Right hand stamina and finger independence

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
andrew382
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:19 pm

Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Sun May 12, 2019 7:04 am

It's been 6 months since I restarted and I succeeded to regain the skills I had before quitting for half a year. Before quitting I could play 16th notes on free strings at 120 bpm for short periods of time but the technique was very sloppy and the tone was weak. The poor alignment of the fingers of the right hand made it wobble when the combination i m came to play.

At this moment I can play 16th notes up and down the free strings at 57 bpm for 5 measures (4/4) but this "span" varies from one to day to another so I guess it's not ingrained deeply enough yet. I can even play this rhythmic formula at 100 for a couple of beats or a measure. The tone is stronger than before and the hand became stable and I hope I will be able to get past that 80 bpm barrier which was my limit for playing a free string exercise with 16th notes from high to low E and back. So in other words that was my stamina limit and trying to play faster than that meant that I had to cut the length of the exercise otherwise I began making mistakes and eventually my fingers blocked.

I noticed that the more and the quicker I relax my fingers after plucking the string the longer I can play at a specific tempo without getting that "hook" especially by the i finger and without getting tired or making mistakes.

So my question is how can I further develop my right hand stamina and finger independence as I won't always have time to babysit this hand as the left one has to play passages that will eventually become more complex.

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 11408
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by lagartija » Sun May 12, 2019 1:10 pm

Alternate your fastest speed of playing with a measure or two of half speed, then more measures of full speed.
The half speed measures give your hand a short break between speed bursts and they allow you to feel the sense of relaxation if you have started to accumulate tension during your speed burst. The number of half speed measures you use between the number of full speed measures can be adjusted depending on how you are doing that day. The half speed makes it easy to work with if you are working with a metronome.
Over a short period of time working this way, I found my stamina at the target speed increased a great deal.
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Sun May 12, 2019 4:08 pm

Hi,
About fast playing, I have worked in a similar situation from around 120 back in three years, to try to make it at 240 bpm today. I only allocate about 15 minutes "everyday" (which is very important). While speed is not of the essence, it raises your bar and allows you to play with more confidence, simply because you know where and how your limit is.

Before getting started, there are two things to prepare and verify:

It is very important to check your nails. The longer nails makes im strokes slower. I do not do my nails everyday, but it is important to know the nail status and how it affects your speed.

It is of great help to have a mirror you to see if any redundant move is observed from front, side, or under the right hand. As many say, I am increasingly aware that it is about how to make strokes streamlined and compact. To do so, it is of great help to have a mirror.

Also, it is of great importance to make it sustainable, and so be aware of your wrist and finger conditions: You may, as I had, have a ganglion and be concerned, but for your reference mine has gone, and I knew it from my previous ganglion experience. Nevertheless, it is pointless to get any damage that may stop the entire playing. Please consult medical experts who understands your musical challenges as regular doctors would not estimate how much of risks you can take, and simply stops you from going any further.

Having said that, I have previously shared my workout manu as follows:
Tonit wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:57 pm
The initial challenge of picado is oftentimes found when the alternate fingers shift strings to hit, so the focus might be there for a while. You can isolate this challenge by playing a very short phrase repetitively.

There are four types of instances that prevents us going fast with two strings adjacent to one another, and two right-hand fingers (so simply 2x2): Going one string up by i or m (2 instances), and going down by i or m (2 instances). So you want to cover everything in a simple repetitive pattern so you can more focus on the left hand fingers.

The following can achieve the foregoing.

on top E and B:

C with pinky (1st string with m)
Bb with middle (1st string with i)
A with index (1st string with m)
G with pinky (2nd string with i)
Bb with middle (1st string with m)
A with index (1st string with i)
G with pinky (2nd string with m)
F with middle (1st string with i)
A with index (1st string with m)
G with pinky (2nd string with i)
F with middle (2nd string with m)
E with index (2nd string with i)
F with middle (2nd string with m)
G with pinky (2nd string with i)
A with index (1st string with m)
Bb with middle (1st string with i)

And back to the top. Then you can

1_ start from the last Bb with m and immediately back to the top with i, that will change the i-m pattern to m-i pattern,
2_ play it backwords, and alter i-m to m-i as per point 1.

Then you may notice quite a strange phenomenon: you may start galloping (or swinging) when you change i to m or m to i to start. So you might keep starting from fixed m or i that best prevents you from galloping.

This includes all 4 instances quite often and in sufficiently varied ways. This is basically my daily workout at 100, 130, 160, 190, and 220bpm (and wrecking it at 250bpm). You can also change the strings pair to what you like, and the key to something you like.

Then the next challenge is to go all 6 strings in a run. This is very simple (but not easy) as you just get up and down a scale of your choice.

I hope this helps you. And I'd say, enjoy playing in the first place, torture yourself sparingly with your guitar.

Cheers,

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

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Tonit wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:08 pm
Hi,
About fast playing, I have worked in a similar situation from around 120 back in three years, to try to make it at 240 bpm today. I only allocate about 15 minutes "everyday" (which is very important). While speed is not of the essence, it raises your bar and allows you to play with more confidence, simply because you know where and how your limit is.

Before getting started, there are two things to prepare and verify:

It is very important to check your nails. The longer nails makes im strokes slower. I do not do my nails everyday, but it is important to know the nail status and how it affects your speed.

It is of great help to have a mirror you to see if any redundant move is observed from front, side, or under the right hand. As many say, I am increasingly aware that it is about how to make strokes streamlined and compact. To do so, it is of great help to have a mirror.

Also, it is of great importance to make it sustainable, and so be aware of your wrist and finger conditions: You may, as I had, have a ganglion and be concerned, but for your reference mine has gone, and I knew it from my previous ganglion experience. Nevertheless, it is pointless to get any damage that may stop the entire playing. Please consult medical experts who understands your musical challenges as regular doctors would not estimate how much of risks you can take, and simply stops you from going any further.

Having said that, I have previously shared my workout manu as follows:
Tonit wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:57 pm
The initial challenge of picado is oftentimes found when the alternate fingers shift strings to hit, so the focus might be there for a while. You can isolate this challenge by playing a very short phrase repetitively.

There are four types of instances that prevents us going fast with two strings adjacent to one another, and two right-hand fingers (so simply 2x2): Going one string up by i or m (2 instances), and going down by i or m (2 instances). So you want to cover everything in a simple repetitive pattern so you can more focus on the left hand fingers.

The following can achieve the foregoing.

on top E and B:

C with pinky (1st string with m)
Bb with middle (1st string with i)
A with index (1st string with m)
G with pinky (2nd string with i)
Bb with middle (1st string with m)
A with index (1st string with i)
G with pinky (2nd string with m)
F with middle (1st string with i)
A with index (1st string with m)
G with pinky (2nd string with i)
F with middle (2nd string with m)
E with index (2nd string with i)
F with middle (2nd string with m)
G with pinky (2nd string with i)
A with index (1st string with m)
Bb with middle (1st string with i)

And back to the top. Then you can

1_ start from the last Bb with m and immediately back to the top with i, that will change the i-m pattern to m-i pattern,
2_ play it backwords, and alter i-m to m-i as per point 1.

Then you may notice quite a strange phenomenon: you may start galloping (or swinging) when you change i to m or m to i to start. So you might keep starting from fixed m or i that best prevents you from galloping.

This includes all 4 instances quite often and in sufficiently varied ways. This is basically my daily workout at 100, 130, 160, 190, and 220bpm (and wrecking it at 250bpm). You can also change the strings pair to what you like, and the key to something you like.

Then the next challenge is to go all 6 strings in a run. This is very simple (but not easy) as you just get up and down a scale of your choice.

I hope this helps you. And I'd say, enjoy playing in the first place, torture yourself sparingly with your guitar.

Cheers,
What do you mean by ganglion?

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Sun May 12, 2019 6:29 pm

Hi,
The large cyst at the wrist in the image.

Image

You can see it on my RH wrist in the vid, but it's not as big as the one above:



You can further read about it here. It's mainly pianists' concern, but some guitarists also develop it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganglion_cyst

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

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Sun May 12, 2019 6:34 pm

Tonit wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:29 pm
Hi,
The large cyst at the wrist in the image.

Image

You can see it on my RH wrist in the vid, but it's not as big as the one above:



You can further read about it here. It's mainly pianists' concern, but some guitarists also develop it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganglion_cyst
No. I've never had such a problem or pain or something like that. So you're suggesting me that drill on string 1 and 2. How could that exercise improve my stamina? It seems more like a 2 hand coordination study or something like that.

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Sun May 12, 2019 7:04 pm

andrew382 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:34 pm
No. I've never had such a problem or pain or something like that. So you're suggesting me that drill on string 1 and 2. How could that exercise improve my stamina? It seems more like a 2 hand coordination study or something like that.
If you practice too had you may also have it.
Maybe I have to explain one thing.
As I said still I work on different tempi from 100 to 240, there is different objectives and agenda for each tempo.
Why? Because you first develop accuracy, then speed, and then loudness and endurance.

So at the time you decide and increase the tempo, you must first practice with dynamics piano or even pp at the new increased tempo, and you must just stop after the first round of 12 notes (from the top to the bottom of the sequence).

Starting from there, you develop accuracy before moving forward to try it at mf or f or ff, or maybe longer duration.

So and so, I decided to do all the accuracy, speed, loudness, and endurance challenges everyday, hence 4 different tempi.

At 100, I can do all accuracy, speed, loudness, and endurance that I have to check everyday and improve. I also verify the movement of my RH fingers very carefully.
Likewise, At 130, the focus is mainly on loudness.
At 160, it is about loudness and endurance but a little more focus on endurance. If I could play 48 notes at this tempo, it satisfies my main needs: Alegrias picado run. So this is a sort of benchmark.
At 190, it is also about endurance, but shorter, two rounds of the list in a sequence, with a little bit of accuracy.
At 220, it is all about accuracy, and I play it about mf for just one round of the list then rest.
At 250, I just wreck it to verify that I cannot go that fast, but sometimes successfull at piano (dynamics).

As you see, I move forward and increase the tempo even if I play them incorrectly and dissatisfied. That's probably different from what my guitar instructor told me "increase the tempo only if you play perfectly".
For me, it is all the more important to make as many mistakes as I have to when I practice. Besides, I know the dissatisfaction would take a while to be relieved, maybe a few months at least. So if that's the case, why don't we just try working on the chapters ahead, just to start getting familiarized with them even if we don't understand everything?

That's my style.

Cheers,

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

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Sun May 12, 2019 7:12 pm

Tonit wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:04 pm
andrew382 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:34 pm
No. I've never had such a problem or pain or something like that. So you're suggesting me that drill on string 1 and 2. How could that exercise improve my stamina? It seems more like a 2 hand coordination study or something like that.
If you practice too had you may also have it.
Maybe I have to explain one thing.
As I said still I work on different tempi from 100 to 240, there is different objectives and agenda for each tempo.
Why? Because you first develop accuracy, then speed, and then loudness and endurance.

So at the time you decide and increase the tempo, you must first practice with dynamics piano or even pp at the new increased tempo, and you must just stop after the first round of 12 notes (from the top to the bottom of the sequence).

Starting from there, you develop accuracy before moving forward to try it at mf or f or ff, or maybe longer duration.

So and so, I decided to do all the accuracy, speed, loudness, and endurance challenges everyday, hence 4 different tempi.

At 100, I can do all accuracy, speed, loudness, and endurance that I have to check everyday and improve. I also verify the movement of my RH fingers very carefully.
Likewise, At 130, the focus is mainly on loudness.
At 160, it is about loudness and endurance but a little more focus on endurance. If I could play 48 notes at this tempo, it satisfies my main needs: Alegrias picado run. So this is a sort of benchmark.
At 190, it is also about endurance, but shorter, two rounds of the list in a sequence, with a little bit of accuracy.
At 220, it is all about accuracy, and I play it about mf for just one round of the list then rest.
At 250, I just wreck it to verify that I cannot go that fast, but sometimes successfull at piano (dynamics).

As you see, I move forward and increase the tempo even if I play them incorrectly and dissatisfied. That's probably different from what my guitar instructor told me "increase the tempo only if you play perfectly".
For me, it is all the more important to make as many mistakes as I have to when I practice. Besides, I know the dissatisfaction would take a while to be relieved, maybe a few months at least. So if that's the case, why don't we just try working on the chapters ahead, just to start getting familiarized with them even if we don't understand everything?

That's my style.

Cheers,
Are you playing 16th notes at those tempi?

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Sun May 12, 2019 7:19 pm

andrew382 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:12 pm
Are you playing 16th notes at those tempi?
Yes. So 4 notes per beat.

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

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Sun May 12, 2019 8:21 pm

Tonit wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:19 pm
andrew382 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 7:12 pm
Are you playing 16th notes at those tempi?
Yes. So 4 notes per beat.
I guess picado mean rest strokes. How fast can you get with free strokes?

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Sun May 12, 2019 9:12 pm

andrew382 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 8:21 pm
I guess picado mean rest strokes. How fast can you get with free strokes?
More or less the same but generally faster and quieter in case of free strokes. They are commonly used for extended embellishments like trills (without hammering on and pulling off) in classical as you see in the video I posted (at about 1:10-11) where both notes were simultaneously sounding, while there are many other ways you can execute the same trill (like with p and a also involved that I also do sometimes). That's roughly the speed you are looking at, more (up to 220bpm) or less (down to... I don't know).
It depends on the nature of different phrases wherein the said elements (string shifts and skips) are incorporated in different ways.

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

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Mon May 13, 2019 5:57 am

Tonit wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 9:12 pm
andrew382 wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 8:21 pm
I guess picado mean rest strokes. How fast can you get with free strokes?
More or less the same but generally faster and quieter in case of free strokes. They are commonly used for extended embellishments like trills (without hammering on and pulling off) in classical as you see in the video I posted (at about 1:10-11) where both notes were simultaneously sounding, while there are many other ways you can execute the same trill (like with p and a also involved that I also do sometimes). That's roughly the speed you are looking at, more (up to 220bpm) or less (down to... I don't know).
It depends on the nature of different phrases wherein the said elements (string shifts and skips) are incorporated in different ways.
I thought the free stroke is the standard in classical guitar...

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Mon May 13, 2019 11:44 am

andrew382 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 5:57 am
I thought the free stroke is the standard in classical guitar...
The answer is no.
You cannot play chords or arpeggios with all fingers doing rest strokes most of the times, while strong single lines are mostly better played by rest strokes. Free strokes tend to be thinner sounding than rest strokes, but not always.
But if you are talking about the teachers who taught you to play the melody of anonymus Romance with rest strokes, why not, but I may doubt a little second before following his instruction.

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

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by andrew382 » Mon May 13, 2019 1:02 pm

Tonit wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 11:44 am
andrew382 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 5:57 am
I thought the free stroke is the standard in classical guitar...
The answer is no.
You cannot play chords or arpeggios with all fingers doing rest strokes most of the times, while strong single lines are mostly better played by rest strokes. Free strokes tend to be thinner sounding than rest strokes, but not always.
But if you are talking about the teachers who taught you to play the melody of anonymus Romance with rest strokes, why not, but I may doubt a little second before following his instruction.
Nobody has ever taught me so. Even if he had I would have come sooner or later to the conclusion that it's crap. You can't even play Eythorsson's Guitar Method 1 with rest strokes never mind Lobos Etude 1.

I got to 90 bpm today with 16th notes and free strokes. But I still lack stamina. I can only play 2 beats at this tempo. But as you said...it motivates you and helps you to know the next "lessons" before actually beginning them.

Tonit
Posts: 585
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 1:44 am

Re: Right hand stamina and finger independence

Post by Tonit » Mon May 13, 2019 1:53 pm

Hi andrew382,
andrew382 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:02 pm
Tonit wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 11:44 am
andrew382 wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 5:57 am
I thought the free stroke is the standard in classical guitar...
The answer is no.
Nobody has ever taught me so.
Good for you none did. But it is possible nonetheless, and only makes good exercise IMPO.
There are two strokes in classical guitar technique: apoyando and al aire (tirando) being widely taught, and neither one is set as standard. So if you have not integrated any rest stroke in your performance, doing so would surely add another dimensions for your wider breadth of expression with your instrument.
As you may have known apoyando sounds more full and loud, as the strings are released more perpendicularly to the soundboard from the tip of your fingers than al aire, causing the soundboard to vibrate more, compared to al aire where strings are released more in parallel.
So, it would become handy if you want more volume and mass, and I use it when the guitar I play is lacking bass, like spruce top guitars, then my thumb (p) would go apoyando for more bass, for example.

There is also a sub-category "collapsible joint rest stroke" which is a masterful skill that I have never worked on:



He (Jorge Caballero) is one of the best classical guitarists of today, and best of the bests IMPO.
So hopefully now you see "rest stroke" is quite popular in classical styles.

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”