If you were hanging from a bar above your head, your hands would be tensely gripping the bar but much of your body has no tension at all. In effect your body is a hanging weight. So although you are gripping the bar, most of the pressure you are applying to the bar comes from your weight, not from your grip. When you play in any LH position there needs to be a little tension within the fingers to maintain the "finger hook" to hook the hand on the fret board and the weight of your Left arm can supply the actual pressure. Thinking about the actual force and where it is coming from does not make it any easier to comprehend. A number of exercises can make this easily understood.acelkins wrote: "Take your proper hand position on the fretboard and just let your arm hang naturally down." But if I let my arm hang naturally down, gravity "naturally" takes it to a position that is straight down; that is, perpendicular to the floor.
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When you play in any LH position there needs to be a little tension within the fingers to maintain the "finger hook" to hook the hand on the fret board and the weight of your Left arm can supply the actual pressure.
Your observation is correct except for one point. The pivot point for your arm at the shoulder is actually behind and "approximately'" above the guitar. Although a "straight" fall would mean your arm hitting the ground directly below it's support point on the guitar, because the arms actual support and fall point is some distance "behind". Your arm weight is "tangentially" applied to the neck and that more approximates the vertical connection you describe as ideal. Not perfect agreed, but better than perhaps one imagines. Add to that the fact that the fingers "grip" the strings by the grooving that forms in their tips which also increases the degree of support that allows your arm weight to be the effective "pressure" when playing notes. I do not want to create the impression that no supporting of the left arm takes place when playing, rather that we should use as much left arm weight as possible and the left arm support will provide the balance.acelkins wrote:
That would work if the fretboard were turned up to the sky, but one can't "hook" onto a surface that is closer to vertical than it is to horizontal. So I just don't see how the weight of the arm can be more important than the pressure of the fingers. Don't get me wrong...I WANT to see a way to use my arm to ease the necessary finger pressure and the strain on the associated muscles (my left forearm starts aching anytime I play for as little as half-an-hour), but I just seem unable to grasp to concept.
Very glad to hear that, Clay. Nice to know this has helped someone besides me. And your right, LFP's explanation of the physics makes Kanengiser's comments much more cogent.Clay wrote:Excellent question and answer regarding the left arm. LFP's answer sheds new light on where the weight is and how it functions. This has been very helpful. Thanks!
I like that! Talk about distilling something complex down to one essential concept. Along with everything else that's been said here, this really clarifies the issue as it was first raised. We should write a book! (At least you guys should.)AsturiasFan wrote:Arm weight is simply pulling the hand in more or less along the line of the forearm from wrist to elbow..