Inquiry

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

Inquiry

Post by Silent » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:05 pm

I started playing again after 35 years. This is my first classical/nylon string experience. I noticed if I extend my fingers and thumb on my picking hand and relax through both free and rest strokes, things buzz, the nail and pad part of the finger inadvertantly touch a vibrating string. So, I am trying this. Kind of difficult to explain but allow me to exaggerate. I press straight down and make a semi circular movement. More of a pluck than a horizontal action used when strumming with a pick. This seems to get the string vibrating in a more vertical orientation and eliminates the buzz from other vibrating strings slapping against particularly the back of my thumbnail.
I do not want to form bad habits. Been there, limited my playing long ago. Please comment and educate me.
Thank you all.

celestemcc
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Re: Inquiry

Post by celestemcc » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:00 pm

My first inclination is to wonder if you need higher-tension strings, as you shouldn't be getting a "buzz". Is the guitar set up right? A too-low action, or strings that are too low-tension, might contribute to the problem.

That said... you mention a string vibrating against your thumbnail... and extending your fingers...can you elaborate a little? I'm having a hard time visualizing this. Perhaps even a short video clip, the better to understand what you're describing... and, have you found a good teacher? :D
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

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pogmoor
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Re: Inquiry

Post by pogmoor » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:30 pm

Silent wrote:Kind of difficult to explain but allow me to exaggerate. I press straight down and make a semi circular movement. More of a pluck than a horizontal action used when strumming with a pick.
It is, as you say, difficult to describe these finger movements and there is a lot to be gained by having instruction from a good teacher. However you are right in thinking there is a downward element to plucking the string and it is clearly necessary to follow through (onto the next string in the case of rest stroke) so that the finger clears the vibrating string and doesn't relax back onto it.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

Silent

Re: Inquiry

Post by Silent » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:39 pm

The guitar is set up perfectly by the numbers and the neck has no warp, twist or fret problems. Strings are new daddario medium tension. No problems at all as the fretboard is not where the buzz comes from.
My question goes to the technique for striking the string. It is such a subtle move so the only way I can explain is does the move come more from the last joint of the finger (distal phalanx) or more from the knuckle (proximal phalanx)? When I exicute a clean note with no buzz, I am very conscious of my last joint. It is very important I do not develop any bad habits. I do not have access or the life style stability to have a teacher so here I am.

celestemcc
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Re: Inquiry

Post by celestemcc » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:52 pm

The movement comes from the knuckle. The last (tip) joint of the finger is flexible to a greater or lesser degree, and follows through the motion from the knuckle. In other words, the entire finger moves toward the heel of your palm. That's what helps you "push through" the string, in either free stroke or rest stroke. the whole finger is involved, but the main motion, or should I say the initiating movement, comes from the knuckle. The thumb pushes thru the string (even in free stroke) more or less toward your fingers. There are different schools of thought on this, but the wrist (at least how I was trained) is straight, as it would be when relaxed on a table, and curved down from the wrist when your fingers are on the strings. The tip joint of the finger is more relaxed during rest-stroke, and a bit more firm during free stroke... but in either case, no joint is ever "lifted" to make a "plucking" motion, if that helps. Try checking out some videos of guitar virtuosi old and new. I hope this helps a bit till others can weigh in and explain perhaps more clearly.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Silent

Re: Inquiry

Post by Silent » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:40 am

Please do not interpret this as any sort of a censure but how can one execute a free stroke without lifting the fingertips up? I really appreciate the table analogy and I am conscious of this now. I wish to develop accurate muscle memory and position so this will become second nature when I attempt more advanced phrases.

celestemcc
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Re: Inquiry

Post by celestemcc » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:43 am

No worries... Ok, gently hold a guitar pick in your right hand while seated at the guitar, in classical guitar seating position, wrist as I described above. Allow your fingers to curl naturally, and hold the pick gently with your thumb against the side of your i fingertip. Now drop the pick but allow your fingers to stay in that position, including your thumb. Now move the fingers toward the heel of your palm. Don't tense your fingers; just allow this to happen. That's the best I can describe the movement: yes, the last joint curls a bit, but the driving force of movement is from your knuckle, and the fingertips follow through. Pogmoor above described it well. Ultimately your fingers return to neutral position, but never "lift" toward the horizontal plane in any joint.

Also, no censure meant here, but have your considered the classes here on Delcamp? If you can't get access to a teacher it's the next thing to try. See the top of the home page, there's instructions on how to register. You will benefit tremendously from being able to see the hand position, and thus feel it -- a far better way to retain muscle memory. Mechanics/ergonomics are very, very important, yes, but to feel it for yourself is key. Best wishes and good luck!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Silent

Re: Inquiry

Post by Silent » Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:35 am

I viewed several Utubes and I see what you are recommending. My technique is not at the level to execute this correctly but I do understand and I very much appreciate your kind advice. I am breaking the rules of practice suggested and playing a lot longer than the 30/10 schedule suggested but I come from the play until your fingers bleed and then super glue the calluses back on. How ignorant is that? Now I am enjoying (imagine this!) practice because I am learning agony and pain is precisely what one must avoid.

Silent

Re: Inquiry

Post by Silent » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:34 pm

I read something in the often referenced Pumping Nylon. It said it is comparable to walking. All the joints move but the thrust that carries your body along comes from the hips. Special thanks to Celestemcc and pogmoor!

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