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por medio

 

Posts: 289
Joined: Nov. 15 2009
 

Technique question 

I've been experimenting with resting the neck of the guitar on the pad of the index finger (under the knuckle joint - metacarpophalangeal) as I am playing, as I find this frees up my right arm more. Otherwise when I lift the right arm off the bout of the guitar (e.g. picados) the guitar tips towards the neck.

I have been playing for many years reasonably well this way but recently I find resting the neck on the left hand as mentioned above seems to work better and the left hand doesn't feel too hindered.

Am I doing "correct" thing here? Does anyone else do this?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 5 2013 22:14:26
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Technique question (in reply to por medio

quote:

ORIGINAL: por medio

I've been experimenting with resting the neck of the guitar on the pad of the index finger (under the knuckle joint - metacarpophalangeal) as I am playing, as I find this frees up my right arm more. Otherwise when I lift the right arm off the bout of the guitar (e.g. picados) the guitar tips towards the neck.

I have been playing for many years reasonably well this way but recently I find resting the neck on the left hand as mentioned above seems to work better and the left hand doesn't feel too hindered.

Am I doing "correct" thing here? Does anyone else do this?


That is a really interesting question and one that is seldom mentioned.

I guess as long as it is genuinely useful and you don't lock on then it might be a good idea. Maybe make sure that you have a few things that you do regularly where it isn't possible. This should ensure that you don't start to feel that you need to be doing it all the time as it would limit stretching and shifting.

Jimi Hendrix did nothing but this, but he had huge hands. Tal Farlow likewise. Most flamenco dudes have left hand developed almost exactly like classical players, very rare to have thumb over the neck. But lots of jazz guys and rockers and blues players, usually on thin neck guitars mind, have the thumb over a lot of the time and have great facility. It must be noticed that the top flight guys usually have a fair semblance of 'classical' left hand for when they find it useful.

So I guess I am saying that you should stick with both ways and pick whatever works best for a given piece.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 5 2013 22:27:14
 
rombsix

Posts: 7771
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Technique question (in reply to por medio

I would get a guitar support if I were you...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2013 3:53:11
 
NormanKliman

Posts: 1143
Joined: Sep. 1 2007
 

RE: Technique question (in reply to por medio

I consider it to be poor technique that will limit your playing in the long run. It may help in some isolated situations but it's best avoided as a general approach to playing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2013 6:42:57
 
z6

 

Posts: 225
Joined: Mar. 1 2011
 

RE: Technique question (in reply to por medio

I do this. But there's no 'thumb-over' and the original poster didn't say his thumb protruded over the fingerboard.

I used to play with a 'classical' 'square on' hand. But when holding the classical position the lower positions are right by one's nose. (kinda)

If playing flamenco, with the guitar on the right knee, then those positions are 'further away' and at a different angle.

Also, this is a position that can adjust as the hand moves up the fingerboard. It's much easier for me to play with my left hand slightly slanted in the lower positions.

I believe that a global acceptance that 'square-on' (everywhere) is correct above other strategies is just one of things that seems to have seeped into the consciousness as 'correct'. We are all different. I think the whole 'square-on' thing makes sense if it feels good but getting the right feel is everything. I'm certainly not convinced that it is always appropriate for flamenco. It depends on what one is doing with the left, and right, hands.

My two middle fingers (left hand) want to touch each other at their tips; a slight angle solves this and I also find that my left hand (even though it does sometimes play a part in supporting the guitar) is much more relaxed and alive playing this way.

If you believe the 'correct' way is better for you then there are those supports that do it 'for' you.

However, this IS somewhere I would advise caution. Extra supports can be a great help but one should have a deep understanding of one's own hands and limitations thereof before resorting to artificial means to support the guitar. (It's easy to solve one thing while introducing a new 'class' of 'problem'.)

There's nothing wrong with people using them (people can and should do what they want) but the implied suggestion that such a contraption is a superior strategy compared to using one's hands (without any accoutrement) should be examined very closely by anyone thinking they're 'doing something wrong'. Supports are terrific for advanced players who really know why they're using it. (Back problems, etc.)

I'm not a great one for 'watching' people's hands but I would bet that you'd see a lot more of the slanting or slight holding than you might think, if you look around.

The technique you're describing looks to me a lot like the way violin players hold the instrument. A violin is a tiny wee thing and different, etc., but it doesn't stop them playing fast or slow, or with double or triple stops, perfectly in tune. (And we can assume that fluffing a note with a fretted instrument is a corollary to playing out of tune without frets.)

The hand shouldn't be 'grabbing' any more than it needs to but a slanted hand, even when holding, does not necessarily signify everything going into the grab to the detriment of the music you're playing.

It squares up naturally, as required by the music, or the actual job at hand. You can still develop not only an efficient technique slanting at the lower frets but a technique that 'looks efficient'.

I think a lot of the prejudice against such techniques comes from the fact that a lot of players who do this seems to also have a lot of finger movement going on (which does not 'look' efficient). But the two things are different, and excessive movement of the left hand fingers (away from the fingerboard) is again not, by default, 'wrong'.

If it feels good and it sounds good then it's good.

A support would radically alter the whole position of the guitar. A lot of people like these systems very much and I would not suggest for a moment that they have not solved many problems suffered by many guitarists.

If you're playing 'old style' (I don't know if it has a name) by pointing the neck higher then this is very close to the 'support' position and I doubt you would lose anything by using a support. (It would feel right and you wouldn't have to grab anything.)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2013 10:33:58
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Technique question (in reply to z6

quote:

ORIGINAL: z6

I do this. But there's no 'thumb-over' and the original poster didn't say his thumb protruded over the fingerboard.




I wish I could do more with my thumb over the neck.

Note, D chord types ( dorsal side of hand towards bass strings ) hand should slant one way. C chord types ( dorsal towards treble) use 'classical' or slant slightly the other way.

Violinists use the index as a cradle but learn to grab (briefly) with the neck when shifitng. For guitar I push a little harder on the top with forearm (briefly) when shifting

The more things you can do, the more things you can do.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2013 11:01:13
 
xirdneH_imiJ

Posts: 1871
Joined: Dec. 2 2006
From: Budapest, now in Southampton

RE: Technique question (in reply to guitarbuddha

i use the thumb sometimes to fret bass notes, it comes from my electric guitar playing...it can actually be very useful at times, most often when i play 302320 or want the G to A hammer on in the F chord while i want the bass note sounding (1x3210)...of course it helps to have huge hands :)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2013 11:57:53
 
por medio

 

Posts: 289
Joined: Nov. 15 2009
 

RE: Technique question (in reply to xirdneH_imiJ

Thanks guys. I might try to record a video. Certainly I believe in "if it feels right and sounds right it probably is right" and my playing does feel a lot easier when I rest the neck on the left hand. Only at certain times of course. The thumb stays behind all the time.

And yes I've started experimenting with this after talking to a very good violist.

But I will have to watch so it doesn't become too weird.

And as for the guitar support, no way jose...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 6 2013 13:09:34
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14605
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Technique question (in reply to por medio

THis has limitations, but sure I do it on occasion.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2013 14:40:18
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1798
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Technique question (in reply to z6

The conventional flamenco guitar position evolved when the average Spaniard was a lot shorter than he is now. For someone like my classical guitar teacher (Julian Byzantine, who’s 6'7") it's flat impossible.

If you look at old videos of Sabicas (e.g. in the Carmen Amaya days), you see him playing in that position. Anyone know when he switched, and why? Back problems? You’d think that after that much time it would be second nature.

And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else use position he finally wound up with.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 12 2013 15:47:51
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