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withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

The right hand positioning 

So i have been practicing relatively UN-phased and what I considered natural but i whilst reading into certain techniques i am newly practicing or trying to improve it made me consider elements of posture seating and hand position further.

So what i was wondering is their a specific way that is universal how the right hand should be sitting on the corner of the guitar , where the elbow and forearms are concerned ?

I noticed i had been playing most of the time with a part of my forearm (close to the elbow) over the top of the guitar but i read/watched somewhere that the elbow should be resting on the guitar..

I'm not exactly sure what the means or how to pull it off as when i try such positions my hand is far to extended to the sound-hole and beyond.

What am i missing , now upon further experimentation trying to find the words that will be descriptive enough for this post to paint an image for you guys, i noticed i could put the crevice join on the other side of my elbow on the corner of the guitar, perhaps this is what is meant by resting the elbow?

Any feed back is appreciated. Thank you.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 30 2013 12:40:56
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to withinity

Most of the time the arm is touching the upper edge of the guitar, also the bicep is in contact with the side. The arm moves with different techniques
Almost every guitarist has slightly or very different hand positioning while playing. Take a look at some pro videos and compare them to your position Experiment, try different sitting positions and heights. try different wrist angles(both side ways and horizontal angles). it takes some time to find your way of playing.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 30 2013 13:14:59
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13338
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to withinity

It's about finger nails, fingers, hand, and wrist. Forget about the arm now, it will find its way when you get the fingers in the right spot, making the right sound.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 31 2013 15:11:06
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to Ricardo

I think this is the biggest problem ...ever ... when you solve it let me know as I still cant get mine right and am still experimenting

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Don't trust Atoms.....they make up everything.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 31 2013 17:18:09
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

It's about finger nails, fingers, hand, and wrist. Forget about the arm now, it will find its way when you get the fingers in the right spot, making the right sound.


I agree it is a chain of events were all aspects mentioned above are linked like a well tuned eco system. But i like to emphasize that in my opinion "right spot" and "right sound" are not linked to sound only but often are a compromise between optimal sound and optimal mechanics. I spend many many hours with my teachers studying how to use/position my nails/fingers/wrist/hand/arm and it took us multiple years to find a workable starting position for future investigations (i was quite lazy and didn't practice correct and/or a lot). For months i was only allowed to play open strings with the thump. We started surging for a perfect movement/sound and there was one particular thump position that sounded absolute superior and always put a smile on Paco's face. But i never ever play like that because that particular thump position would either bring my hand/arm in a totally unplayable position or would force me to accept what i feel as mental/physical torture. So i ended up playing a variety of thump techniques that sound less good but pair an acceptable sound to optimal biomechanics.

Classical guitar players often end up placing there forearm on the side of the guitar like mentioned on top of this topic. It supports the way they position/use there nails/fingers/hand/wrist/arm. Flamenco players generally aspire a different sound and as a result use different (and additional) techniques. In general flamenco players make much more use of arm/wrist-rotation and (supportive) hand/arm mass and many notes i play are played by arm/wrist-rotation/subtle use of mass only. These techniques are supported the best way when the forearm is completely free to move (wrist rotations as well as going up and down). Although it is possible to execute these techniques with the forearm placed on the guitar (close to the elbow) i believe most players choose to free there forearm completely by placing there upper arm on the side of the guitar in stead, with the elbow just on the outside allowing optimal movement of the forearm (as seen in the avatar of both Ricardo and El Kiko).

My biggest breakthrough (after playing a couple of years) was when i started to investigate biomechanics or simply put how do body parts function the most natural/optimal way. How do your nails/fingers react on string interaction, how does it effect the individual phalanges of your fingers...note how minute changes in finger/hand/wrist/arm position can hinder/support the various ways and angles of energy generating/energy transposal in various situations. Once you now how your fingers/hand/wrist/arm function the best possible way you also will now how to position/use them and how to file your nails to support that system. You have to study this from multiple points of view... from nail>shoulder (like mentioned by Ricardo) but also from shoulder to nail.... what sounds optimally? what feels optimally? Sometimes this goes hand in hand but quit often you have to find a compromise between optimal sound and optimal mechanics.

In general the best sound is produced by optimally relaxed fingers and the starting point of every investigation has to be a totally relaxed system pairing a natural line up of fingers/hand/wrist/arm with zero or minimal use of muscle power. A perfect example of a natural lineup is what i call the walking hand position, the lineup your fingers/hand/wrist and arm have during walking. When i walk my hands and fingers are completely relaxed so no muscle is active, not the ones closing the hand/fingers nor the ones opening the hand/fingers. I call this the unlocked position. I believe this situation should be the starting point of all your investigations. All you have to do is bring this lineup to the place of the action (scratching your balls and scratching the back of your neck is basically the same and as you will see the natural lineup will automatically adapt to the assumed position).

Whenever i study technique (both for left and right hand studying) i always start my investigations by bringing my walking hand lineup as closely to the intended strings/location as possible, without moving a single finger/muscle at first. Note how minute variations in arm wrist and hand position/rotation strongly alter the position and moving direction of your fingers toward the strings. Ones my hand is optimally positioned for the intended action the final adjustment (when needed) is done by the fingers. Obviously when you have done this a million times (re)placing your hand and fingers can be done simultaneously. A very important plus of working with this natural walking hand position in combination with starting all actions from this natural unlocked position (were both the opening and the closing muscles are totally relaxed) is that your fingers tend to fall back in this known position every time you have a very short input...if the muscle input is executed to long or the movement is executed to slow the finger will stay in it's new position and you will need the opposite muscles to bring the finger back again, if on the other hand the muscle input is only executed a split second the finger will fall back in unlocked position automatically, saving you the trouble to bring it back yourself. Your fingers will also automatically fall back in unlocked position (ready to be played again) when you combine hand/thump action with retreating all tension from your fingers. So when playing tremolo or arpeggio your fingers will automatically fall into the known unlocked starting position when you are able to totally relax them when playing the thump.

But to end with the main question. Most players position there upper arm on the guitar (directly after the elbow) leaving the elbow and forearm free to rotate and move up/downwards. Note that there is not 1 fixed position for the arm, various players will came to various solutions depending on there personal habits/preferences and various situations demands various arm positions. In general when playing picado and arpeggio the upper arm is lifted completely, bringing the arm and hand in optimal position for those techniques. You can study this in detail when watching both Paco de Lucia and Vicente Amigo. In my prime time i did not do that myself but was able to play all techniques (but picado) from 2 positions that were so close most people were unable to spot the difference (moving my hand a fraction about a mm). I would not worry about the sound hole, again watch how Vicente deals with that "problem" by not seeing it as a problem.

Once you are totally familiar with (or have a natural talent for) using your fingers/hand/wrist/arm the most natural way (assuring optimal biomechanics and energy generating/transposal) it is indeed a matter of nails>fingers>wrist>hand>arm>shoulder adapting to the situation automatically.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 31 2013 22:20:01
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to withinity

Hi Mr Thinity.

I like to FEEL for most notes and in slow practice all of them.

Whereas a good position and good technique are great assets nothing replaces a good touch.

And I mean the literal meaning touch.

If you asked

'Where is the best place to touch my girlfriend ?' then you might expect a range of answers. Some broadly funny and others a strange mixture of the earnest and the graphic.

I might answer such a question like this.

'There is no right place simply pay real close attention with your hands and ears and she and they and she will guide you, over time you will learn what she likes and what feels good to you'

I might however reasonably expect contradiction, from those who know better....

But experience has taught me that numbly hammering away in the same spot seldom delivers real satisfaction.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 31 2013 23:40:22
 
por medio

 

Posts: 289
Joined: Nov. 15 2009
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

'Where is the best place to touch my girlfriend ?'


Where she moans the best.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 1 2013 5:27:57
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to por medio

quote:

ORIGINAL: por medio

quote:

'Where is the best place to touch my girlfriend ?'


Where she moans the best.



I find if I take my time and take care to really feel my way and pay attention she will direct me there in her own time.

And each day a little different, and some days a lot.

And yes we are still talking about guitar.

You CAN go 'where she moans the best' straight away if you have experience but . But.... if you do so with your sensory eyes closed (so to speak) then you might expect the moans to be of the form

'Oh for goodness sake'
and 'I wish you'd stayed in the pub' or
'Aarg, warm your hands'

Some more tips, from my mentor.



D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 1 2013 8:37:58
 
withinity

 

Posts: 180
Joined: Sep. 17 2013
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to withinity

Alright thanks guys/girls taking it all into consideration. Some great analogies going around.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2013 5:34:59
 
z6

 

Posts: 225
Joined: Mar. 1 2011
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to withinity

Erik has supplied enough to keep you going for thirty years. No kidding, re-read this stuff every six months.

But tis all for naught without the right nails (ducks hail of tomatoes). Technique is a voyage. It can't be planted, then practised at. Or if it can, it won't be without the correct nail shape and associated voodoo.

Without the right nails: wot Ricardo says, no need for second-hand explanations from me, nothing else will not only not matter but lead you to potentially torturous dead ends. It's all there.

Classical and flamenco technique look seductively similar but do not 'look'; feel it. Flamenco is either easy or impossible. If yer tongue is out of yer gob or you're gritting your teeth then only the drawing board and a 'million' hours of practise will do. (At relaxing.)

Classical has 'positions' but with flamenco you grab the strings or the top, or you waggle them about and maybe grab with the left hand. I dunno. You copy the sound until it's the right one. The emphasis is all different. Your own technique eventually teaches you.

My experience has been that the ease required was denied me by something physical. I 'got' a picado (feel) by using flesh. Horney, 8 hours a day between-jobs calluses.

But until I came here and found out the mojo of proper nail shape PLUS (and this is where the dark arts kick-in) GLUE, there would never have been 'the ease'.

Another caveat is that I no longer kid myself. I practise always and only 'the basics'. If I try 'advanced' techniques now, they feel equivalent to 'basics'. My control sets my 'groove' (and I bang out the same little phrases like Rainman but without any gifts.)

Nails. Then go fart about but with the possibility of success not denied by this physical (fundamental) requirement.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2013 16:28:39
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3782
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik van Goch

When i walk my hands and fingers are completely relaxed so no muscle is active, not the ones closing the hand/fingers nor the ones opening the hand/fingers. I call this the unlocked position.



Hey Erik,

That is called "poise" in English.
- Besides, you are typing "mounts" when meaning "months".
... Reminds of my first arrival in USA, and when I was asked what I´d like to do. My answer: "I´d like to take a douche".

For the thread opener:

Here is much more lecture and debate on your question: http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=156639&mpage=1&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=iznaola

Ruphus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2013 17:15:08
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: The right hand positioning (in reply to Ruphus

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ruphus

Hey Erik,

That is called "poise" in English.
- Besides, you are typing "mounts" when meaning "months".
... Reminds of my first arrival in USA, and when I was asked what I´d like to do. My answer: "I´d like to take a douche".

:-)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2013 18:01:57
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