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Beginner question re thumb position   You are logged in as Guest
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TrickyFish

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Dec. 7 2018
 

Beginner question re thumb position 

I am an intermediate-level classical guitarist that is learning the very basics of flamenco.

I am struggling to play thumb rest-stroke and simultaneously play arpeggios with ima. I seek advice on thumb technique.

I have exceptionally large hands. My thumb is long and fairly straight.

In order to play thumb rest-stroke with an appropriate angle and string contact point, I need to rotate my right hand a lot and move it downwards.

This is a comfortable position for me re the thumb rest-stroke. I am still learning control and it feels awkward compared to my familiar classical-style thumb free-stroke. But I think in time I will be able to play reasonably well from this position.

However, from this position, it seems nearly impossible to play an arpeggio with ima. My knuckles are very close to the strings and my fingers don’t have enough space to play a controlled arppeggio.

Can anyone offer me some technique advice?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 19 2021 10:47:10
 
Scott

 

Posts: 14
Joined: Jul. 29 2010
 

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to TrickyFish

It sounds like you are not blessed, for guitar at least, with a flexible thumb (dreams of switching between arpegio and picado while barely changing hand position). I am in the same boat as you as far as the straight thumb and large hands, albeit not exceptionally large. I take it you mean that your thumb+nail are not at an ideal angle for string contact if your ima fingers are perpendicular to the strings and/or if your hand is close to the top of the guitar? My hand (using the middle finger knuckle as reference) is somewhere around 30-35 degrees to the strings (0 being perpendicular) when doing arpegios. With my fingers planted on 5, 3, 2, and 1 strings, my hand is raised so that my index and middle first knuckle are above the middle strings (so a relatively elevated position). From there, I try to think of my neutral arpegio position as being just slightly pressed into the strings (without feeling tension). I'm a little hesitant to give technique advice, as this may not be the correct approach, perhaps any of the numerous players with waaaay more experience will chime in, but this works for me. Maybe this will work for you as well.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 19 2021 16:18:56
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12673
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to TrickyFish

quote:

In order to play thumb rest-stroke with an appropriate angle and string contact point, I need to rotate my right hand a lot and move it downwards.


I need a video or picture to see because what you said about knuckles doesn’t make sense. Regardless this quote is the exact WRONG approach. Don’t let your thumb feel comfy like when it does single rest stroke melody. Cater to the comfortable FINGERS position for ami aprpegio and tremolo. Once you find the spot where your tone and grip of the string is good (with thumb floating up in air or not used), hold that position at all cost. It means your thumb probably has to set on the bass string way over near the sound hole. That is ok. If you play a bass note it might mean zero nail touches the string. This is ok at first. Develop you thumb notes with arpegio that way for a while. Eventually you will realize getting the nail involved is only micro millimeters of angle adjustment. Always keep the fingers happy. Picado as well or apoyando fingers as well.

Watch 0:25


Same idea at 2:00 here


Watch thumb here as fingers stay put to make good grips 1:50


_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 19 2021 17:57:34
 
TrickyFish

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Dec. 7 2018
 

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to Ricardo

Outstanding feedback; thank you. The videos really helped.

I can’t get a really powerful thumb rest stroke from the position shown in the videos, but perhaps it will develop in time. I will work on it.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 20 2021 6:49:04
 
TrickyFish

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Dec. 7 2018
 

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to Ricardo

Ps i think i was trying to play arpeggios with the thumb in the position for “single rest stroke melody”.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 20 2021 6:51:46
 
ernandez R

Posts: 351
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to TrickyFish

Fish,
I found myself in a similar situation with my thumb that I used free stroke mostly, getting it into position and keeping my fingers Ina good place so I could do free and rest with fingers in the correct position and rest with my thumb took some adjusting.

I've watched a number of Flamenco videos where some make quick shifts of the hand while others keep the knuckles mostly parallel to the strings. I think it comes down to personal biomechanics and how one was taught?

For me to get good base tone it was growing out my thumbnail another 1/16" and getting the left corner shaped just so so it wouldn't hook the wound strings. And I'm cheating with some glue and reinforcement on my nails last few weeks, PITA but my nails just couldn't hold up to a few hours a day without wearing out my thump or thinning the tops of my other finger to paper doing rasgao.

HR

Oy, my spelling...

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 20 2021 18:34:53
 
ernandez R

Posts: 351
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to TrickyFish

Spent some time this morning working with Ricardo's idea about finger placement first and Pulgar second. Was a bit of a challenge but I'll keep working on it.

Last night I rewatched the videos he had posted and then watched my fingers more closely this morning. I find when I rest stroke my fingers are only slightly curved, the picture in my mind is the line drawing from the, Flamenca forgive me, Parkening classical book the one I learned with decades ago.

In the videos I noticed their palm was placed much closer to the strings, the first segment of the fingers almost perallel with the palm and then fingers vary curved. Was hard for me to tell when rest of free stroke.

I use a lot of rest stroke, it's my power tool, and oddly my Pulgar free stroke will bounce the wound strings off the saddle, no joke.

My challenge is free stroke fingers and rest stroke Pulgar. At the same time. Seems I twist my hand to get the Pulger sweep just enough that I get a bad attack with fingers. I'm getting better but frustrating.

Like all things slowing down a lot and really focusing on each little detail seems to be the key.

Wish there was an quick easy way to post a super short low quality video on the foro?

Ok, 30 min post PT foot up done, heading outside to soak up some sunshine, It's only 10f, then into the shop to make wood chips and dust, or as I like to say: turn bigger pieces of wood into smaller pieces of wood. Olé

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 21 2021 20:15:06
 
Piwin

Posts: 3164
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

Wish there was an quick easy way to post a super short low quality video on the foro?


In the "Audio & Video Uploads" section you should be able to do that.

Max. size: 8192KB. Accepted formats: mov/mp4/mp3/wma/wmv/avi/mpg/jpg/jpeg

_____________________________

"Anything you do can be fixed. What you cannot fix is the perfection of a blank page. What you cannot fix is that pristine, unsullied whiteness of a screen or a page with nothing on it—because there’s nothing there to fix."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 21 2021 20:35:40
 
ernandez R

Posts: 351
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Beginner question re thumb position (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin

quote:

Wish there was an quick easy way to post a super short low quality video on the foro?


In the "Audio & Video Uploads" section you should be able to do that.

Max. size: 8192KB. Accepted formats: mov/mp4/mp3/wma/wmv/avi/mpg/jpg/jpeg



Ah, thanx Piwin. I'll give it a look.

I spent some time looking at a few other videos the other day, don't recall who now... Anyway seemed players with my finger and arm leanth were doing the same as me only they were switching between rest and free strokes and alternating both whenever required between thumb and fingers with practiced ease. There's that word again: practice.

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 29 2021 7:37:48
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