The body has many joints and sitting high is not the sure path to success. I mean, Gould, Horowitz... That being said, if it feels good, flows, like water, there's a great chance you're on the right track.
Oh absolutely - I don't mean this as definitive or right or for everyone. Julian Bream is one of my greatest guitar heroes and clearly had a very different approach to RH in playing.

Just some thoughts for discussion. And these thoughts are not to undermine the value of PIP DIP MCP flexion extension discussions either. More adding to it. Hopefully complimentary.

Playing music and any art form has technical aspects, imaginative aspects, practical aspects, theoretical aspects, stylistic aspects, emotional aspects... none of which are mutually exclusive of others. I have enjoyed greatly reading the discussion and clips posted by others prior to my posting. I hope my adding a slightly different angle to the discussion doesnt kill it off! I don't mean this to in anyway contradict what has been said, I have not realised it could be seen that way until I read Rasputin's comment above this. :oops:

Rasputin
Posts: 427
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Rasputin » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:08 pm

Peskyendeavour wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:34 pm
Just some thoughts for discussion. And these thoughts are not to undermine the value of PIP DIP MCP flexion extension discussions either. More adding to it. Hopefully complimentary.

Playing music and any art form has technical aspects, imaginative aspects, practical aspects, theoretical aspects, stylistic aspects, emotional aspects... none of which are mutually exclusive of others. I have enjoyed greatly reading the discussion and clips posted by others prior to my posting. I hope my adding a slightly different angle to the discussion doesnt kill it off! I don't mean this to in anyway contradict what has been said, I have not realised it could be seen that way until I read Rasputin's comment above this. :oops:
Not intended as an attack at all - in fact I was trying to make the same point you just have, i.e. that these different perspectives can be complementary.

To be honest this thread is a bit moribund now. I understand why Guitbox goes on posting more videos showing the same thing, but there are already so many that it doesn't add much. It's mainly a way of keeping the thread - his thread - focused on the original topic. I don't know whether, if it was condensed down into a best-of, the mods might make it a sticky. Interesting tangents could then be discussed without burying Guitbox's work.

I have too much tension in my shoulders so am trying the water visualisation to see if it helps with that.

Johnny Geudel
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Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Johnny Geudel » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:07 pm

Everything you will ever need to know about guitar technique, whether a hobbyist, an autodidact, a student, a professional, etc., you will find here:

Philip Hii:

" The art of virtuosity"
" The art of virtuosity for guitar".


I have here no commercial interest whatsoever.

Johnny Geudel
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 pm
Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Johnny Geudel » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:09 pm

.

kmurdick
Posts: 504
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by kmurdick » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:42 pm

If that were only true, Johnny.

Johnny Geudel
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:23 pm
Location: Antwerp-Belgium

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by Johnny Geudel » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:12 am

Did you study the materials?

guit-box
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by guit-box » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:17 am

I like Philip Hii and appreciate his blogs and purchased all his PDF materials. I think of it as a supplement to methods and teaching that contain more specific information and clearer language. I don't think a publisher would consider releasing his materials as professional text the way they are, but that doesn't make them any less useful. I recall that Hii himself says something to the effect that the materials and instructions are more designed to get guitarists trying new things and thinking outside of the box without thinking or judging. I find much of it to be unclear, but sometimes his ideas are so outside the box that it can get you to try something you might totally dismiss otherwise. -- he certainly comes off as a guru and he can back it up with some amazing techniques. Things like practicing for hours with the softest touch possible or playing with the most minimal movements possible or think about walking to the string and don't think about plucking or feel like you're just wiggling the fingertips. Other times he's specific about not using too much follow-through or effort from MCP (large knuckle) and/or he says to pluck from the PIP (middle joint). I found it all helpful and I appreciate that he's one of the few teachers NOT advocating this main knuckle joint centered technique. Everyone is different as far as what they find helpful, for me, the best teacher has been my own hands and ears and observations of the movements and sounds of concert guitarists I can observe in person and in video format both full speed and slow motion.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

guit-box
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by guit-box » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:49 pm

It's interesting to observe concert guitarist's hands from the pinky side of the hand. What you can see happening:

1. the a finger and c finger moving together as they should but releasing the string (plucking) by flexing the middle joint
2. the c and a fingers are often being held in a flexed position when not used (so obviously no play-relax strokes here)
3. the large knuckle is not following through or contributing much other than to reposition the finger and apply some gripping of the string so the middle joint and tip joints can perform the work.
4. Given we can see him holding the a-c fingers flexed and then we can see the middle joint reach out for the string, that's a clear indication that this player is not just relaxing back the finger for the next pluck. He's sending the finger back to the string with muscular effort.


Youtube
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

kmurdick
Posts: 504
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by kmurdick » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:21 pm

git-box says, " Given we can see him holding the a-c fingers flexed and then we can see the middle joint reach out for the string, that's a clear indication that this player is not just relaxing back the finger for the next pluck. He's sending the finger back to the string with muscular effort."

No, it's not a clear indication at all. You don't know what the fingers are doing, you are only aware of the path the fingers are taking.

guit-box
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by guit-box » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:52 am

Adam Holzman seems to be playing off the right side of the nails. The a finger seems so the most but his right hand position looks similar to Ida Presti.

Link removed for copyright reasons
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

guit-box
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by guit-box » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:59 am

kmurdick wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:21 pm
git-box says, " Given we can see him holding the a-c fingers flexed and then we can see the middle joint reach out for the string, that's a clear indication that this player is not just relaxing back the finger for the next pluck. He's sending the finger back to the string with muscular effort."

No, it's not a clear indication at all. You don't know what the fingers are doing, you are only aware of the path the fingers are taking.
They are being held in a flexed position while other fingers do work and then they are let go, so yes, they are not simply relaxing back immediately after they are flexed (play-relax, ballistic, etc). There may be some relaxing back or gravity when the finger finally lets go, but neither of those things has the precision or speed required to reposition the finger in the exact spot it needs to pluck the next note. Some muscular assisting is going on to bring the finger back to the string and then obviously relaxing and gravity are not pressing the string in the pre-pluck stage just before the middle joint releases/plucks the string and the MCP simultaneously extends. Relaxing back or letting go or gravity, whatever you want to call it, may be an important aspect, but it's an incomplete instruction for what the finger is actually doing.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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