Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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paulcroft

Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by paulcroft » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:30 pm

Luis_Br wrote:
wbajzek wrote:OK, I'm sorry to distract from the issue by bringing up Henderson's video. I just recalled seeing it last year, and remembered him talking about this idea and considered it relevant. At least you can watch and listen to it and judge for yourself, which is far more than you can get with the people who give the most advice on this forum.
i don't agree. I find a lot of useful thoughts and tips from Denian, Nick, Larry and several others without the need of any video to see them. I agree a video might show something else, but it might not be the point and it might not be so well recorded and perfectly performed. But I agree to be careful when following advice from a guy you've never seen playing or one that you cna check youtube and maybe he is not really a good player. but even from those, you can learn some things. You learn from his problems and it might give an insight to your own problems.
But I am glad you posted the video. I think it is natural to ramble from the topic and a lot of nice discussion rise from this.

Like Luis and no doubt many others I haven't posted videos, but I find if someone explains an idea well enough then its very easy to understand and evaluate the content. I rather tire of the attitude that if your playing isn't audible/visible on the internet you aren't entitled to offer an opinion.

Paul.

Gruupi
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Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by Gruupi » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:08 pm

I don't think anyone is saying you have to post videos or recordings in order to prove the value of your information. But of course we have seen lots of advice from so called experts, and when you see or hear less than credible performances from these experts, it makes you question the value of the advice. The internet age allows you to check out the playing of people who you may take advice from. So for whatever reasons someone wants to post videos or not, you have to expect that people are going to want to check the references in some way from people they take advice from. It just stands to reason that we will take advice from someone that we have seen demonstrated evidence of some level of playing expertise.

After saying that, if you already have listened to what lots of teachers say about playing guitar, you can usually tell good advice from bad without hearing the teacher play. But less experienced guitarists don't always have the benefit of knowing what is right or wrong.

philiphii

Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by philiphii » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:26 pm

Thanks for the link, William. I liked the video a lot. Interesting how many of his ideas and mine seem to coincide, not just in the left hand but in the right hand too. I watched his Villa Lobos #1 and noticed how small his finger movements are. He’s definitely moving them at the fingertips, which is the key to economy of movement in the right hand.

The one point where we diverge is with left-hand pull-offs. He mentioned not to pull off with the hand but to isolate the movements in the fingers. I actually advocate the opposite, to pull off with the hand (very subtly of course). But what he does seem to work very well for him, so it’s not a huge point.

Amazing how many good players there are out there these days.

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Tom Poore
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Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by Tom Poore » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:03 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:The various points I raise here are specifically for Tom. I know that he is dissatisfied with his technique and I am trying to offer ideas that will break him out of what, in my view, are rather rigid ideas about orthodox (and therefore acceptable) technique.
I really do believe that if Tom broke his mind-set a little and tried some of these things he would notice a benefit. For example the arching of the back thing. I notice from Tom's videos that he is a pronounced sloucher (I don't mean that in a rude way :mrgreen: ) and the arching of the back could indeed help a great deal to free up his technique. If Tom were to experiment a little with the ideas presented he might see a quicker way forward. That's why I contribute to this thread.
The problem, of course, is that one man's rigidly orthodox is another man's path to progress. (Reminds me of the old saying: "The novice thinks there are many paths to mastery—the master knows there's but one.") In fact, over the years, and particularly in the past ten months, I've tried and discarded many things. Some of them I've written about, others I haven't. It would be wrong to assume that my blog is an exhaustive survey of everything I've tried.

There are certain things I regard as unquestionable. In no particular order, they are thus:
  • • Good technique should be easy. Given two choices that yield the same musical result, I'll choose the easier technique every time. If a more difficult technique offers a better musical result, only then will I do it.

    • Alternation is a good litmus test for the overall effectiveness of my right hand technique. If my i and m alternation improves, it's likely to also improve my overall right hand technique.

    • Rigidly extending the little finger during i and m alternation is a sign of excess tension. I don't care how many great players do it. At some point one has think for oneself rather than merely surveying great players and doing whatever the majority does. In fact, one great player offered what I consider an irrefutable argument regarding this point: When someone is asleep—and thus completely relaxed—you never see that person's little finger rigidly extended. Further, I've experimented with this enough to know there's no getting around it with my own hand. Does my little finger need to move precisely with a and m? I'm not sure. But I'm absolutely sure that it shouldn't lock itself in an extended position.

    • My a finger absolutely must move with m during i and m alternation. I've run the experiment. Every single time my a finger fails to move with m, the ease of my alternation suffers. The tension I feel varies in exact proportion to how well or badly a is moving with m.

    • For me, there'll be no quantum leap. I must proceed in tiny steps. If I try to overreach, I'll slide right back into the deficient playing I'm trying to overcome.
On these points, I'm firmly sold—call it rigidly orthodox if you must. In fact, I believe I've wasted a lot of time by questioning these ideas. Had I taken them as incontrovertible from the beginning, I might have made better progress.

I'll try anything that makes sense. But I've no intention of endlessly repeating the same things I've heard and read over many years. And much of the advice I'm getting falls into that category. I blame no one for this, since there's no way anyone can know everything I've tried. All I can say is that if I encounter something new that seems potentially useful, I'll try it.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

philiphii

Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by philiphii » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:42 pm

Tom Poore wrote:(Reminds me of the old saying: "The novice thinks there are many paths to mastery—the master knows there's but one.")
I’ve never heard of that saying before but I’ve heard of this one: Many roads lead to Rome.

I like your first point; it reflects my own position and philosophy. If there’s an easier way to do something, do it. And sometimes, I’ll even let practical considerations override my musical ones. It depends on whether the effect is worth the extra effort.

What I’m curious about are:

What makes you so sure you are right? Especially since you know you have erred before. What makes you so sure you got it right this time?

And why do you feel a need to trash other ideas if they happen to run counter to yours? Especially since, as I’ve said before, you admitted you have erred before.

It’s okay to disagree but why do you have to try to invalidate the other person’s ideas? Does it bother you when other people think differently from you?

I have solidly unquestionable beliefs too when it comes to the guitar but they’re mostly general principles and even if I see someone do things in a totally contrary way and it works for them, I’ll say more power to them. It’s not about my ideas or your ideas, but about people playing well.

There’s no reason to demand complete orthodoxy and uniformity. And you’ll never get it. You can’t demand that the world conform to what you think is the “right” path (leave that to the religious nutcases). You neither have the authority nor the power.

So I would say, lighten up, live and let live.
Last edited by philiphii on Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Luis_Br
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Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:29 pm

Gruupi wrote:But less experienced guitarists don't always have the benefit of knowing what is right or wrong.
I agree but I think some of those cannot recognize even through videos a real virtuoso from a clumsy one.
(it is just a general observation, please do not think I am talking about someone here...)

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Tom Poore
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Re: Building A Better Right Hand: October 9 Update

Post by Tom Poore » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:55 pm

philiphii wrote:What makes you so sure you are right? Especially since you know you have erred before. What makes you so sure you got it right this time?

And why do you feel a need to trash other ideas if they happen to run counter to yours? Especially since, as I’ve said before, you admitted you have erred before.

It’s okay to disagree but why do you have to try to invalidate the other person’s ideas? Does it bother you when other people think differently from you?

I have solidly unquestionable beliefs too when it comes to the guitar but they’re mostly general principles and even if I see someone do things in a totally contrary way and it works for them, I’ll say more power to them. It’s not about my ideas or your ideas, but about people playing well.

There’s no reason to demand complete orthodoxy and uniformity. And you’ll never get it. You can’t demand that the world conform to what you think is the “right” path (leave that to the religious nutcases). You neither have the authority nor the power.
One might ask the same questions of you. Presumably you’ve no wish to argue that, unlike the rest of us, you’re infallible. Further, in your writings you’ve disagreed with others on matters of guitar playing, and you've invalidated some of the things with which you disagreed. Finally, while I’ve disagreed with some of your statements regarding guitar playing, I’ve never questioned your right to make these statements. Perhaps you could grant me the same courtesy.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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