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Picado - angle of attack, position of nail/finger on string   You are logged in as Guest
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joevidetto

 

Posts: 172
Joined: Jun. 15 2013
 

Picado - angle of attack, position o... 

In another post, I shared that I just purchased some of atrafana's lessons - and I'm very happy with them - highly recommended.

That said - I just begain working through his picado technique. I get his newsletter, which is free and also worth subscribing to. In it, he shares his struggle to increase his picado speed....which sought of inspired me to buy his picado video, because I noticed in his videos that he really went from fast enough to much faster over the years.

In his picado video, the first thing he addresses include nails, but another 'foundation' idea I haven't given much thought in recent years. He suggests that string rest between nail and flesh (now I'm not sure if that means TOUCHING the nail), and pushing INTO the soundboard to make a note.

Now - I'm sure there are variations on this aspect of playing - and please don't be dogmatic about it.

But if you have some thoughts on this topic AND you already have a fast picado or have worked hard to acquire it - please weigh in on what you've learned about how to position your fingers/nails and angle of attack on the strings.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 21 2021 13:43:11
 
Fluknu

 

Posts: 135
Joined: Jan. 11 2021
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

I'd also be happy to hear the answer.

For me, Picado is hell, because with a pick, I can play fast. But to go back to that snail pace with the fingers....is really depressing.

I decided not to put too much time in it. But now I see that lots of nice falsetas have Picado parts. So basically....It's a must.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 21 2021 15:39:02
 
rombsix

Posts: 7607
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

quote:

But if you have some thoughts on this topic AND you already have a fast picado or have worked hard to acquire it - please weigh in on what you've learned about how to position your fingers/nails and angle of attack on the strings.


https://youtu.be/4Vcf9K5BTNk?t=58

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Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 21 2021 16:19:48
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13290
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

EVERYTIME you pluck a note, free stroke tirando or rest stroke apoyando, you must first touch your finger to the string. This is called planting the finger. As you get faster, this secure planting feeling becomes problematic and you lose accuracy. The reset action for planting the finger securely becomes the name of the game, priority one. I have not ever seen a better exercise for developing planting accuracy than practicing specific rhythms STACATTO (right hand only produces this effect) with metronome, such that after each stroke, a rest is quickly inserted by the planting of the next finger. A double time feeling is developed and along with that speedy preparation comes relaxation and a natural economy of motion.

There have been opinions that this exercise serves no such purpose, which I find mind bogglingly idiotic. It does slow down your tempo for a while, but overtime the benefits are enormous. true speed is just rhythmic control after all.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 21 2021 17:13:34
 
FelixH

 

Posts: 30
Joined: Apr. 19 2018
From: London

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

Personally I strike the strings from the flesh just under the nail at a very slight angle. It is very basic and goes without saying but I find picado flows more when your wrist is relaxed and hovering above the strings and moving the fingers from the knuckle rather than just the ends of your fingers.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 21 2021 17:42:45
 
zendalex

Posts: 123
Joined: Sep. 4 2010
From: New York area

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

STACATTO


Yes that helps improve the speed a lot. But the warning here is that at some point one might find that reducing the amplitude makes a sensation of difficulty going through the string. In fact Todd just posted a video on foro's fb page (like few months ago) which I found exactly right. After long time practicing staccato it pays to relax the fingers and actually increase the range of motion. Tremolo analogy comes to mind. Anyway it looks to me you can reduce the amplitude only as much, at some point you cant produce the sound anymore. There is some sweet spot where the amplitude is just enough.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 21 2021 20:20:33
 
kitarist

Posts: 1441
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to zendalex

quote:

After long time practicing staccato it pays to relax the fingers and actually increase the range of motion. [] Anyway it looks to me you can reduce the amplitude only as much, at some point you cant produce the sound anymore.


If your goal is to reduce amplitude, i.e. if you are mimicking motion, you are doing it wrong IMO. Reducing the amplitude can be/is a consequence of efficient, precise, "relaxed", perfectly timed alternation strokes; the latter is the goal that the staccato tool is helping you reach.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 22 2021 18:51:29
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13290
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

ORIGINAL: kitarist

quote:

After long time practicing staccato it pays to relax the fingers and actually increase the range of motion. [] Anyway it looks to me you can reduce the amplitude only as much, at some point you cant produce the sound anymore.


If your goal is to reduce amplitude, i.e. if you are mimicking motion, you are doing it wrong IMO. Reducing the amplitude can be/is a consequence of efficient, precise, "relaxed", perfectly timed alternation strokes; the latter is the goal that the staccato tool is helping you reach.


Exactly. You don’t concern at all about amplitude, only timing of the rest or cut off of the sound. The relaxation occurs immediately after that moment and the faster you do it, the more time you spend in the relaxed state. Think about rhythm. If you play quarter notes with no rest then the planting has to occur very quickly before the stroke. If you instead practice playing a 16th, then THREE 16th rests before the next note, well most of the time spent is in a relaxed state waiting for the rests to go by. Naturally, the stroke itself has zero amplitude as you are simple pushing and releasing. Your concern about economy is only about the OTHER finger that is quickly coming up to stop the string from ringing. You naturally only move as much as needed which is basically very very low amplitude. The sensation becomes of minimal effort (not of more effort).

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 22 2021 19:39:01
 
zendalex

Posts: 123
Joined: Sep. 4 2010
From: New York area

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Exactly. You don’t concern at all about amplitude


Ok let me refer to the video by Todd

https://m.facebook.com/groups/19066354312/permalink/10159248857214313/?sfnsn=mo

The point is, when people just embark on staccato practice (and I am thinking for Joe here it is quite relevant), they get to the point of having difficulty going through a string. I bumped into it, and Todd is citing the same. I dont have that problem anymore, but I would expect Joe to hit it sooner or later. Just watch Todd who is by no means a beginner spelling out the problem.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 22 2021 22:00:28
 
kitarist

Posts: 1441
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to zendalex

quote:

Ok let me refer to the video by Todd


Thanks for this. Now you don't say where in the video, but based on stuff you said, around 5:40-6:30 he talks about his own experience when first starting to practice staccato picado. He says things like

"[when you first start doing staccato picado] trying to build a habit of very little movement", and that he was holding tension between strokes and became too much.

So what he was used to doing was not the correct way to do the staccato picado exercise. As Ricardo said, you are supposed to relax completely between strokes. Also, "trying to build a habit of very little movement" is a misunderstanding of what this exercise is. It is not about (its goal isn't) mimicking some ideal of a movement.

So yeah, IF you start doing it wrong, then it is necessary to do corrections because you have practiced holding tension for many hours.

Haven't had time to watch past the first 7 minutes. Is there any other segment (and where?) which you want to bring up as well? I'll watch it eventually in its entirety but just for the purposes of timely discussion..

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 23 2021 3:15:47
 
joevidetto

 

Posts: 172
Joined: Jun. 15 2013
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

For some of us (not me) - Flamenco is a profession - but I'm guessing for most of us, it is a 'professional' hobby. Actually, I consider myself a 'professional' student - just because I love understanding the harmony and rhythm of what's going on - probably because I don't make the time to practice enough to actually play these things at a good tempo. Without playing for others - the stress and time to execute enough of these pieces to perform them out is just not worth the time it takes.

All that said - do you think it fair to ask all of our commentators just how fast (in bpm) they can do sixteenth notes. Can you really have faith in someone's opinion if they can't actually execute what they are talking about ?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 23 2021 14:17:36
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13290
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to zendalex

quote:

The point is, when people just embark on staccato practice (and I am thinking for Joe here it is quite relevant), they get to the point of having difficulty going through a string.


Then the mechanics are wrong somehow. There is only reset action to worry about, no “getting through a string” you just glide off of it.

Nail shape is important. I can tell Todd is using round nails because when he demos the twist action to use the side of his nails, well, with the flat/ramp type shape I and others use, we can’t do that or the corners get caught. The whole point of filing the nails is to get the crisp tone and zero resistance from the string but the straight line has to be created at the specific single angle you attack the string from. With round nails many players feel that “hung up” feeling as the nails grow too long. Using glue makes it worse because that round nail won’t bend. When you file flat or ramped, the glue curves the nail slightly so the edges bend down, and this is ideal for ramp function because it aids in the planting position such that the string sits on top of the nail edge, never underneath. So whether it is staccato picado or arpegio etc, the nail just glides over the string from the planted position.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 23 2021 18:41:23
 
joevidetto

 

Posts: 172
Joined: Jun. 15 2013
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

such that the string sits on top of the nail edge, never underneath. So whether it is staccato picado or arpegio etc, the nail just glides over the string from the planted position.


Can you say this part differently - I'm not sure what you meant : ) or at what point in the stroke you are referring to the string being on top of the nail edge ??
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 23 2021 20:27:29
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13290
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

quote:

ORIGINAL: joevidetto

quote:

such that the string sits on top of the nail edge, never underneath. So whether it is staccato picado or arpegio etc, the nail just glides over the string from the planted position.


Can you say this part differently - I'm not sure what you meant : ) or at what point in the stroke you are referring to the string being on top of the nail edge ??


Imagine the geometry of the letter “L” such that the long vertical is angled back forming an obtuse angle instead of 90 degrees. That long line is the nail surface viewed from the side. The shorter horizontal is the white nail growth that stops at the nail bed left to right. The reason a vertex or corner is formed is thanks to your filing “flat” or straight across in only one direction along the long vertical. When folks round off their nails they remove that corner and the horizontal line actually disappears into the nail bed sooner because it curves. So the idea is to have that corner set up at the comfortable length such that planting the finger on the string involves the string touching the flesh and the long vertical line, just above that corner.
oL. If you have this shape and twist your angle of attack toward the thumb side, as Todd demonstrated, the string will end up UNDER that corner, touching the horizontal line instead.

This description is two dimensional. In 3D the straight line exists on a curved space such that the same situation occurs on the pinky side of the hand. Classical guitarists tend to play with straight wrist such that they Ramp the nail shape severely on the pinky side. That means the horizontal line going into the nail bed on the pinky side is longer (more white nail before nail bed) than on thumb side. We flamenco players play with wrist bent sideways so a more straight on approach to the strings, and don’t need such a severe ramp. White material on the horizontal is about equal on both sides of the m and a fingers.

Because we change angles for using pulgar and index together, the long horizontal on thumb side can be problematic. The solution I found is a very short horizontal on thumb side (so index does appear ramped up toward pinky). I don’t need that ramp for picado arpegios etc, so it is a compromise for the sake of various usages index is needed for.

If you are still not clear check archives for pumping nylon.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 24 2021 16:43:33
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13290
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to joevidetto

You know the 3D aspect is hard to describe. Here is a video:


_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 24 2021 19:11:26
 
joevidetto

 

Posts: 172
Joined: Jun. 15 2013
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Here is a video


You have beautiful hands lol

But seriously - thanks for sharing - I'll be scheduling a lesson soon to work on picado, I'm just sick of not being able to play the fast passages to my satisfaction...think about what falsetas would be good to work on .
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 24 2021 19:14:05
 
agujetas

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Mar. 9 2021
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to Ricardo

Thought you didn’t like the Aranjuez?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 24 2021 19:21:36
 
JasonM

Posts: 1783
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to agujetas

quote:

Thought you didn’t like the Aranjuez?


Might be VA’s Poeta?

With Picado, one road block I’ve been dealing with are playing scales from low to high E. When I get to the middle strings, economy of motion gets sloppy and my fingers are getting way too much air time. It’s an awkward feeling position where the thumb anchor is transitioning from soundboard anchor to sixth string.

This thread is probably a good reminder that I need to dial it back and work slow staccato into this again!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 25 2021 15:46:31
 
zendalex

Posts: 123
Joined: Sep. 4 2010
From: New York area

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to JasonM

quote:

When I get to the middle strings, economy of motion gets sloppy and my fingers are getting way too much air time.


I'd say try to not anchor anything and do staccato. My impression is that with anchor your brain is focused to much on retaining the anchor, instead of feeling the i,m planting.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 26 2021 0:03:52
 
AndresK

Posts: 150
Joined: Jan. 4 2019
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to zendalex

Staccato is very helpful. Again remember to relax when preparing the fingers on the strings and not prepare stressed fingers.

Instead of thinking anchor, which for me that english is not my primary language, feels a bit heavy (thinking ships and large metal objects on the bottom of the sea), you can feel resting your thumb naturally on the bass string you like or on the top when you play the bass strings. This relieves the tension of the other fingers and gives precision to really fast runs.

I cannot think of a flamenco player not doing this, Paco, Vicente, Gerardo, Moraito, Pepe Habichuela, Manolo Franco, Ricardo, Grisha, Antonio Rey, Jeronimo Maya, etc. That does not mean they cannot play picado without resting the thumb of course.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 27 2021 20:44:19
 
agujetas

 

Posts: 60
Joined: Mar. 9 2021
 

RE: Picado - angle of attack, positi... (in reply to AndresK

quote:

ORIGINAL: AndresK

Staccato is very helpful. Again remember to relax when preparing the fingers on the strings and not prepare stressed fingers.

Instead of thinking anchor, which for me that english is not my primary language, feels a bit heavy (thinking ships and large metal objects on the bottom of the sea), you can feel resting your thumb naturally on the bass string you like or on the top when you play the bass strings. This relieves the tension of the other fingers and gives precision to really fast runs.

I cannot think of a flamenco player not doing this, Paco, Vicente, Gerardo, Moraito, Pepe Habichuela, Manolo Franco, Ricardo, Grisha, Antonio Rey, Jeronimo Maya, etc. That does not mean they cannot play picado without resting the thumb of course.


I agree with this. You can rest the thumb on a bass string lightly without creating any tension in the hand as long as you don’t press down with the thumb. The most natural position for the hand is where the fingers are slightly curved and the the thumb is resting by itself not far from the index finger. That is basically the position from which I do picado. If I want to not anchor the thumb on a bass string I have to lift it up - if anything this creates more tension in the hand.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 27 2021 21:50:26
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