Angle of attack - Right hand picking

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Angle of attack - Right hand picking

Post by sa1nt_dave » Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:45 am

When you pick the string ('specially with I, M, A, rest-stroke) should the attack be more horizontal than vertical? I've experimented around and found that by plucking the string so that it vibrates across the fretboard instead of perpendicular to it I can play as loud as I want without buzzing, even though my guitar has low action as it is. Is this okay? any suggies?


Post by hav » Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 pm

Short answer: No

Basic stroke attack should be a (more "vertical" than "horizontal" - to use your terms) "push through" the string being played (with the first knuckle breaking to release tension, thus allowing the finger to move on to rest on the next string) rather than a "grabbing pluck" of the string. Consider how a harpsichord's quill attacks a string.

There are, of course, other strokes and occasions when you may want to use a "grabbing pluck" attack in which the first knuckle will remain tensed.

Your best bet is to find a good teacher who 1) plays very very well - 2) has good knowledge of music (not just rock and roll or blues progressions etc.) - 3) understands the physics of the instrument and 4) understands how the human hand works.

Opinions may (read: "most certainly will") vary :grire:

esteban andres


Post by esteban andres » Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:33 pm

thanks for this post, learned alot from hav. just wanna ask how do you attack the string in playing tremolo?


Post by hav » Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:05 pm

tremolo is just a set of freestrokes with a-m-i (or whatever pattern you want/need to use). A "normal" free stroke is basically the same as a rest strokes except that as the first knuckle releases tension, the finger moves over - rather then into - the next string and on into the palm (not really ALL the way up into the palm, of course).

Note: both of these descriptions assume basic power for the stroke originates in the base knuckles of the RH. As babies, we have a conditioned response to "grab" with our fingers and hand when something touches our palm. Such a "grab" maintains tension in all knuckles as we close our fingers around the object. It can be difficult (was for me) to get past the "grab" motion with the RH and allow the first knuckles to release rension - BUT it's WELL worth the effort if you can/do.

HEY - some of you REAL teachers need to jump in on this one I think.

esteban andres


Post by esteban andres » Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:34 am

Thanks hav, I used to try tremolo with that "grab" thing. Now I'm trying to correct it with the tension released on the first knucles, hope i can improve. By the way thanks again, big help! :merci:

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