Left hand finger independence

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andrew382
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Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:23 pm

Is it possible to obtain such a finger independence that would allow you to lift your 3rd finger almost vertically in combinations like 1 3 or 3 1 especially in the first positions? This doesn't seem to be a problem in the higher positions not even in the first ones if I play on the thicker strings. However as you get closer to the 1st position or/and the first string you have to curve your fingers more in order to be able to press with the tip and just behind the fret and still not having to stretch. The "only way out" with this kind of finger placement is stretching your 3rd finger out instead of lifting it. If stretching your finger out doesn't seem to be a problem when descending it causes extra motion and unneeded tension by ascending.

Take a look at this guy:

Do you see how smooth his hand moves?

Now watch this one:
I resemble unfortunately the second one. And I want to get to the point where I can play a scale or solo or piece or anything like the first guy. I wouldn't necessarily say it's not efficient or it is because I don't know the 2 of them and I don't know how relaxed they are as they play but I do know that it looks better and more professional the way the first one plays.

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guitarrista
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by guitarrista » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:40 am

andrew382 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:23 pm
Is it possible to obtain such a finger independence that would allow you to lift your 3rd finger almost vertically in combinations like 1 3 or 3 1 especially in the first positions? This doesn't seem to be a problem in the higher positions not even in the first ones if I play on the thicker strings.
Before we consider finger independence, notice that the two players are using two very different left-hand (LH) positions:

1. Line through base of LH fingers (solid red) is more or less parallel to lower edge of fretboard (dotted green):

Capture1.JPG

2. Line through base of LH fingers (solid red) is at a visible angle (such that the base of finger 4 is farther away than base of finger 1) to lower edge of fretboard (dotted green):

Capture2.JPG

If you try the first option (parallel), you should find that suddenly it is much easier to reach comfortably and with control, with fingers 3 and 4.

To your other observation about not having the issue when playing on 5th or 6th string even in first position - I believe that may have to do with (i) your LH naturally adopting a position like player one above (parallel), and (ii) your LH thumb being roughly behind the fingertips - simply because the fretboard width fills up the U-shape between your thumb and the other fingers and when this happens we seem to naturally straighten out the hand's position so that the fretboard's lower edge is flush against the base of the fingers (rather than at an angle).

The reason it did not work when you tried that on the 1st string is likely because you did not move your thumb from where it was when you played the 6th string and instead sort-of pivoted on it and adopted position 2 where your 3 and 4 finger are farther away from the fretboard line than your fingers 1 and 2.

Well, these are my guesses anyway.
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Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:30 am

guitarrista wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:40 am
andrew382 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:23 pm
Is it possible to obtain such a finger independence that would allow you to lift your 3rd finger almost vertically in combinations like 1 3 or 3 1 especially in the first positions? This doesn't seem to be a problem in the higher positions not even in the first ones if I play on the thicker strings.
Before we consider finger independence, notice that the two players are using two very different left-hand (LH) positions:

1. Line through base of LH fingers (solid red) is more or less parallel to lower edge of fretboard (dotted green):


Capture1.JPG


2. Line through base of LH fingers (solid red) is at a visible angle (such that the base of finger 4 is farther away than base of finger 1) to lower edge of fretboard (dotted green):


Capture2.JPG


If you try the first option (parallel), you should find that suddenly it is much easier to reach comfortably and with control, with fingers 3 and 4.

To your other observation about not having the issue when playing on 5th or 6th string even in first position - I believe that may have to do with (i) your LH naturally adopting a position like player one above (parallel), and (ii) your LH thumb being roughly behind the fingertips - simply because the fretboard width fills up the U-shape between your thumb and the other fingers and when this happens we seem to naturally straighten out the hand's position so that the fretboard's lower edge is flush against the base of the fingers (rather than at an angle).

The reason it did not work when you tried that on the 1st string is likely because you did not move your thumb from where it was when you played the 6th string and instead sort-of pivoted on it and adopted position 2 where your 3 and 4 finger are farther away from the fretboard line than your fingers 1 and 2.

Well, these are my guesses anyway.
This might have been true a while ago and I must stress this that I've played like the second guy for 3-4 years and now I'm trying to relearn things. However at this moment I'm not pivoting...I mean...not sideways like the 2nd guy but vertically. Is moving the thumb recommended? The problem when getting to the thinner strings is that it's super easy to lift the 3rd finger but it's very difficult to bring it back because it straightens out instead of remaining above the string that it's going to play. The 1st and 2nd seem to have no problem with this task.

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guitarrista
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by guitarrista » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:26 pm

andrew382 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:30 am

This might have been true a while ago and I must stress this that I've played like the second guy for 3-4 years and now I'm trying to relearn things. However at this moment I'm not pivoting...I mean...not sideways like the 2nd guy but vertically. Is moving the thumb recommended? The problem when getting to the thinner strings is that it's super easy to lift the 3rd finger but it's very difficult to bring it back because it straightens out instead of remaining above the string that it's going to play. The 1st and 2nd seem to have no problem with this task.
I am not certain I understand what you are describing, but if you are saying that your thumb remains where it was when it was opposite your fingertips when playing on string 6, and you are not moving it more opposite the fingertips at their new location on string 1, then, yes, that might cause you difficulties like you describe.

Try moving your thumb down so it is more opposite your fingertips when they are on string 1. Also make sure the base of your fingers is parallel to the lower edge of the fretboard. You should have enough curve in your 3 and 4 fingers now when pressing down and lifting up. You don't have to try to be precisely opposite the fingertips when on string 1; just find a comfortable thumb position which is not as high as where your thumb was when opposing fingertips on string 6. Try to judge by the position of your fingers 3 and 4 - once they can press down and lift up on string 1 while naturally curved (not flexed in and not extended straight), you have found a good hand/thumb position.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:53 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:26 pm
andrew382 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:30 am

This might have been true a while ago and I must stress this that I've played like the second guy for 3-4 years and now I'm trying to relearn things. However at this moment I'm not pivoting...I mean...not sideways like the 2nd guy but vertically. Is moving the thumb recommended? The problem when getting to the thinner strings is that it's super easy to lift the 3rd finger but it's very difficult to bring it back because it straightens out instead of remaining above the string that it's going to play. The 1st and 2nd seem to have no problem with this task.
I am not certain I understand what you are describing, but if you are saying that your thumb remains where it was when it was opposite your fingertips when playing on string 6, and you are not moving it more opposite the fingertips at their new location on string 1, then, yes, that might cause you difficulties like you describe.

Try moving your thumb down so it is more opposite your fingertips when they are on string 1. Also make sure the base of your fingers is parallel to the lower edge of the fretboard. You should have enough curve in your 3 and 4 fingers now when pressing down and lifting up. You don't have to try to be precisely opposite the fingertips when on string 1; just find a comfortable thumb position which is not as high as where your thumb was when opposing fingertips on string 6. Try to judge by the position of your fingers 3 and 4 - once they can press down and lift up on string 1 while naturally curved (not flexed in and not extended straight), you have found a good hand/thumb position.
Yes this is what I mean. But playing like you told me involves bringing the thumb very low when having to play on the 1st string. Until now I tried to place and hold it in the middle of the neck.

I think Carlevaro describes this very good in one of his books for the left hand where he says "the left hand and its thumb must move as a unit". However I find that not efficient. If I followed this advice this would mean I have to displace and replace the thumb quite often if I have passages that involve playing on all strings up and down not to mention the position shifts.

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:57 pm

I am not certain I understand what you are describing, but if you are saying that your thumb remains where it was when it was opposite your fingertips when playing on string 6, and you are not moving it more opposite the fingertips at their new location on string 1, then, yes, that might cause you difficulties like you describe.

Try moving your thumb down so it is more opposite your fingertips when they are on string 1. Also make sure the base of your fingers is parallel to the lower edge of the fretboard. You should have enough curve in your 3 and 4 fingers now when pressing down and lifting up. You don't have to try to be precisely opposite the fingertips when on string 1; just find a comfortable thumb position which is not as high as where your thumb was when opposing fingertips on string 6. Try to judge by the position of your fingers 3 and 4 - once they can press down and lift up on string 1 while naturally curved (not flexed in and not extended straight), you have found a good hand/thumb position.
Yes this is what I mean. But playing like you told me involves bringing the thumb very low when having to play on the 1st string. Until now I tried to place and hold it in the middle of the neck.

I think Carlevaro describes this very good in one of his books for the left hand where he says "the left hand and its thumb must move as a unit". However I find that not efficient. If I followed this advice this would mean I have to displace and replace the thumb quite often if I have passages that involve playing on all strings up and down not to mention the position shifts.

If I were to preserve the gap between the thumb and the fingers from the 6th string when they play on the 1st string I guess this would mean the thumb would run out of neck space...I mean...it would dangle in the air.

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guitarrista
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by guitarrista » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:35 pm

andrew382 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:57 pm
If I were to preserve the gap between the thumb and the fingers from the 6th string when they play on the 1st string I guess this would mean the thumb would run out of neck space...I mean...it would dangle in the air.
This is why I made sure to say the following, above:

"You don't have to try to be precisely opposite the fingertips when on string 1; just find a comfortable thumb position which is not as high as where your thumb was when opposing fingertips on string 6. Try to judge by the position of your fingers 3 and 4 - once they can press down and lift up on string 1 while naturally curved (not flexed in and not extended straight), you have found a good hand/thumb position."

Basically, I can only react to your verbal description; if that description does not fully cover all the salient details, the response would be deficient too. I had to guess where your thumb was and what your LH was doing because you did not specify that in your initial query. Really it would be best if instead you just post a video demonstrating the issue you have, from multiple sides.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:56 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:35 pm
andrew382 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:57 pm
If I were to preserve the gap between the thumb and the fingers from the 6th string when they play on the 1st string I guess this would mean the thumb would run out of neck space...I mean...it would dangle in the air.
This is why I made sure to say the following, above:

"You don't have to try to be precisely opposite the fingertips when on string 1; just find a comfortable thumb position which is not as high as where your thumb was when opposing fingertips on string 6. Try to judge by the position of your fingers 3 and 4 - once they can press down and lift up on string 1 while naturally curved (not flexed in and not extended straight), you have found a good hand/thumb position."

Basically, I can only react to your verbal description; if that description does not fully cover all the salient details, the response would be deficient too. I had to guess where your thumb was and what your LH was doing because you did not specify that in your initial query. Really it would be best if instead you just post a video demonstrating the issue you have, from multiple sides.
Ok...here you go...please mind that I'm not so clumsy as I might seem but I haven't played for 2 years and recorded for 3 and I'm into buck fever again. By the second take I was more relaxed.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1k4Lok ... vslimpZQ48

https://drive.google.com/open?id=13Uv99 ... M8Nsys7_CO

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guitarrista
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by guitarrista » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:42 am

OK cool. Hopefully others will look at the vids as well.

Don't worry at all about quality of strokes or sound; this is a diagnostic procedure for left-hand issues and not a performance.

I wish you would have shown us how you do not have issues playing on string 6 in first position (and where the thumb is then). Also maybe more of a close-up of the LH since we do not need to see you right hand.

Having said all that, one thing I see immediately is that your wrist is very flexed (there is a significant angle between your hand and forearm).

I'd say the first thing to try is to play the same, but with a straight(er) wrist. Straight means more or less the way the hand and forearm are like (in terms of the wrist) when you just let your arms hang down by your body.

With that flexed wrist right now, you are limiting/impeding the range of extension because the extensor digitorum communis muscle is in the forearm and runs branching tendons all the way to your fingers. When you keep your wrist flexed like that while trying to lift your 3 and 4 (and 2) fingers off of the fingerboard, you are making the extension harder as the tendons are already pulled and nearer their working limits.

When you adjust the wrist to be straight while presenting the LH to the fingerboard as before, it would mean doing some adjustment to where the point of your elbow is in space - it will come back a bit (i.e. not as far forward in the first positions as it was).

This will also help for an easier feel for fingers flexing as well - because alignment in the wrist also means easier time for any tendons moving in that narrow carpal tunnel; also working more within the middle of the tendons range.
Last edited by guitarrista on Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

ronjazz
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by ronjazz » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:17 am

Good advice from Konstantin, Andrew, and you might want to check out the lessons here, you have a few basic things that, if corrected, will virtually double your technical ability in a few days.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:21 am

guitarrista wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:42 am
OK cool. Hopefully others will look at the vids as well.

Don't worry at all about quality of strokes or sound; this is a diagnostic procedure for left-hand issues and not a performance.

I wish you would have shown us how you do not have issues playing on string 6 in first position (and where the thumb is then). Also maybe more of a close-up of the LH since we do not need to see you right hand.

Having said all that, one thing I see immediately is that your wrist is very flexed (there is a significant angle between your hand and forearm).

I'd say the first thing to try is to play the same, but with a straight(er) wrist. Straight means more or less the way the hand and forearm are like (in terms of the wrist) when you just let your arms hang down by your body.

With that flexed wrist right now, you are limiting/impeding the range of extension because the extensor digitorum communis muscle is in the forearm and runs branching tendons all the way to your fingers. When you keep your wrist flexed like that while trying to lift your 3 and 4 (and 2) fingers off of the fingerboard, you are making the extension harder as the tendons are already pulled and nearer their working limits.

When you adjust the wrist to be straight while presenting the LH to the fingerboard as before, it would mean doing some adjustment to where the point of your elbow is in space - it will come back a bit (i.e. not as far forward in the first positions as it was).

This will also help for an easier feel for fingers flexing as well - because alignment in the wrist also means easier time for any tendons moving in that narrow carpal tunnel; also working more within the middle of the tendons range.
The thumb is where it always is. I don't change its place or maybe I do but I might not be aware of it. Anyway...playing like you're asking me to is going to mean I must change the thumb's position or better said displace the whole hand together with the thumb every string or every 2 string in order to keep the wrist straight.

A second problem I have is with the 3rd finger in the first positions. It trembles sideways like hell. And so is the 4th. I guess that's because the wider the frets get the more the 4th finger has to extend to press just behind the fret. Trying to extend and relax at the same time might cause this tremor. I also have a very poor control of the 4th finger placement. I tried until now to minimize the hand movement by curling or straightening out the 4th finger in combinations like 14 14 14 on all strings. Are you suggesting me to replace the thumb every time I change a string?

Also when doing 13 13 13 I have no problem when ascending because the 3rd finger somehow naturally straightens out and is ready to play on the upper (thicker string). When going down towards the thinner strings I have problems lifting and curling the 3rd finger at the same time so that it can play on the lower (thinner) string.

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:27 am

ronjazz wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:17 am
Good advice from Konstantin, Andrew, and you might want to check out the lessons here, you have a few basic things that, if corrected, will virtually double your technical ability in a few days.
Which lessons do you mean?

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guitarrista
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by guitarrista » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:00 am

andrew382 wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:21 am
Anyway...playing like you're asking me to is going to mean I must change the thumb's position or better said displace the whole hand together with the thumb every string or every 2 string in order to keep the wrist straight.
No, the wrist angle is almost like a free parameter in this. Apart from the initial adjustment of parts of your arm to get the wrist straight(er), it does not necessitate continuous changes in your hand position or thumb as you change strings being played.

The wrist angle comments I made are separate from the thumb comments or even the base of finger comments I made earlier.

In fact don't change thumb placement (yet); just change the wrist angle for your first experiment. Meaning - keep the thumb where it was before with the angled wrist, and keep in first position, and keep doing the 1-3-1-3 on string 1 or 2. VERY SLOWLY.

As you are doing this very slowly, straighten your wrist while keeping the thumb where it is - as if you are using the thumb as "anchor". Your elbow has now pulled back a bit, and take time to notice that the base of your LH fingers has now come a bit closer to the lower edge of the fretboard - closer in the sense that, before, that line was "in front or above" of the fretboard on the side of the strings, and now as you are looking at your fingers and fretboard in the plane of the fretboard from string 6 to 1, you will see that the base of your fingers has moved more or less in line with that fretboard plane (if you imagine widening the fretboard as if to add strings next to string 1, you will hit the base of your fingers; whereas before that line of the base of your fingers was "above" that plane. Your LH fingers have also curled a bit more than before.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

andrew382
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:16 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:00 am
andrew382 wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:21 am
Anyway...playing like you're asking me to is going to mean I must change the thumb's position or better said displace the whole hand together with the thumb every string or every 2 string in order to keep the wrist straight.
No, the wrist angle is almost like a free parameter in this. Apart from the initial adjustment of parts of your arm to get the wrist straight(er), it does not necessitate continuous changes in your hand position or thumb as you change strings being played.

The wrist angle comments I made are separate from the thumb comments or even the base of finger comments I made earlier.

In fact don't change thumb placement (yet); just change the wrist angle for your first experiment. Meaning - keep the thumb where it was before with the angled wrist, and keep in first position, and keep doing the 1-3-1-3 on string 1 or 2. VERY SLOWLY.

As you are doing this very slowly, straighten your wrist while keeping the thumb where it is - as if you are using the thumb as "anchor". Your elbow has now pulled back a bit, and take time to notice that the base of your LH fingers has now come a bit closer to the lower edge of the fretboard - closer in the sense that, before, that line was "in front or above" of the fretboard on the side of the strings, and now as you are looking at your fingers and fretboard in the plane of the fretboard from string 6 to 1, you will see that the base of your fingers has moved more or less in line with that fretboard plane (if you imagine widening the fretboard as if to add strings next to string 1, you will hit the base of your fingers; whereas before that line of the base of your fingers was "above" that plane. Your LH fingers have also curled a bit more than before.
I think I got it. So you mean beginning with a "neutral" wrist to get some extra room for manoeuvre.

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Alexander Kalil
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Re: Left hand finger independence

Post by Alexander Kalil » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:35 am

Andrew, a big part of the left-hand problems you are facing and the wrist alignment issues pointed out by Guitarrista is your guitar holding posture. From the video above it is clear that you're holding the guitar too far to the left and with the neck far too low. My advise would be to get yourself a guitar support, such as the Ergoplay, and position the guitar substantially higher and further to the right than it is now. Then, if you wish, post another video with yourself holding the guitar properly so that we can see if and where any left-hand problems still exist.

Look at how Guitarrista is holding his guitar in his avatar picture!

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