Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

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

Postby Robbie Flamerock » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:16 pm

By the way, I do appreciate and thank you for bringing up these issues.

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

Postby guit-box » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:21 pm

I don't agree, I looked at it again and his pinky and a fingers are much more curled than the i finger is for his tremolo. So his pinky side of the hand is closer to the strings than his i finger is. That is what I see and clearly it works for him.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Postby guit-box » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:23 pm

Robbie Flamerock wrote:By the way, I do appreciate and thank you for bringing up these issues.
Thanks
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Postby kmurdick » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:29 pm

Caballero doesn't really have anything concrete to say about the tremolo, IMO. When he says alignment, he really means that the hand must be in a good free stroke position for the 'i' finger to play on the first string since that is the string he plays on in his video. His basic motion is 'ma' moving more or less sympathetically with 'i' moving independently. Even so, 'a' begins it's return slightly before 'm'. It's a pretty complicated motion. I believe the trick is to not destroy the delicate natural return by imposing some artificial construct. Not much help, I know.

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

Postby Robbie Flamerock » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:34 pm

I wouldn't say that his tremolo position is the same as his free stroke. This is made rather clear in his first tremolo video.

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

Postby kmurdick » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:22 pm

Robbie, he says you can't use the same position with tremolo (finger in relation to the string) as you do when playing a chord (he positions his hand for the chord), which is true because the 'i' is playing the 3rd string with the chord. When playing a tremolo on the first string, 'i' is playing on the 1st string so there has to be a difference. I appears, however, that he is playing his normal free stroke for the tremolo, not over extended nor over flexed. His tremolo looks exactly like just about like every other good tremolo I've seen. It's essentially an alternation between i and ma with a loosening of the 'a' finger after it plays.

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

Postby guit-box » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:35 pm

Well, I can always use more details, but I thought he brought up some useful practice ideas. As we've found out in this thread, most of the pros have had their technique in place since they were very young, and it's very natural and intuitive for them. They are lucky that way but it sometimes makes them unaware of how they got to their current technique, and their descriptions can be incorrect. Not that Caballero said anything incorrect, but there is some bad info out there that's circulating.

From the video:
1. placing i,m,a all on one string and plucking like it's one finger -- to find the alignment
2. playing a,m,i without p
3. playing a,m,i with p rested on various strings (seems important to get p to just feel relaxed and not interfere)
4. then adding p with a together.

btw, I bought Scott Tennant's edition of recuerdos de la alhambra. It's filled with practice advice and a version with only open strings. He mentions to "always play from the string". Which I believe is another indicator (although I'm sure he didn't intend my meaning) that you are to play from the middle joint flexion.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Postby guit-box » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:49 pm

guit-box wrote:Another arpeggio exercise by Jorge Caballero using pimami. I've been noticing a couple things lately. Many great younger players will supinate the forearm (pinky side of hand moves closer to the soundboard) and also when playing fast arpeggios a lot of players will start using more thumb tip joint flexion. Even guitarists who usually do not play with any thumb tip joint flexion will sometimes do it when the arpeggios are fast, and then other players like David Russell and Jorge Caballero seem to have built that into their technique and always do it regardless of speed.


Youtube



I've been practicing this pimami arpeggio today and I'm 100% certain that to play it with the kind of virtuosity that Caballero does, the main KJ (MP joint) has to apply no flexion work whatsoever. I cannot play at his tempo, but I can do bursts that get close and when it's working it's ALL about an explosive MJ flexion while the main KJ passively and simultaneously extends. Then gravity drops the finger back in place. It's really a hooking action with the finger where you can see the PIP middle knuckle rising in the air and dropping like a piston, but the only thing that's activating/triggering that movement is the MJ flexion. The reason there is no hooking sound is because the nails are smooth ramps and approaching the string from an angle, but it does have a component of pulling up or hooking the string. Any main KJ flexion or force other than simply the weight of the finger resting on the string is wasted energy in my opinion if you want to play this arpeggio really fast.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Postby kmurdick » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:28 pm

It would be nice to see Caballero's Pimami in slo-mo. I'm curious to see if he follows Shearer's formula of im moving sympathetically with an alternation between m and a.

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

Postby guit-box » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:02 pm

kmurdick wrote:It would be nice to see Caballero's Pimami in slo-mo. I'm curious to see if he follows Shearer's formula of im moving sympathetically with an alternation between m and a.


The youtube player now has a settings wheel you can click on and watch anything at .75, .5, and .25 speed. You can now DIY slow motion!

On another note, I can relate to your naysaying about this, I rigidly followed the advice of my teachers back when I started learning classical guitar and throughout my guitar degree. I saw many of those players as guitar gods, and still do, but I've come to understand that being a guitar god or a pedagogy guru doesn't mean they are necessarily accurate or able to describe what they so naturally can do. Shearer did some great things for the guitar, but I'm convinced his method was highly flawed--even the later ones. One of his early students told me, he didn't realize it at the time, but Shearer's students were all guinea pigs for his next theory on technique. His most famous student, Manuel Barrueco said (paraphrased but you can listen to the podcast on Barrueco's website) that he had no intention of learning to play free strokes like Shearer was teaching him. He said the best thing Shearer did for him was to make him think hard about technique and that forced him to figure it out on his own. That's not a glowing endorsement from the master, he's obviously being as kind as he can about the fact that Shearer didn't help him. Then there's the fact that Shearer himself couldn't play the guitar. Unless following Shearer's advice has given you the results you want, why not take a few months and try to practice moving your fingers primarily from the MJ with no intentional flexion effort from the main KJ (MP joint) and see if it unlocks anything in your playing? What do you have to loose?
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Postby robert e » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:29 pm

Progress.

I've been experimenting with the pronation/supination in RH posture (in part encouraged by one of guit-box's observations) and in some applications a supinated position seems to minimize the focal-dystonia-like issues in my m finger. The approach is promising enough that I've reshaped my nails to better accommodate the position in order to give it a fair shot. I have some obvious speculations about why this works but they're preliminary and, besides, likely specific to my particular case of FD.

I'm also having some success with practicing very quietly and softly. I find that taking volume out of the equation lets me focus better on things like identifying and eliminating tension and optimizing nail shape; I expect it will eventually improve my volume by letting me re-examine my approach to dynamics from the ground up. I've realized that there's no end to the process of identifying and eliminating tension. I'm also enjoying the immediate benefit of not having to worry about annoying my neighbors, even late at night, as well as a much sweeter tone, which makes practice more pleasant, and which I'm taking as indication that there's much room for improvement in my approach to both dynamics and tone.

I've also noticed the chapter near the end of Kappel's "Bible" that goes into the nuances of fingerings, including optimal RH finger sequences for various types of fast passages. Lots of food for thought and practice there.

In all this, I've discovered that it's easier for me to tremolo with p-i-m-a than with the typically taught p-a-m-i. it's something I've never heard or read about, and I'm curious if that's a rare thing.

Regarding focal dystonia, it seems to me that no one has ascertained what causes FD generally and how to get rid of it, and it's possible that the symptoms can arise from a variety of issues. In other words, while any individual's focal dystonia may resemble another's based on symptoms alone, that doesn't mean that the causes are the same or that what helps one person will help another. By the same token, the apparent cause or relief of one person's FD can't be dismissed just because it's inconsistent with or contradicts another individual's experience. It's an unfortunate and frustrating state of affairs for those of us afflicted, but I think we'd do well to keep it in mind when we discuss FD.

What I appreciate most about this thread, more than any particular observation about finger movement, is the skepticism and empiricism that informs the project. While my RH issues made me open to experimentation, this thread helped free me from an unhealthy deference to received wisdom that I was not able to shake on my own. (To my fellow participants who seem quick to perceive skepticism as disrespect, and deference as respect: I assure you that I use these terms advisedly.)

[Edited for typos, grammar.]

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

Postby guit-box » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:33 pm

A lot of great points to ponder, for sure. I know more about focal dystonia than I care to, which in the end isn't that much. I've tried many, many things including three trials involving rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation). If any of the "treatments" helped at all it was the basic physical therapy that involved daily finger exercises to move the joints independently. But really nothing helped me. The only thing that has helped me has been the new form of practicing that I've been doing lately. I was just noticing yesterday when working on the pimami arpeggio that my main KJ of my a finger wants to grip the string really hard during that arpeggio, and focusing on just letting the finger sit on the string with no pressure and only pulling from the MJ fixes that problem for me. You are right that there are many different looks to focal hand dystonia and I would never claim that what's working for me is a cure or will work for anyone else, that would not be scientific. It is worth noting, though, but in general I'm not that interested in the discussion of focal dystonia. It's my belief (from talking to many experts on FD) that really the only way to play again is to re-learn to play with slow and deliberate and correct practice. For me, this thread is about finding out what the correct movements should be and practicing those. I take into account the good players on this site who say it's also about how it feels and not just how it looks, but I listen to every claim with a healthy skepticism now.

I also experiment with supination and pronation and most of time seem to favor something in the middle, but I am open to changing if it works for me. Have you seen Thomas Viloteau's lesson on nails. He's a great player (I think he's a GFA winner) and it's really clear in this video that his supinated hand position dictates the flat ramp of his nails. People who play free strokes from a pronated position either have to have ramps that are low on the contact side or rounded nails to avoid catching the sharp corner of the nail, but people who supinate can have a nail shape more like Viloteau.--who has fairly sharp corners.

Youtube


Also, check out Masa Ito's video, he does the same thing and has similar shaped nails. Search "physics of classical guitar right hand technique" for his video
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Postby kmurdick » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:22 pm

git-box says: 'but Shearer's students were all guinea pigs for his next theory on technique. His most famous student, Manuel Barrueco said (paraphrased but you can listen to the podcast on Barrueco's website) that he had no intention of learning to play free strokes like Shearer was teaching him. He said the best thing Shearer did for him was to make him think hard about technique and that forced him to figure it out on his own. That's not a glowing endorsement from the master, he's obviously being as kind as he can about the fact that Shearer didn't help him. Then there's the fact that Shearer himself couldn't play the guitar. Unless following Shearer's advice has given you the results you want, why not take a few months and try to practice moving your fingers primarily from the MJ with no intentional flexion effort from the main KJ (MP joint) and see if it unlocks anything in your playing? What do you have to loose?"

I'm not sure if you are talking to me, but if you are, I appreciate your concern. Shearer was guided by his student's success and he did change his mind about things over the years. When he found something that worked, he asked his students to change. I saw Manual play guitar when he was about 16. You could tell that he had a lot of potential, but he played with a weak tone and was musically inept. He had the typical over extended fingers from the knuckle joint which was holding him back. Shearer did change his free stroke and after a year at Peabody, Manual was a changed player. I don't think Manual had to work at it very much, so he might not consider what Shearer did for him with technique particularly significant. Shearer actually learned quite a bit from Manual too. He had an excellent guinea pig in the form of Manual. Let me just say this: if you are not willing to experiment on your students. then you are NOT a teacher. We may pick up a few things from videos, but the proof is in the success of the students which will not happen unless one is willing to try things that might not work.

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

Postby kmurdick » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:26 pm

Oh, one more thing git-box. About 40 years ago, Shearer suggested to me to work a lot from the MJ. I did that for a year but it got me no where. I don't think it hurt me, but nothing happened.

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

Postby guit-box » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:08 pm

I'm just repeating what Barrueco said himself. I think it was a podcast or a written interview but it's likely on his website. He said that the free stroke Shearer was teaching was thin and not the sound he wanted. He went on to say that he had to develop his own free stroke independently and the only thing he attributed Shearer to helping him with was the discipline to focus on these matters.--which may be no small thing. A great motivator can be a very positive thing, I have no doubt that he helped people, I just find too many problems with his methods that are verifiable by watching players (including his students) that I think attributing the success of students to the teacher is over-reaching. It's probably over-reaching to do that with any teacher since every student has to ultimately learn on their own by seeking it out multiple sources and a lot of self-discovery and being your own guinea pig. I also bet that a lot of students have learned by watching their teacher demonstrate, that's how I learn best. I would have been lost with Shearer and would have hated lessons if my teacher couldn't demonstrate what he was teaching.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.


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