RIght hand re-train

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
zinc1024

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by zinc1024 » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:50 pm

Thank you guys for the guidance.

My practice time is now a fairly slow set of exercises (I use the kith ones) and a few relatively simple pieces, with a maniacal eye on the mirror, looking for:

- straight, slightly bowed wrist
- thumb slightly bent on all strokes
- pinky finger always relaxed and "in", not sticking out
- stable hand, no hand bouncing, particularly on p strokes, but also on i/m/a alternating strokes.

Probably the hardest is the pinky, followed by the slightly bent thumb. I have my 9 year old boy sometimes sit and watch for all the issues, and last night I couldn't get through more than 20 seconds before he'd call out "pinky!!". It's weird how uncontrollable it is, it's like it's got a mind of it's own. What it has is 38 years of neural training that sticking out is just fine!

However, I'm confident that with continuous focus over time, it'll all become natural, and then I'll have a solid basis on which to work. My whole objective is to get my playing up to a higher level, and not have blockers to achieving yet higher levels, and I'm finally addressing the root issues that have been blocking me.

-k

georges

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by georges » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:43 pm

Probably the hardest is the pinky, followed by the slightly bent thumb. I have my 9 year old boy sometimes sit and watch for all the issues, and last night I couldn't get through more than 20 seconds before he'd call out "pinky!!". It's weird how uncontrollable it is, it's like it's got a mind of it's own. What it has is 38 years of neural training that sticking out is just fine!
After reading your post I noticed I do the same thing with my little finger, didn't know it was bad though! I wonder if using it for plucking in exercises would help with developing some more control? (disclaimer: I am not a guitar teacher and this could be very bad advice!)

ramsnake

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by ramsnake » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:28 pm

zinc1024 wrote:Thank you guys for the guidance.

My practice time is now a fairly slow set of exercises (I use the kith ones) and a few relatively simple pieces, with a maniacal eye on the mirror, looking for:

- straight, slightly bowed wrist
- thumb slightly bent on all strokes
- pinky finger always relaxed and "in", not sticking out
- stable hand, no hand bouncing, particularly on p strokes, but also on i/m/a alternating strokes.

Probably the hardest is the pinky, followed by the slightly bent thumb. I have my 9 year old boy sometimes sit and watch for all the issues, and last night I couldn't get through more than 20 seconds before he'd call out "pinky!!". It's weird how uncontrollable it is, it's like it's got a mind of it's own. What it has is 38 years of neural training that sticking out is just fine!

However, I'm confident that with continuous focus over time, it'll all become natural, and then I'll have a solid basis on which to work. My whole objective is to get my playing up to a higher level, and not have blockers to achieving yet higher levels, and I'm finally addressing the root issues that have been blocking me.

-k
Even JW's pinky sticks about a bit so it can do so to some degree without upsetting the hand.
williamsart200.jpg
It becomes an issue when it causes the RH to close up internally as in this image shows.
Photo 22.jpg
My teacher would say to me "Your RH needs to feel like you could fit a tennis ball in the palm" more like the following image shows.
Photo 24.jpg
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Last edited by ramsnake on Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

zinc1024

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by zinc1024 » Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:30 pm

Interesting instructor photos; should I ask why he demonstrating right hand technique with his left hand? Not that it matter's that much.

The shot of Williams is sick, for the simple reason that it's a clear contradiction: "it's wrong to do that" and "here's Williams caught doing it, so how wrong can it be?". However, we know it's an anomaly, right? We can watch hours of Williams playing and we'll rarely see his pinky extended like this, I believe.

In my instructor's language, what Williams is caught doing there is not "industry standard" at this point in time. It's an indication of unnecessary tension and extraneous finger motion.

-k

ramsnake

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by ramsnake » Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:13 pm

There you go mate fixed and not so confusing for you anymore! :wink: Yes I should have flipped the image but I thought everybody knew that when you take a photo the result is a mirror image. Obviously, I was wrong! :(
Well no not really sick just making the point not to obsess about it too much as one of the best ever players RH has a pinky that sticks out a little ( and does so most of the time if you take the time to observe more photos or watch some video of his playing ) but it is obviously not causing any tension is it. Which, is why I posted the pics to show why it is not doing so! As I said it is problematic if the degree to which the little finger is sticking out causes the hand to close up internally.
Now I can't explain it more clearly than that and I can only hope that helps you to understand! :? :wink:

cprovinse

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by cprovinse » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:31 pm

I started playing about the same time you did and I could not find an instructor so I too am self taught. After finding a great professional classical guitar instructor I had to retrain my right and left hands. I still struggle with the process, especially when I play when I am tired; however, the corrections have made a huge positive difference. My speed has increased in my left hand and the tone of my music had benefited by the corrections in my right hand. The transition is definately worthwhile.

zinc1024

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by zinc1024 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:34 pm

Okay, another couple of weeks and another lesson later...I have my wrist reasonably and consistently "straight" now re: my problem of cocking it down significantly. I have my pinky under much better control. I usually have my thumb slightly bent at the knuckle, and with just a little more nail growth I should start getting a consistent nail stroke going with p.

My big issue now is that I don't have my wrist arch under control. I start with it arched properly (my instructor says it's right when the flat of the hand between the wrist and knuckles is roughly parallel with the top surface of the guitar), but once I start playing and stop focusing on it, boom! I flatten it out, and the flat of the hand is angled up relative to the top of the guitar.

Additionally, I'm flailing with my i, m and a strokes, my instructors wants minimal motion in stroke prep and precision overall. This was revealed dramatically when I played Carcassi's study #2 for him, and how pointed out my flailing fingers vs. his very precise and almost mechanical a-m-i-m-i sequence (that's not the sequence Carcassi suggested, but he says this is the modern accepted and proper fingering). So he wants maniacal focus on planting with both arpeggio work and scale work. Scale wise, I also have the habit of using i-a instead of i-m, and similarly I flail.

So it's Guiliani arpreggios and Segovia scales for me, with planting, with my eyes focused on my right hand to make sure I keep that wrist up!

I'm actually pleased because I feel like I'm making progress, knocking off problems slowly but surely. Interestingly, I can clearly hear a difference when I properly arch the wrist, the volume increases and the tone warms up, it actually quite surprising how much it affects the stroke and tone.

-Kevin

ramsnake

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by ramsnake » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:10 pm

zinc1024 wrote:Okay, another couple of weeks and another lesson later...I have my wrist reasonably and consistently "straight" now re: my problem of cocking it down significantly. I have my pinky under much better control. I usually have my thumb slightly bent at the knuckle, and with just a little more nail growth I should start getting a consistent nail stroke going with p.

My big issue now is that I don't have my wrist arch under control. I start with it arched properly (my instructor says it's right when the flat of the hand between the wrist and knuckles is roughly parallel with the top surface of the guitar), but once I start playing and stop focusing on it, boom! I flatten it out, and the flat of the hand is angled up relative to the top of the guitar.

Additionally, I'm flailing with my i, m and a strokes, my instructors wants minimal motion in stroke prep and precision overall. This was revealed dramatically when I played Carcassi's study #2 for him, and how pointed out my flailing fingers vs. his very precise and almost mechanical a-m-i-m-i sequence (that's not the sequence Carcassi suggested, but he says this is the modern accepted and proper fingering). So he wants maniacal focus on planting with both arpeggio work and scale work. Scale wise, I also have the habit of using i-a instead of i-m, and similarly I flail.

So it's Guiliani arpreggios and Segovia scales for me, with planting, with my eyes focused on my right hand to make sure I keep that wrist up!

I'm actually pleased because I feel like I'm making progress, knocking off problems slowly but surely. Interestingly, I can clearly hear a difference when I properly arch the wrist, the volume increases and the tone warms up, it actually quite surprising how much it affects the stroke and tone.

-Kevin
Yep there are 163 things you need to know/do to be able to play the guitar well and you are getting a few of them down now. Hard work isn't it! Well done! :)

zinc1024

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by zinc1024 » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:07 pm

Another week and finally a lesson where my instructor thinks I'm getting it and pretty much "in position", instead of a response of "your right hand is fundamentally wrong!". I'm still not casually locked into a correct RH position, I have to keep focused on it while playing, but I feel like I'm over the hump, and that in a few more weeks it'll just be how I play without any need for any conscious focus.

I'm still fundamentally learning how to play scales with i-m (versus my old habit of using i-a). My problem now is my a finger is sticking out a bit and tense as I stroke i and m. So my instructor has me working on an i stroke followed by an m stroke that is really all of m-a-pinky; he says that's really the proper stroke for i-m alternating passages. He also has me doing these hand exercises where I flap my i and m-a-pinkey at 90 degree angles, in opposition (hold the hand straight up fingers together edge-wise to your face, fold the i finger down at the knuckle to it's bent at 90%, now simultaneously bring i straight up while bending all the other three fingers to 90 degrees. Repeat quickly (if you can!). It's not easy. Lastly, he's got me doing these little string crossing exercises to help build scale playing accuracy and speed.

While I'm still struggling a bit on old rep pieces to play them accurately in my new posture, they sound wholly different!

Oh, and I switched off of a footstool to an Ergoplay. While I don't practice for many hours a day, at 49, it seems like a natural posture can only extend my ability to practice and reduce general fatigue and wear and tear. I really like it!

So maybe one or two more things checked off the list of 163 or whatever it was! Heading down the road to classical guitar heaven...

-k

ramsnake

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by ramsnake » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:11 pm

Yay! :)

tungolcild

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by tungolcild » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:50 pm

I have the same problem with my little finger :(

I saw the images before and I understood the "tennis ball" example. But how it can be "fixed" while playing? Any tips? :?

ramsnake

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by ramsnake » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:48 pm

Well It takes time to train the feeling ( big clue! ) you get from having the tennis ball structure ( for want of a better term ) in the hand to become a habitual structure.
So, I would be searching out simple pieces/exercises, that are well within your ability, and play them trying to maintain the tennis ball structure until it starts to become a natural thing you no longer need to think about in order to maintain.
Using a mirror helps, as you can use visual cues to assist also.
This process can take a long, long time and there are no short cuts.

tungolcild

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by tungolcild » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:05 am

Hm..So, I have to train train train as usual but the right way :)

Thank you for you information on the subject. I will start guitar lessons again this Monday, after 14 years playing (but 4 years without exercise)... :roll: I also was thinking about video-shooting myself while playing. It would be a great help!

ramsnake

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by ramsnake » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:52 pm

Definitely!

zinc1024

Re: RIght hand re-train

Post by zinc1024 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:47 pm

Yes, it's certainly turning out to be a long process.

I'm using a mirror continuously. My weekly lesson helps a lot, to point out my "slips". My tendency (no surprise) is to start off okay, but slowly "degrade" while I play a piece. My particular issue is switching to a wrist bend solution to reaching the 1 and 2 strings combined with a flattening of the wrist, instead of a lower arm movement from the elbow while keeping the wrist bend.

When I find myself doing this, I go back to several run throughs of the piece, very slowly, with my eyes focused on my right arm directly and/or in the mirror. Carcassi's Estudio #7 is one I have to do this with over and over.

I'd love to post some of my results but lately I'm working through lots of the Estudios Sencillos by Brauwer. I'm learning to love that music! #1-7, #11, #19, #20, and I'm starting #17 now, very cool stuff.

I'm also working hard on my tremolo, particularly using that new-ish study book on tremolo, I'm finding it to be very useful. I'm not fast yet but I'm getting a foundation laid.

-Kevin

-k

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