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Piwin

Posts: 3458
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

advice on arpeggio 

I've recently been focusing on my arpeggio technique quite a bit. Mainly because it was sounding pretty brittle. I realized that I had developed a tendency to attack the strings from the down up (from beneath the strings towards the palm), instead of sideways, which seems to give a much cleaner sound. But for some reasons, I can't work out how my hand should be positioned to get this sideways attack to work. If I keep my knuckles perpendicular to the strings, my fingers are just too long to not attack the strings from beneath, so I've tried slanting my hand to say an 70-80 degree angle to the string, which seems to work, except that the sound is also slightly different since I'm attacking the strings at an angle. Any advice on how to correct this?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2016 11:07:33
 
Cervantes

 

Posts: 491
Joined: Jun. 14 2014
From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

I have seen it done both ways by good players with good results.
I have shorter fingers so I tend do keep them more perpendicular.
A few thoughts:

Keep good separation between your thumb and fingers with the thumb as far towards the left as possible. I am constantly having to work on this as my thumb tends to drift towards my fingers.

You might need to file you nails differently for the angle of your fingers relative to the strings.

One exercise my teacher showed me is to plant i-m-a on the stings then pull the i finger towards your palm while playing the string.
return it to the string and then do the next finger. I find this really helps to get good tone.

Hope something here helps.

_____________________________

Ah well, there was a fantastic passion there, in my case anyway. I discovered flamenco
very early on. It grips you in a way that you can't get away - Paco Pena
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2016 16:55:15
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13684
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

I personally feel the arps, when gripped proper, SHOULD feel like coming from "underneath" the string as you say. The issue with a brittle sound has more to do with the nail shape and the grip you have (planting the finger before playing a note). I would examine seriously nail shape and try some petroleum on the tips to get the grip right.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2016 17:13:58
 
Grisha

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

Here is a video I recorded yesterday, just playing some arpeggios for fun. You can see my hand position.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 12:43:37
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 13:15:20
 
Piwin

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

Thanks for the advice guys. I would have liked to upload a video to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about but I'm stuck with tiny notebook for the time being and I can't seem to record anything on it (OK, I'll also admit to being really bad with computers )

@Cervantes. Do you manage to get a clear and powerful sound keeping your thumb "as far too the left as possible"? I used to play like that, but then I wasn't happy with the sound levels between the thumb and the arpeggios (i.e. in the case of arpeggios used as ornementation over a melodic line played with the thumb, the melody wouldn't stand out enough, so I switched to a position where my thumb was closer to a vertical position, closer to the traditional "pulgar" position, as a result my thumb is almost permanently bent backwards, somewhat like V. Amigo).

@Ricardo. Yeah I need to practice some "planting" exercices. I've only ever learned flamenco guitar (no classical or anything) and most flamenco teachers don't seem to teach planting your fingers (at least in Spain) so it's definitely something I need to look into. I'll take a look at nail shape too. I tend to use just a basic oval shape (and always keep them very short, almost too short). I assume if I start playing with my right-hand at a more slanted angle I'd have to change the nail shape accordingly? I've also wondered if having the nails too "thick" could also be part of the problem. I use the superglue+acrylic powder method but tend to go a bit crazy on how many layers I put on... It's great for accompanying dancers but I feel it makes the more "precise" techniques more difficult.

@Grisha. Thanks for the video. I can't really tell from this angle but am I correct in assuming that you keep your palm fairly high above the strings (and therefore the fingers relatively "straight")?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 13:21:53
 
Grisha

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

I will record a video specifically to show the angle. Sit tight.

Shroomy, thanks man! I can't do anything else, so I think I will stick with guitar for as long as I can.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 13:27:29
 
Piwin

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Grisha

Oh wow. That's incredibly generous of you. I'd hate for you to go through all that trouble though...(unless of course it's less trouble than I think and you're one of those people who actually know how to use a computer and don't need 5 hours to record 20 seconds like I do )

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"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 13:36:38
 
Cervantes

 

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From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin

Thanks for the advice guys. I would have liked to upload a video to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about but I'm stuck with tiny notebook for the time being and I can't seem to record anything on it (OK, I'll also admit to being really bad with computers )

@Cervantes. Do you manage to get a clear and powerful sound keeping your thumb "as far too the left as possible"? I used to play like that, but then I wasn't happy with the sound levels between the thumb and the arpeggios (i.e. in the case of arpeggios used as ornementation over a melodic line played with the thumb, the melody wouldn't stand out enough, so I switched to a position where my thumb was closer to a vertical position, closer to the traditional "pulgar" position, as a result my thumb is almost permanently bent backwards, somewhat like V. Amigo).



I might have said something a little misleading. I said as far as possible to the left because that is what I need to do to keep my thumb from drifting towards my fingers. In reality there just needs to be some space between the thumb and fingers, my teacher says the fingers get "afraid" to play if the thumb is too close. I think sound can be good at different angles as long as you adjust your fingers for that position. Sound is from the nail pushing downward and through the string and force coming from the knuckle. This is where the finger to palm exercise helps. My teacher also talks a lot about planting as Ricardo mentioned. I have a big problem with my m finger going to far out and hitting string above it so I am always working on that. Of course all of this is easy to forget and go back to old habits while just playing so it requires constant attention.

_____________________________

Ah well, there was a fantastic passion there, in my case anyway. I discovered flamenco
very early on. It grips you in a way that you can't get away - Paco Pena
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 15:25:35
 
Piwin

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Cervantes

I think I get what you mean. Thanks

quote:

Of course all of this is easy to forget and go back to old habits while just playing so it requires constant attention.


It's funny, the first few years after I got into flamenco, I would steadily bring the metronome up during practice. In fact, my whole practice regime was based on gradually speeding things up. Nowadays I rarely get further than the 80 bpm mark. I guess the more you play, the more you realize how bad you're playing
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 15:51:54
 
Cervantes

 

Posts: 491
Joined: Jun. 14 2014
From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

One other thing I remembered, tremolo is like apreggio.
Try playing tremolo on just one string (like B string).
Then you will see how your thumb can get in the way, its also great practice for tremolo. I have only recently started using a metronome and 60 - 80 is probably where I play. Yes, playing fast badly is tempting but not good.

_____________________________

Ah well, there was a fantastic passion there, in my case anyway. I discovered flamenco
very early on. It grips you in a way that you can't get away - Paco Pena
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 15:59:09
 
Piwin

Posts: 3458
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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Cervantes

quote:

Try playing tremolo on just one string (like B string).


I usually play tremolo just on one string! Though Gerardo Nunez plays a two string tremolo in his encuentro DVD.
Just kidding, I know what you meant. (thumb on same string as the tremolo)
Thanks, I'll give it a try.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2016 16:07:20
 
aloysius

Posts: 233
Joined: Apr. 7 2005
From: Adelaide, Australia

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

What sort of guitar are you playing? Arpeggiating from underneath the string results in more 'bite' to the sound, and as Ricardo pointed out this can be a good thing - a trad solea with classical sounding arpeggios will sound bad. On a well set-up flamenco guitar, and many older classical guitars, this more percussive sound will work really well. Same deal with pulgar. On some modern classical guitars, especially lattice-braced, these techniques will distort the sound in an ugly way.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2016 21:33:22
 
Grisha

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin


As promised. Starting with scales for reference.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 3:58:56
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

That's absurd, tu señior, es una machina!

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\m/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 4:08:00
 
Grisha

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

Thanks man! Just so you know, I did more than one take. On a previous take I went to Metallica's song at some point. I thought it to be too much, so I recorded again.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 4:39:59
 
rombsix

Posts: 7634
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Grisha

quote:

On a previous take I went to Metallica's song at some point.


Nothing else matters...

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Ramzi

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 5:10:15
 
Leñador

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From: Los Angeles

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

You're all metal heads and don't know it yet!!!! Lol \m/!!!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 5:50:02
 
Piwin

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to aloysius

@aloysius. I play a 2008 Hermanos Borja. The technical indication on the stamp indicates "El Viejin". My understanding is that it was one of a series of a dozen or so made with specs "provided by" him, i.e., based on a guitar he had commissioned. I don't know nearly as much about guitars as most of the people on the foro, but the feel I get from it is very similar to certain Condes, light and thin. In fact, I'm wondering if the lack of "width" might be part of the problem, as it may have contributed to me shifting my hand lower down the guitar.
But no I doubt it's the guitar distorting the sound (I wish it were so I wouldn't have to rework my hand position!). Yesterday I figured out what I think may be the problem (not sure yet...still have to practice): I think it's in the motion of my fingers, I tend to "curl" them too much, i.e. if I exaggerate the motion and follow through all the way up to the palm, my finger tips end up in the middle of the palm instead of the lower end (in other words, I think I must have slipped into getting power from the middle joints instead of the knuckles). Don't know if that makes sense but I'm looking into it. That was somewhat the sense of my question to Grisha about keeping his fingers "straight", which would suggest getting the power directly from the knuckles.

@Grisha. A million times thank you! That really helps. I can tell there is more movement from the knuckle then when I play so this confirms what I've been thinking about me having slipped into playing with the middle joints only. So it may not be the angle of attack after all. Yesterday a friend of mine told me to just focus on playing from the knuckle, since if I do that the movement of the middle joints should just naturally follow. Would you agree?
I remember tearing it up (at least we thought we we're tearing it up! ) in the Paris metro with friends on a rumba version of "highway to hell" (autopista hasta el infierno lol). Fortunately it was before the time everyone had video on their smartphones coz if that video ever got out there my career prospects would be over!

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"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 6:19:50
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13684
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

quote:

I remember tearing it up (at least we thought we we're tearing it up! ) in the Paris metro with friends on a rumba version of "highway to hell" (autopista hasta el infierno lol). Fortunately it was before the time everyone had video on their smartphones coz if that video ever got out there my career prospects would be over!


Or join her band?


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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 10:37:06
 
Grisha

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

Wow, this video is uplifting! Thanks Ricardo!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 11:14:32
 
Blondie#2

 

Posts: 530
Joined: Sep. 14 2010
 

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Grisha

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grisha
As promised. Starting with scales for reference.


Always good to see such a fine technique close up Grisha, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the fingertip joints in free stroke.

Pretty clear to me that in picado your tip joints are relaxed, not held firmly in a curved/flexed position, and thus 'give' on impact to the string, I can see the tip joint straightening out on contact.

What's not so clear to me is what's happening in the arpeggios - looks like the tip joints are being held firmly curved/flexed yet I doubt very much that is the case.

What is your take on this - how would you describe what you are doing & what were you taught with respect to the tip joints and free stroke?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 11:35:14
 
Grisha

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

I am a firm believer in flexible technique. It should always follow the music. And because of that there isn't just one way for everything.

My take, in a nutshell, is that relaxed joint gives softer, warmer tone, while firm joint gives a snappier, sharper, more percussive sound. I can play both ways, no matter free or rest stroke.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 12:14:11
 
Blondie#2

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Grisha

ok thanks
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 12:41:40
 
Piwin

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Or join her band?


21 million views...speechless...
Sadly it's not an option for me, unless of course I jenner things up a bit (if that's not a verb by now, it should be!).

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"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 13:19:10
 
FredGuitarraOle

Posts: 898
Joined: Dec. 6 2012
From: Lisboa, Portugal

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Piwin

quote:

unless of course I jenner things up a bit

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 15:12:39
 
jg7238

 

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RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Grisha

Grisha, those legatos towards the end are crazy.. So fluid... I saw the continuous rasgueado thread and that is something I want to practice more...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 17:18:27
 
Piwin

Posts: 3458
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Ricardo

God I shouldn't have typed "Jess Greenberg parody"...
You don't even have to press play to know what's gonna happen...


Though I think I may have solved my problems by remembering another parody, a much better parody of that god-aweful band that did a Gotye cover on one guitar. If I can't fix my arpeggio, I'll just become Tony the guy who does the clinky noise. I think I can manage that.



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"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 19:37:23
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3263
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Ricardo

Typed "Highway to Hell" into Google Maps, no dice: got a store in Melbourne, Australia.

Any suggestions on how to find the right route?

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 20:22:35
 
Cervantes

 

Posts: 491
Joined: Jun. 14 2014
From: Encinitas, CA USA

RE: advice on arpeggio (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

I remember tearing it up (at least we thought we we're tearing it up! ) in the Paris metro with friends on a rumba version of "highway to hell" (autopista hasta el infierno lol). Fortunately it was before the time everyone had video on their smartphones coz if that video ever got out there my career prospects would be over!


Or join her band?



Something things in (the center) that video don't seem real.
I didn't see any arpeggio, but nice Golpe at the end.

_____________________________

Ah well, there was a fantastic passion there, in my case anyway. I discovered flamenco
very early on. It grips you in a way that you can't get away - Paco Pena
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 16 2016 20:49:05
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