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Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

left hand 

For the technically minded out there, I have learned some cool things for the left hand. About a year ago, when in Sevilla, my teacher told me I had a good right hand, but htat my left hand wasn't good. I had never paid any attention to it. Well, I have worked on it a little bit, and discovered a few things:

1. hanging the arm on the neck -- I try to feel that the weight of the arm is fretting the notes with gravity, not any sense of clamping or vise-type grip

2. relaxed hand -- if a finger is not pressing down a string, it should feel completely relaxed, in a gently curved manner hovering above the fretboard. This position is not a conscious, tense thing but really the result of lack of tension

3. slurs -- practice slurs 5 min a day to keep the guitar teacher away. Hammer ons, pull offs, combination, chromatic scales, slurs under a barre--these things will work absolute wonders for your LH. They are the squat of LH exercise. You will be amazed at how much better your hand works after practicing these a couple of weeks.

4. aim-directed movement-- before you do a move on the guitar, think and mentally rehearse exactly what is going to happen. Then relax the fingers from the guitar, then do the movement. If you can internalize this sequence--think, relax, move, then soon enough it will happen very fast, and your movements will become accurate and tension-free
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 9 2004 23:01:53

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: left hand (in reply to Miguel de Maria


Very nice post.

I too have been working on the use of gravity in fretting as well as some of the other things you discussed. I picked this up from Jamie Andreas "The Principles". He calls it the "heavy hand".

The other thing I picked up from him was to place a left hand finger behind a fret and play that string. Gradually increase pressure until the note rings clear. That's how much pressure is required (no less, no more). I am sure most of us use way too much pressure in fretting, which adds up to tension.

Quick little story. My father has been playing guitar for over 60 years. He belongs to the "Old Time Fiddlers" organization. He plays accompaniment for fiddlers for hours at a time. He was visiting us a couple of months ago and I taught him the two above techniques as he was complaining about tension and pain after playing lengthy sets. When I demonstrated to him how little force it takes to fret a note, you could see his eyes light up. After all these years he couldn't believe how hard he had been making it.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2004 18:06:32
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: left hand (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Amazing! It just shows you how much information is out there. In the last few years, I have bought Jamey's book, Kitharalogus, Eduardo Fernandez' book, and the Inner Game of Music. Each has benefited me to a great degree. I also have perused the forums and especially old posts of the Google classical guitar forum. There is a wealth of good advice and information out there. All you need is to find one phrase that just clicks. You get a Eureka moment and after practicing in a new direction you are just that much closer to good!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2004 19:01:59
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