Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

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Scot Tremblay
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Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Scot Tremblay » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:15 pm

In my early years as a guitar student, I was lucky to be exposed to many different theories concerning technique including those of Segovia, Presti, Romero, Carlevaro, etc and for various periods of time I gave each of them a try. One thing that I discovered was that for me, with the exception of the so called "Romero" technique, all introduced stress and/or tension to my wrist, arm or hand. Prolonged stress to any part of the body is not a good thing and can lead to all sorts of issues. Some of which are mentioned above.

Personally, I wouldn't advocate any right hand technique that adds stress or tension to ones limbs regardless who promotes or swears by it. Those techniques work for those players because of their own individual physiology. You, being an individual with your own unique physiology must find what works best for you. This takes time and having a teacher that will introduce you to as many possibilities as he/she can is an important step toward this discovery.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

jstroud

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by jstroud » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:28 pm

A quick look at the best players today in virtuosity and tone and the vast majority have a straight wrist. Probably 90% or more.

Brad Little

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Brad Little » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:54 pm

I tried the Presti position when I had a classmate and occasional playing partner who studied with Alice Artzt, never could get comfortable with it. For years I used the Segovia position, as taught to me by one of his former students, and often had some mild pain in the area between my thumb and index finger. Now, I use a position more in tune with the Romero idea and I don't experience that pain any more. This is just my experience, doesn't mean it is going to be the same for everybody.
Brad

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AndreaCannon
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Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by AndreaCannon » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:58 pm

I have to say I echo what jstroud's comments. The Straight Wrist technique was recommended by Aaron Shearer and his students (some of whom were mentioned already) Ricardo Cobo, Manuel Barrueco and others, have phenomenal tone and control.

One thing in favor of this position is it most resembles the shape and manner of the hand at rest.

While it is true that some players have achieved a good sound and managed to avoid injury while using positions that appear unrelaxed, this would not be the case for most. Utilizing a hand position which allows the hand to relax will allow for the most movement with the least tension. Makes sense!!
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Luis_Br
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Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:47 pm

Well, I said about a small and relaxed bent. I think Segovia's techinque is misunderstood and a lot of guys say they teach Segovia's technique but they do it completely wrong, IMO.
So maybe an image can clarify what I think.
Here Segovia's playing, I don't see too much wrist bent. He is very relaxed and it is a great RH posture IMO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrdpmM-dI3g
Here Christopher Parkenning, on a great example of really bad posture. Not only because of the big wrist bent, but also all the tension and stiff hand to keep that position:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KHk_JNVpvw
Parkening may have studied with Segovia, but his technique has nothing to do with Segovia’s…
It is just an example. There are guys who do it ok, but there are a lot of players who misuse the term “Segovia’s technique”.

dtavano

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by dtavano » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:27 pm

I think a lot of it has to do with what kind of tone do YOU like, and what kind of music do you play. For example, compare Segovia to David Russell. Do you prefer the "delicate" and precise and powerful tones that Segovia creates, or do you prefer the warmer, prettier tones of David Russell? Segovia had a bent wrist with contoured nails and Russell has a straight wrist with ramped nails, and much of this, I believe, accounts for the difference in warmth. Also, it seems easier to play rest stroke with a straight wrist, and a little easier to play free stroke when bending the wrist. The thing about Segovia is that he like... saves his warmth so he can use it to greater effect for a particular note or phrase, whereas someone who plays all notes warmly won't have as high of a warmth threshold differential, hehe. Where someone like Segovia can adjust his angle of attack to create extra warmth(going from almost completely perpendicular to more angular), someone who naturally plays at a diagnonal angle won't be able to create that angle of attack "effect." Of course it goes both ways, someone who plays with a straighter wrist striving for warmth in their normal notes will have a greater differential between staccato and normal notes.

It seems like simple physics. Diagonal angle of attack puts the string more into a downward vibration TOWARDS the soundhole resulting in a rounder/deeper/warmer tone. Same concept as rest vs free stroke.

ozmorphasis

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by ozmorphasis » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:18 am

wianno wrote:Do we have any witnesses? Who among forum members actually has developed right hand tendinitis (tendonitis) as a result of the choice of a hand position similar to the one used by Segovia or Presti?

Jack
I developed some pretty serious right wrist problems while using a bent wrist technique. I learned this from my teacher who had studied for years with Rey De La Torre, who in turn had studied with Miguel Llobet. So, it was not directly from copying Segovia, but nonetheless from that general approach to wrist position that one sees in pictures of Llobet, Tarrega, and Segovia.

When I first arrived at USC's guitar program, my teacher had me abandon all of my repertoire and play some simple Sagreras works using a more straight wrist. All of my problems disappeared. Granted, there are people that make a living as contortionists, and don't develop issues. However, unless you are certain that you are not adding extra unwanted tension, then it is best to go for a more moderate approach in terms of the orientation of joints. It just makes sense.

Lastly, as someone has already mentioned, everyone is built with their own slight variations. It is impossible to make black and white sweeping generalizations about these things.

Bobber

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Bobber » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:47 am

I believe that Michael Lorimer had one of the best RH CG techniques. Not only so but he was an excellent teacher. Unfortunately there are no videos that I know of other than his performance in the Segovia master class on youtube. But he did write a CG column for guitar player magazine for several years. If you can get some back issues of these it might be very worthwhile.

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Tonyyyyy » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:07 pm

Luis_Br
So maybe an image can clarify what I think.
Here Segovia's playing, I don't see too much wrist bent. He is very relaxed and it is a great RH posture IMO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrdpmM-dI3g
Here Christopher Parkenning, on a great example of really bad posture. Not only because of the big wrist bent, but also all the tension and stiff hand to keep that position:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KHk_JNVpvw
Parkening may have studied with Segovia, but his technique has nothing to do with Segovia’s…
Very clear difference. Thanks Luis. The sideways bend in Parkening's playing did look very risky ergonomically (great player though)

dtavano
I think a lot of it has to do with what kind of tone do YOU like, and what kind of music do you play. For example, compare Segovia to David Russell. Do you prefer the "delicate" and precise and powerful tones that Segovia creates, or do you prefer the warmer, prettier tones of David Russell?
Very good points. Though , having heard David Russell close up, I would have described his playing (at the time) as rather cool and powerful - very clear and 'carrying' across a room. I wish I had heard Segovia !

Australopithicus

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Australopithicus » Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:58 am

As an amateur I can acknowledge and bow to the greater wisdom those who have received more expert advice and each argument stands on its merit.
I am a man with a right hand like a bunch of bananas I study my weaknesses and have watched many videos of expert players. For what it is worth, I think this argument centres around individual physical attributes. Codmate make an important point in that we are not equal in this matter. I have followed Segovia and observed professionals using his technique. I cannot make it work comfortably as, like Codmate, my m is a long. I find straightening the wrist a little , towards the Romero approach, helps me. But that does not apply to tremolo for which I practise Segovia style. In short each individual needs to adapt to accommodate individual physical attributes. The models we have are great in that they offer indications of what is possible. I am no doctor, I am confident that any right hand which strains in its attempts to follow any particular model, will finish up painful and worse.
Segovi vs Romero? We are dealing with who we are, not who they are.

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Tonyyyyy » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Australopithicus wrote:.....We are dealing with who we are, not who they are.
Nicely put - there is a lot of truth in that

Janry Cabasagan

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Janry Cabasagan » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:08 am

Thank you for discussing the pro's and con's of varied RH CG positions.. Since I'm fairly new to CG, I personally find the 'natural' straight wrist position more comfortable, but with the compromise of having 'warmer' sound compared to 'knuckles positioned almost parallel to the strings' - which sound treblish.. Thanks to those who pointed out that RH position really varies per individual. But after experimenting and listening to the tones produced using those 2 RH positions, I clearly needed to readjust mine because I like the treblish sound - though that RH position is not that comfortable to my fingers (but for the wrist- it is,).

Thanks for the input sirs!

Heike Matthiesen

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Heike Matthiesen » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:43 am

..and it is more important to play in a healthy way with more work on the sound than play with great sound and ruin your hands! So try to find the most natural position for the hand and maybe then change the position of the guitar slightly to adjust the angle strings/finger.
Guitar playing should NEVER cause pain or hurt!!!!
And while playing always have a "trouble scanner" alerte, be aware of what you do with your body, that is minimum 50 % of playing without problems in the future- and also playing easier, faster and safer because the movements are more smooth and ergonomic
Best regards,
Heike

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Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by Jeff Robertson » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:36 pm

cows wrote:I started as a beginner with a teacher who described his right hand technique as derived from Segovia, Bream, Williams, and others. He studied with teachers who studied under Emilio Pujol and Miguel Abloniz. He would hold his right hand in a way such that the knuckles were slightly pointed towards the fingerboard and ima would be perpendicular to the strings, the thumb parallel.

He's been highly critical of the "Romero style" which he says pervade southern California right now. My understanding of this style is having the hand less dropped at an angle and playing more at a diagonal with the strings. He cites this type of playing as the cause of his tendonitis and generally inferior. When I watch videos of the Romeros or Scott Tennant, I see a difference in how they hold their right hands versus the hands of the aforementioned.

He is extremely adamant that the former style, that of Segovia et al, is superior. Does this critique have merit?
Devils Advocate here. The first question I would probably ask your teacher is, "If you studied with all of these folks from the Segovia school then how did this "Romero" technique you blame for your tendonitis ever come into your playing?". Who taught it to him?

The only "superior" style is the style that works best for you. To make claims that one style is better than another is ludicrous in my opinion. Much like guitars...no 2 players are identical in how they approach the guitar. I have attended several Romero master classes and in exactly NONE of them has Pepe ever tried to get people to conform to any sort of "Romero" style.
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AndreiKrylov

Re: Segovia vs Romero right hand technique

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:09 pm

Heike Matthiesen wrote:..and it is more important to play in a healthy way with more work on the sound than play with great sound and ruin your hands! So try to find the most natural position for the hand and maybe then change the position of the guitar slightly to adjust the angle strings/finger.
Guitar playing should NEVER cause pain or hurt!!!!
And while playing always have a "trouble scanner" alerte, be aware of what you do with your body, that is minimum 50 % of playing without problems in the future- and also playing easier, faster and safer because the movements are more smooth and ergonomic
Best regards,
Heike
Yes Heike! I totally agree:
Guitar playing should NEVER cause pain or hurt!!!!
There are so many people (here on forum too) for whom guitar playing bring a lot of pain or hurt...
Back problems and hand problems... neck problems shoulder problems etc.

I totally agree that guitarist (and his/her hands) should be in maximum relaxed and ergonomic position.
But is it sitting combined with complicated mental and physical activity and with emotional (fear etc) problem of performance could be healthy and easy as 1 2 3?
No it can not.
But we could improve it a lot by playing in a relaxed state of mind and body, by removing pressures of performance and making a process of creation of music a process of enjoying and be satiafied by the beauty of the sound most important goals in our guitar life.
Also by adapting ourselves and our environment to best possible ergonomic practices - playing in free standing/moving position
Using all fingers etc.
And playing and don't pressured to PERFORM our best but feel that it is the best to PLAY to enjoy ourselves and what we do!
Feel ourselves as an artists who are drawing pictures of the beautifulworld in which we are very short time and could choose to enjoy beauty of the guitar sound...

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