Right hand technique: a new perspective

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:25 pm

Crofty wrote:...I was taking Kevin Collins' description of Provost's method as being accurate.
i.e. "In the tremolo ... a, m, i come out together ... they just work this way, if you let them"
Except that they do not. The holding of a, m and i in the palm until the activation of p requires conscious effort in direct opposition to the natural return to mid-range that we are all born with.

Complicating tremolo in this manner, mystifying the process within a mantra of arcane wisdom, serves not only to complicate an otherwise straightforward mechanism in the mind of the student but also to confound the smooth, instinctive operation of the hand. If ever there was a recipe for dysfunctional tension this is it.

One can't blame Provost entirely of course - I recall certain well known tutors advocating the same approach in the UK back in the 80s (maybe earlier).
Crofty wrote:Why set up a special "tremolo method" if, in other areas of rh technique, one accepts natural return as the ideal?
A pertinent question - there's a cynical reply relating to self aggrandisement, the false sense of the indispensable master at who's feet the humble acolyte must bow down in awe ... but I'll let someone else pick that one up.

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guitarrista
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by guitarrista » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:32 pm

Scott,

If you are really just pulling up using just your tip-joint towards the underside of you MCP joint, there is no physical way the string is being pushed into the guitar, contrary to what you say. The 'laws of physics' do not allow it as there is no force component into the guitar at all; instead just sideways and up force components are present. This will still generate a sound, but pulling strings up instead of into the guitar is generally avoided as the tone quality is poor (for which there is a physical explanation). However, it seems - from the videos - that you are trying hard not to move from your MCP joint and are using a combination of middle and tip joints flexion; because of the middle joint and depending on the hand position over the string, you might be getting a down-force component that way.

As to the tremolo, your 'a' finger makes almost no sound most of the time; rhythmically it is almost as if it is an even pmi triplet, but 'a' gets in there a few times. When it does, it comes really close before m, as if it is a grace note.

It is too bad you are not really listening to anyone who offers you feedback you do not like. But I guess you have not even listened to your two great teachers you say were teaching you correctly. That '35 years' number makes no sense to me - how can one persist in practicing uncritically for 35 years and getting hurt and persisting despite that? One is its own best teacher - so one has to critically evaluate and think through what is happening; blindly following name/authority recognition is a really bad idea in general, but especially in learning highly-individualized, complex and delicate motor skills.

"Feather-like presentation of the finger to the string" - what does that even mean at high-speed - and, more importantly, why? - it is a part of the finger movement which does not affect sound-making.

But really, the most serious problem is that there is not just 'one true way (tm)' to play guitar fluently. It is clear that people's different anatomical proportions and other variability combined with (and in some cases influencing) preferred hand setup over the strings, make for multiple ways to play fluently, as the great variability in the details of the playing of many great guitarists show through videos. Just think critically, evaluate, and find what works for you. I don't think you have found that even for yourself, never mind pushing it onto others as the 'one true way (tm)' (not a quote).

Guitar playing is an applied art; it is not even a science. Physics, anatomy, physiology in general, even psychology can all inform an approach that works for you - if you diagnose properly what you have as a given and provided you have acquired knowledge in these subjects and the ability to properly analyze and apply what you have found out.
Last edited by guitarrista on Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Crofty
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Crofty » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:16 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:25 pm
Crofty wrote:...I was taking Kevin Collins' description of Provost's method as being accurate.
i.e. "In the tremolo ... a, m, i come out together ... they just work this way, if you let them"
Except that they do not. The holding of a, m and i in the palm until the activation of p requires conscious effort in direct opposition to the natural return to mid-range that we are all born with.

Complicating tremolo in this manner, mystifying the process within a mantra of arcane wisdom, serves not only to complicate an otherwise straightforward mechanism in the mind of the student but also to confound the smooth, instinctive operation of the hand. If ever there was a recipe for dysfunctional tension this is it.
Yes, exactly my point Mark. I seem to remember this same dialogue some years ago. The idea that for "most" occasions one relies on the natural return of all rh fingers, whether in two or three finger combinations for scales or whatever, but then suddenly we are apparently obliged to train them to do something much more complicated, and against the fingers' natural, physical instinct, has always seemed bizarre to me.

Tremolo is fast[ish] finger alternation: nothing more complex than that - and certainly nothing remotely magical.

[Happily, the faster you pluck a string with a finger the faster it pops back for another go....]

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guitarrista
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by guitarrista » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:24 pm

Crofty wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:16 pm
Tremolo is fast[ish] finger alternation: nothing more complex than that - and certainly nothing remotely magical.
And it is not even fast - a tremolo at 180bpm (4 notes, i.e. one cycle, per click), is the same speed of cycling for an individual finger as an i-m alternation at 90bpm (4 notes, so 2 i-m cycles, per click), which is a quite pedestrian i-m alternation speed. It is more about the coordination.
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Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:34 pm

musikai wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:00 pm
"The i-finger is the epicenter and cornerstone of the entire right hand system."
Not the i-finger but the invisible energy ball that you are holding within your hand.
I like that!

Thank all of you so much for your advice. I am not ignoring any of it. I've been reading every word and considering carefully

With all due respect I must say that this is the same advice that I've been receiving from all but 2 teachers since 1982.

I believe that I do in fact have the tremolo even here in this clip that I posted yesterday. I explain in detail how I achieved it.

The problem with the advice that so many give is that it does not address the precise mechanics involved, and such are requisite.

That said, I appreciate all of it and I appreciate all of you so much!

What I say in this clip is what is working best in all scenarios.

ALL fingers, observing ALL axioms. The finger that immediately follows p in many patterns seems to be the most common offender when the system breaks down.

i is definitely crucial, but if the finger that follows p does not obey all of the axioms as stated in this clip, the entire right hand system crashes:

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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Crofty » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:32 pm

Scott

I'm afraid that if you seriously think that the brief tremolo that you demonstrate in this video is even then you have real problems.

Obviously you're free to disregard everybody else's advice and opinions. But what I don't understand is why you appear unwilling to demonstrate s l o w l y - preferably with pima all working to the individual clicks of a metronome - exactly what your discovery is. At the moment it's just an irregular blur.

Anyway, I won't comment further.

Cheers,

Paul.

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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:35 pm

Post deleted

Coming soon....

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:08 pm

Here, I am focusing on the lightness of the i finger's placement followed by the immediacy/ tightness of the i finger's tip joint's contractive trajectory during that joint's sole activation, just as I've been talking about, Just as my original discovery dictates.

The m and a fingers must use the same exact technique, but the i finger is the greatest potential cog in the works, due to its location adjacent to p.

Bear in mind that between 1999 and my discovery of 9-9-17, which has been corroborated by at 4 renown artists, 2 of whom I am now free to name: William Kanengiser and Maestro Pepe Romero, I could not play beyond one note.
After one note my hand would clench up into a fist .

Now, today, I can do this:



Is it perfect?

Obviously not.

Does my hand clench up into a fist after the first note?

The fact that it does not is the miracle. If only you could have seen me play, or attempt to play, all those years before my discovery, my many haters would not be so quick to ridicule me or discount my discovery.

Do you truly believe that a man who was riddled with focal dystonia and unable to get past the first note, for many years (18), yet is now able to do this, only one year after making a transformative (and fully corroborated by renown masters) discovery, ought to be discounted and belittled by people "facepalming", etc?

Are you truly so certain that I have not hit upon something precious, THE intangible right hand technical solution that has been so elusive to all but the finest virtuosos?

Keep in mind that none of those virtuosos explain how they are doing what they are doing in a manner that comes anywhere close to their own actual execution, so elusive is the right hand technique. I know; I am friends with many of them, and acquaintances with most of them.

They are doing what they do, naturally, and with almost no overt cognitive awareness of their precise manner of personal execution.

I have, after 36 years of struggle, successfully reverse engineered this, and once I get my neurological pathways fully retrained, my own execution will be such that there shall be no doubt among any of those who choose to ridicule or discount me.

At that time, it will be obvious to all that my discovery is, as the two players named above have explicitly stated to me (in writing) "completely correct".

You see, if you are taught wrong and you obey this incorrect teaching for 35 years, attempting to play in precisely that incorrect way, it does become deeply ingrained

Nevertheless, I shall prevail and train myself to execute, with consistency, precisely as my discovery clearly describes.

I've come such a long way, and one world famous virtuoso told me, just last weekend, that I'm "90% there".

That's a lot better than 0%, which is where I was just a little over one year ago.

Now, I have not come here for approval. I have come here because I have naively believed that you all would see the value in what I have discovered and that you yourselves would adopt it and be likewise transformed...

Here is my original discovery. It clearly outlines and describes the precise reverse engineering of the exact way in which all virtuosos use their right hands for both rest stroke and free stroke. There are no exceptions. We must emulate this, every detail of it, if we are to follow suit or even if we wish to play at any respectable level:

*If it is not working for you:

1. Lighter placement of i.

Lighter, still...

2. Tighter subsequent i finger tip joint contractive trajectory, during that joint's sole activation.

Tighter, still...

i finger is the KEY.

Simultaneously relax the middle and main joints as you activate only the tip joint and only in the precise manner described above.

All of this results in a large amount of passive contraction at the middle joint, as well as a fair amount of passive extension at the large/ main knuckle joint. ALL movement at the middle and main joints, during all plucks, is always 100% passive. There are no exceptions.

"Lightness and tightness, a symbiotic relationship".

Adjust these 2 parameters and increase their degrees beyond what you have ever thought possible: lightness and tightness, especially with the i finger; these are the parameters that allow us full control over the entire right hand system.

The same is true of m and a, but they will generally take care of themselves if the i finger perfectly observes these axioms with consistency.

Re: "tightness". I realize that this word often implies "tension" to many people. I'm of course not referring to tension; I'm referring only to the degree of the contractive trajectory of the tip joint during that joint's sole activation.

It is as if we have a piece of sticky dust that is stuck upon the underside of our plucking finger's nail, and we are attempting, with active work being performed ONLY at the tip joint, to fling this imaginary piece of sticky dust straight up so that it sticks upon the underside of the plucking finger's own main knuckle joint.

This requires an extraordinarily "tight" or "narrow", or "immediate" tip joint contractive trajectory, together with simultaneous total relaxation of the middle and main joints.

I hope this clarifies what I mean by "tightness"....

**We have become neurologically averse to doing this correctly, especially with the i finger, for a number of reasons:

1. We are neurologically averse to using the i finger's tip joint in this way, due to the fact that the i finger is adjacent to p.

There is in fact that potential collision course between i and p, regardless of how well we may position our hand.

...And then there is the pedagogical issue:

We are taught to "not pull up with the smaller joints", when in fact, the truth is, the problems arise when we do NOT pull up ENOUGH; at an extreme enough degree/ trajectory, but only with the tip joint as activator.


Due to the laws of physics and geometry, the string is directed downward, into the top of the instrument, in spite of the fact that we are attempting to direct it straight towards the plucking finger's own large/ main knuckle joint. The string interfaces with the fingertip or fingernail in such a way that the fingertip or fingernail acts as a ramp, which directs the string downward and the opposite direction from which we are plucking it.

The pluck of i takes place through the sole activation of the i finger's tip joint, the contractive trajectory of which is so extraordinarily narrow/ immediate and tight that it's as if we're flinging the string straight towards the i finger's own large/ main knuckle joint as its intended target.

*Pluck must occur from feather light and naturally curved presentation to string. Middle and main joints DESIST during the pluck.

There is a clear symbiotic relationship that I have discovered which exists between the lightness of the presentation of the finger to its string and the subsequent "tightness" or "narrowness" or "immediacy" of the tip joint's contractive trajectory during that joint's sole activation.

The largest segment of i begins as far away from the palm as is naturally possible. (as is contingent upon the player's wrist height), prior to each presentation of the i finger to its string; that same largest segment of i must return to the same position, as far as is *naturally* possible, away from the palm...not AFTER each and every pluck of i, but literally DURING, and simultaneous with, each and every pluck of i. This is crucial. This return of the main/ large segment of the i finger to its relaxed state, away from the palm, occurs not only due to its simultaneous relaxation but also due to the energy and momentum created by the tip joint's contractive trajectory.

[*Original discovery made by Scott B Johnston on 9-9-17 10:45 a.m. central time, U.S.]

prawnheed

Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by prawnheed » Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:21 pm

I’d suggest a different approach

Very few people will read or digest long posts on internet forums. It doesn’t matter what the subject is. Also you are also mixing the real message with rebuttals and defenses of real or percieved slights or attacks.

Instead, write a book - online or paper, it doesn’t matter - that clearly and concisely explains your idea. Then have it reviewed and edited by people who are native speakers of the languages in which you wish to publish.

You will still get criticism and you can choose to respond if you wish. Personally, I think it’s better to accept the constructive feedback and simply ignore the purely negative.

Soundminer
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Soundminer » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:30 am

Why not... make a very short post numbering the steps of your discovery.

You can only use one sentence per number explaining what is going on or needs to be done

I dare you ! :contrat: So the post should contain about 4 or 5 sentences ...no more, or I will facepalm you :)

In all fareness and as I have said before, I admire your tenaciousness. I'm not a big fan of how you present your ideas though.


What I think you have dicovered is how to pluck with your little knuckle and activate with your middle knuckle...which is what the meastro's do
So you have moved the 'chain' one step down. where now the big knuckle only provides the making of contact..but not the displacement.
That's why you constantly repeat the lightness off touch issue...which needs to be there playing this way.

So...you are being nice to your big knuckles!

Remember, it's just A way of playing( granted, takes more control and is more refined)...not THE way of playing. As long as you can't understand that and talk to everyone like they had or will get focal
dystonia, I cannot take you seriously.

I look forward to your 4 or 5 sentences good Sir. I will not respond to any post longer then that.

( Remember, you will be facepalmed :)) :bye:

Ortega
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Ortega » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:40 pm

No, I do not activate with middle knuckle. Nor do any "maestros". Not sure where you got that from, I have never said that. The middle joint's movement is (always and only) passive, just as I have said from the beginning.

With respect to "facepalms" etc, I will say this:

Some human beings immortalize themselves by making great discoveries; others do so by discounting such.

I really don't care if any of you take me seriously or not; if any of you wish to play the classical guitar at a virtuosic, or even at anything close to a respectable level, for the rest of your lives you will use utilize the following discovery.

There is no other way, though there are numerous ways to play as a dilettante.

Here is a crucial development which refines the discovery and makes its implementation both natural and perfect. I was missing a crucial element, and have found it. My role here is complete, as is the discovery.

We are all lucky to be aware of this, myself included. I am humbled that the truth has come through me, arrogant though I may sound.

Explained here in detail, this crucial development with the discovery opens the floodgates for the player. Discount this to the diminishment of your own future potential, if you choose:



Note that I go on in the clip, verbally explaining this crucial development.

I can now play the tremolo much better than yesterday (as in the clip); more evenly and at a multitude of speeds. Will record when time permits; teaching all day.

All other techniques are smooth and effortless now, but I effort to demonstrate tremolo because I consider it to be the ultimate litmus test, being the most unforgiving of all right hand techniques.

Adding to the original discovery: a slight amount of contractive work applied to the main knuckle joint at the moment of the pluck itself, just enough to maintain the structural integrity/ stability of the finger.

However, the tip joint provides the lion's share of the work, aiming the string straight toward the plucking finger's own main knuckle joint, just as I've said from the beginning; simultaneously relax the middle joint, which contracts (always and only) passively.

The main knuckle joint's work during the pluck is analogous to the contractive action being applied to the bicep in the case of the loser of an arm wrestling match.

The loser's bicep extends, in spite of the fact that he or she is attempting to contract it, thus applying work as they effort to do so.

The superior force applied by the winner of the arm wrestling match causes the loser's bicep to extend, in spite of the contractive work being applied to it.

This is what happens with our main knuckle joint as we execute as per my original discovery as first expressed on September 9th, 2017.

The arm wrestling analogy explains why the main knuckle joint, and thus the largest segment of the plucking finger, actually extends, away from the palm during the pluck.

*We do not play FROM the main joint, we play TO the main joint, utilizing the tip joint, always from feather light presentation to the string, utilizing an extraordinarily "narrow" or "tight" or "immediate" tip joint contractive trajectory.

We must attempt to fling an imaginary piece of sticky dust which is stuck upon the underside of our plucking finger's nail, straight up so that it sticks upon the underside of our plucking finger's own large/ main knuckle joint. This must be performed always and only from the most feather light presentation to the string as is possible.

The addition of a slight amount of contractive work at the main knuckle joint during the pluck simply acts to support the finger and is in fact inferior to the work being performed by the tip joint.

This combination of 2 opposing forces causes the string to be disturbed and thus plucked.

The same is true for rest stroke as it is for free stroke; the only thing that changes with rest stroke is the orientation of the hand, such that the fallow through the rest stroke is artificially terminated at the adjacent string.

The i finger is the cornerstone and the epicenter of the entire right hand system, however, in the case of tremolo or complex arpeggios, the finger that follows p is often the one to be especially careful about with respect to its adherence to all of these axioms.

This is due to the fact that there is so much mass behind p and it's often difficult to ensure that the finger following p adheres to all facets of the above without fail.

If the discovery is not working for you:

You must lighten the presentation of the finger to the string prior to the pluck, then lighten it more.

...and then, make it lighter, still.

Then, increase the degree of the contractive trajectory of the tip joint's contractive action as it efforts to fling that imaginary piece of sticky dust straight up towards the plucking fingers own main knuckle joint.

Increase the degree of the tip joint's contractive trajectory. Make it tighter.

Then, make it tighter, still...

There is a clear symbiotic relationship which exists between the lightness of the presentation of the finger to the string and the subsequent "tightness" or "narrowness" or "immediacy" of the tip joint's contractive trajectory during that joint's activation.

"...Lightness and tightness, a symbiotic relationship..."

These are the 2 parameters that we must adjust and find the correct degree and combination of, thereby giving us complete control over the right hand system.

Original discovery: 9-9-17 10:45 a.m. central time US

Crucial final development, allowing natural and effortless implementation: 9-25-18, 7 o'clock p.m. central time US

Scott B Johnston

dtoh
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by dtoh » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:09 am

Ortega wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:40 pm
I really don't care if any of you take me seriously or not; if any of you wish to play the classical guitar at a virtuosic, or even at anything close to a respectable level, for the rest of your lives you will use utilize the following discovery.
Correct me if my understanding of your logic is wrong.

1. Without utilizing your "discovery," it's not possible to play at a virtuosic or anything close to a respectable level.

2. Your discovery did not exist until last year.

3. Therefore prior to last year, there were no virtuosos, and no one could play at anything close to a respectable level.

Did I get that right?


Oh... and your refinement...different muscles work in opposition to one another? How original! You should probably get a Nobel Prize in medicine for that one.

Soundminer
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by Soundminer » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:57 am

wow, just wow

ronjazz
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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by ronjazz » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:37 am

Old news. Philip Hii wrote about all this years ago. Far more concisely and without the haranguing, I will add; the difference being that he can play
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

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Re: Right hand technique: a new perspective

Post by PeteJ » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:08 pm

This may be the oddest thread I've ever read. It's so odd that I don't have a sensible comment. The comments above from dtoh and Soundminer may sum up my view.

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