Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

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Jack Douglas
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Jack Douglas » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:05 pm

robert e wrote:
astro64 wrote:I would just add, if you are interested in getting good tone and good habits for RH position etc, a good video is worth more than a dozen books. You just can't get the information from a description and a few photos or drawings.
And a good teacher is worth a hundred videos.
A good teacher I've found, a former colleague of Aaron Shearer.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

robert e
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by robert e » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:49 pm

Luis_Br wrote:IMO, inner tensions are by far more important than the outside view. In my experience and with two other very important teachers I know here, wrist not enough relaxed is commonly the main technical problem, the second is the shoulder. Relaxed wrist is important no matter you use Presti or Shearer style of wrist. Even to a straight wrist, you recquire just a tiny bit of tension to keep it straight. Even with an overrelaxed falling wrist, there is some tension to adjust finger position and angle... A high level advanced player should be able to play well with different wrist and finger angles, choosing the way he likes the most due to his musical choice.
Thank you.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Brooke Martin » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:32 pm

Doesn't Shearer drop his wrist a lot more than in the straight-wrist modern technique? (That's what the photos indicate.) And how straight, and also how relaxed, should the wrist be with the modern right-hand technique? Are there a lot of variations among different players? And do some still prefer the Shearer technique to the straighter wrist? Do some find that there's tension with the straighter wrist? Having learned the old technique with the dropped wrist, it's a step overcoming all of the old strictures on the relaxed, dropped (or bent) wrist and the resulting angle with the fingernails. In olden times (the days of Segovia, Bream, etc.), the argument was that the dropped, relaxed wrist eliminated tension and stress and also led to the best sound and best projection. One could even hear the improved projection when the technique was worked on. With skiing, the new technique is based on the new shape of the skis (parabolic). With the guitar, it's based on an evolution of ideas--in fact, maybe one that could eventually revert to older ideas. Curiously, I do notice an improvement in sound with the straight wrist (shattering long-held beliefs about the old technique), and yet sound quality was one of the principal reasons given for the old technique back in the day. Moreover, a lot of teachers have their own different ideas. It's enough to drive one nuts. :?

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by ronjazz » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:39 pm

Well, it's difficult to keep up with changes in thinking about technique, but scholar/players like Chris Berg have been following advances in sports medicine and research for athletes, and much of that work can be applied to playing an instrument. Shearer died some time ago, so photos of his positions may not be as relevant as they once were. Individual physiologies are also remarkably different, and it would seem that each player needs to account for that. Sharon Isbin developed her remarkable sound and technique by practicing in front of a mirror; this is an excellent idea (or videoing your practice sessions). "Mindful" or "deliberate" practice has assumed a new importance, given the high incidence of injury and focal dystonia among virtuoso players. Those really interested in the mechanics of playing should read Berg on line and in his published materials, and looking into Anders Ericsson's brilliant work won't hurt either.
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by meouzer » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:08 am

Shearer wrote:The next thing that got adjusted was the horizontal angle of the fretboard away from my body.
Another way to say that is that the neck will be about five feet in front of you, or at least moved forward. I'm pretty sure every other method book says the exact opposite. Parkening in fact says the exact opposite.
Parkening wrote:Notice that the back of the guitar slants back toward the left shoulder.
Parekning has a photo showing the guitar slanting backwards by about 15 degrees from the horizontal. Shearer has a drawing of the guitar slanting forwards at about 45 degrees from the horizontal. That my friends is a difference of 60 degrees.

You should trust Parkening over Shearer for the following reasons. Parkening comes earlier in the alphabet. Parkening is more famous. Parkening has played at the White House. Parkenging has pictures of Segovia in his method book. Shearer had Charles Duncan as student and I'm very sure Duncan agrees with Parkening (I lost my Duncan books so can't say with absolute certainty.) Duncan said he had to reteach himself to not do what Shearer taught him. Duncan became famous for his extremely detailed treatises on technique.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by DevonBadger » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:40 am

meouzer wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:08 am
You should trust Parkening over Shearer for the following reasons. Parkening comes earlier in the alphabet. Parkening is more famous. Parkening has played at the White House. Parkenging has pictures of Segovia in his method book.
Ha ha! :lol:

Learning how other people hold the guitar is useful as it gives you ideas to try yourself. But there is no single prescriptive account which is going to work for everyone. It really is such an individual thing and the only way to find out what works is by trying all the different ways and making small adjustments.

Personally having the guitar head slant towards my left shoulder makes my left hand feel a bit cramped and restricted. I prefer a very small slant away from my left shoulder. This also helps to bring the lower bout closer to my body which means I don't need to push my right shoulder forward.

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:08 am

I thought that attitude of the hand was a thing of the past. But there are, to my knowledge, two superb players using the hand at (almost) a right angle to the arm, Gerard Abiton and, from a younger generation, Thibaut Garcia. Both are truly great players.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by ronjazz » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:21 am

Both Abiton and Garcia are putting themselves in danger of focal dystonia, from what I've seen, and and Parkening developed that condition as well.
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Luis_Br » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:02 pm

Parkening technique has nothing to do with Presti's technique as we can see in Abiton, Artzt or Evangelos Asimakopoulos. All of them not so young now and playing quite well so far.

Parkening seems much more tense too me than those I've mentioned. Not to tallk about his terrible back posture.

I keep repeating inner tensions and control are by far more important than position itself. If you have a very relaxed wrist and economical finger movements, there will be no stress to the wrist or whatever.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by kmurdick » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:48 pm

Luis says. "I keep repeating inner tensions and control are by far more important than position itself. If you have a very relaxed wrist and economical finger movements, there will be no stress to the wrist or whatever."

It's not the wrist that you have to worry about with a bent wrist, it's the tendons going around a corner. It is settled science that a bent wrist will cause stress to the tendons. Whether this stress will result in permanent harm depends on your genetics.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:51 am

kmurdick wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:48 pm
Luis says. "I keep repeating inner tensions and control are by far more important than position itself. If you have a very relaxed wrist and economical finger movements, there will be no stress to the wrist or whatever."

It's not the wrist that you have to worry about with a bent wrist, it's the tendons going around a corner. It is settled science that a bent wrist will cause stress to the tendons. Whether this stress will result in permanent harm depends on your genetics.
IMO, the problem is that this is an oversimplification. I agree bending wrist has some amount of stress over tendons, but It is not a simple "on/off" state. The stress over the tendons in the wrist is proportional to amount of wrist bending, bend direction and inner muscle tension that push the tendons toward more friction enhancing the problem. The latter being regularly negleted and wrongly addressed.

Very tense wrist will generate tendon problems even with a straight wrist. Using more knuckle and less fingertip tension active more inner hand muscles and tendons that are not affected by wrist. It is much more complex than just saying wrist bending is the problem. I just say there are plenty of guitarists playing with some wrist bending at old ages without health problems and they are not superhumans with steel tendons. I don't thing that we would have such a body difference that would resist several years of playing while some others won't resist some months. To me it is more resonable that there is a technical way of doing it that won't generate tendon problems.

Straight wrist is a good remedial solution, IMO, because it is easy to do immediately, while retraining the muscles is a long way. So to someone with bad inner tensions and control I would encourage a strength wrist at first. But as technique advances, some bending won't be a problem and it is a way of checking tension relief. Finally, we have to adapt ourselves to the sound result we appreciate.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by ronjazz » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:50 am

Luis nails it, again!
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by guit-box » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:01 pm

This video of Segovia, which I'm seeing for the first time, has some really great close-ups of his right hand. I don't think Segovia has a consistent way of plucking off the right or the left side, he seems to do it all, and honestly I wouldn't want to copy anything he does because there are so many better examples of good technique than him. But, it's still interesting because I'd heard for years that Segovia played off the left side of the nails and you can see he's (at least some of the time) playing off the right side of the nails (ramping right to left)

Check out the video at 2:30 Min and choose the slow down function
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:12 pm

robert e wrote:
Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:55 pm
astro64 wrote:I would just add, if you are interested in getting good tone and good habits for RH position etc, a good video is worth more than a dozen books. You just can't get the information from a description and a few photos or drawings.
And a good teacher is worth a hundred videos.
Thanks, I’ve got a really good teacher now, protégée of Julian Gray, and my right hand has improved with a lighter touch, calm and relaxed, and not at all like the Shearer method that the previous instructor taught, but we are working on the minute details of a relaxed left hand in an attempt to erase some old habits. We just had a lesson today examining in detail the changing of one chord shape to another in a ballet like move. Hard to explain, but the slow, really slow, movements are keeping my hand from jumping and fumbling. One of the details we practiced today was using P and and an extended (1) to anchor both and then reached with (4) keeping my whole hand relaxed. Reaching as opposed to rotating my entire hand toward the upper frets allowed me to reach farther with (4). I’m likely not explaining this well, but this way kept my left arm in alignment with my wrist rather than the crook I was using trying to land all my fingers vertically (tension). The bonus for me is the relaxing of the left hand automatically relaxes the right!
I’m currently working on the ‘Seven Lute Pieces of the Renaissance ‘ transcribed by Oscar Chilesotti, not my usual Spanish romantic music, but is a good new challenge musically and technically.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

kmurdick
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Re: Current Right Hand Technique: Are Shearer, Presti still valid?

Post by kmurdick » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:59 pm

It doesn't sound like your teacher understands the Shearer method. Also, this method has evolved since Shearer reached his intellectual peak (he has since passed away). My set of videos shows how Shearer taught at his peak with some new additions. You might take a look at these. BTW, I studied with Shearer for seven years.


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