New teacher advice

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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robithinker
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New teacher advice

Post by robithinker » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:48 am

Took my first lesson yesterday and the teacher had some advice on my thumb technique. He said I was plucking the strings using the first and second joints, but that I should be using the third joint (ie the joint right next to the wrist, counting inwards from the finger tip). Couple questions on this and on teachers

- Is the third joint correct? I can’t remember what my first teacher back in 2003 told me.
- My teacher also told me that I should practice plucking with my thumb from one bass string down to the next and letting my thumb rest on the next string until it was time to pluck again. Is this common practice?
- Just curious what others pay for a 30/60 minute lesson in other countries. Here in Switzerland I pay 50 Swiss francs for 30 minutes, 60-70 Swiss Francs for 40 minutes, and about 80 francs for a 50 or 60 minute lesson. It’s painful, but after much searching that indeed seems to be the going rates in the market.

Many thanks
Robi

fraim
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Location: Dallas, TX

Re: New teacher advice

Post by fraim » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:49 pm

for sure my movement comes from the 3rd knuckle but the middle knuckle has to ne involved as well. the 1st knuckle not at all. that's my observation of my technique anyway.

rest stroke with the thumb is something i practice regularly.

i pay $60usd (57 swiss francs) fir 60mins & my teacher is a double major in classical guitar performance & music theory. an extremely great deal!

robithinker
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by robithinker » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:34 pm

It hadn’t occurred to me that coming to rest on the next string is just rest stroke for the thumb. That is indeed a great deal. I will stay with my current teacher for two more lessons (booked a trial month of three lessons) then try one or two other teachers and then pick one for the long haul.

kmurdick
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by kmurdick » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:08 pm

The right hand thumb seems to be quite versatile if you watch many of the great players. In my view, you should use all three joints and follow through to the 'i' finger (whenever possible) as they do in classical harp technique. All three joints extend to reach the string, and then all three joints flex together. This produces a very powerful sound right away. The over extended P-tip is use by most guitarist, but I believe they pay a price for this. You can look at my video and see what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIktEQc ... 9&index=14

mainterm
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by mainterm » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:17 pm

robithinker wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:48 am
Took my first lesson yesterday and the teacher had some advice on my thumb technique. He said I was plucking the strings using the first and second joints, but that I should be using the third joint (ie the joint right next to the wrist, counting inwards from the finger tip).
I'm reluctant to enter into a debate about the mechanisms by which and to what extent the first and second thumb joints (as you put it) are involved in thumb plucking. I think they are all more or less involved.

However I will assert (and I think many teachers, players, pedagogical texts etc. will support this) that the base joint of the thumb should definitely be involved in the plucking motion. The way you phrase this above "...that I should be using the third joint..." makes it sound as though you aren't using it now. If that's the case, then I would consider changing your technique to use the base joint.

fraim
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by fraim » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:09 am

the op referenced the 1st, 2nd & 3rd joints...afaik the thumb only has 2 joints. therefore i assume he's speaking of 2 different things 1: the thumb & doing rest strokes with the thumb & 2: the correct stroke with ima. i could be wrong though

fraim
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by fraim » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:09 am

dupe...my bad

robithinker
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by robithinker » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:33 am

The thumb has three joints. http://nimblevr.com/latest/doc/handModel.html

"Carpal-metacarpal joint (CMC)
First joint of the thumb; connects the metacarpal to the carpal bones at the base of the wrist.
Metacarpal-phalangeal joint (MCP)
Second joint of the thumb; connects the metacarpal to the proximal phalange.
Interphalangeal joint (IP)
Connects the proximal phalange to the distal phalange."

According to the terminology used in the link above, the joint I am referring to would be the FIRST joint then. The one at the very base of the hand.

But to clarify, I have been using the first joint, but possibly using the third joint a bit too much. I worked on it last night and it should not be to difficult to change my form. I've only been playing for a couple of weeks after all. :wink:

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:46 am

I wouldn't use the thumb tip as I want the basic action of each digit to be a down-push. If the last joint gets involved it will reduce that direction.
Thumb apoyando at early stages is a controversial point. I'd guess most tutors avoid it to avoid RH falling forwards. If you can maintain good finger action there is no objection really, but as in all things be sure you can choose rest or free depending on context.
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georgemarousi
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by georgemarousi » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:14 am

I believe your teacher is very right, you must learn to use the base joint of the thumb, this is the proper basic technique. I also agree a lot for the suggestion of a rest stroke - though not common it will be a good base exercise to you and I think this is mostly the reason for this practice.

Later, at complex repertoire the other two joints come to play at times. For instance, at the fast part ( about at the middle ) of Villa lobos etude 11, the thumb plays all 3 basses at one shot repeatedly and there is an also an upcoming arpeggio at the trebles for i-m-a. I have found myself having to use mostly the 3rd thumb joint to accomplish that ( maybe not the best according to the next paragraph ) , as the right hand has to be as stable as possible for the upcoming i-m-a.

I have also noticed what top-players on youtube on that part: I have seen cases where
1) no joint moves (only right hand motion for thumb to play),
2) base joint moves ( most of the players ),
3) second joint moves .
Add to that that I also noticed some right hand movement at 2 and 3 cases, more or less depending on the player. So what I notice from this example is that it is also a matter of personal preference, though the most common between the players looks again to be the base joint :)
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Tom Poore
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Tom Poore » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:19 pm

Since you’re in the process of choosing a teacher, this might be helpful:

http://www.pooretom.com/choosingateacher.html

By the way, I see no red flags regarding the advice your teacher is giving you. That said, I’m loath to second-guess someone else’s teacher, particularly when that teacher is working directly with the student and I’m not.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

fraim
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by fraim » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:08 pm

@robithinker--- i learn something new every time i'm on this site....3 joints on the thumb... forgot about one by the wrist

SteveL123
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by SteveL123 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:32 pm

fraim wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:08 pm
@robithinker--- i learn something new every time i'm on this site....3 joints on the thumb... forgot about one by the wrist
+1, I always thought the thumb has only 2 joints because that is all I can see when I look at my hands. I am flexing my thumb now and I can see movement of a hidden joint where thumb connects at the wrist. It does not look like there's a joint there but there's definitely joint movement there (at the wrist).

kmurdick
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by kmurdick » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:36 pm

fraim wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:09 am
the op referenced the 1st, 2nd & 3rd joints...afaik the thumb only has 2 joints. therefore i assume he's speaking of 2 different things 1: the thumb & doing rest strokes with the thumb & 2: the correct stroke with ima. i could be wrong though
The thumb has a wrist joint, a middle joint and a tip joint. The wrist joint has the the largest range of motion and the movement of this joint is the one that is most noticeable. The tip joint has a range of motion of about 30 to 40 degrees and is capable, in conjunction with the wrist joint and support from the middle joint, of creating a very powerful and efficient stroke with every little effort. I would say that the middle joint only moves about 10 degrees. Again, the most efficient stroke, IMO, involves the extension and flexion of all three joints. I notice that guitarist who the classical harp P stroke (advocated by Aaron Shearer), don't need to use much P rest stroke. David Russell is good example.

Guitar Nut
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Guitar Nut » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:52 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:32 pm
+1, I always thought the thumb has only 2 joints because that is all I can see when I look at my hands. I am flexing my thumb now and I can see movement of a hidden joint where thumb connects at the wrist. It does not look like there's a joint there but there's definitely joint movement there (at the wrist).
It's the middle one that is less conspicuous to me. The joint at the wrist is obvious because it moves the whole thumb. The middle joint I have almost no control over and I don't seem to be able to move it independently from the base and tip joints, and even at its most extreme movement it's only a few degrees. So as far as guitar technique is concerned, I only have two thumb joints I can control (not that I bother to think about which joint I'm moving anyway.)

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