Right hand phalanges problem.

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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guit-box
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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by guit-box » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:16 pm

Some will allow the tips to passively bend back for free strokes as well, but it's more common for rest strokes. It's really the flexion of the PIP (middle joint) while the DIP(tip joint) is allowed to be loose that makes the DIP bend backwards. I'm on the fence about it for free strokes and tend to not do it. I see free stoke tip joints collapsing most with the middle finger, likely because it's the longest finger and it makes it easier to get the finger to push through the string that way. If you use a free stroke technique where it's only PIP/DIP that are pushing through the string and MCP(large knuckle) actually extends at the moment the string is sounded, that seems to help to keep the tip joint from collapsing.
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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by lacatedral » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:32 pm

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:41 am
Based off the picture from the OP - it looks like part of the problem is you are pushing on the string. I'm not going to rule out the "over extension" that lagartija is speaking of because the control of your range of motion is important to.

However, I'd start off by just putting all of my fingerings on the top 4 strings: P - 4 (or 5), I - 3, M - 2, A - 1. Can you have your fingers on these strings and keep the hand curled? If not, learn to control the pressure and curvature of your fingers so that there is a gentle curl in your fingers when they are on the strings. You should be pushing into or depressing the string (based off the picture - it appears that you are doing that - as the 3rd string is pushed closer to the 4th string than the 2nd string). Start with that, and develop the sensation of "standing on the strings without applying pressure". From there push into the string to play and have the finger(s) return and again relax them to the point of where they keep the shape of a gentle curve.
IIRC the hand posture i was using in that picture was the one that Carcassi suggested in his method. Other than that yes, I can naturally curl my fingers to that posture.

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:33 am

lacatedral wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:32 pm
IIRC the hand posture i was using in that picture was the one that Carcassi suggested in his method. Other than that yes, I can naturally curl my fingers to that posture.
The bending back of the tip joint is not in itself is not a bad thing. It's about controlling the tip joint of your finger. The tip joint bending is what pushes the string down and into the soundboard of the instrument.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by CactusWren » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:42 am

Do your tip joints behave the same no matter what the dynamics? Are they still very soft and bend back when you play ff?

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by filmic » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:22 am

I just got back from my first lesson with a Brazilian teacher (he has a MFA performance in classical guitar and studied in Spain. I think I lucked out.)
He taught me a cool trick to soften my right hand strike on the strings. He put a thin sock under the strings at the bridge to attenuate the string tension and mute the string. I played that a bit, he took the sock out and there was a BIG difference and I was striking the strings much more softly and able to bring my i m a fingers all the back instead of hooking them on the string. I can read simple combined measures but my technique puts the breaks on my learning. Makes me too tense and I flub up.

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:24 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:42 am
Do your tip joints behave the same no matter what the dynamics? Are they still very soft and bend back when you play ff?
Yes, the tip joints are relaxed and allowed to flex. The amount of flex is based upon how much push there is in the string. The only time I deliberately tighten up my tip joints is when I'm looking for a specific "thin" ponticello sound.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by lacatedral » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:05 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:42 am
Do your tip joints behave the same no matter what the dynamics? Are they still very soft and bend back when you play ff?
No, when playing f or ff I make my fingers go a little "harder" so they dont bend so much.

Thing is. Basically the premise for a good free stroke is to have the hand completely relaxed and make the impulse go from the knuckle (the larger joints), leaving the whole finger completely relaxed (not with tension), and make the movement go into the direction of the heel of the hand.
Many people who do that do not bend the little joints of the index, middle or ring fingers. And that's their "default" movement, which is good.
My default movement differs in the sensse that the last joints bends .

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lacatedral
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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by lacatedral » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:06 pm

Also, where is the finger supposed to "meet" the string in free stroke?
Scott Tennant says that first the flesh meets the string, the with impulse the zone where flesh meets nail attacks the string.
But many others states that the string must be contacted at first in the zone where flesh meets nail.
So which is it?

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by guitarrista » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:31 pm

lacatedral wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:06 pm
Also, where is the finger supposed to "meet" the string in free stroke?
Scott Tennant says that first the flesh meets the string, the with impulse the zone where flesh meets nail attacks the string.
But many others states that the string must be contacted at first in the zone where flesh meets nail.
So which is it?
Here's how these two can be reconciled:

The Scott Tenant comment is in the context of avoiding the clicking sound that happens if you meet a vibrating string with your nail. So his advice is intended to provide the means by which one minimizes or eliminates clicking - by meeting the vibrating string with flesh just a millisecond before the next stroke starts to execute.

The other advice, if applied to approaching a vibrating string, will normally produce a clicking sound which most find undesirable. Instead I suspect this other advice came out of a narrower context of just describing the actual execution of a stroke, so it describes it starting from the moment the nail starts sliding across the non-vibrating string as your finger pushes, till the moment the string is released.

The starting point for this execution phase of the complete finger-string interaction can indeed be defined as the point where flesh meets nail. This, however does not describe the preceding phase for a finger coming to a vibrating string - which is where Tenant's advice applies. The flesh meeting the string mutes it quickly but without a loud clicking and a few milliseconds later the finger has slid to the "flesh meets nail" point which is the starting point for the execution phase of the next stroke where the other advice applies.

For practical purposes, maybe you just strive to get as close as possible to the "nail meets flesh" contact on landing on a vibrating string - as long as you don't start hearing the clicking which would indicate you nail is hitting first. "as close as possible" because generally (but not always) we are trying to minimize the sound interruption from deadening the string with flesh.

As with almost any guitar specific playing advice - remember that the goal is (let's say) to achieve mastery in freely producing a beautiful sound in exactly the way you want it. The goal is not to start a stroke where the flesh meets the nail. It is not to play from this or that joint or to relax or tense this or that fingertip. These are just tools (and some or a lot of them are meant for beginners - can be very different from what tools more advanced players use or need) to try or use toward you actual goal and should be treated as such - always subject to revision as applied to you and as your level of playing progresses.
Last edited by guitarrista on Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by CactusWren » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:04 pm

lacatedral wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:05 pm
CactusWren wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:42 am
Do your tip joints behave the same no matter what the dynamics? Are they still very soft and bend back when you play ff?
No, when playing f or ff I make my fingers go a little "harder" so they dont bend so much.

Thing is. Basically the premise for a good free stroke is to have the hand completely relaxed and make the impulse go from the knuckle (the larger joints), leaving the whole finger completely relaxed (not with tension), and make the movement go into the direction of the heel of the hand.
Many people who do that do not bend the little joints of the index, middle or ring fingers. And that's their "default" movement, which is good.
My default movement differs in the sensse that the last joints bends .
I don't agree with this: "Basically the premise for a good free stroke is to have the hand completely relaxed and make the impulse go from the knuckle (the larger joints), leaving the whole finger completely relaxed (not with tension), and make the movement go into the direction of the heel of the hand."

This is the way the free stroke has been taught, but there's lots of evidence that this isn't really how the fingers behave. There was a long thread with tons of videos showing that concert players don't actually do this. If you think about it, isolating all the movement in one joint (the knuckle) is oddly artificial and different from almost any other way of using the body. We don't run using just the hip joint,we don't throw a ball using just the shoulder joint.

For myself, I have found the best results using all the joints, both for free stroke and rest stroke. I can play forte without even pushing down on the string (maybe not ff, but that's okay). Two exercises have been particularly helpful:

1.playing scales with one finger. I found playing with just m over and over helped identify and get rid of some bad tensions and movements associated with alternation that I had developed.
2. lots of work with accents and dynamics, for both scales and finger patterns (called arpeggios by guitarists). For example, I would play some kind of pima and play everything pp except the a, which would be forte. Then everything piano except the m. I would play scales accenting the beat, the second eight note, the second 16th note, the 3rd 16th note, etc. I think it's important to be able to play both pp and ff on command. And lots of slow tempos. I couldn't believe how much working like this helped me, and this after playing for 30 years. I am currently studying VL Etude #2 and it is amazing for this!

With this kind of work, I've found micromanaging what joint does what and what flexes where to be mostly unnecessary. I am aware, but I think as long as the body is given a specific goal, it usually can do a better job of it naturally then to be given specific instructions as if it were a robot that needed programming.

Good luck in your studies!

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by astro64 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:51 pm

On the flesh meets nail issue: remember that your finger tips are soft. In your stroke you make contact with the string on the soft tip really close to the nail and once you push in essentially at that same place the nail will contact the string. It is not two different places but the exact landing spot where the nail will not buzz against the string and the skin on the soft finger tip will dampen the string before the nail hits it. It is all very close together in place and time. If you land and then slide to make nail contact you will get a bad sound and a delayed stroke.

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by guitarrista » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:47 pm

astro, this only makes sense if your nail is shorter than the flesh edge when not pressed against the string, which is not the case for most if not all nail players.
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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by lacatedral » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:59 pm

astro64 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:51 pm
On the flesh meets nail issue: remember that your finger tips are soft. In your stroke you make contact with the string on the soft tip really close to the nail and once you push in essentially at that same place the nail will contact the string. It is not two different places but the exact landing spot where the nail will not buzz against the string and the skin on the soft finger tip will dampen the string before the nail hits it. It is all very close together in place and time. If you land and then slide to make nail contact you will get a bad sound and a delayed stroke.

Basically yes, when performing a free stroke the finger will eventually first meet the string (either vibrating or not) in the corner of the fingertip where flesh meets nail (contacting both at once). This will not produce sound but mute the string if it was vibrating in the first place (for a millisecond), then by the impulse (which is coming from the knuckle) the sound comes mostly from the nail.

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by lacatedral » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:04 pm

The problem is not based on terms of whether I can play forte, fortissimo, mezzof, piano, etc... but it's a problem of not being able to achieve fast speed easily.
I can make my lower joints (the ones closer to the fingertips) "harder" so they don't bend, but by doing that I have to tense up the hand, which is what I do not want. My default attack with my fingers is to "bend" the lower joints of the fingers, mostly index, which makes each finger to open too much, thus, reducing speed in alternation (mostly mi or im).

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Re: Right hand phalanges problem.

Post by astro64 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:52 am

guitarrista wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:47 pm
astro, this only makes sense if your nail is shorter than the flesh edge when not pressed against the string, which is not the case for most if not all nail players.
I suspect we are talking semantics here. My main point is that I would not want to suggest that the finger tip should stop the string and then slide to the nail to play the note. It is essentially one motion to stop the string at the point where flesh meets the nail and make the stroke. You will get a clicking sound if the nail is too far from the point where the string is stopped. At least in my experience.

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