Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

Post by guit-box » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:01 pm

I'm starting this topic mainly for myself, to improve my right hand technique, but also to have these videos all posted in one place. I'm hoping we can have a constructive discussion and debate about right hand technique that is based as much as possible in verifiable evidence. I don't have a virtuoso right hand, so anything I say in this thread is conjecture, based on what I see in the videos, or feel works best for my hand-- but mostly based on the videos. I also want to say that I think all these concert players are amazing guitarists, even if I'm questioning the validity of something. Lastly, If you don't agree with me, I'm glad to be wrong about anything because then I get to learn something new, but please be civil about your disagreements. I can't do anything about haters posting, but I will filter your messages to trash and not read them or respond to negativity.

Compiling all of this video material is a lot of work, and it would be great if others were interested in adding to the discussion with their own videos. I'm sure there are many ways to extract and post videos on youtube, but here's how I do it.
1. download a youtube video by putting an ss between the www and the address. (example: http://www.ssyoutube-vid.com) then choose mp4 as the download type
2. open file in a program like Transcribe to slow it down or select a section for exporting. --choose export video. (I'm sure there are other free programs that can do this...maybe try audacity)
3. Then I open the video in quicktime and choose export for the web.
4. Then upload to youtube
5. On the forum, use the youtube tag in the editor and embed the videos using the youtube video ID
Last edited by guit-box on Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:16 pm


Youtube

WK describing how the finger moves for a free stroke. Notice how he only flexes from the knuckle (shoulder), and keeps the middle joint immobile.


Youtube

Demonstrating a normal free stroke on the guitar. The motion is still all from the knuckle as he describes in the previous video.


Youtube

Here he describes the play-relax technique for free stroke. To me, this seems the same as the current "ballistic stroke" or "twitching" that I've heard described on this forum and in other methods such as Christopher Berg's method book. The motion, as he describes, is all from the knuckle joint, and I agree, that's what it looks like he is doing.


Youtube

In this arpeggio example you can see the play-relax stroke at slow speeds with no middle flexion. But once it speeds up, the middle joint starts taking over the stroke once the knuckle brings the finger to the string. The motion of the full stroke from start to finish becomes less ballistic or pendulum-like and looks more like an orbit. Also, the distance of the "spring-back" looks bigger at the fast tempo, which implies to me that at fast tempos, the knuckle extension involves more muscular extension than just a simple spring-back ballistic stroke extension.


Youtube

In this slow motion video, it's easier to see that the middle joint is playing a bigger part in the stroke. The knuckle is no longer following through like it did in the earlier examples. The middle joint sends that segment of the finger back into the palm, but knuckle joint looks like it bounces off the string and it doesn't go back into the palm anymore.

William Kanengeiser is obviously an amazing guitarist and his technique is flawless. I think what he is teaching is legitimate and I've worked a lot on it myself. I do think, however, that it's incomplete since the video clearly shows there's more going on at fast tempos.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

JonL

Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by JonL » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:13 pm

More good work Guit-Box!

So what practice implications do you draw from these videos? The obvious one is not to try to play just from the knuckle (although there may be an argument from starting this way) but what else do you think?

Jon

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:25 am

So what practice implications do you draw from these videos? The obvious one is not to try to play just from the knuckle (although there may be an argument from starting this way) but what else do you think?
I could probably go on and on about this. Since I starting looking at slow motion videos of concert classical guitarists, I've learned a lot of eye opening things that I've been able to directly apply to my playing. My right hand technique has made some great breakthroughs recently that I attribute to knowing exactly how the best guitarists are moving their fingers. Of course other things are helping. I've learned some things from lessons I've been taking, from some new method books, and dvds, and also from this forum. The slow-mo videos are a great way to verify my understanding of something I've read or heard to make sure the player is really doing what they teach. You'd think these two things would be the same, but often they are not. Having a way to verify what the best and correct movements are is really valuable. A good statistic is based on the quality and quantity of the sample. So, for instance, if you have a large sample of the best classical guitarists in the world and can show that they all use the middle joint in conjunction with the knuckle joint, then that's more reliable information than if you just have one teacher telling you to focus playing from the knuckle. If you're the kind of person who takes things like "focus your playing from the knuckle" literally, then you may be heading down the wrong path.

This set of videos illustrates one example of a misunderstanding I had about how the finger strokes work. It's pretty easy to see that if you take what William Kanengieser is saying and demonstrating literally, then you'd think the middle joint doesn't play any important role in the stroke. Yes, I know he doesn't say *not* to use the middle joint, but he does say to focus on the knuckle joint, and in all his demonstrations the middle joint is immobile. It's only when you slow down the video of his fast playing that it's clear he uses a lot of middle joint too.

So, I started to pluck more from the middle joint, but I'm learning there's way more to it than just using more middle joint. It's really about coordinating the ordering of the joints. It's knuckle first and then middle. The knuckle provides the initial momentum to the string and the middle grabs that momentum and takes over for the knuckle. Simultaneously or milliseconds after the initial string contact, the knuckle uses that momentum and bounces off in the opposite direction to help re-position the finger to pluck again. For me, Just flexing more from the middle joint also tends to force the knuckle to extend very naturally. I've heard people describe the plucking action as "simply closing the hand" and while this is a good description it would be easy to confuse that as meaning moving both joints together, but if you close your hand very naturally it's knuckle first and then middle joins in. So, it's my current belief that this is the correct way to pluck.

Maybe it's changed since I first was learning guitar, back then everything was knuckle-centric. I always thought that the rest stroke used all knuckle and that free stroke was mostly knuckle. Back then, the only method I remember saying that free stroke used middle joint was the Parkening method. I believe Pumping Nylon was mostly knuckle-centric, with the other joints referred to as "helper joints". I've always had a difficult time with my rest strokes feeling too heavy and had trouble getting through the string. I started to suspect that rest stroke must be using the same knuckle then middle firing order. I then noticed that this is exactly what I see happening in slow motion videos of rest strokes. I've been having a lot of luck applying this to my rest stroke technique and my rest strokes feels so much better and lighter to the touch. Check out this video of Scott Tennant doing rest strokes. It's difficult to see because the momentum of the knuckle makes it look like the knuckle is pushing through the string, but I believe it's really the middle taking over.


Youtube


The other things that help my hand work better are pronating the wrist so I can contact the string at the extreme left side of the nail. My nails connect down very low on the finger, so this is probably an individual thing. I'm also having luck with a straight wrist and slicing through the string a lot. To me, this position looks a lot like Barrueco's hand position and gives me the warmest sound and the easiest plucking action. Hand positions are the easiest thing to observe in videos and try. I also learned that letting the tip joints give helps my rest strokes be warmer, punchier, and easier--learned this from lots of videos (see the Romeros and tip joints thread)

So, the slow motion videos have helped to change the way I'm currently approaching the free stroke, rest stroke, tip joints, and hand position.

Jon-What practice implications do you draw from the videos?
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by robinfw » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:36 am

I recommend Carlevaros School of Guitar.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:21 am

recommend Carlevaros School of Guitar.
I've heard that many times, but it's out of print. Where did you find it? Is there an online pdf version omewhere?
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by robinfw » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:51 pm

google search top of the list. at *** Site blocked for copyright reasons ***

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:42 pm

I found that I did previously download a pdf photocopy Carlevaro's School of Guitar. I browsed the text and there is a lot of information. You're not the first person to recommend this method, so it must have some good information. At first glance, it seems that he makes things really complex. Also, I watched him play on youtube and he's just an ok guitarist, so I'm a bit skeptical of teachers who are not world class players. His technique does not look very relaxed, he seems to use a lot of knuckle-only strokes and his pinky sticks out a lot. Methods I like are Pepe Romero's La Guitarra, it has a lot of good information and I know he has the goods. Christopher Berg's method seems good too and he's a good player. I think Philip Hii has some interesting info on his website and downloadable books that I've not seen elsewhere. Unfortunately, I can find serious faults in most methods out there, and that just goes to show how difficult it is to clearly explain guitar technique in text alone. I'll read methods, but I think going to the source and analyzing what's really going on is the shortest path to success--short of taking guitar lessons from them.

One technique that's being taught lately is moving a and c with m. I'm not sure what I think of this technique, but some really great players like Jason Vieaux teach to do this. However, I've never seen anyone doing i,m alternation while moving a,c with m in actual music; it seems like a practice-only technique that attempts to teach those fingers to stay relaxed. I noticed Carlovaro says not to move fingers sympathetically with other fingers. He advocates keeping them relaxed and independent, which seems more like the ultimate goal. Pepe Romero teaches to keep them in a relaxed midrange position if not used. Keeping them relaxed without forcing them to move seems better to me, but I'd be interested in what others think.

robinfw- What do you feel are some of the highlights of the Carlovaro method that directly apply to the topic of this thread?
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:56 pm


Youtube

Here is something you likely would not get from a method book. Check out how Pepe Romero uses the surface of the nail (the part you coat with nail polish) to brace against the other strings. I would have never thought to do this, but clearly it works for him. It also points out how far forward his hand position is. You probably couldn't even get this information in a lesson, because you're usually not close enough to the teacher's hand to observe something like this.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

robinfw
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by robinfw » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:19 pm

The section on Toques in Carlevaros book was helpful.

IMO there is no one method or way. Everyone is different and we must look and find what best suits us. Also, another point is a good player may not be a great teacher and a good teacher may not be a great player. Take for example Chen Zi in China. I could go on but.....

This is a very interesting topic and I appreciate the videos. Maybe I can find something to add.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:51 pm

This is a very interesting topic and I appreciate the videos. Maybe I can find something to add.
Thanks for saying that, you've already contributed a lot to the discussion, but it would be great to see more close-up videos. I will read the section in Carlevaro on torques. I was able to find this great video below based on your suggestion.


Youtube

The technique here is astonishing, so it's all worth watching, but the rest strokes at 6:20 show a very light touch with relaxed tips and lots of middle joint movement.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by glassynails » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:54 am

If you use Firef*x browser you can use any of the countless add-ons to easily download YT videos as mp4.
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:18 pm

Paul Galbraith slow motion tremolo:

Youtube

This one is a really great angle and a clear close-up video. I see the knuckle brings the finger to the string and gives it some energy, but the actual moment of pluck is a combination of knuckle lift and middle flex. The uniform motion and ballistic stroke folks *must* see that's what is happening here, no? Sphynx? This is the same thing I've seen in all the tremolo videos. Tremolo requires non-uniform motion.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:56 pm

Extreme slow motion of Manuel Barrueco's right hand:

Youtube

The a finger bracing is interesting. The technique is flawless and shows very refined, small movements. I see the knuckle lift on the index finger at the same moment the middle joint is flexing. It's hard to tell for sure, but the m tip joint appears to be buckling a little bit.
Last edited by guit-box on Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:10 pm

Manuel Barrueco medium slow motion;

Youtube

The index finger goes to the string with some knuckle flexion force and then rebounds backwards as the middle plucks. I *think* the middle finger is doing the same, but it looks like the tip joint is buckling a little, and that makes it look like the knuckle joint is going into the palm more than i.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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