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akriosss

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun. 23 2017
 

Exercises recommendation 

Hi i have big problems with my left hand can you recommend some exercises,books, like left hand strength, speed, independance,ligado etc?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 15 2017 21:08:59
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3342
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

scales, arpegios, chromatic octaves, chromatic major 10ths.... for ligados take any scales, diatonic, chromatic, whatever, and play them with hammer-ons and pull-offs....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 15 2017 21:34:51
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

Hard to say, "big problems with my left hand" isn't very specific.

For strength, ligado stuff is good. With you're hand in first position (i 1st fret, m 2nd fret, a 3rd fret and x 4th fret) you can do these groupings with pull off and hammer-on.
1010-2020-3030-4040-3030-2020-1010-2121-3131-4141-3131-2121-3232-4242-3232-4343 and then back.
As a maximum you should only do one thumb stroke per grouping of four, but you can do less if you really want to focus on left hand strength. For instance, you could do this entire grouping with only one thumb stroke on the first note and the rest all ligado:
1010-2020-3030-4040-3030-2020-1010

For independence, picado patterns, same hand position as before. Play four notes per string (no open string notes), starting with the pattern 1234. Keep that pattern and play through all the strings, up and down (so 1234 on 6th string, then 1234 on 5th string, etc.)
Then do the same thing but with a different finger pattern, the next one would 1243. The idea is to work through all the finger patterns possible. So, starting with 1, you'd have all these patterns to work through: 1234- 1243- 1324- 1342- 1423 and 1432 That'll really help with independence.
Then change the starting finger to 2. Patterns are: 2134- 2143- 2314- 2341- 2413 and 2431.
Then find the other 12 patterns starting with 3 and 4.

Then there's a bunch of things you can do with diatonic scales. playing them in 3rds (C major in 3rds: CE, DF, EG, FA, etc.), in 4ths, in 5ths, 6ths, 7ths or octaves, in different groupings (C major in groups of 3 ascending: CDE, DEF, EFG, FGA, etc. in groups of four ascending, CDEF, DEFG, EFGA, etc.) then you can mix different patterns together to make things a bit more complicated, say like: DB,CDEF- EC,DEFG- FD,EFGA-GE, FGAB, etc. When it comes to sheer mechanical exercices, the only limit is your imagination, and your sanity because these things are as boring as they come.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 15 2017 22:50:11
 
akriosss

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun. 23 2017
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

"big problems" I mean i cant do barre, cant even change 2 chords, cant do most of flamenco chords some strings are muted or buzzing.When i see some of maestros how fast they "fly" over the fretboard is just insane.Tnx for exercises.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 15 2017 23:41:12
 
Leñador

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

I can nearly guarantee you you're thumb is about to peek over the top of the fretboard while you're playing. Get that thumb down and get your fingers perpandicular.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 15 2017 23:57:57
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

ah, you could try Scott Tenant's Pumping Nylon book and videos. If you're just starting then there are things to consider like how to position the guitar, the thumb behind the neck, etc. and then some of it is just sheer strength building which takes time. I've heard people say that a good way to get your fingers to memorize where they have to go is just to take one chord, say E major, put your fingers in position and press down on the fretboard (as you'd do to play it), then release the fingers, opening the hand, then go right back into the chord position, release, etc.
If you have a few bucks to spare, your best option is to take a class or two. Especially if you're just starting, you want to start out right or else you might learn bad habits that'll be a pain to get rid of later.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 0:06:05
 
akriosss

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun. 23 2017
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

no im not just starting im playing about 6 Months my left hand position and thumb is ok.
http://www.classicalguitaracademy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_1516.jpg
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 0:13:51
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

quote:

no im not just starting im playing about 6 Months


That's just starting by my definition

I personally put the thumb a bit higher up, more under the m finger, and I use the bottom of the thumb and not the side like you seem to be doing, but I guess that depends on each person. But anyways, yeah stuff like buzzing or muted strings just takes some paying attention to. You got to find out what's causing it, which finger, if it's the angle of the finger, lack of strength or whatever and then focus on getting it right. Then it's just sheer repetition to get rid of whatever was causing the problem. Your hands are being asked to do things that they wouldn't naturally do, so it takes a while for them to adjust and get comfortable. And there's no rushing biology. Like for barre chords, the skin on your index finger eventually toughens up, not exactly a callus but sort of, and that helps a lot. I'm not sure how long that took in my case, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were more than 6 months.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 0:59:14
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

quote:

ORIGINAL: akriosss

no im not just starting im playing about 6 Months my left hand position and thumb is ok.


In my book 6 months equals "just starting" and although exceptional talents like Vicente managed to reach high levels of playing in about 2-3 years most will need a bit more time to become comfortable with barre, clean fretting, chord changing and flying over the fretboard. I started playing/taking lessons at the age of 9, stopped taking lessons 3 years later and continued "developing" myself for another 10 years before taking some serious lessons again. After 13 years of playing i still suffered the same issues you are suffering right now and basically had to start from scratch again. Obviously much depends on your talent and approach and it is perfectly possible to learn to play the guitar in a relative short time without a teacher if you have the latent for it (both of my teachers were self thought and became world class players). So not everybody is the same and after only 6 months of playing most problems to solve normally are still ahead of you :-).

I used to have a whole series of exercises to study and train the left hand and on top received a lot of personal 1:1 coaching from the very best (without who i would stil struggle). In general one need not much power to fret but i can still remember the days were i put in way more force with way lesser result :-). It does indeed take some exercise to put in just enough pressing power and maintain it while the other fingers do their thing. Common mistakes are lifting a finger to soon (killing the tone before it is ment to die) or to reduce pressing power to much after plugging (after which a tone that started of so well start buzzing after all). The correct action depends on were you came from and what follows and all depends on all. For barre i used to start with the index and had to break the other finger to reach position. Later i learned that you have to take a hand/arm position that supports all fingers and that dropping the barre index quite often is the closing part of a chain of events rather then the beginning and that it falls differently in different situation, more often then not slightly leaning to the site, being curved and often pressing only with the tip of the finger (bas string) and the base of the finger (treble strings) while leaving the middle part to the other fingers (where possible). It makes a lot of different how that barre finger is dropped in the sense of which part makes contact with the string (small alterings can make a huge different in outcome).



Any video's were we can see you in action ?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 1:35:14
 
akriosss

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun. 23 2017
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

I agree that 6 months is just starting thats why i asked for exercises)Already have Nunez,Graf Martinez,JM Dvds lots of good right hand exercises zero for left)Nunez is too complicated for me)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 7:57:00
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

Yeah Nunez is hard.

Another set of exercices you could google are the so-called "spider exercices".
Oh and for stretches, you can also do variations on that first picado exercice I described (just "chromatic" 1234) by "jumping" a fret. It's better to do those higher up the neck and work your way down as the stretches get harder the lower you get. For instance, instead of doing 5(i)6(m)7(a)8(x), you could do 5(i)6(m)7(a)9(x) or 5(i)6(m)8(a)9(x) or 5(i)7(m)8(a)9(x). Anyways, you get the picture.
In all these exercices you'll also want to pay attention to keeping your fingers close to the fretboard when releasing them and not just letting them "fly" away.
Exercices like this one here from atrafana where you keep all the fingers down except the one you're moving can help with that:
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 8:57:53
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

quote:

ORIGINAL: akriosss

"big problems" I mean i cant do barre, cant even change 2 chords, cant do most of flamenco chords some strings are muted or buzzing.When i see some of maestros how fast they "fly" over the fretboard is just insane.Tnx for exercises.


One very essential element (aside of meaningful practice) is having a critical ear and a sense of what can/should be improved and you seem to cover that element :-). I'll post some of my exercises later on.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 14:30:33
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin


For independence, picado patterns, same hand position as before. Play four notes per string (no open string notes), starting with the pattern 1234. Keep that pattern and play through all the strings, up and down (so 1234 on 6th string, then 1234 on 5th string, etc.). Then do the same thing but with a different finger pattern, the next one would 1243. The idea is to work through all the finger patterns possible. So, starting with 1, you'd have all these patterns to work through: 1234- 1243- 1324- 1342- 1423 and 1432 That'll really help with independence.
Then change the starting finger to 2. Patterns are: 2134- 2143- 2314- 2341- 2413 and 2431.
Then find the other 12 patterns starting with 3 and 4.


Exactly the kind of exercises we did at Rotterdam Conservatory (over here developed by Koos Tigges in the 50ties or 60-ties for his classical guitar students among who my father), monotone exercises exploring all possible finger combinations crossing all strings and positions while studying optimal hand position, proper relaxation and finger management (like when and how to fret, lift and change position).



--1234--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5432---3456--------------
-----------1234--------------------------------------------------------------------5432--------------------3456------
--------------------1234---------------------------------------------------5432-------------------------------------etc.
----------------------------1234-----------------------------------5432-----------------------------------------------
------------------------------------1234-------------------5432-------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------1234--5432----------------------------------------------------------------

Unlike the Atrafana Video exercise posted above i don't keep every finger posted on the previous string (only to jump over at the very last moment) but keep at least the pinky posted as the last mohican to ensure no gab falls when chaining string, while selecting a convenient moment for the hand and fingers to hob over (they can be brought near/above their future fret as well rather then stay on the previous string so long, but as a study it is excellent since it forces one to select/maintain a hand position that supports these kind of actions and prevent the fingers to end up all over the place when being lifted in combination with a less suitable hand position. In general one choses a hand position that supports the actual and the future action and preferably when the fingers are lifted the hand should be positioned in such a way it enables or even forces the fingers to reach their next goal as easy and natural as possible (imagine an eye in the tip of your finger that looks to it's future destination).


We not only did above exercise "the picado way" but also also "the arpeggio way".


------------4---1------------------------5---2-----------------
--------3-----------2-----------------4----------3---------------
-----2-----------------3----------3-----------------4---------etc.
--1-----------------------4---2------------------------5--------
----------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------


--------------12----9--------------------------11---8-------------------------
---------11------------10-----------------10-----------9-----------------etc--
----10----------------------11---------9-------------------10---------8-------
-9-------------------------------12--8-------------------------11---7---------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In both cases every finger was dropped individually and hold as long as desired. Obviously we made sure there was no gab between going from 1 chain to the other.


We also used the 1 string version as a ligado exercise, again exploring all possible finger combinations over time (at first i changed pattern once a week, later once a day or more depending how much i practiced)


-1~2-2~3-3~4---------------------------------
-------------------1~2--2~3--3~4-------------
----------------------------------------etc------
--------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------

the benefit of this monotone patterns over varying every chain is that you can give optimal attention of getting the moves right rather then spending your focus remembering what the hell came next.


Another exercise we did was


-x-9-8-9-/-7-9-8-9/-6-9-8-9-----9-8-9------------
---------------------------------/-7-------/-6--------
-------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------


----------------------------------------------------------
9-8-9-/7-9-8-9/-6-9-8-9------9-8-9-------------------
-----------------------------/-6*-------/-5*--------------
-----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------


----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
--8-7-8--/-6-7--8-7-/-5-8-7-8------8-7-8-------------
-----------------------------------/-6---------/5---------
-----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------



-----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
--8-7-8--/-6-7--8-7-/-5-8-7-8------8-7-8-------------
-----------------------------------/-6---------/5---------
-----------------------------------------------------------


----------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
--8-7-8--/-6-7--8-7-/-5-8-7-8------8-7-8-------------
-----------------------------------/-6---------/5---------


---------------------------------------------------------------------5-6-7-/8-8-7-8-/6-etc
----------------------------------------------------------------6/-8------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------/5-7-8------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------5-7-8--------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------5-6-/8---------------------------------------------
--8-7-8--/-6-7-8-7-/-5-8-7-8-/-6-8------------------------------------------------------


Some profs tend to play this exercise staying in the same position wile running from 1-th to 6-th string but melodically it is way more pleasing to change position when entering the 3-th string (the point marked by *). On top this makes the complete set to end 1 fret lower then were you started and you can repeat the whole set from there.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 15:44:05
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

I used to make my own exercises fitting my needs and moods of the day.

1 of them was a alzapua kind of legato exercise where all notes but the first are played with the left hand only, partly by pull of and hammer on and partly by "plugging" the string when bringing the finger up again after the pull of (like the upstroke of alzapua but this time applied on all fingers).

so its so it's hammer on, pull off (left hand) alzapua up etc. (only the very first note is plugged, when going from 1 finger to the other i use the alzapua upstroke as well)


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--0~7~0--0~7~0--0~7~0--0~7~0-/0~8~0-0~8~0-0~8~0--0~8~0---
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VII position index...............................2th finger...............................


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--0~9~0--0~9~0--0~9~0--0~9~0-/0~10~0-0~10~0-0~10~0--0~10~0---
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
.....3-th finger......................................4th finger..................................



Once you have it in your fingers you can turn it into a "bulerias" compas were each of the techniques used (hammer on/pull off/alzapua upstroke) happens to be an accented note at least once.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--0~7~0--0~7~0--0~7~0--0~7~0-/0~8~0-0~8~0-0~8~0--0~8~0---
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
...>..........>..........>.....>......>...../


Also you can add some variation by lines like


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--0~7~0--/0~7~0--/0~7~0--------3}-/0~8~0-/0~8~0-/0~8~0--/{3-2-1}---etc.
--------------------------------/{0~3----------------------------------------------


The {} part is played in the 1-th position with normal technique, i don't play this variation as a bulerias but as a pule of 3 notes with accents on the first note ( a bit tangos like).

I also made this ligado exercise. Note that at the end of each line i slightly change the pattern so each note becomes beat 1 at least once.

0131/0131/0131/0130 (al bindings)
1310/1310/1310/1301
3101/3101/3101/3103
1310/1310/1-*-/*-*-

all 4 lines are played legato and in 1 continuing set. After playing the 3 silent beats in between you can start al over again. Obviously this can be done with various finger combinations as well.

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The smaller the object of your focus the bigger the result.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 16:29:40
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

And last but not least my TWIGHLIGHT exercises. The twilight zone it refers to is the "2 mm' that separates the untouched string from the fret. In order to fret most people pass that distance without thinking but you'll be amazed how much you can learn from that forgotten part of the guitar.

First put your finger on string and rather then pushing it all the way to the fret stop halfway that distance and hold it "aired" there for a minute or so. If you really want to benefit make sure to feel and appreciate the tention that flows from your finger into the string and the other way around with all your senses, up to a point were you can visualize that feeling as real as real can be without touching the guitar for real ( i favor to do my exercises virtual in my head as well as soon as i'm able to do so in a realistic way).

Next push it a bit further/less far and feel the difference in tension. This is already very close to the amount of tension needed to actually fret a string which only demands slightly more pressure to kill buzzing.

Next challenge is to put a finger on the untouched string and push it all the way to the fret but not the usual way but AS SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE. There should be no visible movement for someone passing by but at the same time you are not allowed to stand still/hold for real so it must keep moving but so slowly the movement it is hardly visible. Once you reach the fret, hold it there for a few seconds and go back the same way, again as slowly as possible (the whole set might take a couple of minutes).

Note, i tend to do this in the higher positions only were the distance between string and fretboard is bigger so there is more room to operate.

After doing this with all 4 fingers (never succeeded to do that myself without "crashing" at least 1 time) it's time for the next challenge.

Next i hold that string halfway the twilight zone not using 1 finger but all 4, lined up site by site on the same string. Then i select 1 finger to be lifted at various speeds while the other 3 fingers hold the string positioned halfway the twilightzone. I might also lift that selected finger and move it into any direction i like while the other fingers hold that string aired. At the end it returns to it's base so beginning and end are the same (4 fingers lined up site by site holding that string aired).

Obviously you also do this exercise "the other way around", selecting 1 finger to push that string a bit further towards the fret while the other 3 fingers stay positioned exactly were they are. Again this can be done at various speeds (including invisibly slowly). After a while the finger and the string return to starting position so all starts and ends with the string held halfway the twilight zone by all 4 fingers lined up site by site.

Obviously the sky is the limit and it's up to your fantasy how challenging you can make it. Rather then selecting 1 finger to alter you can select 2 fingers to push that string a bit further while the other 2 fingers stay behind (or to be lifted while the other 2 fingers keep that string aired) and it takes a while before you are able to select 2 random fingers to push that string a bit further, then return to starting position and change guards with the other 2 fingers in one fluent move. As a matter of fact this kind of exercises are so demanding that at first i was not even able to "find" the finger i selected simply because my brain was so occupied with all the new and unknown demands going on it often was not able to connect with the finger i wanted to move. It actually is pretty funny to discover that as a 4-th year conservatory student (close to final exam) you suddenly are not able too connect with a finger :-). Obviously you can air more then 1 string simultaneously, telling 1 finger to hold it's string positioned, another to push it a bit further and a 3-th one to put in a bit less pressure. The sky is the limit.

At the time, after suffering quite a roller coasting experience, it (temporary) left me with an incredible level of control in the sense of pressure control and ability to move my fingers independent of each other. Unfortunately i wasn't a very serious player most of the time and lack of flight hours made me loose those qualities as quickly as i gained them. Still i consider these exercises to be extremely rewarding and an assed for both beginner and profs.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 17:38:33
 
Brendan

Posts: 261
Joined: Oct. 30 2010
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

I've been playing guitar badly for 40 years and I always get something out of these threads where a fresher posts an apparently basic question. Time to adjust my regime of left-hand stretches.

The left-hand exercises in Pumping Nylon are probably what you want. Beware, it's written for classical guitar students so it doesn't have tab.

If you do too many of these systematic exercises (gestures up-thread), they'll start to sound like music and you'll find yourself developing a modern jazz sensibility without wishing it. Watch out for that. It's the start of madness.

If you get desperate to work your left hand out on something with a tune, try playing the verse accompaniment to Walk This Way:
https://youtu.be/_HAGiRaoacs
This is a musical unit you can move up and down the fretboard and shift up a string (so instead of starting on the 6th string, start on the 5th). If you do that, you'll be doing something really flamenco: learning something por arriba and transposing it to por medio. And you'll be working your thumb (use your thumb like a plectrum, do upstrokes with it in all the places where you would with a plectrum).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 17:47:52
 
Cervantes

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

Another recommendation for Pumping Nylon (It does come in a tab version).
My teacher made me play from this for a long time.
It can get boring but will definitely help. I find concentrating on sections of actual music pieces can help a specific technique. For example while Paco Pena is a master of all techniques I find nobody plays ligado like he does or as much as he does. So I have been playing a piece of his that has tons of ligado and I notice i am really improving and it never gets boring. Atrafana is another good resource.

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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 Aug. 16 2017 17:56:17
 
akriosss

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun. 23 2017
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

Thank you guys i will try this exercises
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 16 2017 18:21:49
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

quote:

ORIGINAL: akriosss

"big problems" I mean i cant do barre, cant even change 2 chords, cant do most of flamenco chords some strings are muted or buzzing.When i see some of maestros how fast they "fly" over the fretboard is just insane.Tnx for exercises.



The exercises mentioned above are a daily workout that can cement both good and bad habits so make sure you perform them well manual wise. On top they already demand a manageable level of control of fingers working solo and together.

As a beginner (and also as a pro) you also have to spend some serious time studying individual fingers/part of fingers and individual moves/part of moves as well, giving full focus to elements like optimal arm/wrist/hand/finger line up, proper relaxation, fretting, sound, pressing control, proper biomechanics, economy of movement, finger (in)dependentsy etc. Before combining things each finger has to be able to do it's task individual. Next comes simple combinations in both melodic and chord play.

You can start with simple things like

1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-/
1-3-1-3-1-3-1-3-/
1-4-1-4-1-4-1-4-/

played on 1 string only. From the point of economical playing it is smart to keep that index posted all the time so you don't have to lift and -re-fret it all the time. This is standard strategy when playing melodies on 1 string.

When playing 0-1-3-1-0 keep that index posted until it is time to play that final open string again.

when playing 1234/1 on the same string that first finger generally remains fretted as well (again saving the trouble of lifting and re fretting it which also might disturb the hand setup which remains fixed and known by keeping that index fretted.

Personally when playing 1234/1 i tend to keep all fingers posted until the moment were i return from 4 >1 and it is that moment that i lift finger 2, 3 and 4 simultaneously wile finger 1 remains fretted to play the note it covers. Others might choose to lift finger 2 and/or 3 a bit sooner (rather then keeping them fretted to the very last moment) but i'm pretty sure most professionals will keep that index fretted when playing that variation.

So when playing 1234/1, lifting finger 234 will bring me back to 1 (assuming finger 1 is still posted) giving me 1 note "for free". This principle is also applicable when changing position for instance:

When i play 1234/5678 on 1 string the 5678 part has the same left hand action as the 1234 part, the only difference is that in order to play 4567 the hand has to be positioned/brought to 5-th position where the index covers the 5th fret after which the other fingers will automatically end up covering fret 678. Aside of the position taken by the hand playing 1234 feels very much the same as playing 5678.

Now if you would have asked me to play 1234/5678 as a youngster i would have lifted every finger in-between (including the index), than made an insecure jump to the 5th position (hoping for the best) were i had to re fret the index and play 5678. Quite often the hand ended up being of balanced due to the amateurish jump from 1>5.

At precent day to me there is no difference between playing 1234/1234 and playing 1234/5678. In both cases i keep all fingers posted until the moment i lift 234 simultaneously in order to return to finger 1 which remains posted in both lines. The only difference when playing 1234/5678 is that the very moment i lift finger 234 as a unit i slide my hand from 1-th to 5th position with the index still posted on that string so wile bringing the hand from 1-th to 5-th position the index remains on string and as a side effect of moving the arm and hand up it simply skates "on string" from 1-th to 5-th position (i probably use less pressure there then when fretting but it never leaves the string). Once in position i get the first note "for free" and since the hand set up remained untouched the other fingers will automatically fall in position like playing a usual 1234 although in reality they cover 5678. With this approach i no longer have the feeling i have to jump to another position (to me it actually feels like staying in the same position like going up and down in an elevator) and on top it gives less disturbance in hand sett up.

Not only is this a very smart and economical way of playing (keeping that index on string while moving the hand from 1-th to 5-th position when playing 1234/5678) but it really simplifies things in the sense that in a way this approach reduces the guitar to having 1 position only (i feel no difference between playing 1234/1234 or 1234/5678 or 1234/78910). The moment of lifting all fingers but the index and moving the hand up to it's new position is (more or less) synchronized with the moment the right hand finger is making contact with the string in order to plug it. This also kills the sound of that string and by matching the 2 the sound gab can be kept extremely short. Al happens simultaneously in a split second.

it is this kind of smart playing that enables me to "fly over the fretboard"(but obviously not from 1 day to the other but involving years of sanding and shaping).

As far as changing chords is concerned, again first you have to learn how to fret each individual chord properly. Than it's time to combine. As you know various chord have various (finger) shapes and the more they are alike in shape the more easy it is to go from 1 chord into the other (like above 1234 and 5678 have a similar shape allowing me to hold that index, hand position and fretting strategy).


--0------0----------------
--0------1----------------
--1------2-----------------
--2------2----------------
--2------0---------------
--0------------------------
..E.......Am

Above chords have a similar shape. In this case all the fingers have to do is jump to the neighboring string as 1 unit. In general you time it in such a way they all fall into position simultaneously.


--0------1---------------
--1------3----------------
--2------2----------------
--2------0----------------
--0----------------------
-----------------------
.Am......Dm.....


Again both chords are quite similar in shape. Again all fingers can leave at the same moment and while jumping to the neighboring string the chord has to be reshaped a bit so the 2-th finger wil land on 3-th fret rather then the second. Reshaping the chord generally happens in the air and does not only involve that one finger that is "out of position". In general each chord is supported by a matching and very subtly chosen arm, hand and thump position and when changing from Am>Dm i might slightly alter my hand position/rotation in order to support the newly intended chord shape the best possible way. Again all fingers land on their new fret simultaneously.

As far as altering arm/hand position is concerned, in general each action (wether melodic or chord based) demands it's own subtly chosen hand/thump/wrist/arm positioning supporting the intended action the best possible way (taking in account what came before, what's demanded right now and what comes next). Sometimes these alterations are so subtle one can hardly notice them, at other moment it is very noticeable like when a player digs his elbow into his body to bring the hand in a certain position or bends his arm in quite the opposite direction to support yet another action.

Back to changing chords.


--0-------0-------
--1-hold-1------
--0-------2--------
--2-------3---------
--3------------------
--------------------
...C.........F.........


Again 2 fingers can jump to the neighboring string quite easily, the index can even remain fretted because it serves both chords.


--0---------0--------0------
--1->------1-->----1------
--2---------0--------2-----
--2-(>)----2--------3------
--0---------3---------------
--------------------------
...Am........C.........F........


The index can be remain fretted all the time when playing above Am, C, F chords progression and if you want you can also keep the 2-th finger fretted when changing from Am>C (personally i tend to lift and re-fret it. Aside of economical issues personal preferences obviously play a role in how to do things, every hand is different and what works for one does't have to work for someone else).

Obviously when 2 chord shapes are more different than above examples finger management becomes more complicated to. In general when going cold turkey from 1 chord to the other (rather then building it up in small manageable steps as often done in solo playing when combined with melody playing) all fingers generally land on their new spot simultaneously and reshaping (by altering hand/arm/finger position) happens in the air.

So try to stick to your level of playing when selecting exercises to help you overcome/study your problems. Mindless executed exercises (no matter how good) don't make you better, paying attention to ones actions and dealing with it's flows does and well chosen exercises can be a great help especially when designed to help you focus on a certain aspect of playing. But you can also pick up just a part of your pieces and study a difficult part of it in great detail with an open mind for solving whatever bothers you. Proper relaxation is the start of everything and i learned a lot from just working on individual fingers and movements and built my way up from there. I know Paco Peña did this quite a lot as wel and every time i told my father i had found some interesting new ways to study it turned out both he and Paco did similar things when studying themselves without ever mentioning them in the lessons.

I often did my exercises both fully fretted, half fretted as well as tipping the strings only, with and without muted strings and i even did them virtual in my head (which imo is more effective then playing them for real). I generally adapted pretty low speeds in the beginning so i had plenty of time to monitor and correct whatever went wrong. Most of my classmates adapted higher speeds but the very best of them (Tino) recently revealed that after a lifetime of playing he discovered that studying things slowly turned out to be more effective then playing it fast straight away, resulting in a higher level of control and in the end even in higher speeds then would be obtained with his regular way of training.

Paco Peña is an ambassador of first covering the technique of any given task (proper preparation and relaxation, pair the right thoughts to the right action, sound etc) before dealing with the correct rhythm. So if in the beginning you need a bit more time to prepare/execute a certain note correctly "taking all the time you need to play it technically correctly" on the expense of delaying that note is favorable over playing that note "on time" on the cost of accepting a sloppy execution because it is way more easy to catch up the correct rhythm later on "once the technique is covered" then it is to try to control unwilling fingers with a metronome telling you "ready or not here we go" (and if you never take the time to deal with that sloppy part it will become a habit of playing until one day you decide to deal with it one way or the other).

As far as learning curve is concerned, with all the knowledge i have, if i turn my guitar and try to grip an E chord with my right hand i'm totally lost and not able to produce a sound free of buzzing and muted strings or even to grab/shape the chord, let along re shape them it in the air when altering to another chord. So all goes in small steps, starting with placing/altering each chord finger separately, surging and shaping for the best setup and coordination up to grabbing chords without thinking with hands and fingers working together like a well tuned clockwork (due to playing those lines 1000's of times).

_____________________________

The smaller the object of your focus the bigger the result.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 17 2017 17:10:48
 
Cervantes

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

Erik,

Thanks for sharing the detailed knowledge that you have acquired over a lifetime of playing. I think your examples of right and wrong or maybe just different ways are really helpful. I am 60 years old and only started flamenco a few years so I will take any short cuts I can get.

_____________________________

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 Aug. 17 2017 20:19:40
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3342
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

quote:

Already have Nunez,Graf Martinez,JM Dvds lots of good right hand exercises zero for left)Nunez is too complicated for me)


Ironically when i encountered (in class with him) Gerardo Nuñez's exercises for right hand pulgar, picado etc. I found the left hand requirements really difficult. I have since developed my own versions to help me work on those deficiencies.

A good recommendation for you from what you have said would be Oscar Herrero "Paso a Paso! DVD vol 1 and 2. These DVD's are devoted to covering all basic techniques. If you can do all that and it's not enough go on to vol 3, "Advanced Technique". There is stuff on barre chords and chord changes in there somewhere, but I don't remember where....

I never had classical lessons before I got into flamenco, or any other type of music lessons, and one of the things I have found really useful for addressing left hand technique is mixing classical scales and arpegios with 3 note per string "stretch" scales and CAGED system scales and arpegios. I looked up and learned a lot of this stuff and picked what I felt I needed and worked it into a routine as a warm-up leading into technique work out. Diatonic and chromatic scales; scales in 3rds, 6ths and octaves; major, minor, dominant 7 and diminished 7 arpegios. A lot of the exercises are variations of common guitar exercises and/or ways I worked out to practise things I found difficult in falsetas etc. To make it easy to remember I do the "same" routine every day. But to make it not boring I transpose into different keys and scales (major, minor, phrygian).

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 17 2017 20:51:17
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to Brendan

quote:

If you do too many of these systematic exercises (gestures up-thread), they'll start to sound like music and you'll find yourself developing a modern jazz sensibility without wishing it. Watch out for that. It's the start of madness.


Ha. Ain't that the truth! I've caught myself humming one of these god-awful chromatic exercices as if it were an actual tune. It's too late for me I'm afraid.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2017 0:02:06
 
timoteo

 

Posts: 219
Joined: Jun. 22 2012
From: Seattle, USA

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

quote:

"big problems" I mean i cant do barre, cant even change 2 chords, cant do most of flamenco chords some strings are muted or buzzing.


OK, I'm going to disagree with everybody above and say you DON'T need to learn any abstract 'exercises', and in fact doing the exercises presented above isn't going to address the problems here.

After 6 months, if you can't change cords and can't cleanly play most 'flamenco chords' (I'm assuming you don't mean barre chords here, since you mention that separately), then what you need is LESSONS, not exercises. After a few lessons you should be able to do this, then it is just a matter of practising until it becomes natural.

6 months is more than enough time to be able to play some chords cleanly and change chords cleanly. If you can't do that, you're doing something wrong, even though you may think your left hand and thumb is 'ok'. I'm speaking as a person who was a beginner only a few years ago, so I do remember how clumsy it feels when you first start learning and how much practice it takes to be able to be able to easily finger chords and make common chord changes. Lessons will set you on the right path so that your next 6 months of practice will be more productive. Speed will come with practice, but you should be able to quickly get to the point where you can change chords in time with a metronome.

Even then, I don't see abstract exercises as useful for you when you reach that point. IMO it's far better to practice using real music, because the whole point of this is to learn to play music, NOT to learn to play chromatic scales. Practice, for instance, some Sevillanas - lots of chord changes, rasgeados, and some picado. They are short and come in all keys, so you get practice with a wide variety of the most important chord changes (V7 <-> I for major keys, V7 <-> i for minor keys, and I <-> II for Spanish phrygian keys), but you won't get a repetitive stress injury from playing the exact same thing over and over. Most importantly, however, they help you play MUSIC. Put on a metronome and play. Increase the speed a bit to challenge yourself. Etc.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2017 4:20:41
 
jalalkun

Posts: 276
Joined: May 3 2017
From: Iraq, living in Cologne, Germany

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

yet another gold mine !! erik you're a star !!

_____________________________

My name is Jalal.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2017 8:15:27
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to timoteo

quote:

because the whole point of this is to learn to play music, NOT to learn to play chromatic scales.


I get your point but hopefully people realize the point of these exercices is not to learn chromatic scales but to help you in your music playing. It's like PE or muscle-building exercices you learn when training for a marathon. You could always just forget the exercices and only do the running part per se, but the exercices really do serve a purpose and help move you along, even when the connection doesn't seem that obvious. The point being: Practicing with music and doing digitation exercices aren't mutually exclusive.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2017 11:59:06
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3342
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to timoteo

quote:

OK, I'm going to disagree with everybody above and say you DON'T need to learn any abstract 'exercises', and in fact doing the exercises presented above isn't going to address the problems here.

After 6 months, if you can't change cords and can't cleanly play most 'flamenco chords' (I'm assuming you don't mean barre chords here, since you mention that separately), then what you need is LESSONS, not exercises. After a few lessons you should be able to do this, then it is just a matter of practising until it becomes natural.


the OP asked for
quote:

recommend some exercises,books, like left hand strength, speed, independance,ligado etc?
So you didn't answer the question. You decided they needed something else....

I get your point though, if a beginner is struggling then I would agree lessons are the way to go. In the first post the level wasn't specified, and most of us at some point become responsible for our own learning process. But also one thing I recommended above was DVD that basically contains "lessons" in technique. Ok, a DVD cannot substitute for a teacher in the sense that it can't give you feedback, but it's not always possible to find or fund lessons in some locations.

I dunno if you noticed but I did say above
quote:

A lot of the exercises are..... ways I worked out to practise things I found difficult in falsetas etc.
so what I do in my practise routine, as well as warm-up, is to practise things relevant to music. There is a lot to be said for consistently practising the basics, and also for isolating difficult passages of music and creating ways to practise them.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 18 2017 13:26:57
 
Erik van Goch

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

OK, I'm going to disagree with everybody above and say you DON'T need to learn any abstract 'exercises', and in fact doing the exercises presented above isn't going to address the problems here.

After 6 months, if you can't change cords and can't cleanly play most 'flamenco chords' (I'm assuming you don't mean barre chords here, since you mention that separately), then what you need is LESSONS, not exercises. After a few lessons you should be able to do this, then it is just a matter of practising until it becomes natural.


the OP asked for
quote:

recommend some exercises,books, like left hand strength, speed, independance,ligado etc?
So you didn't answer the question. You decided they needed something else....


One line of Dr. Phil i really liked was something like "not only do you not know the answers to your questions, you don't even know what questions to ask". So an answer that does not seem to address the original question might still be the best answer :-).

Both John Walsh and i once stated that the most important thing we learned from our teachers was "what and how to study" which very much involves recognizing the flows in ones actions and how to tackle them in small manageable steps (it's a fine balance between being in control and challenging yourself and also involves avoiding things that are to much out of reach yet).

When i entered conservatory (being part of the first group of students entering Paco Peña's flamenco academy) it turned out that 13 year of self study had cemented so many bad habits i basically had to start all over again. Both me and my class mates (some of who spend years in Spain) tended to lift our fingers way to soon in order to arrive on time for the next note (killing the abandoned notes in the process) and both my playing skills and my critical ear were still highly undeveloped (all i had ear for was melody and harmony and on that field i was second to non, i was even named to have the best ears of the conservatory which already listed over a 100 teachers).

Facing the still very amateurish hand management of these first group of flamenco students my father (Paco's right and left hand who gave the weekly guitar lessons, technique lessons and was the teacher of guitar didactics) decided to throw in an extra (read second) lesson hour a week for flamenco students, focusing on general hand management (classical students didn't need these extra lessons because they already received lessons half a lifetime before entering the conservatory). Part of these technique lessons were the exercises i mentioned above. I remember i didn't like them at all and didn't really take then seriously (i entered Paco Peña's school of flamenco guitar to learn to play flamenco, not to do these kind of exercises). I wasn't the only student opposing these exercises and various generations of students past before it became embraced as one of the things to do if you aspire to become a great player.

So at first my father had to fight to get some serious interest for his exercises. When Pepe Habichuela gave a concert at RC it turned out he did similar exercises (and so do many profs) which convinced some of the students to give it a try as well. I still didn't like them and as a result i didn'd learn from them as well. No matter how good the exercises, if you only do them to please the teacher or as an excuse to move your fingers without giving it the focus and attention that is required to learn from it they are useless and will only cement bad habits.

Meanwhile my father gave me tons of 1:1 instructions of how to deal with the technical and musical flows in my playing, flows i generally was not aware of myself but over time gave me a very critical eye/ear for tonal quality and way better ways to play the guitar as i used to do. We worked on technique and tonal quality for months (playing music was not the first priority) and the first couple of years we played pretty simple music and both the technique and the pieces were build up from level zero up to what you were able to handle which in my case was not a lot yet. Most foto members would not like to play the "simple" music i had to play at Rotterdam Conservatory with teachers demanding total control of every note played. It's far from easy to go back from playing PDL material to playing open strings and the most simple material you can find for months and on top being "criticized" and corrected all the time (which obviously is the purpose of taking lessons although not every student was aware of that). Once our level of control grew we obviously started to play music as well and we averagely learned/added 3 styles of flamenco each year.

As ment previously at first the exercises mentioned above were not really my cup of tea and as a result they didn't bring me much good, not because they were useless but because i was not ready to learn from them yet (the exercises are a great tool helping you to learn but only if you do them with the correct mind set/focus which at the time i had not). I soon stopped doing them.

A couple of years correction after correction by my father had turned me into a way better player but being more interested in playing chess then in playing the guitar after 4 years i seriously faced danger of being expelled. So i began to take things a bit more seriously and started to do the exercises they asked me to do 4 years before. But i still lacked the mindset needed to benefit from it so again they did not really help me (in retrospect i did them to please the teacher and the clock and not as a tool to learn and develop so results were zero).

A bit later, for the first time ever, i felt an incredible urge to get the very best out of myself and my guitar which was paired to an increased level of focus (i'm self diagnosed ADD and find it very hard to focus when i'm not 100% interested, but when i am "100% interested" lack of focus can turn into super-focus allowing me to learn and develop at multi speed).

So i finally picked up these exercises with a correct mind set only to discover 10 fingers are more then a hand full to control if you demand total control. So i started to study right and left hand separately only to discover 5 fingers, 6 strings and 9 positions are still way to much to deal with if you aspire total control of the left hand.

Fact is the human brain can only focus on 1 THING AT THE TIME so i decided it might be smart to study only one thing at the time as well with excellent results. For a start i recalculated my mayor/minor scales and other melodic lines to 1 string/1 position only and started to practice that

so

-----------------------------------------4-6-------------
----------------------------------5--7-------------------
--------------------------4-6-7-------------------------
--------------4-6-7--/7---------------------------------
------4-5-7----------------------------------------------
-5-7-----------------------------------------------------


became


------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
-5-7-4-5-7-4-6-7-/-7-4-6-7-5-7-4--5-----------------


and

..IV............V.............VII...........IX...................................................
--0-4-5-0-/-0-5-7-0-/-0-7-9-7-/-0-9-11-9-/0-12-11-9------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------/12-10--9------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------11--9----
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


would become


-0-4-5-4-/-0-4-6-4-/-0-4-6-4/-0-4-6-4-/-0-7-6-4-/-7-5-4-6/4------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


allowing me to give full focus to the finger management first before studying the implications of string walking and positional play in equal detail. After a couple of weeks my brain somehow started to embrace the idea of treating the guitar like it has only 1 position and 1 string (also in actual playing) which made playing way more manageable. Funny enough my reference finger for positional play no longer was my index but my pinky (when i mentioned that to my father he reviewed most string players, like violinists, have their pinky as a reference point).

In line of my new approach (studying 1 thing at the time before combing them) i started to study individual fingers/parts of fingers and individual moves/part of moves in great detail with excellent results. I did the same with the right hand, using open strings or simple chords. A very important part was studying natural hand behavior/biomechanics which first of all start with proper relaxation and maintaining the natural lineup arm/wrist/hand/fingers as much as possible (so rather then breaking that finger to reach position simply rotate your underarm a bit which brings that finger there with much more ease). I meticulously studied my personal biomechanics, phalange by phalange, finger by finger, combination by combination, as always working my way up from simple to more complex in small manageable steps (the art of knowing what and how to study). It really pays of to know in every detail how to position/use your arm/wrist/hand/fingers in any given situation in such a way they can produce the intended action effortless, since even very small variations in arm/hand position/rotation and finger curvement can mean the difference between struggling and playing with ease. On top i did tons of tonal exercises and worked on the art of expression (dynamics, rhythm) giving me whole pallet of colors to use/combine while developing a total new way of playing the guitar, building myself up from scratch again, not based on what works for others but what works for me. The way was always first study the separate aspects in full deail and then combine them in increasing levels of difficulty, whether is was mastering 1 finger/movement or a combination of fingers/movements or a musical phrase. The exercises my father gave me became part of my daily routine as well on top of which i added many self invented exercises which went back in simplicity even more (like the twighlight exercises i mentioned). Every day i started like it was the first time ever i played the guitar (i tend to believe cemented habits and even ego can be quite obstructive and prevent you from opening yourself to better ways of playing, an open and investigating mind however can be very helpful) and within 3 weeks i metamorphosed into a totally different player (keep in mind i already played the guitar for 17 years and received proper lessons from the very best for the past 4 years so i had a pretty good idea what to strive for, no idea how this will work for a beginner but i guess it is invaluable for all levels to study these kind of things). I know Paco Peña spend quite a lot of time on studying the smallest details as well. One of his quotes is "wel, you play the first note, after the first note you play the second note and so on and so on". Still i recall one lesson were i did not came further as beat 2 of soleares because he kept interrupting me telling me i was out of compas. I was quite puzzled because how can 2 beats be out of compas already ? Years late i heard that taped lesson again (i recorded all the lessons) and with the second beat i thought "out of compas". The trick was i failed to look over the beat to that important beat nr, 3 which would have given those first notes meaning and direction which was not the case the way i played it. That's an other aspect of studying, knowing the relation/flow between each note in great detail.

As you might notice the lines i recalculated to "1 position/1 string only" (sublimations of actual playing material) are quite like the systematic left hand exercises i mentioned before and there purpose is allowing you to focus on that aspect of playing without being distracted by other aspects of playing to much. And all the other aspects i studied separately and full focus as well and/or added them layer to layer (like i said the brain can only handle 1 thing at the time so if you want big results in a short time study 1 thing at the time only). One of the reasons i managed to metamorphose into a way way better player in a very short time (aside of having ADD) was that i did not allow a single note/action to pass unnoticed/less as perfect (dude to my "feed the brain 1 thing at the time" policy) and on top did not fall for the temptation to play for fun after spending some quality time with my instrument focusing on changing bad habits for better ones (obviously when you spend an hour to imprint your brain and hands/fingers with new ways of playing you don't want to corrupt/cloud that reprogramming by falling back in old habits, not even for a second). Taking lessons, working on individual notes, chords, technical and tonal control before/while combining things in a growing scale of complexity is all part of the game.

As far as taking lessons is concerned, i received lessons from my father between the age of 9-12. Despite having the very best teacher one could ever wish for (Tino van der Sman and others name him as their most important teacher) i proved to be pretty unteachable and at the time showed no interest in technique, tonal quality, reading notes etc but was only interested in melody and harmony which i proved to be able to process and understand at a very young age (my father studied classical guitar when i was born and that was the first language i ever learned, at a very young age i could sing the complete repertoire of classical guitar including the Bach Suites). After 3 years i stopped taking lessons and became my own teacher. 10 years later when i picked up lessons again i had to start from scratch again. My father on the other hand only received 1 lesson in his life, then his parents run out of money so he could not afford any more lessons. So he learned to play the guitar from a little book in a time the Netherlands only hosted a handful of good guitar players. Despite being completely shelf thought he became one of the best players in the Netherlands. When he entered conservatory as a classical guitarist his teacher initially wondered what the hell they could teach him since he mastered the instrument so well already but his aim was mastering himself in musical theory and on top he needed the diploma to teach at the local music school. It never came to that because after his graduation he was appointed to become head teacher of the classical guitar department of the Rotterdam Conservatory. So one can become great without ever having received a lesson and one can struggle despite having lessons for years from the very best, it all depends on your character and mindset.

Again, the most important thing i learned (aside proper technique and interpretation) is the art of "what and how to practice". It's not the amount of practice that makes a different, it's the effectiveness of your practice that makes a difference. It's all about instructing/training the brain and fingers and the more effective you can do that the bigger the result. If you know how to train the brain and fingers effectively you can make a meaningful exercise of basically everything and whenever i run into a problem in my repertoire i generally break it down into manageable parts that can be practiced/digested separately and/or layer by layer with optimal results. In general the way i separate/layer the more difficult parts equals their musical importance so i start with the accented melody note, next i ad the notes that precede or follow that melodically (without loosing that secure dropping of the main note) and then i cover the notes that color that melody which might be split in multiple layers as well. As a result all events happening are layered in their natural balance of importance so al the colorings do not inflict the bigger picture and flow. Obviously it helps if good teachers can show you what to strive for and what not. For me what did most for me was studying each aspect of playing separately, often switching between the bigger picture and minute study of 1 small aspect. Again the mind can only focus on 1 thing at the time and (re)programming the mind is most effective if you feed it only 1 thing at the time (the smaller the object of your focus, the bigger the result). I pretty good bass player/teacher once stated "you must make it a habit not to accept a single bad note to escape your instrument". So if you screw up a certain part time after rime, don't play it over and over again hoping the problem will solve itself but spend some quality time investigating WHY it goes wrong and how to fix that. Once you found the answer drill the solution. One of my quotes as a teacher is "repeating only has use when something is worth to be repeated" in other words if it is not worth repeating fix it rather then excepting it to happen a 3-th, 4-th or 5-th time because all you do then is practicing making mistakes.

_____________________________

The smaller the object of your focus the bigger the result.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 20 2017 15:09:15
 
Piwin

Posts: 3394
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to Erik van Goch

quote:

One line of Dr. Phil i really liked


That's not a sentence you hear every day!

A valid point though.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 20 2017 17:48:05
 
Cervantes

 

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

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to akriosss

Erik,

Like your father it seems that Paco Pena was mostly self taught. Do you have any insights into how he became so good at flamenco?

_____________________________

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 Aug. 21 2017 17:43:04
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1539
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Exercises recommendation (in reply to Piwin

quote:

I personally put the thumb a bit higher up, more under the m finger, and I use the bottom of the thumb and not the side like you seem to be doing, but I guess that depends on each person.


I've noticed that Paco de Lucia had his left thumb high up on the back of the neck, sometimes peeking over the top. I think it may have been because he had very long thumbs but on the other hand his fingers seemed to curl around the neck the way mine would if my thumb was high, and I would not be comfortable playing that way. But he played pretty well I think. Hard to know what's best. At one point I realized with the help of a friend that the limiting factor in the speed of my picado was my right hand, not my left.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 24 2017 14:09:33
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