Can't stretch my LH enough

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fast eddie
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Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by fast eddie » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:59 am

Just bought an arrangement of Bach's Air on the G String from Per Olov Kindsgren online since I really enjoy his you tube video's. There are a couple of difficult fingering spots. The first I encountered is to play simultaneously A on the 1st string, 5 th fret and F on 1st fret 6th string. I don't think my old hands can possibly reach that far. Any suggestions?
Fast Eddie
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Steve Ganz
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Steve Ganz » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:09 am

A shorter scale length.
Steve

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guitarrista
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by guitarrista » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:26 am

What happens if you move your LH thumb to halfway between the mid-line and the lower edge of the neck? Your wrist will probably be flexed a bit more that you are used to, but it should give you more reach.
Konstantin
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Altophile

Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Altophile » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:07 am

fast eddie wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:59 am
Just bought an arrangement of Bach's Air on the G String from Per Olov Kindsgren online since I really enjoy his you tube video's. There are a couple of difficult fingering spots. The first I encountered is to play simultaneously A on the 1st string, 5 th fret and F on 1st fret 6th string. I don't think my old hands can possibly reach that far. Any suggestions?
I put a capo on the 2nd fret, which not only makes the stretch duable (barely), but it puts the piece in the original key.

a human
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by a human » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:15 am

That is quite a stretch. Can you play a different a or different f to get a reasonable fingering while maintaining the intent of the piece? Sort of like a singer changing to a more capable octave? Or choose to play the same a or same f in a different place? Sounds silly, but if you are playing for yourself, it may make it more pleasurable to play. A lot depends on what leads into or follows that particular stretch.
1965 Krempel Classical (660ish mm)
The rest come and go.

Altophile

Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Altophile » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:58 pm

a human wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:15 am
That is quite a stretch. Can you play a different a or different f to get a reasonable fingering while maintaining the intent of the piece? Sort of like a singer changing to a more capable octave? Or choose to play the same a or same f in a different place? Sounds silly, but if you are playing for yourself, it may make it more pleasurable to play. A lot depends on what leads into or follows that particular stretch.

That's what I started out doing, i.e. I played the F on the fourth string, third fret, which is an octave higher but sounds fine. Then I decided to go with the capo instead, because I think the piece sounds better in D.

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CarbonElitist
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by CarbonElitist » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:14 pm

Sounds like Halloween came just in time. I have the solution to your short-fingered dilemma.
glow-fingers-big_ml.jpg
Now for the non-joking answer: When I have to make those big stretches (and a capo is out of the question), I usually take my thumb to the edge of the neck to give my fingers more relief. Either that for have Steve Ganz build you a shorter scale length. :lol:
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Last edited by CarbonElitist on Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Altophile

Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Altophile » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:15 am

CarbonElitist wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:14 pm
...Either that for have Steve Ganz build you a shorter scale length. :lol:
Now there's an answer a guitarist can warm to :D

Fretful
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Fretful » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:07 pm

fast eddie wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:59 am
I don't think my old hands can possibly reach that far. Any suggestions?
Stretching exercises by John Williams (advanced) have just been posted for you on the Classical Guitar Technique Forum ... but take it easy, they're tough but excellent!

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fast eddie
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by fast eddie » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:03 pm

Wow. So many really good ideas. I don't understand the capo solution but I am considering raising the F by 1 octave. Am still thinking about it. I do like the holloween solution, it just freaks my wife out a little. :)
Fast Eddie
Cordoba C 10 Spruce
Cordoba C 10 Cedar
1974 Hernandis

Alan Carruth
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Alan Carruth » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:09 pm

Putting on a capo shortens the string by more than 30mm, reducing a 650 scale to ~620.

There is a little book out called 'The Healthy Guitar' by Alicia Kopfstein-Penk that might help. She had trouble making the stretches too, and people kept telling her to practice and she'd get them. One day she realized that, at 5'2" tall no amount of practice was going to enable her to reach the top shelf in the kitchen without a step stool. She devised a method of figuring out the scale that was right for her hand, and then found somebody who would make the guitar.

Altophile

Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Altophile » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:47 pm

Two other options would be to either (a) modify the troublesome measure or (b) use another fine arrangement that takes the F on the fourth string, e.g.:

https://stevenlaw.files.wordpress.com/2 ... string.pdf

You can hear the arranger perform the piece, here:


Wuuthrad
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Re: Can't stretch my LH enough

Post by Wuuthrad » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:01 pm

I recommend searching for the article:

"Patrick O'Brien Monologue on the Left Hand"

wherein he describes in some detail the anatomy of the Left hand muscles, and how to specifically exercise them in order to strengthen the adductor and abductor muscles, which in turn will facilitate being able to "stretch" farther without risking injury.

We often say stretch, but as he illustrates it is in fact the action of his exercises involving squeezing the 1st & 3rd and 2nd & 4th fingers along the fretboard which allow for playing the larger intervals you describe.

It is a fascinating article and I think it's a must read for any guitarist as it can hopefully help to prevent many of the injuries we face as well as strengthening both our fingers and technique at the same time.
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