Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by JohnyZuper » Thu May 11, 2017 6:24 am

I've noticed that players of the current generation tend to keep their right wrist straight with the hand extending from the forearm, while older generations seem to often drop the right hand down, with the fingers pointing to the floor.


I was wondering if this was a conscious decision. Did somebody at some point realize it was better to keep the arm straight? Are guitars different? Are our postures? Do we aim for a different sound?
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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by wchymeus » Thu May 11, 2017 6:38 am

Yep, that's right. I think nowadays, "schools" pay a lot more attention to the body and its natural position to avoid injuries. Also, finger motion range is now limited to a minimum for maximum efficiency. And this "new" position makes it more practical (imho).
I also believe that "sound" has evolved (for sure recording technics too so it's hard to compare) and the trend is for a more silky warm sound than a punchy sharp one... (always hard to qualify sound) So instruments, strings have evolved and maybe the position is making that happen as well.
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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by celestemcc » Thu May 11, 2017 5:43 pm

Also note Ida Presti's extreme position: she played off the right side of her nails. Segovia's, while more extreme than modern guitarists', is not as severe as Presti's, and he played off the left side, as many modern players do. (Some, though, notably Thibault Garcia, do play off the right side, and his position is also extreme).
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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by Daniel Penalva » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:34 pm

I've seen guitarrists who use the two position depending on the technique requeriment, the tone must change if you have the tips in diagonal to the strings or in transversal position.

See this brazillian master guitarrist:


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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by pasigenyo » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:52 pm

This is an interesting topic because it directly relates to my current playing posture. I use the old-school (angled right hand wrist) style of playing because that was what I learned early on and I get a lot of "you need to correct your twisted wrist....." comments. I've been ignoring them at first, but lately, I've responded with "I was born that way, so get over it". Anyway, I have no problems whatsoever in playing with an angled wrist and I can never play with a straight wrist no matter how I tried. I agree that the tone is very different between the two. Hopefully I'm not alone out there because I seldom see, if at all, anyone playing the way I do. Thanks.

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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by hilm3g » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:51 am

I switched from dropped hand, as was the vogue when I started playing 40+ years ago, to a straight wrist about 3 years ago. Carpal tunnel pain and swelling in my right hand middle finger forced the issue. I could not play for a few months. Gradually and consciously I moved to a straight wrist and trimmed my nails so that I now play with the fingertips.The no nails part was sort of easy for me, as I played with no nails for the first 25 years. Just sounds better to me and there is no pain. It takes a while to make the adjustment. Patience and listen to your tone.

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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by guitarguy » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:31 am

I've also started the guitar in the old school way and was quite comfortable with it for many decades (so: guess my age :) ). My first teacher also taught me that I should use apoyando on any technically possible melody.

However, I switched over about 6-7 years ago. It only took me a few weeks to getting used to it. My experience with it is very positive:
1. I have gained accuracy with this technique (for instance, pre-planting is easier)
2. Variations in tone are easier - the "new School" added new timbres to my tonal spectrum
3. I have gained RH-speed through natural relaxation of the Hand

I still use apoyando occasionally. This however just when I want to give a certain line a "Little extra".

Hope that helps.

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Re: Right wrist angle: old school vs new school?

Post by Pede » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:26 am

My hand position is mostly quite extreme the other way, with thumb inside almost like lute playing. I don't see this so often by other players. I was not learned this position as standard but it had evolved like this. Otherwise I change sometimes when I need another sound.
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