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Miguel de Maria

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

The middle joint in picado 

Hey, we haven't talked about this for at least three months, so...



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 27 2017 19:58:32
 
kitarist

Posts: 1568
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I feel that the hand setup in terms of (1) height of MCP (big knuckle) joint above the strings plane and (2) position of the MCP joint's projection in that plane in relation to the string being played would be the most important variable affecting the angle and depth of attack and follow-through at the fingertip.

If the MCP joint is higher and not too far behind (toward the bass strings) the string being played, the angle is not too steep and follow-though would not dig too deeply, so it is possible to use the MCP joint with barely any PIP (second) joint participation. That would be Grisha, for example.

On the other hand, if the hand setup is lower and further back like in PdL, PIP will have to help a bit more in order to not dig into the soundboard too deeply. However, with that lower setup the PIP joint is bent a lot more as well (in its initial/non-working position) which contributes to a bit of confusion as to how much it works, IMO. For example from some angles it looks like PdL is using a lot of PIP, but then from other angles you can see it is the MCP working and PIP almost fixed in its bent position.

Wouldn't this explain almost all the variability in the MCP-PIP mix that virtuoso guitarists use? And if so, this to me implies that the magic is not in using a particular joint over another, but in finding consistency and precision at the right angle and depth at the fingertip.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 27 2017 20:18:28
 
Ricardo

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria

Hey, we haven't talked about this for at least three months, so...




Everyone want's to do this thing Paco is doing....some people are but it doesn't LOOK like Paco, so....and worst of all, we look at the crystal clear videos of PDL's mechanics close up, and don't agree on WHAT we are seeing. I have to disagree with your observations but thanks for sharing anyway. If you have La busqueda, there is a part in the middle where he is warming up with Rondeña in his dressing room. A very brief scene shows an interesting angle of his fast picado, powered by the big joint as you say, yes, however the middle joints of both i and m remain quite fixed. The m finger tip joint he allows to flex a little bit, but not the i finger tip which stays fixed as well. In effect, the two fingers are using slightly different mechanics, I believe due to their differing lengths. Some players such as N. De pura, make it obvious that the mechanics are different as he has a straight i finger, and bent m finger. PDL illusion that it is different for him is due to the fact he bends the i finger as well.

Before it gets taken down you can see at 43:35


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 27 2017 20:30:44
 
rombsix

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Before it gets taken down you can see at 43:36


Olé!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 27 2017 20:58:14
 
jg7238

 

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Joined: May 11 2009
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to rombsix

Here are my mechanics for what it's worth.😀

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 1:49:48
 
rombsix

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

For me, if I want to play "naturally", I get extension (collapsing) in both the tip joint (DIP) of the index finger, and the tip joint (DIP) of the middle finger.

If I want to get more power by preventing the index finger from collapsing (that is, by forcing it to stay flexed at the tip), then I have to use more tension / force in my hand / fingers to maintain that shape, and this usually translates to more overall effort / energy use in my hand. This then leads to more tension and faster fatigue which then slows me down after a certain number of notes in a run.

Is this something y'all have found comes with endurance training and practice, or am I overshooting the "sweet spot" of tension where ideally I want just enough tension to keep my index finger tip (DIP) joint from collapsing while not exerting so much effort that my entire hand fatigues?

I hope this makes sense. If not, I can use video / images to illustrate.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 2:24:06
 
Ricardo

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to rombsix

quote:

ORIGINAL: rombsix

For me, if I want to play "naturally", I get extension (collapsing) in both the tip joint (DIP) of the index finger, and the tip joint (DIP) of the middle finger.

If I want to get more power by preventing the index finger from collapsing (that is, by forcing it to stay flexed at the tip), then I have to use more tension / force in my hand / fingers to maintain that shape, and this usually translates to more overall effort / energy use in my hand. This then leads to more tension and faster fatigue which then slows me down after a certain number of notes in a run.

Is this something y'all have found comes with endurance training and practice, or am I overshooting the "sweet spot" of tension where ideally I want just enough tension to keep my index finger tip (DIP) joint from collapsing while not exerting so much effort that my entire hand fatigues?

I hope this makes sense. If not, I can use video / images to illustrate.


Two simple questions
1. When flexing both tips the same amount, are you able to play fast in short bursts? 12 notes per second or so?
2. When flexing both tips the same amount, do you have medium fast stamina? 9-10 notes per second for long runs?

If yes to both...then why are your trying to stiffen the joint of index? Is it because Paco does it? Or is is because you notice more speed with 1., and hope you will also gain stamina eventually (number 2)? Does power mean volume or tone or what to you?

Sometimes learning a new tech mechanic is just going to slow you down unnecessarily. At the end of the day, speed power stamina etc, is all dealt with simply by working staccato.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 5:42:51
 
rombsix

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Two simple questions
1. When flexing both tips the same amount, are you able to play fast in short bursts? 12 notes per second or so?
2. When flexing both tips the same amount, do you have medium fast stamina? 9-10 notes per second for long runs?

If yes to both...then why are your trying to stiffen the joint of index? Is it because Paco does it? Or is is because you notice more speed with 1., and hope you will also gain stamina eventually (number 2)? Does power mean volume or tone or what to you?

Sometimes learning a new tech mechanic is just going to slow you down unnecessarily. At the end of the day, speed power stamina etc, is all dealt with simply by working staccato.


I'll test what you referenced above and try to make a video to illustrate it in the coming few days...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 5:57:26
 
Blondie#2

 

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RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Here's a good close up slow mo of PDL's picado. To me it looks like primarily MCP (big knuckle joint) action, with some PIP (middle joint) flexion after string contact (though its harder to see). I can see both tips joints give, M gives more simply because it is longer but I tip is not held firm in a flexed position.



There is also an interesting slow mo closeup on Graf Martinez website (hover over 'animated' link for Paco) which has a superimposed 3 point line with the points at fixed areas at each joint so you can see angles change more clearly. This says exactly the same as above to me.

http://www.graf-martinez.com/flamenco-guitar/players/index.html
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 8:34:47
 
Ricardo

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Blondie#2

quote:

ORIGINAL: Blondie#2

Here's a good close up slow mo of PDL's picado. To me it looks like primarily MCP (big knuckle joint) action, with some PIP (middle joint) flexion after string contact (though its harder to see). I can see both tips joints give, M gives more simply because it is longer but I tip is not held firm in a flexed position.



There is also an interesting slow mo closeup on Graf Martinez website (hover over 'animated' link for Paco) which has a superimposed 3 point line with the points at fixed areas at each joint so you can see angles change more clearly. This says exactly the same as above to me.

http://www.graf-martinez.com/flamenco-guitar/players/index.html


Cool. It is also interesting, or encouraging I must say, to see graf martinez has (since the days of our early arguments) completely changed his language and admissions regarding this subject. He admits both that his early teaching was exaggerated, and also that it was new for him and he has not yet mastered it himself. Takes a very humble character to do that, I applaud him.

As an added point you can see in vicente's example there compared to Paco, how much more the tip joints can be bent. I feel Paco doesn't allow his to flex anywhere near that much, at cost of reset speed.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 8:56:49
 
Erik van Goch

 

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From: Netherlands

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I'm not a hero in playing picado myself (although i had my moments) but i do know in general the best way to play the guitar is a way of playing that fits your biomechanics which differ from person to person. So rather then imitating Paco (who might have totally different biomechanics/setups as you) it's better to study what makes your system work in the sense of biomechanics, hand/arm postion, relaxation, nail shape/length. It's the total picture.

I'm quite a knuckle player myself (arpeggio, tremolo etc) especially when i practice slowly (when i speed up the lower parts might show some action as well which is ok to me). Like Vicente i have very flexible joints and when i play a picado the lower part of the finger is relaxed and flexible to such an extent that when it hits the string it doesn't grap the string giving additional force but bents with the flow while curving into quite the opposite direction as local muscle forced power would do, a bit like a flexible end of a whip were the force is speed, flexibility and proper use of the tool (the complete finger). Still it is possible to add (additional) muscle power on the lower parts once this position (see photograph) is reached. Getting hooked in the lower parts of the finger (when playing knuckle based) in my case generally is a matter of improper relaxation of the lower parts which makes them get stuck into the strings. To my students (who often find it difficult to relax properly) i demonstrate the effect of (in)flexibility by plugging the side of a my chair or a table with stiff object like a book or cd cover followed by doing the same with a piece of paper. The first one (dude to its stiffness) runs dead on it's target (not able to pass it at all) while the piece of paper (dude to is ability to bend with the flow) has no problem to pass the object at all. As a mater of fact, the few periods of my life i did some serious studying (ending up playing with extremely stretched and extremely relaxed fingers using knuckle power most of the time) i actually had to remove the overnight grown of my nail on a daily base in order not to get stuck into the strings (in my philosophy every molecule of nail visible behind the sting was obstructive balast, preventing me from playing naturally and by that forcing me to add additional (and unneeded) muscle power to overcome that (self created) obstruction.

Biomechanics (aside of hand characteristics) also involves proper use of the tools you are born with. A little child can balance a grown up on a seesaw when the grown up positions himself in such a way he is way closer to the centre as the child. In the same way a smart positioning of the hand/arm/fingers can make a hell of a difference in how a technique works out in practice (even when 2 options look basically identical to a spectator). So personal hand characteristics, making optimal use of it and nail shape/lengt all contribute to what's best for you and what works for me does't have to work to someone else who has less flexible joints/longer nails and has to find other ways to make things work. If my nails are to long i have to use more force and may even be forced to play under a different angle as when they are short and in line with my natural biomechanics. Its all connected. When after 4 years of rebuilding myself under guidance of a fabulous teacher i finally found the wish and motivation to get the best out of myself and started to study these kind of things as thorough as can be it made me play the guitar in a totally different way within weeks with only 2 teachers (my guitar telling me how it wanted to be treated and my hand telling me what was the best way to achieve that manual wise). 2 years ago i dislocated some nerves/tendons of my right hand thump making it stiff and unbendable from 1 day to the other. Unlike before i can not any more play the thump in any situation but (dude to pain and risk of further damage) are more or les fixed to a certain hand position to play/position the thump which also inflicts on all the other techniques. So either i have to receive surgery or have to spend some quality time to set up a completely new system of finger relations based on that limited thump.

This was my 5 cents, not focusing on picado, just to state that imitating others in every detail isn't necessarily the best way to deal with things when it comes to the final tuning of your system. Questioning things and yourself and studying others in close detail obviously is because there is always room for improvement.

Vicente in action.... he played like that when he was 16 and he still does. Notice his flexible joints which unlike proper relaxation is not something you can learn but is what you are born with... or not. 



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 9:09:41
 
Blondie#2

 

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RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Cool. It is also interesting, or encouraging I must say, to see graf martinez has (since the days of our early arguments) completely changed his language and admissions regarding this subject. He admits both that his early teaching was exaggerated, and also that it was new for him and he has not yet mastered it himself. Takes a very humble character to do that, I applaud him.

As an added point you can see in vicente's example there compared to Paco, how much more the tip joints can be bent. I feel Paco doesn't allow his to flex anywhere near that much, at cost of reset speed.

Ricardo


Yes I am sure I mentioned Graf Martinez change of heart here a while back, though it may have been in an email to Miguel, we've all been having these discussions for years

Yeah Vicente's tips bend back like crazy although an important factor here is individual joint hypermobility, which varies a lot from person to person. What I mean is that for some people the tip joint won't go anymore than horizontal, for some it will hyper extend (bend backwards) a little, some people lots more, and it will vary somewhat between fingers.Vicente is at the extreme end of things.

For this reason it's difficult to make any comparisons between players - about how much they are letting that joint give - Paco's tips could well be at full hyper extension

Same goes for the thumb tip joint - some guys can bend it backwards which I think is a great advantage in flamenco, mine lock at horizontal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 10:07:05
 
Fitz63

 

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Joined: May 16 2016
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

What does PDL rub on his fingers? Is it Vaseline?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 11:43:04
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3418
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Fitz63

quote:

What does PDL rub on his fingers? Is it Vaseline?
vaseline your finger tips, play like greased-lightning!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 12:03:59
 
mark indigo

 

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[Deleted] 

Post has been moved to the Recycle Bin at Mar. 29 2017 12:23:48
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 12:10:50
 
Fitz63

 

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RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

What does PDL rub on his fingers? Is it Vaseline?
vaseline your finger tips, play like greased-lightning!


Ah ah! I knew there was some magic formula I was missing. Besides correct technique and hours of practice of course.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 12:13:49
 
mark indigo

 

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RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Fitz63

quote:

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

What does PDL rub on his fingers? Is it Vaseline?
vaseline your finger tips, play like greased-lightning!


Ah ah! I knew there was some magic formula I was missing. Besides correct technique and hours of practice of course.

I was advised not to get "addicted" to it!

Funny thing is, when i started using it i found it really helped, so i used more and more of it. Eventually one time i ended up with big lumps of it on the strings which made a terrible twanging sound. So i seriously cut down on my vaseline habit at that point.

What i found, though, was that the lubrication making my fingers slip off one string onto the next in picado changed my technique a little bit, made me feel like i needed to tense my hand/s and fingers less, and i tried to develop that further without the vaseline.

So i don't really use it anymore, but it definitely helped. I was also advised (same teacher) to just rub down the side of my nose or behind my ear for a little natural grease if my finger tips were a bit dry and causing too much friction.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 12:54:28
 
Miguel de Maria

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Can always count on a picado discussion to get my friends out of the woodwork. Yes, I had some priceless email discussions with Graf Martinez over ten years ago. There was a little bit of a language barrier. I tried to write him in Spanish and eventually we gave up and settled on English.

I'm not precisely trying to play like Paco, so perhaps it was a mistake to mention him! I think my issue may be more that the middle and tip joints just kind of freeze up on me and "grab" the string. It's not a coordinated movement. When I get the middle joint involved, it feels better.

Another clue is that when my hand is very stable, for example, I plant with the thumb quite rigidly, or make a point of leaving down the previous finger, that the m finger relaxes more and gets through the string easier.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 13:55:26
 
Fitz63

 

Posts: 104
Joined: May 16 2016
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

What does PDL rub on his fingers? Is it Vaseline?
vaseline your finger tips, play like greased-lightning!


Ah ah! I knew there was some magic formula I was missing. Besides correct technique and hours of practice of course.

I was advised not to get "addicted" to it!

Funny thing is, when i started using it i found it really helped, so i used more and more of it. Eventually one time i ended up with big lumps of it on the strings which made a terrible twanging sound. So i seriously cut down on my vaseline habit at that point.

What i found, though, was that the lubrication making my fingers slip off one string onto the next in picado changed my technique a little bit, made me feel like i needed to tense my hand/s and fingers less, and i tried to develop that further without the vaseline.

So i don't really use it anymore, but it definitely helped. I was also advised (same teacher) to just rub down the side of my nose or behind my ear for a little natural grease if my finger tips were a bit dry and causing too much friction.


Now I'm curious. Sounds like I should be careful though. Thanks for the info.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 19:04:45
 
kitarist

Posts: 1568
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

Funny thing is, when i started using it i found it really helped, so i used more and more of it. Eventually one time i ended up with big lumps of it on the strings which made a terrible twanging sound. So i seriously cut down on my vaseline habit at that point.

What i found, though, was that the lubrication making my fingers slip off one string onto the next in picado changed my technique a little bit, made me feel like i needed to tense my hand/s and fingers less, and i tried to develop that further without the vaseline.


I think this might be an important insight. I had the same experience of trying it and needing quite a bit at the beginning, then eventually hardly using any at all - all while I removed a lot of excess tension and increased speed and ease of execution.

It didn't occur to me that the lubrication itself must have corrected and improved my technique. But this makes sense.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 19:30:36
 
Ricardo

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Blondie#2

quote:

For this reason it's difficult to make any comparisons between players - about how much they are letting that joint give - Paco's tips could well be at full hyper extension


And so with this I got to thinking and studying more carefully all these videos and discussions of teachers and have come to an interesting conclusion. That is, for years myself and many other teachers (including Diaz, and PDL himself it seems via both diaz and Paco de malaga I have heard this to be true), that we should avoid hyper extension (of tip joint, or TJ as I call it later), not because of physicality but because of speed or control of the movement and rest and power/tone etc. HOWEVER...As it turns out, I honestly feel that the TIP JOINT flexability is an extremely important aspect of picado, totally underestimated IMO. Simply put, it has to do SEVERAL different things depending on what is being played, relative to the hand and the other finger. The mechanics are not so simple as "let it flex" or "keep it stiff", it is a complex combination of these things. I don't think people's physiology has much to do with it, but for sure being able to control this thing is an overlooked issue.

Here is the jist.

Big joint (BJ) is responsible for drive and reset action.

Middle joint (MJ) needs to remain bent at whatever angle and stiff before BJ drives, but can reorient itself when BJ resets, if there needs to be a "reach" for a string change for example. So if the sharply bent m finger played string 2 but needs to prepare for string 1, MJ allows to straighten to reach over the string and prepare. And conversely if m played string 2 but i is going to move from 2nd string down to 3rd string (say both had already played string 1 at some point), MJ can bend more for i finger in order to reach back to prepare for playing string 3.

Tip joint (TJ), which is naturally curved at rest allows some flexion before BJ drives depending on the string it is on. For example if i is playing string 1, TJ only flexes into straight alignment then stiffens, rather than flop over the string. However if m finger plays string 2 next or before that, TJ of m must be allowed to hyperextend as BJ drives, so that a proper rest can occur. So we observe then a stiff i TJ, and a hyperextended m TJ. Conversely if m finger plays string 1 TJ can flex only to straight alighnment and stiffen, while if i next or before has to play string 3, TJ must hyperextend as BJ drives i in order to make a proper rest stroke. The skip of strings here really makes it clear we observe a stiff m TJ vs a hyperextended i TJ.

So there is about a 3 string spread here that governs how much reach or bend MJ will need, and how much flex TJ will use, before the ARM has to readjust the entire mechanism. So the arm/thumb/hand will allow the fingers to orient over a group of 3 strings, and these complex variations of TJ flex and MJ reach/bend will remain relative as BJ drives and resets the repetitions. By seeing where the thumb and arm is, one can predicted how the TJ's will be flexing on what strings, in other words.

Maybe a video is needed?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 28 2017 22:34:27
 
rombsix

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Two simple questions
1. When flexing both tips the same amount, are you able to play fast in short bursts? 12 notes per second or so?
2. When flexing both tips the same amount, do you have medium fast stamina? 9-10 notes per second for long runs?

If yes to both...then why are your trying to stiffen the joint of index? Is it because Paco does it? Or is is because you notice more speed with 1., and hope you will also gain stamina eventually (number 2)? Does power mean volume or tone or what to you?

Sometimes learning a new tech mechanic is just going to slow you down unnecessarily. At the end of the day, speed power stamina etc, is all dealt with simply by working staccato.


1. This is reworded as "can you play sixteenth notes at 180 bpm for short bursts"? The answer is NOT EVEN CLOSE.
2. This is reworded as "can you play sixteenth notes at 135 bpm for long runs"? The answer is BARELY and I'm struggling to keep up.

I suck at picado because I never practice it, and I'm not "a natural" at it.

I am trying to stiffen the joint of index because it allows me to get more volume, stronger sounding attack, and I've been told by fast picado players that they try to "on purpose" stiffen the tip joints of both i & m when they play. Not sure I remember asking exactly why they do that, but I guess it has to do with getting a stronger, more powerful sound, as well as preventing the time the finger takes to hyperextend (like Vicente) and the theoretical concept that the time it takes to hyperextend the joint is time taken away from preparing for the next stroke (thereby slowing you down)?

Also stiffening the tip joints makes the tone different: more typical "flamenco picado" in nature to my ears, perhaps?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2017 1:04:27
 
Miguel de Maria

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Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

The mechanics are not so simple as "let it flex" or "keep it stiff", it is a complex combination of these things.


Basically, coordination between the joints.

My question is, if there is bad coordination (bad habits), how to correct that?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2017 1:26:35
 
Blondie#2

 

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RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

For this reason it's difficult to make any comparisons between players - about how much they are letting that joint give - Paco's tips could well be at full hyper extension


HOWEVER...As it turns out, I honestly feel that the TIP JOINT flexability is an extremely important aspect of picado, totally underestimated IMO. Simply put, it has to do SEVERAL different things depending on what is being played, relative to the hand and the other finger.


Adam del Monte would agree with you, in his picado video package he refers to the tip joint as being the 'suspension' in the mechanism that has to adjust accordingly.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2017 8:06:31
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3418
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Ricardo

when i started reading this thread i had to go back and review my anatomy. There are a few problems with discussions like this, apart from if people disagree. One is the difficulty of describing physical movements in words without visual reference. Another is the terminology.

Although it's kind of hard to learn and then hard to retain unless you are a healthcare professional using it every day (which I'm not), anatomical terms really are best. I had to check my anatomy book for MCP (meta-carpo-phalangeal), PIP (Proximal-inter-phalangeal) and DIP (distal-inter-phalangeal) joints, which i should know. It's easy when you know that Carpals are the wrist bones, and Meta-Carpals are the longer bones in the hand "beyond the carpals". The fingers are phalanges, so the MCP (meta-carpo-phalangeal) joint is where the finger joins the hand. You can call it "big joint" but that is more ambiguous and potentially prone to misunderstanding. There are then phalangeal bones (proximal, medial and distal) and two inter-phalangeal joints between those bones. Proximal is nearer and Distal further away (from the head i think).

The advantage of anatomical terms is that there is less ambiguity about what someone is saying. When some people say "flex" I'm not sure if they mean anatomical flexion, or just bending. Flex/Flexion should be the opposite of Extend/Extension. It doesn't just mean "bend" or "bending".

It's much easier to visualise physical movement from a description if the description is clear.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2017 12:39:57
 
hamia

 

Posts: 391
Joined: Jun. 25 2004
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria

Hey, we haven't talked about this for at least three months, so...



Cool - a middle knuckle picado thread!

Some observations/comments:

1) I started playing middle knuckle picado in about 2004 having read GM's book. His description of just moving the MK is clearly exaggerated but it is no exaggeration to say that much of the plucking power comes from the MK. This method takes a long time to learn so most people don't believe this and think the large knuckle is producing most of the power.
2) MK plucking has many benefits: allows compact hand that doesn't change much from free stroke (eg arpeggio) to picado, also very stable, little RH movement except for moving the hand as a unit across the strings.
3) it allows very fast speeds (of course so does LK playing)
4) it is capable of plucking with a lot of power (the bent finger is much stronger than the extended finger) - not that this is really an issue.
5) it is surprising the number of pretty good players who dismiss the MK method, saying that this type of 'clawing' at the strings is wrong. They are wrong.
6) it's is really nice for free stroke - having the hand close to the strings and the small, powerful movements in the MK make for very stable, loud, and accurate plucking
7) Final point: this method really does take a very long time to master. Like 6 months before any inkling of the potential.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2017 16:09:31
 
Cloth Ears

 

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Joined: Apr. 26 2005
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I use BJ/MJ also. My big joint definitely drives the action, but the middle knuckle does pull back to get the right attack angle, while the smaller joint flexes accordingly. Whatever works for your physiology I suppose.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2017 20:07:13
 
hamia

 

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RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Cloth Ears

A couple of extra observations:

The power in MK or LK plucking is principally not coming from the hand but from the forearm muscles - so the knuckles (both large and middle) function simply as the fulcrum (if that is the right word).

With the flat hand it's possible to play with movement directed mainly by the large knuckle, or mainly by the MK, or by a mixture of the two. Because of the very small movement that the MK requires to pluck the string I think it is impossible to tell by looking at someones hand whether they are directing power via the MK or by the LK.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2017 8:56:47
 
Piwin

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Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to Miguel de Maria

The important thing with these kind of discussions is to make sure you're not approaching the problem from the wrong end.
Start with the sound, and work your way back from there. The mechanics of the fingers vary a lot depending on the player. The way you attack the string is probably more of a constant that everyone can agree on.
Basically put, people should worry more about sounding like PdL than trying to look like him.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2017 10:09:49
 
Ricardo

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

RE: The middle joint in picado (in reply to hamia

quote:

5) it is surprising the number of pretty good players who dismiss the MK method, saying that this type of 'clawing' at the strings is wrong. They are wrong.


Or YOU are wrong perhaps?
Once again I think people who believe MJ is pulling at the string are simply confused by the way the fingers look at certain angles. From the side angles, MJ is fixed as the finger is driven through the string. Upon resetting the MJ sometimes straightens or bends depending on which string you are crossing to, assuming the entire hand isn't moving. A reach over and subsequent bending of the MJ might seem like the power of drive comes from that bend, but it doesn't. The string is pushed downward toward top. Perhaps the resistence of stiffening the MJ against the downward push of BJ makes some players believe both joints are working to attack the string, but if you truly relax the BJ and only use MJ to attack then you are only pulling on the string sideways. Very different mechanic.

In the slow black and white vid above of PDL, it is important to notice his entire arm is moving down toward the floor. Because it is an ascending scale, each string cross requires the MJ to reach over (straighten a bit) to reset and plant. The plant occurs thanks to the bending of MJ, but the actual attack of the string, or push through, is done by BJ and MJ and TJ remain fixed. TJ bends only enough to allow for the opposite finger to cross to the next string down after having played the upper string previously.
Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2017 11:34:53
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