Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

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

Post by robert e » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:06 pm

guit-box wrote: There's been so many posts I can't keep track of who said what anymore, and I'm sure I'm reposting things I already posted. I have the same problem with my nails, in the past I thought it would be best for my hand to play off the extreme left side of the nail with wrist pronation and either file a rounded nail or a heavily ramped nail like Russell does. But this supinated position may be the way to go for me. I was feeling like my a nail was grabbing from the KJ too much, but I think it's because it needs to have a slight reverse ramp shape on the a finger to work at this angle. Once my nails grow out I'm going to try the Thomas V method of sanding but using that supinated position to cut the nail shape.
No worries, guit-box! Better too much than too little when it comes to data.

Of course nails are highly individual, but FWIW the shapes I've adopted for pronation/supination experimentation are: the i nail curved with slight ramp ("rising" left to right); m nail straight across with rounded corners; and the a nail has a reverse, compound ramp. Previously, the i had more ramp, and m had ramp too. (All my nails are arched and hooked more than most peoples'.) I said before that nails may be one reason the supinated RH works for me, but now I think it may well be a primary reason.

I associate supinated RH with minimal or no wrist arch, at least among the younger elite players. In my own experiments, I find that in order to bring my thumb to a good default position with a supinated RH, I can either arch the wrist slightly or shift where my arm rests on the lower bout. Perhaps obvious, but worth noting the adjustments necessary/possible in even a slight change to RH posture. As well, I'll note the perhaps obvious fact that supination/pronation affects what part of the forearm rests on the guitar, at least for me.

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

Post by guit-box » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:33 pm

Although the excavator truck would be more similar to a right hand with a low wrist, it still illustrates quite well the timing of the joints (ignore the shovel) that we can see in the free and rest strokes of concert guitarists

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

Post by guit-box » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:11 pm

guit-box wrote:The videos show many variabilities such as: hand position, pronation and supination of forearm, wrist height, left/right wrist orientation, guitar position, etc. For all those variabilities we can definitely say there is "no one way" to do them. For the finger strokes and specifically medium-fast tempo free strokes we can see all the videos share a commonality-- middle joint is the producer of the sound at the precise moment the note is sounded and the main KJ does not follow through into the palm.

LIke Ortega, I was taught by some teachers to play exclusively from the main KJ. I don't blame or hate anyone for this, that would be immature. I do believe after much observation and practice that they were wrong, but 20-30 years ago this kind of teaching was the norm and we didn't know any better. Judging by all the resistance to what I'm saying and have proved with crystal clear video closeups and slow motion video examination, it's clear this mis-information persists. All the methods at the time that I remember (except Parkening's method) said that free stroke and all strokes are played from the main knuckle joint: The Natural Classical Guitar--Ryan, Effortless Classical Guitar--Kanengeiser, Pumping Nylon--Tennant. I remember also having Solo Guitar Playing--Noad, Classical Guitar Method--Duncan and Celedonio Romero Method for Guitar. I don't recall what they said about the subject, I'll have to re-visit those methods. At any rate, I didn't have access to anything else at the time and the teachers were insistent that this was the correct way to play, so that's what you do, follow the advice of the teacher.

I remember being told by a teacher to drum my fingers on a table top with the force coming from the main KJ. That, I was told, was the basis for the strokes. Of course when you do that on a table top, the drumming produces a thud, but if you move this precise movement to a guitar string you get no sound. You may hit the string with some force and velocity and the string will likely displace some, but the moment the KJ releases it's pressure, the string springs back and no sound is ever produced. This is because the main KJ is NOT the producer of the pluck as was being taught. Of course it plays a critical role, it brings the finger to the string quickly and efficiently and the KJ needs to be trained to do that. It may provide some gripping pressure that allows the eventual sound to be produced, but the main KJ by itself is not the producer of the sound, the flexion of the MJ is. If you do the same table top experiment with the tips of the finger already touching the table and flexion towards the hand from the MJ, then you'll hear a scratching sound produced on the table top. It's a shhhhhht shhhhht shhhhht sound. This sound can be produced with very minimal help from the main KJ, all that joint is doing is holding the finger in place so the MJ can make that sound. For a pianissimo sound, that minimal weight of the finger on the table top is probably enough, but for a louder sound then the main KJ probably needs to grip more. You can transfer this precise motion to a guitar string and a sound will be produced. So, it's really the MJ flexion that is the producer of the sound, and of course the main KJ is playing an important role, but that role has been over-emphasized generally. The correct free stroke, (the stroke that all the concert guitarists are doing in the videos) as demonstrated on a table top would have a thud followed almost instantaneously by a scratch. The scratch occurs at the very instant the thud is sounded, and it is so perfectly coordinated that it seems as if the thud and the scratch are one sound and it also appears visually to an observer that the main KJ did all the work, but it's not the case. It's a two-step, highly coordinated exchange from one joint to the next. Many people who believe and teach that the main KJ should follow through into the palm likely believe that is true because they feel or sense that the main KJ is in flexion at the moment of the pluck, but they are wrong. What they are feeling is the KJ releasing (extending) at the moment the MJ takes over and they are confusing that release for main KJ flexion. Everything in our world has to follow the rules of physics, even fingers, and if you don't see the KJ and it's corresponding phalange moving in a flexion direction towards the palm at the instant the sound is produced or in the milliseconds after, that is because it isn't, simple as that.
I dug out my Celedonio Romero Method for the Classical Guitar that I mentioned above. Mostly I find his descriptions of how the fingers move to be as incomplete or unclear as anyone else was describing them at that time. The book has a copyright date of 1990 but I'm not sure if this is a later printing, I would expect it to be older than that. One thing that's curious is his description of free strokes which he calls Enganchando stroke:
Celedonio Romero from The Celedonio Romero Method for the Classical Guitar -- Enganchando in Spanish means "hooking" and this is exactly what the i,m, and a finger do....pluck the strings in a hooking manner, continuing above the top of the next strings, the motion of the fingers should be towards the palm of the hand
I tend to agree with him that its analogous to "hooking" or maybe a "scooping" like the excavator truck animation above, but man, if this kind of written description was all people had to go on, I'm surprised anyone learned how to play the guitar. I'd gladly trade all my classical guitar method books from the 1990s and before for this thread with the slow motion videos showing us how they really do it.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Post by Robbie Flamerock » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:59 pm

An ounce of application is worth a pound of theorizing. Can we discuss how to utilize this knowledge?
Here are some beliefs that I have, for starters:
1: The stroke is lightning quick, bouncing back ballistically as soon as possible. Slower tempos allow the finger to reposition immediately. Faster tempos move more sympathetically, yet still bounce back. This militates against "holding the fingers in at the end of flexion."

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

Post by guit-box » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:25 pm

I've been doing both things all along -- observation and application as I get more definitives from the observation. The ballistic stroke as I understand it from Christopher Berg's method book is about a quick and simultaneous flexion of the all the joints at the moment of pluck followed by an immediate release. (Kanengiser and Lee Ryan's "play-relax" as it's also been called) I'm arguing that while "ballistic" may be a good descriptive term, the ballistic feel is really the main KJ changing from pressure to release while it's the MJ that's shooting the canon ball towards the palm. It's more of a double ballistic if I were to describe what I see in the videos with this terminology. The middle and tip phalanges are blasting towards the palm and at the same instant as that is occurring, the main knuckle phalange is catapulting outward to get ready for another assault. (taking the military terminology to the next level, lol)
Last edited by guit-box on Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Post by Robbie Flamerock » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:27 pm

My difference is that you don't have to think so much. If you use the quick stroke, that is what happens.

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

Post by Larry McDonald » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:28 pm

Robbie Flamerock wrote:An ounce of application is worth a pound of theorizing. Can we discuss how to utilize this knowledge?
Here are some beliefs that I have, for starters:
1: The stroke is lightning quick, bouncing back ballistically as soon as possible. Slower tempos allow the finger to reposition immediately. Faster tempos move more sympathetically, yet still bounce back. This militates against "holding the fingers in at the end of flexion."
2. The model that this thread has been proposing takes time for the student to acquire, and is likely a two stage process. Framing the hands of the beginner to eventually be able to transfer some of the natural flexion activity (grasping motion) away from the large muscles in the forearm into the intrinsic muscles in the hands is critical. Growing new "ballistic" fast-twitch muscle fiber bundles in the hands also takes time.

This is where I'm at right now. I'll just throw that out there and look for reaction.

N.B.: I am truly hesitant to teach beginning students to flex only from the DIP (tip Joint) and PIP (middle joint) even though I am convinced by the slow-mo videos that this is what is happening, even at the intermediate levels, and not just the advance players shown in every video. Beginners just don't have that kind of acute sensitivity -I believe. I've corrected too much "crab-hand" in my day. Has anyone started beginners as suggested in this thread with any success? I haven't read that yet.

Larry
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

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

Post by guit-box » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:41 pm

I think the tap and scratch on a table top is a pretty easy thing to teach even a beginner, I don't see how that is too much thought. Btw the hammer-on/pull-off is also a tap and scratch, so two birds with one stone.

Larry, you said something curious awhile back about not being able to do a slow tremolo, but you could do it fast. Maybe you would be willing to post a video of both from the angle of the head of the guitar and we could check it out. I suspect you are using the main joint thrust model for the slow version and your body takes over for the fast version and does what it wants to do--which is the orbiting cycle of the finger strokes that we see in all the videos for tremolo. This is kind of what I see happening in this video, her slow tremolo looks very different from the fast.


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

Post by Ortega » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:49 pm

New revelation yesterday...

Correct i, m, a technique is identical for both rest and free stroke: KJ brings finger to string, MJ plucks string.

There is NO "energizing of the string" or "pressure" from the KJ at the moment of the pluck itself. In fact, eliminating any work or pressure beyond lightly touching the string, by KJ, until the moment of the pluck, is my final breakthrough as seen in this clip.

The problem with the right hand is when any work/ pressure/ tension is actively applied by KJ at moment of pluck. There is a very light touch to the string caused by KJ, and then it must be 100% MJ.

This is proven in all videos on this thread, including this one. It's not great sounding yet; the feeling is very new. I will work very hard to bring this to greatness. I must overcome 33 years of habit, instilled mostly by flawed, incomplete, or simply incorrect teaching. I tried VERY HARD to use the KJ during the pluck, for 33-34 years.

They say that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. I am going to defy that if it kills me. It may, but this is the only thing that I've ever wanted to do and if I fail, I will die trying. I'm a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago, when I could not play one note:
https://youtu.be/0wimdB1ofBo

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

Post by Ortega » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:12 pm

kmurdick wrote:I agree with guitarista that there is no one way to perform a free stroke on the guitar...quote]

I do not.
Blondie wrote:
Ortega wrote: To those who teach KJ as source of work for actual moment of the pluck: they are wrong. If they refuse to stop teaching this, then yes, wrath upon them. Attempting to execute in this way, truly and exactly this way, WILL lead to dystonia.
Another member here who has focal dystonia came to precisely the opposite conclusion, and has experienced significant improvement by developing the actual stroke, with follow through, from MCP joint and limited involvement of the PIP joint...

The other member is probably doing exactly what many pedagogues have done over the decades: describing something in a manner that is different from exactly what is happening. Either that or the progress achieved by the member is relative; how good are the results? If he or she was activating extensors in KJ before, and now are only activating flexors in KJ, even during pluck, the individual will see and report "improvement". The only way is for us to see a video of them actually playing...
Blondie wrote:
Ortega wrote:
Also interesting to note that one of the few pedagogical sources that you earlier cite as supporting your approach (Parkening) had to retire as he himself developed focal dystonia.

Now it's great you are having a breakthrough (and I note earlier you were speculating whether indeed you did have FD at all) but I do take issue with the absolutism of your above statement. If it were true I think we could expect the majority of students to develop FD, which clearly doesn't happen.

FD is a lot more complicated than that.
I am freinds with Chris and he did not "have to retire due to focal dystonia". Also, I said that his method book is the only English language book that I am aware of that teaches free stroke correctly. I did not say anything about rest stroke.

Let me just propose that if a person plays rest stroke in dysfuctional manner, that *may bleed over into free stroke technique and become habitual. Now, let me be clear. I am not talking about anyone in particular. That is all I'm going to say about this.

There is NO English language method that I am aware of that teach BOTH free and rest stroke correctly. None. They are/ should be the same, as I demonstrate below.
Ortega wrote:New revelation yesterday...

Correct i, m, a technique is identical for both rest and free stroke: KJ brings finger to string, MJ plucks string.

There is NO "energizing of the string" or "pressure" from the KJ at the moment of the pluck itself. In fact, eliminating any work or pressure beyond lightly touching the string, by KJ, until the moment of the pluck, is my final breakthrough as seen in this clip.

The problem with the right hand is when any work/ pressure/ tension is actively applied by KJ at moment of pluck. There is a very light touch to the string caused by KJ, and then it must be 100% MJ.

This is proven in all videos on this thread, including this one. It's not great sounding yet; the feeling is very new. I will work very hard to bring this to greatness. I must overcome 33 years of habit, instilled mostly by flawed, incomplete, or simply incorrect teaching. I tried VERY HARD to use the KJ during the pluck, for 33-34 years.

They say that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. I am going to defy that if it kills me. It may, but this is the only thing that I've ever wanted to do and if I fail, I will die trying. I'm a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago, when I could not play one note:
https://youtu.be/0wimdB1ofBo

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

Post by Ortega » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:17 pm

I should note that I am well aware that the tremolo is galloping; this will be eliminated in the coming months. The point is that I can execute pami in the right order...in 4 note bursts at this tempo.

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

Post by guit-box » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:40 pm

Ortega wrote:New revelation yesterday...

Correct i, m, a technique is identical for both rest and free stroke: KJ brings finger to string, MJ plucks string.

There is NO "energizing of the string" or "pressure" from the KJ at the moment of the pluck itself. In fact, eliminating any work or pressure beyond lightly touching the string, by KJ, until the moment of the pluck, is my final breakthrough as seen in this clip.

The problem with the right hand is when any work/ pressure/ tension is actively applied by KJ at moment of pluck. There is a very light touch to the string caused by KJ, and then it must be 100% MJ.

This is proven in all videos on this thread, including this one. It's not great sounding yet; the feeling is very new. I will work very hard to bring this to greatness. I must overcome 33 years of habit, instilled mostly by flawed, incomplete, or simply incorrect teaching. I tried VERY HARD to use the KJ during the pluck, for 33-34 years.

They say that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. I am going to defy that if it kills me. It may, but this is the only thing that I've ever wanted to do and if I fail, I will die trying. I'm a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago, when I could not play one note:
https://youtu.be/0wimdB1ofBo
I've been experimenting with the same thing lately on pimami arpeggios (giuliani em study) and I have to agree with you Ortega at least where playing anything really fast is concerned. I can reach a much faster speed if I suspend all thoughts and effort on flexion from the KJ, just touching the string with the minimal work from main KJ and then a play-relax feel of flexion from the MJ.

I still question the idea that KJ should never apply any pressure. I think that you and I have a similar issue with putting too much focus on KJ flexion for decades that it may be that our hands need this approach to counter that dysfunction. I say this because I know I can play the guitar left handed and I have no issues with the KJ of my left hand applying force, it doesn't do the pluck, MJ still does the pluck, but applying pressure with KJ doesn't cause me any dysfunction in that hand.

Congrats on the progress, but I gotta say this with best intentions. You absolutely need to practice the gap out of your tremolo that exists between i and p. Play your bursts starting from each finger and also play 5-finger bursts instead of just the single pami burst. amipa, pamip, etc. That should fix that gap.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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

Post by Ortega » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:43 pm

Perhaps a bit better here. I AM going to conquer this beast. This I promise you.

https://youtu.be/yNI7GAvKpOk

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

Post by robert e » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:00 pm

Larry McDonald wrote: 2. The model that this thread has been proposing takes time for the student to acquire, and is likely a two stage process. Framing the hands of the beginner to eventually be able to transfer some of the natural flexion activity (grasping motion) away from the large muscles in the forearm into the intrinsic muscles in the hands is critical. Growing new "ballistic" fast-twitch muscle fiber bundles in the hands also takes time.
You'd think all this typing that we're doing would count for something. :) Or is that working against us?

In all seriousness, I'm convinced that you're right about the progression. But if you're right, would certain other things we do with our fingers help or hinder that progress?

Perhaps this is one of the simplest and least discussed effects of a practice regime? As in not merely the quantity of time devoted to to learning and honing a desired skill and the quality of practice, but the raw proportion of time budgeted to it vs other activities using the same parts in similar ways. (Proportionality is also a point for the importance of correctness in practice.)

To close my thought, if we understand the development process, are there exercises we can do when away from the guitar to aid that process?

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

Post by Lawler » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:18 pm

Ortega wrote:Perhaps a bit better here. I AM going to conquer this beast. This I promise you.

https://youtu.be/yNI7GAvKpOk
I admire your tenacity, Scott. My wish is that you'll be gentle on yourself as well.

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