Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

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jmlineb
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Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by jmlineb » Thu May 31, 2018 8:04 pm

Hello! I am a longtime fan of Presti and Lagoya. I loved their sound and ensemble long before I realized that they had a different right hand technique, one that produced sound off of the right side of the nail instead of the left. What do people think of that approach to guitar playing? Does it introduce structural tension or not? Are the results worth changing a lifetime of sound production off of the left side of the nail? Thank you!

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu May 31, 2018 9:42 pm

You are almost certain to find that if you have always played off the left, changing now would quickly cause considerable tension. There may conceivably be a way to do it such that it works for you without causing problems, but would guess that would involve personal lessons with a specialist in that approach.

The only player I know personally who plays like that does have a super sound. I can't imagine quite how it makes a difference, if it does, but am quite sure its not for me. Also, I strongly suspect one would have to commit to the extent at least of reshaping one's nails for the purpose.
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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Thu May 31, 2018 9:49 pm

As someone who has been working to bring my right hand around more to play consistently on the left side on my nails, I would answer:NO! There was a point where I "could" have gone in this direction and I'm really glad I didn't.

but I'm an amateur with no teaching credentials whatsoever, so take that into account.

My hand/wrist anatomy is such that playing on the right side of my nails is a possibility and even feels natural. My guess is that Presti's technique is based on anatomy and feels the most natural for her--in other words, she probably didn't have to work to overcome a natural tendency to play off the left side.

edit: Stephen posted while I was writing this; he's a better guide.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by guit-box » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:05 pm

It seems like there are several French guitarists playing off the right side of the nails. Even Segovia sometimes can be seen playing off the right side. I can see advantages for people with a short index finger because it brings if closer to the string so i,m alternation requires less reach for the index.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by Jack Douglas » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:13 am

This is a fascinating discussion. Having the curse of right hand nails that grow with crooks I’ve discovered, with professional instruction, that opening my hand slightly such that I play off the left third of the nail rather than the left side. I’ve watched Ida Presta U-tube videos and the discussion is compelling, but looks absolutely perplexing.
Stephen, what is the origin of this technique? Does anyone in the contemporary performing world use it? Gerard Abiton has a georgeous tone and his hand position looks Presti-like.
Thanks to the op for an intriguing Saturday discussion.
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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by astro64 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:26 pm

The only young performer I know of that is world class and plays with Ida Presti's righthand technique is Thibaut Garcia. He won the GFA a few years ago and is outstanding. Look him up on Youtube. It hurst me to look at his right hand but it sure works for him.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by Martin » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:51 pm

If you've been looking into Ida Presti's technique, you may have already come across the videos posted to Youtube by her student, Alice Artzt.

If not, they are linked from the first post in this thread:-

viewtopic.php?t=36445

along with eight pages of discussion.

Its worth checking them out on the tube, as Ms Artzt has posted a large number of comments explaining and expanding on the content of the videos.

Martin

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by guit-box » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:11 am

On the one hand I find those Alice A. videos about Ida Presti's technique interesting. On the other hand she talks about how critical it is to have a relaxed right hand but this performance video shows her pinky finger all tensed and sticking out for the entire performance. She also talks about not playing from the middle joint and how that's bad technique in her opinion, but most great guitarists move the middle joint quite a lot. So, I take her instructional videos with a grain of salt.

An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by ronjazz » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:38 pm

I studied this technique with Alice Artist and Alexandre LaGoya many years ago, but I was already comfortable with a Williams-like approach. Unfortunately, after discovering flamenco and Paco de Lucia, I developed focal dystonia by trying to achieve Paco's speed and power. I am finding that adopting the Presti technique I helping me recover from this condition, which I've been struggling with for over 15 years. It would appear that a change so drastic may well be the key to re-mapping the pathways from brain to hand, since in a very short time my technique has improved greatly. I may be heading to Princeton for a lesson with Alice, some 48 years later. As far as that video with the pinky, that seems to be an outlier, since I have seen her perform close-up and have never noticed that before. It looks like she may have injured the pinky and might even have a splint on it, pretty weird, but she produced a great sound and played the most demanding repertoire throughout her career.

As an aside, when I took a masterclass with Lagoya, he disqualified me from the accompanying competition because I didn't play his technique. I went back to my rented room and practiced his technique for 20 hours, and managed to take a prize after being re-admitted, but soon reverted to the "left-side" approach.
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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by Adam » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:15 pm

When you are talking about a true artist, one who has spent countless hours presumably from a very young age honing their craft, the rules kind of go out the window.

So, no way I would try to emulate that wrist angle unless it comes naturally to you. I never really thought much about this when I started out. I just placed my wrist/hand in a way that felt natural to me.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by guit-box » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:11 pm

ronjazz wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:38 pm
I studied this technique with Alice Artist and Alexandre LaGoya many years ago, but I was already comfortable with a Williams-like approach. Unfortunately, after discovering flamenco and Paco de Lucia, I developed focal dystonia by trying to achieve Paco's speed and power. I am finding that adopting the Presti technique I helping me recover from this condition, which I've been struggling with for over 15 years. It would appear that a change so drastic may well be the key to re-mapping the pathways from brain to hand, since in a very short time my technique has improved greatly. I may be heading to Princeton for a lesson with Alice, some 48 years later. As far as that video with the pinky, that seems to be an outlier, since I have seen her perform close-up and have never noticed that before. It looks like she may have injured the pinky and might even have a splint on it, pretty weird, but she produced a great sound and played the most demanding repertoire throughout her career.

As an aside, when I took a masterclass with Lagoya, he disqualified me from the accompanying competition because I didn't play his technique. I went back to my rented room and practiced his technique for 20 hours, and managed to take a prize after being re-admitted, but soon reverted to the "left-side" approach.
That's some interesting background, let us know about how it goes if you do another lesson with her. I find some benefits from this approach that also seems to help my right hand. It totally solves my short index finger from feeling like it has to reach out. It totally solves any intersection problems with the index and thumb. And the plucking action does feel more solid in some ways. I don't like the way the bent wrist feels much, but it is better if I play with a really high neck or in a cello position where my right arm is floating. I listened to some Alice A. concert audio that is impressive musically and quite good technically. She's definitely a good musician, the pinky is a red flag for me and there's not much live footage out there of her, but there are other players who use this technique who seem to have relaxed hands so it's really a non-issue whether or not she was demonstrating it well on that one video. -- it's a valid technique that works well for many players.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Jeffrey Armbruster

Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:02 pm

the OP asks: "Are the results worth changing a lifetime of sound production off of the left side of the nail? Thank you!" I wonder if you could take the time and effort to re-train yourself and still not sound like Ida Presti. Just like you probably don't sound like Bream or others who play off the left side of the nails. So too me it seems like a ton of retraining for a potentially nebulous end.

However maybe particular tonal qualities that you really like are only produced by this technique and can't be produced by standard technique. I honestly don't know. In that case, you may find this worthwhile.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by ronjazz » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:09 pm

guit-box wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:11 pm
ronjazz wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:38 pm
I studied this technique with Alice Artist and Alexandre LaGoya many years ago, but I was already comfortable with a Williams-like approach. Unfortunately, after discovering flamenco and Paco de Lucia, I developed focal dystonia by trying to achieve Paco's speed and power. I am finding that adopting the Presti technique I helping me recover from this condition, which I've been struggling with for over 15 years. It would appear that a change so drastic may well be the key to re-mapping the pathways from brain to hand, since in a very short time my technique has improved greatly. I may be heading to Princeton for a lesson with Alice, some 48 years later. As far as that video with the pinky, that seems to be an outlier, since I have seen her perform close-up and have never noticed that before. It looks like she may have injured the pinky and might even have a splint on it, pretty weird, but she produced a great sound and played the most demanding repertoire throughout her career.

As an aside, when I took a masterclass with Lagoya, he disqualified me from the accompanying competition because I didn't play his technique. I went back to my rented room and practiced his technique for 20 hours, and managed to take a prize after being re-admitted, but soon reverted to the "left-side" approach.
That's some interesting background, let us know about how it goes if you do another lesson with her. I find some benefits from this approach that also seems to help my right hand. It totally solves my short index finger from feeling like it has to reach out. It totally solves any intersection problems with the index and thumb. And the plucking action does feel more solid in some ways. I don't like the way the bent wrist feels much, but it is better if I play with a really high neck or in a cello position where my right arm is floating. I listened to some Alice A. concert audio that is impressive musically and quite good technically. She's definitely a good musician, the pinky is a red flag for me and there's not much live footage out there of her, but there are other players who use this technique who seem to have relaxed hands so it's really a non-issue whether or not she was demonstrating it well on that one video. -- it's a valid technique that works well for many players.
I'm not sure you have to bend the wrist much, it's more like supination of the forearm for me. Anyway, I'm not finding any strain, but I didn't back when I was studying with Lagoya, either, just made a choice. this is another choice which appears to be beneficial, only time will tell. I'll update if I take a lesson with Alice.
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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by guit-box » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:06 pm

I have to turn my wrist so there's a kink using regular sitting position to reach the right side of my nails. Maybe this is why it works for some and not for others because for some it feels like a kink and others it feels natural. I have to turn the wrist a lot to get into a Segovia or Williams hand position, to get to Ida Presti position I must go even further and it feels strained, but that doesn't mean I couldn't get used to it. I'd have to change my nail shape to really try it since they currently have a left-to-right ramp. I might not need to turn so much if the nails were shaped for this position.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Advice about Ida Presti's right hand technique

Post by ronjazz » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:28 am

grit-box, note that Alice's guitar in her later videos has a more upright position, that may be why her wrist is less angled, and she mentions it somewhere along the line, I have found that a more cello-oriented position helps prevent any wrist strain, just an idea.
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