stretching exercises

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

stretching exercises

Post by derrickstevenson » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:15 pm

Hello all

Does anyone have any good advice or a good repetoire of stretching exercises for hands. I have small hands as it is and really struggle with some chords. Another thing I noticed the other day is when I was doing scales to warm up in order to place my finger right behind the fret the finger holding the string would slide a fraction to compensate for the lack of flexibility in my left hand. This sliding makes a squeeking sound on the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings.

I have a few ideas of stretching exercises but don't really know what is going to work best or how long to to hold each stretch.

Can someone help me?

Der

bargavm

Re: stretching exercises

Post by bargavm » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:50 pm

I think I'm stealing this from Pumping Nylon, but here goes.

Using the index and middle fingers (index stays fretted on the first note, while the middle stretches to hold the second note)
e ------------------------------------------
b ------------------------------------------
g ------------------------------------------
d ------------------------------------------
a ------------------------------------------
E --1---2------1---3---------------------- (if you can keep going to 1 - 4, with your index & middle, I doubt you need stretching exercises!)

Using the index and ring fingers (index stays fretted on first note, ring stretches)

e ------------------------------------------
b ------------------------------------------
g ------------------------------------------
d ------------------------------------------
a ------------------------------------------
E --1---3------1---4---------------------- ( keep going if you can and work your way back)

Using the index and pinky

e ------------------------------------------
b ------------------------------------------
g ------------------------------------------
d ------------------------------------------
a ------------------------------------------
E --1---4------1---5---------------------- ( keep going if you can)

Basically take this structure of keeping one finger fretting a note, while the other stretches out, and try other finger combinations. Make sure the stretches and even and relaxed and don't cause too much pain. The exercise is much harder when using the middle and ring, so don't neglect that combination.

pacifica

Re: stretching exercises

Post by pacifica » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:27 pm

I think thats the exercise that give the book "Pumping Nylon" its name. Make sure that your hands are really warmed up properly before you do such stretching exercises.

Sean

Re: stretching exercises

Post by Sean » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:02 pm

And with that exercise, you can always start out in the upper frets and work your way down to the first position over time.

Rick-in-Annapolis
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Re: stretching exercises

Post by Rick-in-Annapolis » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:55 pm

Sean wrote:And with that exercise, you can always start out in the upper frets and work your way down to the first position over time.
Have you considered buying a smaller scale guitar. I know many luthiers will make a 630 or a 640. After-all, stretching will only go so
far. (I often wish my pinky was 1/2" longer!)

Alison

Re: stretching exercises

Post by Alison » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:26 pm

pacifica wrote:I think thats the exercise that give the book "Pumping Nylon" its name. ["Make sure that your hands are really warmed up properly before you do such stretching exercises."]
Yes, warming up is very important. I've found that overstretching injuries caused by failing to warm up can take weeks to heal.

derrickstevenson

Re: stretching exercises

Post by derrickstevenson » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:25 am

I've been meaning to reply to this one for ages

rick from annapolis wrote:

Have you considered buying a smaller scale guitar. I know many luthiers will make a 630 or a 640. After-all, stretching will only go so

These numbers 630, 640. I'm guessing these are guitar sizes. What is "standard", if there is a standard size? Also with the 630/640 is it the size of the neck or the whole guitar?

Der

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Michael.N.
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Re: stretching exercises

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:56 am

They refer to string lengths rather than guitar sizes, strictly speaking. A shorter string length results in shorter distances between each fret - hence 'stretches' become a tiny bit easier. It is 'marginal' though. The reduction from a string length of 650mm to 640mm, between frets 1 and 2 is approx. 0.5 mm. However, over a 'stretch' of 4 frets (eg. Nut to fret 4) the measurement accumulates and it's more like 2 mm's.
The other factor to take into consideration is nut width. I have small hands and I think I'm safe in saying that I have extensive experience of plucked stringed instruments with combinations of nut widths and various string lengths. It's this combination of a shorter scale length and reduced nut width that helps the most. Of course reducing the nut width has it's problems, namely that you reach a point where the left hand fingers start to inadvertently dampen notes. I can happily play on a guitar with a 47 -48 mm nut width. That's me, others find it too congested.
The string length of 630mm's really belongs in the idiom of 19th century romantic guitars. These type of guitars also have a narrow nut width of around 47,48 mm's. Couple this with low tension strings and they are a lot easier to play than a full blown modern classical guitar. Not everyone is enamoured with the sound of such an instrument and they aren't exactly associated with playing Barrios - for e.g.
Historicalguitars.

Rick-in-Annapolis
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Re: stretching exercises

Post by Rick-in-Annapolis » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:22 am

derrickstevenson wrote:I've been meaning to reply to this one for ages

rick from annapolis wrote:

Have you considered buying a smaller scale guitar. I know many luthiers will make a 630 or a 640. After-all, stretching will only go so

These numbers 630, 640. I'm guessing these are guitar sizes. What is "standard", if there is a standard size? Also with the 630/640 is it the size of the neck or the whole guitar?

Der

The size is in millimeters and is the string length from nut to bridge. As another poster stated it makes a SMALL difference in fret
distance so maybe it wouldn't help you after all. You can always try to find one and test it out to see if it helps you.

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oski79
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Re: stretching exercises

Post by oski79 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:58 pm

There's another great exercise in Pumping Nylon, one Tennant refers to as Sergio Assad's favorite drill. It's kind of a spider like crawl up and down the fretboard across all the strings. This is one drill I consistently come back to.
Last edited by oski79 on Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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cn90

Re: stretching exercises

Post by cn90 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:27 pm

Yes,

Pumping Nylon is definitely a good book to buy.
About $15-20 online.
Worth every penny.

DWB48MS

Re: stretching exercises

Post by DWB48MS » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:58 pm

I am an older player - not really old, just older! ;) and I have found that the Pumping Nylon daily warmups really have helped both strengthen my hands and keep them flexible. The stretching exercises make a difference in just days of working with them. Be careful to stop when your hands feel tired! Just let them rest at your side for a minute or so and you should be ready to go.

derrickstevenson

Re: stretching exercises

Post by derrickstevenson » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:06 pm

Michael N. what are the nut measurements of a 650 scale guitar?

Der

Clay

Re: stretching exercises

Post by Clay » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:43 am

Hi Derrick,

Bargavm supplied you with a fine left hand stretch exercise. I saw William Kanengiser demonstrate this in his dvd "Effortless Classical Guitar." I do it at the beginning of every practice session. Set your metronome at a slow comfortable setting, between 60 or 80MM, and do the exercise using quarter notes. I start on the sixth string at the seventh fret & do exactly what Bargavm described on each string. While you are doing this you can also focus on the pressure release of the index finger when you fret the middle, ring & pinky fingers.

I hope this helps.

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Alicia
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Re: stretching exercises

Post by Alicia » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:46 am

I've have great success by stretching my 2nd and 4th fingers apart (with my right hand) many times a day - away from my CG. I've only been doing this for a week and have gained half an inch of stretch.
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