Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

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Crofty
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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Crofty » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:38 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:40 pm
guit-box wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:27 pm
Not conjecture, seeing is believing and proving.
and signs with: "An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true."

OK then. :wink:
And disregards the fact that both hand position and [not surprisingly...] sound are both very suspect.

"Proving" that some people play in a particular way is not the same as proving it's a good idea to do so.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by guitarrista » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:48 pm

Crofty wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:38 pm
"Proving" that some people play in a particular way is not the same as proving it's a good idea to do so.
Perfect! This should be a regular reminder here.
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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by guit-box » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:13 pm

lacatedral wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:57 pm
Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:12 am
The immediately observable thing here is that the knuckle is definitely not vertically over the string being plucked - not even close. Is that what you meant?

The knuckle does bring the finger to the string after which I see the action described so often in Guitbox's right-hand technique thread i.e. flexion of the middle and distal phalanges simultaneous with extension of the proximal.
What do you mean by "flexion" of the middle and distal phalanges?
I assume that by flexion you mean that once that the knuckle phalanx approaches the finger to the string, the string is contacted and then the middle and distal joints are now activated (by middle joint flexion I understand for example: that the middle joint "rotates" on itself so that the middle and distal phalanges are carried by the middle joint)
What do you mean by "extension" of proximal? I assume you mean that once that the middle and distal joints are activated (after plucking) the large joint phalanx resets itself with an oval movement (similar to Vidovic's index finger when performing Recuerdos de la Alhambra)
middle = proximal. I think the wrong term is being used

distal = tip = DIP
proximal = middle = PIP
Metacarpo = large knuckle = MCP

Flexion = moving finger joints and segments towards the palm
extension = moving finger joints and segments away from the palm

flex, flexible, etc are ambiguous terms that people use all kinds of different confusing ways.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by guit-box » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:18 pm

I have no problem with the low wrist. If it works for him I think it's great. I do notice that his thumb nail isn't contacting and the bass notes are a little muddy sounding, but maybe he's going for that sound. The players I've seen who use a low wrist often have super long thumb nails to compensate for the nail not contacting the string so easily. Jason Vieaux is one example.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by lacatedral » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:23 am

guit-box wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:27 pm
lacatedral wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:11 am
Greetings, this is a video I recorded today of my teacher, Victor Villadangos, playing an excerpt of Asturias. It may help others analyze right hand movements. It was recorded at normal full speed and then the video proceeds with the slow motion function.
He uses thumb rest stroke and then medium-index for the B string. I think the most notorious thing is that he, like many other professional guitarists, uses his knuckle joint to approximate the finger to the string vertically, then the follow through is done with the middle joint. After the string is plucked the middle joint attacks in a way that it makes an "oval" movement to reset itself, instead of a "pendulum" motion towards the palm of the hand.
But that's only conjectures I make in base of what I see.
He also commented me he uses the Carlevaro's Fijación (I think the english traslation would be something like "fixation" or "fixed finger") for his middle and tip phalanx.

Not conjecture, seeing is believing and proving. I'd go one step further and say that not only does the middle and tip joint flexion follow through (effectively plucking the string and sounding the note) but the large joint extending is also contributing to the plucking, it's helping the middle/tip joints flexion thru the string. So really, it's not the flexion of the large knuckle that does the plucking, that just prepares the finger on the string, the extension of the large knuckle along with the flexion of the other joints is what produces the sound. However, the holding power of the large knuckle on the string just before the note is plucked gives the stability to make it all happen.
Is this sequence correct then?:

1) The knuckle joint flexes (in a motion which has the intention to form a fist), this makes the middle and tip phalanxes touch the string, but only contact.

2) The left side of the nail where it meets flesh is contacted. Then the pressure is applied in a 45 degree angle (into the soundhole) from the middle joint by flexion (knuckle joint is making any pressure here, its "task" is done in the previous step). The guitarist may or may not collapse the fingertip joint here. This pressure moves the nail through the string a little bit so mostly the center of the nail is contacted and about to be released.

3) The guitarist releases the pressure from the middle joint and the knuckle joint may extend in sympathy. The fingertip travels in an "oval" shape and resets almost to its initial position from step 1. This reset feels like a natural bounce.




Also, Victor told me he uses Carlevaro's Fijación (I think he said he used it for his middle and tip phalanxes) does that mean he "stiffes" those phalanxes a little bit? Because that comment was elaborated in the context of my telling him how I stopped (or tried to stop) fingertip collapse in free stroke.. Maybe I'll ask him again on Thursday.

As a side comment, I was telling Victor that many virtuoso and very good guitarists (like him, I was telling) may play and teach very well, but maybe they do not know how to describe sequentially how they play or make their movement; but not because they are bad intentioned, simply because they don't know or think they can explain through simplificated statements. "It's like asking Diego Maradona how he scored the goal against England in 1986" I told him, "Maradona won't answer something like: <<I twisted by elbow 40 degrees to that direction then used my tricepts to propulse myself to kick the ball then proned my wrist to..>>, nah, he just plays and that's it, he might try to explain vaguely but not with most detail as he might not be aware of many physical actions he does".
Victor laughed (I was not arguing with him, I know him from years and we were just chatting) and agreed. He's very humble and a very nice person, everyone in our conservatoire likes him. "I just play and that's it", or something like that I recall he said.

Victor is one of those professors who teaches free stroke through two metaphors: "it's like palming or waving bye bye", and "think of an sickle", which I guess they are not completely wrong but are kind of incomplete overall. Again, those metaphors may not be the best to teach free stroke, but he does not use them in a bad intentioned way.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:46 pm

I agree it is difficult to describe each part or sequence of the movement. I also think it is not possible to learn the correct way thinking each part of the movement. If you try to think each part of move you should do, to learn how to ride a bike or how to walk, you will probably fail.
In my experience, you should let your body do it, just being careful not to tense yourself too much. So the metaphors generally work well to a beginner, because they don't need to think on every detail. In a second step you can gradually work some details to get better.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Ricflair » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:50 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:21 pm
Yes, Sebastian, I think you could play P stroke on this piece using all three joints and following through each time.Really, just like in tremolo, the P isn't playing all that fast. BTW, David Russell more or less plays this way, and I don't think he ever uses P rest stroke. It is my belief that almost nothing is gained by using a lot of P rest stroke and many players develop a rather tense and limiting technique, often using a rather bizarre looking long P nail.
There is plenty to be gained by using rest stroke in the thumb. I don't disagree that the thumb tone in the original video isn't very good, but there are plenty of great modern players who use rest stroke in the thumb. Many have as good or better technique than David Russell. The tone of the thumb in your video is unremarkable. Your understanding of technique is fine for beginners. However it is also very antiquated. Technique has evolved in the last 30 years for the better. Also the way you pronate your right hand it's not the best for getting a good free stroke tone with your fingers. This is the reason many players are using rest stroke in the thumb. If you stupinate your right hand, the tone of the fingers will be much better. Because of this hand position, supination of the wrist, the thumb will be in a better position to drive the string inward to make it warmer sound. Your right hand position is the reason you don't understand how great rest stroke thumb can be. You could never effectively do it from your position. Besides a better tone, muting and damping strings beneath the thumb is easier especially if you develop a light rest stroke. You also can play alzapua in the Spanish repertoire. The thumb stroke you are advocating is very limiting and a musical sense.
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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:19 pm

Ricflair wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:50 pm


There is plenty to be gained by using rest stroke in the thumb. I don't disagree that the thumb tone in the original video isn't very good, but there are plenty of great modern players who use rest stroke in the thumb. Many have as good or better technique than David Russell. The tone of the thumb in your video is unremarkable. Your understanding of technique is fine for beginners. However it is also very antiquated. Technique has evolved in the last 30 years for the better. Also the way you pronate your right hand it's not the best for getting a good free stroke tone with your fingers. This is the reason many players are using rest stroke in the thumb. If you stupinate your right hand, the tone of the fingers will be much better. Because of this hand position, supination of the wrist, the thumb will be in a better position to drive the string inward to make it warmer sound. Your right hand position is the reason you don't understand how great rest stroke thumb can be. You could never effectively do it from your position. Besides a better tone, muting and damping strings beneath the thumb is easier especially if you develop a light rest stroke. You also can play alzapua in the Spanish repertoire. The thumb stroke you are advocating is very limiting and a musical sense.
Are you referring to the video at the top of this thread? If so then LOL; that is Victor Villadangos, one of the greatest classical guitarists on the planet. There is no prescription for great instrumental technique.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Ricflair » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:24 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:19 pm
Ricflair wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:50 pm


There is plenty to be gained by using rest stroke in the thumb. I don't disagree that the thumb tone in the original video isn't very good, but there are plenty of great modern players who use rest stroke in the thumb. Many have as good or better technique than David Russell. The tone of the thumb in your video is unremarkable. Your understanding of technique is fine for beginners. However it is also very antiquated. Technique has evolved in the last 30 years for the better. Also the way you pronate your right hand it's not the best for getting a good free stroke tone with your fingers. This is the reason many players are using rest stroke in the thumb. If you stupinate your right hand, the tone of the fingers will be much better. Because of this hand position, supination of the wrist, the thumb will be in a better position to drive the string inward to make it warmer sound. Your right hand position is the reason you don't understand how great rest stroke thumb can be. You could never effectively do it from your position. Besides a better tone, muting and damping strings beneath the thumb is easier especially if you develop a light rest stroke. You also can play alzapua in the Spanish repertoire. The thumb stroke you are advocating is very limiting and a musical sense.
Are you referring to the video at the top of this thread? If so then LOL; that is Victor Villadangos, one of the greatest classical guitarists on the planet. There is no prescription for great instrumental technique.
No, of course not. Lol! I was referring to kmurdick. I quoted him in my statement.he said he has students after one week that sound better than Victor Villadangos. 😂 Your comment should be directed towards kmurdick, not me.
Last edited by Ricflair on Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:33 pm

My bad (as they say).

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Ricflair » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:38 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:33 pm
My bad (as they say).
It's all good. I'm a big fan of your playing!
Graduate of Trump University School of Music.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Ricflair » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:42 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:19 pm
Ricflair wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:50 pm


There is plenty to be gained by using rest stroke in the thumb. I don't disagree that the thumb tone in the original video isn't very good, but there are plenty of great modern players who use rest stroke in the thumb. Many have as good or better technique than David Russell. The tone of the thumb in your video is unremarkable. Your understanding of technique is fine for beginners. However it is also very antiquated. Technique has evolved in the last 30 years for the better. Also the way you pronate your right hand it's not the best for getting a good free stroke tone with your fingers. This is the reason many players are using rest stroke in the thumb. If you stupinate your right hand, the tone of the fingers will be much better. Because of this hand position, supination of the wrist, the thumb will be in a better position to drive the string inward to make it warmer sound. Your right hand position is the reason you don't understand how great rest stroke thumb can be. You could never effectively do it from your position. Besides a better tone, muting and damping strings beneath the thumb is easier especially if you develop a light rest stroke. You also can play alzapua in the Spanish repertoire. The thumb stroke you are advocating is very limiting and a musical sense.
There is no prescription for great instrumental technique.
This quote should be framed. There are many ways, however, many dogmatic teachers believe there's only one way. They only possess a simpleton's understanding of technique.
Graduate of Trump University School of Music.

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by guitarrista » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:02 pm

lacatedral wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:23 am

Is this sequence correct then?: [..]
No, as it ignores physics, anatomy and physiology. For example, regarding "pressure is applied in a 45 degree angle (into the soundhole) from the middle joint by flexion" - in this supposed setup of moving from the middle joint but not from the knuckle joint at that moment, the 45 degree force into the soundboard means you would have to have your second finger phalange (the one between the middle and tip joints) be at no more than 45 degrees relative to the plane of the strings, meaning the middle joint is something like 2-3 strings behind the string played; else the string would barely if at all be pushed into the soundhole. Good luck with making that work.

More generally, I find it really counter-productive, beyond some beginner instruction, to ascribe agency to finger joints and phalanges given that the muscles responsible for the movement are in the forearm. You are basically referring to a ropes, pulleys and stiff segments system, talking about it like this: "the first pulley flexes and brings the other pulleys and segments to the string, but then its job is done and the second pulley takes over while the first pulley extends away" or some such. It sounds silly to me. Pulleys (the joints) and ropes (tendons ) and segments (the phalanges) have no agency to do any of these things - what you see is only a consequence of the forces applied by a system of muscles in the forearm (and some helpers in the palm) in that particular setup.

So the teachers have it mostly right, especially for beginners, when they talk to them about moving naturally and then mostly about what NOT to do - to avoid common mistakes. They also would tell you things as a tool (rather than literal engineering description of motion) to trick your brain to issue the right commands to the muscles - and as one progresses, some or a lot of that instruction would change and refine.

For example, to drive mainly from the knuckle joint means do NOT freeze the upper finger phalange and only move the middle and tip phalanges and thus claw your way at the strings, usually upwards, resulting in too much tension and bad sound.

When you freeze your knuckle joint so the upper segment is immobile and only the middle and tip segments move, you have not "transferred the work to the middle joint" - you body freezes the knuckle joint angle by applying additional force - from an extensor muscle - to the upper segment only, to counter the flexor muscles force, and because of the tendons and attachments setup the middle and tip segments can continue being moved by the flexor muscles.

Also, the knuckle joint "extends" just as the string is released; not before. You can't really distinguish this on youtube videos so it is easy to convince yourself that it somehow happens while the finger is still in contact with the string. This is shown as measured in studies (lots from harp studies but some for guitar too); also it is what makes sense - if the extension happened while still in contact, this would bring the string at least partly back toward equilibrium before it is released, resulting in a bad, weak tone.
Last edited by guitarrista on Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:20 pm

Ricflair wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:38 pm
... I'm a big fan of your playing!
:)

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Re: Right hand technique of my teacher (Asturias excerpt).

Post by guit-box » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:01 pm

lacatedral wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:23 am
guit-box wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:27 pm
lacatedral wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:11 am
Greetings, this is a video I recorded today of my teacher, Victor Villadangos, playing an excerpt of Asturias. It may help others analyze right hand movements. It was recorded at normal full speed and then the video proceeds with the slow motion function.
He uses thumb rest stroke and then medium-index for the B string. I think the most notorious thing is that he, like many other professional guitarists, uses his knuckle joint to approximate the finger to the string vertically, then the follow through is done with the middle joint. After the string is plucked the middle joint attacks in a way that it makes an "oval" movement to reset itself, instead of a "pendulum" motion towards the palm of the hand.
But that's only conjectures I make in base of what I see.
He also commented me he uses the Carlevaro's Fijación (I think the english traslation would be something like "fixation" or "fixed finger") for his middle and tip phalanx.

Not conjecture, seeing is believing and proving. I'd go one step further and say that not only does the middle and tip joint flexion follow through (effectively plucking the string and sounding the note) but the large joint extending is also contributing to the plucking, it's helping the middle/tip joints flexion thru the string. So really, it's not the flexion of the large knuckle that does the plucking, that just prepares the finger on the string, the extension of the large knuckle along with the flexion of the other joints is what produces the sound. However, the holding power of the large knuckle on the string just before the note is plucked gives the stability to make it all happen.
Is this sequence correct then?:

1) The knuckle joint flexes (in a motion which has the intention to form a fist), this makes the middle and tip phalanxes touch the string, but only contact.

2) The left side of the nail where it meets flesh is contacted. Then the pressure is applied in a 45 degree angle (into the soundhole) from the middle joint by flexion (knuckle joint is making any pressure here, its "task" is done in the previous step). The guitarist may or may not collapse the fingertip joint here. This pressure moves the nail through the string a little bit so mostly the center of the nail is contacted and about to be released.

3) The guitarist releases the pressure from the middle joint and the knuckle joint may extend in sympathy. The fingertip travels in an "oval" shape and resets almost to its initial position from step 1. This reset feels like a natural bounce.




Also, Victor told me he uses Carlevaro's Fijación (I think he said he used it for his middle and tip phalanxes) does that mean he "stiffes" those phalanxes a little bit? Because that comment was elaborated in the context of my telling him how I stopped (or tried to stop) fingertip collapse in free stroke.. Maybe I'll ask him again on Thursday.

As a side comment, I was telling Victor that many virtuoso and very good guitarists (like him, I was telling) may play and teach very well, but maybe they do not know how to describe sequentially how they play or make their movement; but not because they are bad intentioned, simply because they don't know or think they can explain through simplificated statements. "It's like asking Diego Maradona how he scored the goal against England in 1986" I told him, "Maradona won't answer something like: <<I twisted by elbow 40 degrees to that direction then used my tricepts to propulse myself to kick the ball then proned my wrist to..>>, nah, he just plays and that's it, he might try to explain vaguely but not with most detail as he might not be aware of many physical actions he does".
Victor laughed (I was not arguing with him, I know him from years and we were just chatting) and agreed. He's very humble and a very nice person, everyone in our conservatoire likes him. "I just play and that's it", or something like that I recall he said.

Victor is one of those professors who teaches free stroke through two metaphors: "it's like palming or waving bye bye", and "think of an sickle", which I guess they are not completely wrong but are kind of incomplete overall. Again, those metaphors may not be the best to teach free stroke, but he does not use them in a bad intentioned way.
My comments are based on what I've seen by observing 100s of professionals right hands in slow motion. Obviously there are some variations, like the low wrist of your teacher, but there are also a lot of things in common. For the most part, the main knuckle (MCP) is moving in opposing directions to the other two joints (PIP/DIP). There may be moments when they are all in flexion or all in extension, but those moments are when a joint is changing directions. In order for there to be the orbital movement that we can see in everyone's strokes, the joints must move in opposite directions. There's a lot of bad information that has been passed down and repeated for decades about right hand technique. Things like "don't flexion the tip joint of the thumb" and "play only from the base joint of the thumb" and "follow through into the palm with the main knuckle joint" and "focus on the movement coming from the main knuckle" (MCP joint). Obviously many people have learned to play the guitar while being given this advice, but it's probably more in spite of the advice than because of it. We can clearly see in the videos that players are making movements that contradict this advice. David Russel is known for having a dark and projecting tone (some think it's too dark and too homogeneous) and we can clearly see him in videos not following through into the palm from the MCP joint. He also uses a lot of thumb tip joint flexion. That one example should be enough, but there are 100s of examples just like this.

An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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