ma faster than im

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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andrew382
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ma faster than im

Post by andrew382 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:30 pm

For whichever reason the most basic and being regarded by the pros as the easiest finger combination namely im seems to be by me a nightmare. In November I restarted studying and had major problems and then suddenly after 3-4 weeks I could play 4/4 16th notes from 1st to 6th string and back at 40bpm with no problem. Then a setback. Once again I couldn't do it. Now I can do it but I still lack that stamina I had when I experienced the first burst of progress that is I can play 16th notes at 40bpm but no so many measures.

To be able to get the picture please read this post:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=124007

This is what guitarrista wrote in this topic:
It is true that when you play at a faster speed, you are not going to see the first finger return before the next one strikes - however it does NOT follow that you are supposed to hold the first finger in at all times and all speeds. The reason the first finger SEEMS to stay in until the next one fires is speed - it is actually still relaxing immediately after its stroke and returning naturally (or with help from the extensor muscle at fast speeds but let's not worry about this now) to reset; however, when alternating at a faster speed, the time of the next finger firing has now intruded upon the time period when the first finger is relaxing and resetting.
For some reason this seems to happen unconsciously by ma but not by im where I constantly have to think about relaxing i otherwise the finger would curl or remain locked in the palm or form a claw when the higher tempi as guitarrista said demand the help of the extensor muscle.

How can this problem be fixed?

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Sebastian
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Re: ma faster than im

Post by Sebastian » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:06 pm

Well although I work a lot more with index-middle combination (with several excercises, different kinds of plantings, speed bursts, string crossing, slow motionv study on the attack of the string, scales with only 1 finger, etc... ) than the middle-ring finger, I find the middle-ring combination better for me.
I find it stronger and more precise, as it could create a stronger volume with much less movement at higher speeds.

I would never say that m-a combination is faster than m-i though, just that I feel much more confident with m-a despite training m-i a lot more.
And yes, same problem as you, my right hand index finger tends to almost touch the heel of my palm when performing free strokes (I never do rest strokes) in alternation with the middle finger. Maybe because I have more flexibility in the index finger (my traumatologist doctor stated that).

This could also be because as I read from a prologue of Giuliani's 120 Arpeggios (can't remember the author name tho) we have three main tendons in our hand; one for thumb, one for index, and only one for middle and ring. Thus, middle and ring seem to form a solid unit, whereas index-middle alternation use the combination of two different units.
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andrew382
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Re: ma faster than im

Post by andrew382 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:35 am

Sebastian wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:06 pm
Well although I work a lot more with index-middle combination (with several excercises, different kinds of plantings, speed bursts, string crossing, slow motionv study on the attack of the string, scales with only 1 finger, etc... ) than the middle-ring finger, I find the middle-ring combination better for me.
I find it stronger and more precise, as it could create a stronger volume with much less movement at higher speeds.

I would never say that m-a combination is faster than m-i though, just that I feel much more confident with m-a despite training m-i a lot more.
And yes, same problem as you, my right hand index finger tends to almost touch the heel of my palm when performing free strokes (I never do rest strokes) in alternation with the middle finger. Maybe because I have more flexibility in the index finger (my traumatologist doctor stated that).

This could also be because as I read from a prologue of Giuliani's 120 Arpeggios (can't remember the author name tho) we have three main tendons in our hand; one for thumb, one for index, and only one for middle and ring. Thus, middle and ring seem to form a solid unit, whereas index-middle alternation use the combination of two different units.
Well I'm not a doctor so don't know whether that's true or not.

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Frank Nordberg
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Re: ma faster than im

Post by Frank Nordberg » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:06 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:06 pm
..
I find the middle-ring combination better for me.
That's not unusual even though most guitarists seem to prefer im over ma. And there's certainly nothing wrong about it.

But no matter which solution we prefer for two finger playing, it is always a good diea to practise with all three of them. We do sometimes need them all and besides, tension in one finger does affect the performance of the others negatively.

andrew382 wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:30 pm
...
where I constantly have to think about relaxing i
...
How can this problem be fixed?
You got the right idea: practice finger relaxation consciously and after a while it becomes second nature. :)

Two methods that should help:
  • Let the other fingers teach your i fingers. Look at your them and try to figure out exactly what you do different with you i finger than the others.
  • Play single finger back-and-forth rasgueado (with all fingers, one at a time). When you do that, the muscles that bend your fingers have no choice: they have to relax for the backstroke. Single finger rasgueado is also a very cool technique well worth learning for its own sake.

andrew382
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: ma faster than im

Post by andrew382 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:46 pm

Frank Nordberg wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:06 pm
Sebastian wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:06 pm
..
I find the middle-ring combination better for me.
That's not unusual even though most guitarists seem to prefer im over ma. And there's certainly nothing wrong about it.

But no matter which solution we prefer for two finger playing, it is always a good diea to practise with all three of them. We do sometimes need them all and besides, tension in one finger does affect the performance of the others negatively.

andrew382 wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:30 pm
...
where I constantly have to think about relaxing i
...
How can this problem be fixed?
You got the right idea: practice finger relaxation consciously and after a while it becomes second nature. :)

Two methods that should help:
  • Let the other fingers teach your i fingers. Look at your them and try to figure out exactly what you do different with you i finger than the others.
  • Play single finger back-and-forth rasgueado (with all fingers, one at a time). When you do that, the muscles that bend your fingers have no choice: they have to relax for the backstroke. Single finger rasgueado is also a very cool technique well worth learning for its own sake.
Frank...I was thinking...could this be because the a finger's length is naturally slightly closer to m as i is to m?

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Frank Nordberg
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Re: ma faster than im

Post by Frank Nordberg » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:04 pm

andrew382 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:46 pm
Frank...I was thinking...could this be because the a finger's length is naturally slightly closer to m as i is to m?
That is one of the possible reasons although it's not true for everybody.

There are others possible reasons too.

The index finger is usually stronger and has more dexterity than the other fingers but that in itself can sometimes be a problem and some guitarists may prefer to use two fingers with more equal strength and dexterity.

The tip of your fingers are angeled slightly differently and tghere are of course also differences in the shape of the fingernails. This is all different from person to person and may well affect which two figner option fells most cofortable.

Then of course there's sheer coincidence. Somebody just happened to play a lot of am in the beginning when they didn't have that much control over their fingering , got used to it and stayed with it.

astro64
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Re: ma faster than im

Post by astro64 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:09 pm

I am surprised you can relax m and a and not i. That could perhaps point at a more serious condition. A clawing finger that is locked up in the palm is a classic sign of focal dystonia. That is not to say you have that, I wouldn't know, but I would at least read up on it. Also since you mentioned that you had "major problems", it seems you might have overdone things in trying to start with the guitar again.

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guitarrista
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Re: ma faster than im

Post by guitarrista » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:36 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:06 pm
This could also be because as I read from a prologue of Giuliani's 120 Arpeggios (can't remember the author name tho) we have three main tendons in our hand; one for thumb, one for index, and only one for middle and ring. Thus, middle and ring seem to form a solid unit, whereas index-middle alternation use the combination of two different units.
That's a bit of oversimplification. We do have separate tendons, but m and a , and c are interconnected by various connective tissues - synovial membranes, tendinous crossovers, and minute tendon fibres dissolved in the synovial membranes.

However, not all humans are wired that way(!) - some have a lot less interconnections and thus quite a bit more ma(and c) finger independence.

Here' a picture from a 2011 review article "The quadriga phenomenon: A review and clinical relevance" by Schreuders. I've cut out (ha-ha) the more gastly parts of the image and am just focusing on the flexor tendons:

hand_tendons_flexors.JPG

Mostly because of these interconnections through synovial membranes, when one tendon starts moving, it pulls via the membranes a bit on the neighbouring ones. This is usually most obvious with the m and a fingers since we don't typically use the pinky in classical guitar. You might notice that there is some membrane more loosely connecting p and i as well (and between i and m), though the result of that is not really noticeable in practice.
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andrew382
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Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: ma faster than im

Post by andrew382 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:17 pm

astro64 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:09 pm
I am surprised you can relax m and a and not i. That could perhaps point at a more serious condition. A clawing finger that is locked up in the palm is a classic sign of focal dystonia. That is not to say you have that, I wouldn't know, but I would at least read up on it. Also since you mentioned that you had "major problems", it seems you might have overdone things in trying to start with the guitar again.
I haven't been practicing more than 2-3 hours. However what strikes me is the fact that I progressed shortly after restarting and regressed 3-4 weeks after my first practice session.

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