Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

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Sebastian
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Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Sebastian » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:19 pm

Greetings, I'm intending to post a thread, in a short future, about a very serious and long issue that I seem to have.
It's going to be more detailed on that further post though. I'm just posting this out of curiosity as a manner of poll.

I was wondering, if anyone of you or perhaps you may know someone, who collapses their fingertip joints when performing a FREE STROKE.
-I am very aware that it is possible and "valid" to do it in rest strokes, but I have no interest in that kind of stroke... I mean, I like how it sounds but at 90-100% of the time I am playing with free stroke.
-I am aware that actually, it's "valid" to collapse fingertip joint when performing free stroke, but ONLY at some instances. Say if you were playing something slower and more delicate, well, then it would be valid to do so. BUT if you have to play Etude 1 of Villa-lobos, or Las Abejas by Agustín Barrios, a tremolo piece, Prelude 2 of Villa-Lobos, well... it is not that good.


>Disvantages: as the fingertipjoint is "weaker" then it must travel a greater distance into the heel of the palm, thus reset time is increased: raw speed decreases. Also, as the fingertip joint is weaker, a little bit more of tension must be applied thus (to play a forte or fortissimo), resistance decreases with faster passages. As the angle created is wider as mentioned in this paragraph, the accuracy goes down a little bit (reset time is increased and also the finger must find the strings with more difficulty). And as final flaw, the finger gets "caught" with the string sometimes.


I know there is a "clawing" effect with beginners, but I'm nowhere near of being a beginner right now, as a matter of fact in July-August I will be finishing my major degree con classical guitar. None of my professors (private or conservatoire ones) could solve the problem in all the career. They aknowledge the problem but it seems to be VERY ODD. The clawing effect is making the main thrust come from the tip joint instead of knuckle.
The main thrust I use is as described by Tennant, "comes from the knuckle". I use a lot of Pumping Nylon concepts

I tried a LOT of stuff, a highly technique routine for years now, with plantings, quick preps, changing hand positions, speed bursts, formulas and drills derivated from Giuliani's 120, Carlevaro's books, and drills derivated from music piece I prepare. Nothing works. Slow motion movements of my fingers, etc...Even tried using tape on my joints for months. Doesn't work. Also tried stiffening my tipjoint instead of letting it loose, still collapses at higher speeds.
Also tried changing hand posture... knuckles upper, knuckles down.. always with a rect arm but at the same time with no tension. No luck
I also avoid excess of tension at all times, but it does not work.

PS: I don't have any "remarkable natural flaw", such as being, for the sake of an example, being inept at picking stuff with my hands, or being on a wheel chair, or had surgery on my body parts, etc... It just seems extremely odd and frustrating.
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:28 pm

I would say that a player has to allow the tip joint to "give" rather than a large collapse. The amount of give the tip joint does will effect the tone you want to produce. So it's very much a situational sort of thing. In my opinion at least.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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Sebastian
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Sebastian » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:58 pm

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:28 pm
I would say that a player has to allow the tip joint to "give" rather than a large collapse. The amount of give the tip joint does will effect the tone you want to produce. So it's very much a situational sort of thing. In my opinion at least.

What's "give"? I infer you mean "loose" a bit the fingertip joint, that would be fine for Tarrega's Lagrima.
But if you had to play Las Abejas (Agustín Barrios), you should not loose the tip, as it would occur what I described with loose tip joints. Decrease speed, reset time, resistance, strenght etc...
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by guit-box » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:24 am

It's a very good question, one I've thought a lot about and have asked many pros. The thing about asking people is, sometimes, many times, they are unaware of something so subtle as the distal joints passively extending. So they'll tell you something that may be different than what you can see them doing. It's better to verify for yourself, try it, and ultimately do what works for you.

I think for people who play with a more curved finger free stroke, to get through the string with very little middle joint flexion, the distal joint has to passively extent a little. (more with the middle finger since it's longer). If you use more middle/tip joint flexion, that's another way to get through the string without allowing the distal joint to passively extend. I'm on the fence about it. Clearly you can watch examples of great players doing both things. At this moment, I prefer to keep the tips firmer and use more middle joint flexion to release the string instead of letting the distal joint passively extend. The passive extension can give a nice round sound and the firm tips can give a harsher attack, but I like the control and articulation that firm tips give.

If you're feeling like your finger is getting stuck with the thrust coming from the large knuckle, I'd suggest not pushing through the string with that joint but use the middle joint to release the string instead. I had the same problem and discovered it was from pushing through to much from the large knuckle. It should be more of an exchange where the main large knuckle brings the finger to the string but then the middle joint takes over and the large knuckle relaxes at that moment the string is sounded.

Check out this video of Manuel Barrueco's distal joint passively extending. (and also check out my Slow Moe YouTube page for many other examples)


Pepe Romero. Check out the middle finger distal joint
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Sebastian » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:14 pm

guit-box wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:24 am
It's a very good question, one I've thought a lot about and have asked many pros. The thing about asking people is, sometimes, many times, they are unaware of something so subtle as the distal joints passively extending. So they'll tell you something that may be different than what you can see them doing. It's better to verify for yourself, try it, and ultimately do what works for you.

I think for people who play with a more curved finger free stroke, to get through the string with very little middle joint flexion, the distal joint has to passively extent a little. (more with the middle finger since it's longer). If you use more middle/tip joint flexion, that's another way to get through the string without allowing the distal joint to passively extend. I'm on the fence about it. Clearly you can watch examples of great players doing both things. At this moment, I prefer to keep the tips firmer and use more middle joint flexion to release the string instead of letting the distal joint passively extend. The passive extension can give a nice round sound and the firm tips can give a harsher attack, but I like the control and articulation that firm tips give.

If you're feeling like your finger is getting stuck with the thrust coming from the large knuckle, I'd suggest not pushing through the string with that joint but use the middle joint to release the string instead. I had the same problem and discovered it was from pushing through to much from the large knuckle. It should be more of an exchange where the main large knuckle brings the finger to the string but then the middle joint takes over and the large knuckle relaxes at that moment the string is sounded.

Check out this video of Manuel Barrueco's distal joint passively extending. (and also check out my Slow Moe YouTube page for many other examples)


Pepe Romero. Check out the middle finger distal joint
I don't see either MB or PR collapsing their tipjoints, maybe they do but A LITTLE BIT.
I also been experimenting with creating a thrust coming more from the mid joints and not only the knuckle, but they still bend a lot. My fingertip joints collpase way mroe thatn MB or PR, in a way that the lowest phalanx (the tip joint one) and the next phlanax for a sole unit when attacking the string, a little curved to the palm even.


As a side comment look at this:
I know this guy is playing using playback of himself, but check his fingers:

ALWAYS in all videos very curved and has a very strong (it seems) and clear stroke.
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by guit-box » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:27 pm

If you could post a closeup video of your right hand doing free strokes, then we can be clear about what you're describing and provide more accurate assistance.

Both Pepe and Manuel are allowing the distal joint to passively extend a little. It may not be as extreme as your hand, and it may not happen on every stroke, but it's there. See how the middle finger is curved from the middle joint (PIP) to the finger tip, but as the finger is plucking, that finger segment straightens out.

The most collapsing of fingertips I've seen is Vicente Amigo, although I have looked, I have not found a good quality closeup of his free strokes to see if he also collapses the distal joint (DIP) for free strokes.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by guit-box » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:47 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:14 pm
As a side comment look at this:
I know this guy is playing using playback of himself, but check his fingers:

ALWAYS in all videos very curved and has a very strong (it seems) and clear stroke.
Most classical guitarists are going for a round and warm tone with good volume and projection. This guitarist has a thin tone that has a nice quality for pop music, but it many ways it's the opposite of what any classical guitarists I know consider to be a good sound. His wrist is dropped down far for the percussive effect but that also contributes to the thin sound. Maybe his tone could benefit from a looser tip joint, maybe not, but I'm sure he'd have more fullness if he just raised his wrist higher. (and maybe had a better quality guitar)
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by chien buggle » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:26 pm

Why not post a short video showing exactly what happens?

If your fingertips don't collapse when grabbing things in day to day life then it's very unlikely to be a physiological problem and more likely to be a psychological issue. In which case going to a teacher who has studied alexander technique is probably your best bet. It's easy to dismiss Alexander technique as pseudo science but most major music schools (especially in the US) have these classes because it works and not just for guitarists but all musicians.

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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:13 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:58 pm
[quote="Nick Cutroneo" post_id=1336874 time=1549668522 user_id=1What's "give"? I infer you mean "loose" a bit the fingertip joint, that would be fine for Tarrega's Lagrima.
But if you had to play Las Abejas (Agustín Barrios), you should not loose the tip, as it would occur what I described with loose tip joints. Decrease speed, reset time, resistance, strenght etc...
The amount of looseness (as you describe it) verse stiffness is and can be alterable by the player. What you are describing is 2 things, loose or stiff whereas I'm describing a gradient of looseness to stiffness. This is where I disagree with you. Also, the looseness isn't an active motion, so it does not need to muscularly be returned to it's starting position. You can test this out on your own finger, keeping the tip joint very relaxed (loose) and flick it with the other hand, it moves quite fast.
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Larry McDonald
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:41 pm

Hi,
Is your 4th finger extended like you are having "tea with the Queen"? Look up the "Quadridge Phenomenon". This could be your problem; it was for me. A video would help.

All the best,
Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2018 Michael Thames "Ancient Dragon" Cd/Ir
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar and Theory Instructor

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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Sebastian » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:05 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:41 pm
Hi,
Is your 4th finger extended like you are having "tea with the Queen"? Look up the "Quadridge Phenomenon". This could be your problem; it was for me. A video would help.

All the best,
Lare
Hi, no, an older professor of mine had that issue many years ago... I think he still has it, other than that I never seen anybody with that "tea finger" issue (You mean "raising" it a little bit? to some extent),
No, my pinky finger remains with the same arch as the ring one.
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by guit-box » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:24 pm

If you've studied classical guitar at a University level, and had several professional teachers/players unable to help you, it's doubtful a group of mostly amateur and intermediate level classical guitarists on a forum will be any help. Chances are even less without a video.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Terpfan » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:05 pm

Is it like this??

viewtopic.php?f=102&t=120033

After 4:40 at fast section. I might be wrong but tip joint seem like it's collapsing.

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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Sebastian » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:15 pm

Terpfan wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:05 pm
Is it like this??

viewtopic.php?f=102&t=120033

After 4:40 at fast section. I might be wrong but tip joint seem like it's collapsing.
Well for the perspective I'm watching the video I'm not 100% sure, but with a 90% of security I'd say he's either not collapsing tipjoints or he's collapsing but only A LITTLE BIT. Also, the angle created when a finger is idle and when it finishes attacking a string is very narrow, while mine's is VERY wide in comparison to him.. mainly (I highly suspect) due to the collapsing joints issue.
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Sebastian
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Re: Collapsing fingertip joints (right hand) for free stroke?

Post by Sebastian » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:22 pm

guit-box wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:24 pm
If you've studied classical guitar at a University level, and had several professional teachers/players unable to help you, it's doubtful a group of mostly amateur and intermediate level classical guitarists on a forum will be any help. Chances are even less without a video.

First of all having a "University level" study doesn't mean the same as "Advanced or very advanced level", there's also a component of natural talent involved. I don't see myself near the level of an elite guitarist neither a high level player who can play La Catedral flawlessly.

Second of all, I don't know how do music schools/professors work in USA or Europe. For the content of the forum itself and by watching many tutorials of foreign proffesors (aka not argentine) I see there's a higher inclination to the study of mechanics, whereas mostly of professors and teachers I had from my country only (or mostly) teach technique "through playing pieces", but without mechanical or study specifications/tips as found in Carlevaro's or Scott Tenant's book. That's something I found in some of DelCamp and other sources. For instance in the large thread you posted about Right hand technique, the one with like 100 pages of responses. Someone might know something of value on the matter. Never lose hope (for now).

PS: Yes I'm about to post a short video explaining the issue itself in a short future.
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