Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

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Christopher C.
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Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by Christopher C. » Sun May 19, 2019 8:54 pm

Recently I’ve become curious about why Yamashita approaches technique the way he does. Almost everything about it is unorthodox - his hunched posture, low RH wrist position, the pronounced slant of his guitar, and his occasional holding up of the guitar above his knee, which much produce some additional tension. Not to mention he plays the ways he does on long-scale Ramirez guitars with sky-high action. All of these factors presumably put a lot of strain on his lower back, neck, wrists, and fingers, yet he seems unaffected by it. Is there any particular reason why he is able to utilize the technique that he does without injury, or does he simply have more resistance to tendinitis/back pain/etc. than most?

Furthermore, what advantages do these traits provide to his playing? I know his interpretations are controversial, but he has a highly-developed technique and must have some reasoning for his idiosyncrasies. He seems to not be a very public person and there’s little information available about him, so I was wondering whether any users here could provide a rationale behind his unusual technical approach.

Thanks,
Chris

ronjazz
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by ronjazz » Mon May 20, 2019 6:57 pm

Rationale? It works for him.
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guitarrista
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by guitarrista » Mon May 20, 2019 8:30 pm

I think Yamashita very long time ago transcended technique and thus his appearance while playing is not driven, or limited, by any technical considerations. What you describe is all to do with having complete freedom to feel the music being created and moving his body any way the music moves him. He is hunched over because he wants to hug his guitar; he lifts his guitar sometimes because he wants to feel carrying all of it in his hands; he sways because he wants to send the music in all directions.
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Christopher C.
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by Christopher C. » Tue May 21, 2019 1:16 am

guitarrista wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:30 pm
I think Yamashita very long time ago transcended technique and thus his appearance while playing is not driven, or limited, by any technical considerations. What you describe is all to do with having complete freedom to feel the music being created and moving his body any way the music moves him. He is hunched over because he wants to hug his guitar; he lifts his guitar sometimes because he wants to feel carrying all of it in his hands; he sways because he wants to send the music in all directions.
That’s an interesting analysis. It makes me wonder how much of the prescriptive approach to technique that nearly all of CG academia teaches is a symptom of the massive technical skill gap between Yamashita and the average performer. In rock and jazz, for example, even the best guitarists tend to be less strict about such things and do what’s comfortable for them, but are still capable of demanding technical playing.

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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by guit-box » Tue May 21, 2019 3:27 am

Christopher C. wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:54 pm
Recently I’ve become curious about why Yamashita approaches technique the way he does. Almost everything about it is unorthodox - his hunched posture, low RH wrist position, the pronounced slant of his guitar, and his occasional holding up of the guitar above his knee, which much produce some additional tension. Not to mention he plays the ways he does on long-scale Ramirez guitars with sky-high action. All of these factors presumably put a lot of strain on his lower back, neck, wrists, and fingers, yet he seems unaffected by it. Is there any particular reason why he is able to utilize the technique that he does without injury, or does he simply have more resistance to tendinitis/back pain/etc. than most?

Furthermore, what advantages do these traits provide to his playing? I know his interpretations are controversial, but he has a highly-developed technique and must have some reasoning for his idiosyncrasies. He seems to not be a very public person and there’s little information available about him, so I was wondering whether any users here could provide a rationale behind his unusual technical approach.

Thanks,
Chris
Maybe he realized that in order to break out of the endless cycle of guitarists playing for guitarists and reach a larger audience, he needed more flair to his presentation. Or maybe he's just doing what feels natural to him. He's not boring to watch.
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Alexander Kalil
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by Alexander Kalil » Tue May 21, 2019 10:26 am

guitarrista wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:30 pm
I think Yamashita very long time ago transcended technique
I remember an incident communicated to me a long time ago, where Yamashita was once asked after a concert about his particular fingering of a certain difficult passage. He replied that he does not understand the question; he just uses whatever finger available at the moment.

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segobreawill
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by segobreawill » Tue May 21, 2019 11:53 am

ronjazz wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 6:57 pm
Rationale? It works for him.
Exactly! He found what works for HIM!

Maybe that's the lesson for all of us: Find what works for you and you alone!

Tonit
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by Tonit » Tue May 21, 2019 2:01 pm

I being a Japanese am ashamed I know little about Yamashita.

But as I recall he was trained by his father who was the President of a guitar "academy" in Nagasaki, and his sister Naoko was also a guitar master playing/recording together with Kazuhito.

As I confirmed today on some JP references, he did not follow any methods to study his guitar (which supposedly made him isolated in more systematically studied guitarist community).
Instead, he grew up playing in a guitar ensemble organized and run by his father, which I think is another key of his style being discussed here, esp. volume or wider dynamics.

And by the age of 12 he was second runner up at Tokyo International playing Chaconne which was, as is always the case, controversial among the jury members saying, the tune is not something a 12 year-old can properly interpret, while the audience was best applauding the prodigy as he was.

When I was growing up Yamashita was always a celebrity, but was of a sort of isolated and lone sample as I got more involved in the Japanese CG commuity where I did not hear or see him. As such, I was not influenced so much from Yamashita, just like the other high-teen guitarists in the commuity back in time. I was not a big fun of him, at least not so much as I was of Shin-ichi Fukuda for example, who was more familiar with and closer to us.

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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by TomOphir1 » Wed May 22, 2019 6:57 pm

I love watching videos of Yamashita playing. He seems so absorbed and taken by the spirit of the music. One factor regarding his posture is that if his mind is free, trained, calm, balanced and deeply absorbed his postures prob don't affect him that much in terms of tension etc. It's like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel upside down with his neck cranked back for years.. how did he do that? Giants of the Spirit...

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Sebastian
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by Sebastian » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:37 am

Quote from an older YouTube comment I found some years ago:

"Yamashita was constructed by SkyNet in the year 2054 as a cyborg to travel back in time and destroy all guitarists from our time"

Something like that. I just loled.
Basically, most things he does it's because it allows him to interpret better. His domain is so high that he can play in which posture he likes. And also, he's simply a genius who also had a real shitload of training who has become the greatest guitarist ever.
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guitareleven
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by guitareleven » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:24 pm

The following is completely useless for anyone looking for guidance on how best to go about attempt emulating Yamashita. But, it's an opportune juncture at which to submit these conversational extracts from a discussion thread that occurred on another form almost ten years ago:

JonLorPro
10/16/10

On Oct 16, 11:50 am, Andrew Schulman <and...@abacaproductions.com>
wrote:

> On Oct 16, 5:06 am, JPD <googlegroo...@*** Site blocked for copyright reasons ***> wrote:> Does he (i.e., Yamashita) deliver or what!
>
> >(link to audio sample on a now non-existent blog)
>
> > (Playing "La Boda de Luis Alonso," if you must know.)
>
> Yes, he is spectacular! I looked up the piece and found this mp3 > version by Sabicas, worth a listen to also:
>
> (link to a site now unavailable)
>
> Andrew

Yes, well worth a listen. However, with Sabicas I can envision the path to follow. The territorial landscape of guitar potential within which one orients oneself contains a road, from where I am situated to where Sabicas was. I can look down that road to contemplate and assess the plausibility, remote though it may be, that I too may traverse that road. What is impressive about Sabicas is, that the travails of that travel are visibly anticipable, that he withstood and whereby he proved his mettle.
But with Yamashita, an apt quotation that comes to mind is an often cited humorous anectdotal response, of a native inhabitant of the territory where I grew up, given in befuddling response after a show of seeming due consideration, to the "flatlander" who stopped and asked for directions to some other locale: "You can't get there from here."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

JonLorPro
10/18/10
On Oct 17, 9:11 am, Charlie <gtr...@tds.net> wrote:
>
> Maybe it's the recording quality but, in my estimation, this piece is
> not very musical to my ears: faster than i can play, now that's for
> sure, but, well who cares? I couldn't even find a thread of melody to
> hum. To me it's just a tour de force of speed without much point to
> it.

That makes me think of Carolina banjoist Frank Proffit's famous reaction upon first hearing Earl Scruggs- "I'd like to be able to do that and then not do it."

I've heard plenty of fast playing that struck me as Yamashita's did you. But what I hear is that what ever is the ineffable compounding of felicitous physiology and concentration of which his playing metabolism consists, its energy hasn't been wholly consumed by the effort of rocketing through. He still retained a reserve, unsupplanted, of attention capacity to devote to delivering the material with finesse and subtle modulation. Me, I'd like to be able to do that and then do it.

kmurdick
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Re: Kazuhito Yamashita’s Technique

Post by kmurdick » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:28 pm

Yamashita likes to jump around a lot and he has rather poor posture, but his technique looks quite orthodox in most respects, at least to me.

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