Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos

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

Post by guit-box » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:12 pm


Youtube

Instructional video by Renato Bellucci on Carlevaro right hand technique. His right hand looks solid, but he gives the usual over-simplification of the stroke originating from the knuckle at 0:50, and leaves it at that. However, like all the guitar players in the videos of this thread, you can see his middle joint takes over the pluck once the knuckle brings the finger to the string and presses it. See 1:50. The knuckle also moves in the opposite direction while the middle flexes.


Youtube

The section starting around 1:50 in slow motion
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:35 am


Youtube

Here's another free stroke example of someone teaching to only move the joints in the same direction --never in opposite direction see 2:00. He says this is all based on the teaching of Shearer and Berg. What he's doing doesn't look anything like the circular motion that all the professionals are doing. This kind of pendulum motion has a clear stopping point at the end of the stroke that slows the finger down. I'm skeptical of teachers like this who are not concert performers. I'm doubtful that his free strokes would look like this when he's playing real music at concert tempos.


Youtube

Contrast the previous lesson video with this one of John Williams who has a perfect free stroke. The Williams free stroke has a lifting from the knuckle simultaneously with middle joint flexing. It's clear which free stroke is better.
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 Hybrid » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:02 am

You guys are so way off target. You will gain little to nothing from watching people's hands.

They're all different!!! Who is doing it right? Who is doing it wrong? You'll never know!!

Guitar playing has little or nothing to do with your hands. Its all about the signals your brain is sending,
and how you mentally visualize what you're doing. Not about which knuckle is moving.
I learned this from the time i was just 4 years old, from my father, who was a classical and flamenco guitar teacher.

Looking at players' hands to learn rest stroke or free stroke, is like trying to figure out how to be a great author by studying the way Hemmingway held is pencil.
There's simply nothing special or remarkable about the motion of the finger plucking a string. Its all about how you think about it.

Go ahead and scoff. But i'm right. :bye:

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

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:22 am

Have to agree with Hybrid (as usual). The way to achieve good technique is to think about and draw conclusions regarding the efficient and ideal movement of the fingers in relation to the strings: then analyse your own hand movements and practice to get closer and closer to what you have concluded is ideal. In this way you have used your own mind in conjunction with your own body to learn.
To expand Hybrid's rather excellent Hemingway analogy; no amount of slow-motion observation of the movements of Usain Bolt's legs will enable you to run as fast as him.

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

Post by Les Backshall » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:58 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:.... no amount of slow-motion observation of the movements of Usain Bolt's legs will enable you to run as fast as him.
No it won't, but if you want to be able to run a bit faster than you can now, it's probably not a bad place to start. On the other hand, you could just think about it, then send a few brain signals to your feet; that might do the trick.

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

Post by Lawler » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:14 pm

Guit-box, good for you for wanting to study right hand mechanics by observing skilled guitarists. However, the method you're using would need to be more scientifically rigorous to be accurate. The analysis of the movement of each of the three segments of the finger in relation to one another, for instance, couldn't be accurately done without also measuring the pressure exerted at each joint. Perhaps a sports medicine lab could do that with electrodes on a subject virtuoso guitarist, but I won't hold my breath for that to happen. There are other things too but I don't want to go on and on.

But, you know, this forum is oriented too much towards technique and not enough towards musical perception and core musicianship skills (audiation, ear training, notation read as representing sound rather than fingerings, and such). Don't get me wrong, technique is critical. But it's only half (or less) of it. So I'd encourage anyone interested in scientific analysis of technique to, as well as continuing to try to understand right hand mechanics, to double check that their own technique is driven by aural awareness and musical sensitivity as much as by mechanical analysis.

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

Post by guit-box » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:25 pm

I disagree that looking at how the hands, fingers and joints are moving is not useful information for learning and studying how to play the guitar. I also reject the idea that that everyone is moving their fingers differently and therefore we're all on our own to find our own way to play the guitar. If this was true there would be no method books, no need for teaching technique, and of course that isn't the case. Unfortunately there's a lot of mis-information our there, or at least incomplete information, that sends students down the wrong path. I think that people have been taught a lot of bad information over the years--play only from the large knuckle is the worst advice, but there are others. Looking at slow motion videos and computer analysis of movements is exactly what all of the major sports disciplines are doing. This kind of analysis and use of technology is a huge reason for the improvement in these athletes over the last decade and it also allows this better and more correct information to be available to the average person--through better instructional materials. Of course we can look at all videos and see small differences, but there are also obvious similarities--circular finger movements with opposed joint movement in all of the concert guitarists. With the exception of the David Tannenbaum video (where his playing seems really strained to me), and a few people doing slow demonstrations, I see no professionals who actually move the joints uniformly as the Shearer school teaches when they are playing at performance tempos.

Lawler -- I watched some of the videos on your youtube page. I think your playing is excellent and exhibits the same kind of vertical movement (where the middle flexes while the knuckle lifts) as all the other professional videos in this thread. I think your technique is perfect, but if you had encountered a teacher early on who taught the uniform direction, or playing exclusively from the knuckle, or following through from the knuckle, you might not have developed the technique you have now.
Last edited by guit-box on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:54 pm

guit-box wrote:I disagree that looking at how the hands, fingers and joints are moving is not useful information for learning and studying how to play the guitar. I also reject the idea that that everyone is moving their fingers differently and therefore we're all on our own to find our own way to play the guitar. If this was true there would be no method books, no need for teaching technique, and of course that isn't the case. Unfortunately there's a lot of mis-information our there, or at least incomplete information, that sends students down the wrong path. I think that people have been taught a lot of bad information over the years--play only from the large knuckle is the worst advice, but there are others. Looking at slow motion videos and computer analysis of movements is exactly what all of the major sports disciplines are doing. This kind of analysis and use of technology is a huge reason for the improvement in these athletes over the last decade and it also allows this better and more correct information to be available to the average person--through better instructional materials. Of course we can look at all videos and see small differences, but there are also obvious similarities--circular finger movements with opposed joint movement in all of the concert guitarists. With the exception of the David Tannenbaum video (where his playing seems really strained to me), and a few people doing slow demonstrations, I see no professionals who actually move the joints uniformly as the Shearer school teaches when they are playing at performance tempos.
I understand where you're coming from here, but, as Lawler hinted, you are reducing the playing of a musical instrument to the motions and mechanism of professional athletics. Finger ballistics are a very small part of the mental equipment of great players, not irrelevant, but small. Musicianship guides technique far more significantly than does the perfect mechanics of a finger's trajectory through a string. The great player's technique is shaped and informed by musical knowledge and an aural sensitivity that shapes the music, moment by moment according to musical ideals, not mechanical ones.

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

Post by guit-box » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:18 pm

I understand where you're coming from here, but, as Lawler hinted, you are reducing the playing of a musical instrument to the motions and mechanism of professional athletics. Finger ballistics are a very small part of the mental equipment of great players, not irrelevant, but small. Musicianship guides technique far more significantly than does the perfect mechanics of a finger's trajectory through a string. The great player's technique is shaped and informed by musical knowledge and an aural sensitivity that shapes the music, moment by moment according to musical ideals, not mechanical ones.
Sure, but you are overstating the importance of one thread with the title "Right Hand Technique & Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos" that falls under the group on the forum called "Guitar Technique". I'm interested in many aspects of music and guitar playing, but forum topics are better when they are focused. I think this is a very important topic, btw.

As I stated in the first post of this topic, I started this mainly for my own learning and to have these videos archived all in one place. I'm sure that it has helped someone out there too who hasn't chimed in, but it's mainly for myself. It would be great if people would add real content to the topic instead of just telling me how wrong or mis-informed I am or how I'm reducing guitar playing to finger movements--I'm not.
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:47 pm

guit-box wrote: Sure, but you are overstating the importance of one thread with the title "Right Hand Technique & Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Videos" that falls under the group on the forum called "Guitar Technique". I'm interested in many aspects of music and guitar playing, but forum topics are better when they are focused. I think this is a very important topic, btw.

As I stated in the first post of this topic, I started this mainly for my own learning and to have these videos archived all in one place. I'm sure that it has helped someone out there too who hasn't chimed in, but it's mainly for myself. It would be great if people would add real content to the topic instead of just telling me how wrong or mis-informed I am or how I'm reducing guitar playing to finger movements--I'm not.
I appreciate what you're saying here and I'll give you another reason why your approach is misleading, a reason based purely on technique.
You appear to be suggesting that by observing the finger movements of many great players one can then consolidate and aggregate this information into one's own technique and solve the physical problem of the guitar in this manner. This won't work and I'll tell you why.

Any person with reasonable intelligence can work out with a bit of thought and experimentation, if they are so inclined, what an efficient movement of the right hand fingers on the strings of the guitar should be. Certain principles are fairly obvious right from the start:

1. The hand itself should bounce up and down as little as possible because bouncing takes the hand out of position and the fingers need to constantly re-locate the strings.
2. Given the stable platform of the hand above the strings the fingers should move in as mechanically efficient a way as possible.
3. The fingers should move independantly of one another
4. Movement in multiple directions simultaneously of the various parts of the finger will only decrease the efficiency of the stroke (I know this is the bit you don't agree with)

These kinds of conclusions can be drawn fairly rapidly by anyone with reasonable intelligence and desire to solve the problem of the right hand. But that is not where the problem lies. The real business of technique is about awareness. Through awareness comes control.
Once the mechanical principles have been decided upon the player then needs to work on his/her awareness of his physical mechanism when playing music, keeping the motions of the hand as close to the ideals as possible in all musical situations. I have been teaching guitar long enough to realise that the majority of people have very little awareness and by consequence control of their physical mechanism. The main reason that they have little awareness is because of distraction. The distractions (diversions of attention away from correct movements)to the student are:

1. The music!
2. Reading the music
3. Random thoughts which every human suffers from.

So the business of technical building technique goes hand in hand with building ones ability to remain aware of correct movement even when playing music :lol:
Countless times (more than I care to think about) I have shown a pupil how to move the fingers and they are quite able to follow my instruction if that movement is all they have to think about at that moment. The second another factor is introduced into the equation, like a piece of music, these correct movements dissolve. The principles of good movements are not difficult to grasp, but the ability to remain aware of them is what impedes the progress of many people.

Longest post I've put on Delcamp for loong time :chaud:

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

Post by guit-box » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:22 pm

1. The hand itself should bounce up and down as little as possible because bouncing takes the hand out of position and the fingers need to constantly re-locate the strings.
As little as is needed maybe would be a better description. In some cases bouncing is actually a good thing. Playing repeated block chords seems to require some bouncing. Philip Hii talks about how bouncing is a good thing in his writing about technique. I've seen many examples of bouncing in right hands of concert guitarists. Eduardo Fernandez is another person that comes to mind who bounces.

Youtube

William Kanengeiser using wrist or arm bouncing to play repeated chords

Youtube

David Starobin uses a lot of bouncing
2. Given the stable platform of the hand above the strings the fingers should move in as mechanically efficient a way as possible.
I agree with this, but who gets to define what is mechanically efficient? Looking at how concert guitarists are moving with mechanical efficiency is more useful to me than following the advice of a method or teacher who can't demonstrate it. The demonstration of mechanical efficiency in close-up videos is far more useful to me.
3. The fingers should move independantly of one another
Agreed. Philip Hii has some interesting writing about how the fingers can be more independent when they move vertically (perpendicular to the soundboard) and that movements past the string and into the palm make the fingers more dependent on each other. I can't say I agree or disagree with what he is saying, but we can all observe in the videos that minimal follow-through of the knuckle is a big part of how all the great players move. It also makes sense that moving vertically will keep the finger positioned over the string and poised to play, whereas too much movement into the palm from the knuckle is inefficient because 1. you have to stop and change direction, and 2. you need to move farther to reposition the finger for the next stroke.
4. Movement in multiple directions simultaneously of the various parts of the finger will only decrease the efficiency of the stroke (I know this is the bit you don't agree with)
Well, yes, but it's not even so much that I disagree with you, it's that every video I've posted shows the opposite of this. Everyone is using some amount of circular movement in their finger strokes. It's possible to get close to Shearer's uniform direction principal when demonstrating at slow tempos, but increase the tempo and uniform movement goes out the window.


Youtube

John Williams apparently disagrees with rule #4.

[Link removed for copyright reasons. Search YouTube for: Natalia - Antonio Lauro Denian Arcoleo ]
In this video from your youtube page, it sure looks to me like the knuckle bounces off the string in the opposite direction at the moment the middle joint plucks the note. Also, the knuckle never follows through past the string--only the middle joint follows through. By the way, I sincerely think your playing and technique is amazing.
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by guit-box » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:55 pm

http://www.barrueco.com/pages/podcasts
This podcast #17 Barrueco: On Teachers and Teaching is very interesting. He talks about his relationship with Aaron Shearer. At one point he says the most important thing Shearer did was to force him to come up with his own way of playing free stroke, because he didn't care for the free stroke sound that Shearer's other students were getting. He said he was considered the black sheep of the program because he didn't do what Shearer asked him. Given this interview, it surprises me that people say Barrueco's technique is exactly the same as the Shearer books.
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by Lawler » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:22 am

guit-box wrote:Lawler -- I watched some of the videos on your youtube page. I think your playing is excellent
Thanks
and exhibits the same kind of vertical movement (where the middle flexes while the knuckle lifts) as all the other professional videos in this thread.
This is the crux of what I believe is a significant inaccuracy in your analysis in this thread. You seem to think that a guitarist is lifting at the knuckle joint (extending) when in fact the proximal philange (segment at the knuckle) is is exerting a flexing pressure that would take it toward the soundboard if not for a greater pressure being exerted at the intermediate philange (middle segment) that forces the proximal for an instant to move very slightly the opposite direction. This will happen in varying amounts depending on the fingertip shape, nail shape and length, finger angle at the moment in a piece, among other things. The sensation in the hand, and the muscular effort, is all about moving all the finger segments in a flexing motion. This is one of the most common difficulties beginning students have - instinctively pulling the strings away from the guitar soundboard with a snapping and buzzing sound as they pluck the strings with an extension of the proximal philange.
I think your technique is perfect,
I can assure you my technique is not perfect but thanks.
but if you had encountered a teacher early on who taught the uniform direction, or playing exclusively from the knuckle, or following through from the knuckle, you might not have developed the technique you have now.
That would be an inaccurate assumption.

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

Post by guit-box » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:54 am

This is the crux of what I believe is a significant inaccuracy in your analysis in this thread. You seem to think that a guitarist is lifting at the knuckle joint (extending) when in fact the proximal philange (segment at the knuckle) is is exerting a flexing pressure that would take it toward the soundboard if not for a greater pressure being exerted at the intermediate philange (middle segment) that forces the proximal for an instant to move very slightly the opposite direction. This will happen in varying amounts depending on the fingertip shape, nail shape and length, finger angle at the moment in a piece, among other things. The sensation in the hand, and the muscular effort, is all about moving all the finger segments in a flexing motion. This is one of the most common difficulties beginning students have - instinctively pulling the strings away from the guitar soundboard with a snapping and buzzing sound as they pluck the strings with an extension of the proximal philange.
So you do actually see the joints moving in opposite directions, thank you, that's progress! Your assumption is not what I'm thinking or saying, but it seems to be a common confusion since you're not the first person to say this. I've said it before, I'm only describing the visual movement of the fingers. I've read about how muscles work in Berg, Shearer, etc. but I'm not really concerning myself with that--just describing the movement. If someone wants to explain the movement in terms of muscles, I'd be glad to read about that, but I don't think a forum of guitarists are qualified to describe how muscles work in any legitimate detail. Also, plenty of people have learned to play the guitar without knowing the inner workings of muscles. I am interested in things directly related to movements, sensations, feel, positions, etc. I agree with you that, for some strokes, the movement of the middle joint towards the palm automatically seems to lift the knuckle segment. I'm sure part of this lift is the fingernail riding up over the string to clear it, but there are other times, like in the John Williams video where the finger is lifting quite a lot, and I doubt that case is a simple reflex, it *seems* more like an active extension. For fast arpeggios, I don't think the knuckle is contributing much pressure at all, it's really just bringing the finger to the string and you don't see any displacement of the string towards the soundboard--it's the middle joint doing all the work and the knuckle just repositions the finger. So, I have no idea whether the lift movement is an active extension, just a relaxation back into place, the fingernail clearing the string, or something else, but I also don't really care. I'm not of the belief that moving joints in opposite directions is a bad thing. I've been doing pull-offs in my left hand, successfully flexing the middle joint and extending the knuckle joint for 40 years and it works perfectly with no injuries. I don't know where this nonsense that joints should only move in one direction at a time came from, but it makes no sense. I challenge someone to show me how you can do a bunch of hammer-on/pull-offs in a row without moving joints in opposite directions--make a video and post it. If joints moving in opposite directions are bad for the right hand they must be bad for the left hand, right?
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Re: Right Hand Technique & - Concert Guitarist Slow Motion Vid

Post by Lawler » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:16 am

Best of luck to all in their technical development.

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