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Pgh_flamenco

 

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Picado: Difference in Finger Length 

I was watching the video by Grisha. One minute and 14 seconds into the video Grisha holds his i and m fingers up to the camera and they appear to be about the same length. Also, when he runs a scale both fingers remain practically straight. It would seem to be an anomaly and might be one of the reasons he has been able to develop this skill.

My i and m fingers differ in length by about a half inch which at least seems to make picado more difficult. Has anybody noticed that good picado depends on the length of the two fingers being about equal?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 17:53:00
 
gj Michelob

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

quote:

I was watching the “Things to remember when you play scales” video by Grisha. One minute and 14 seconds into the video Grisha holds his i and m fingers up to the camera and they appear to be about the same length. Also, when he runs a scale both fingers remain practically straight. It would seem to be an anomaly and might be one of the reasons he has been able to develop this skill.

My i and m fingers differ in length by about a half inch which at least seems to make picado more difficult. Has anybody noticed that good picado depends on the length of the two fingers being about equal?


Pgh... 'not sure about Grisha's anomaly, but if you look at this video, and pause it at about 7:44 Paco the Heavenly De Lucia is holding a stogie with his right hand.

Although bent, the middle finger is juxtaposed to the index and the ring-finger, showing quite clearly the natural injustice of each one’s stature, the same natural [dis]order that affects all things in life.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 18:44:00
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to gj Michelob

The clip is from Light and Shade. I've seen Paco tilt his hand/thumb toward the soundboard conceivably to make up for the shorter length of his index finger. It's difficult for me to tell from that video how great the difference is.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 19:59:56
 
gj Michelob

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

quote:

I've seen Paco tilt his hand/thumb toward the soundboard conceivably to make up for the shorter length of his index finger.


Sorry, i am not sure i understand, do you think Paco is also normal and unevenly fingered? yes, right, you suggest that you noticed that in other videos.

it is worth looking into this though... it would be a sad break trhough however, if we were to conclude that evenly sized fingers afford a better picado.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 20:28:47
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to gj Michelob

quote:

you think Paco is also normal and unevenly fingered? yes, right, you suggest that you noticed that in other videos.


From what I've seen some of his performances indicate this, but there has to be a picture or video that shows his fingers clearly. I asked this because my middle finger is a half inch longer than my index finger and this makes a big difference in the feel of, for example, an IMI triplet as compared to an MIM triplet. The movements are different--as are the joint angles--and one is much easier.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 21:55:55
 
NormanKliman

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Here's a photo of Paco's hands. What seems to work best, IMO, are fat little hands (Melchor, Melchor, Melchor...), although everyone adapts to their circumstances.



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 22:33:37
 
Francisco

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to NormanKliman

quote:

What seems to work best, IMO, are fat little hands

Well, hot diggedy! I'm golden!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2009 22:40:04
 
NormanKliman

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Francisco)1 votes

Hi Francisco,

Yes, but just look at Paco's hands (or those of most virtuosos). Moraíto, for example, has really long fingers. He's not really considered virtuoso, but I think that has more to do with his own preferences than his potential (especially when he was in his early 20s). There are plenty of other skilled players with long fingers. But I'm not trying to discourage you. I see the players with plump hands and short fingers as being more stable, and some of them are really fast, too. Sometimes long fingers remind me of a scene from a Hitchcock (?) film in which James Stewart tries to find a comfortable place for his long legs under a low table.

But back to picado: I think it'd help to have index and middle the same length, but then again everything changes when you get down to the bordones. Not trying to say anything one way or the other, but the angles and everything change when you get down to about the fifth string.

One more thing, which I wanted to mention above but didn't have time, is that the photo appeared a number of years ago in the Sunday magazine of Spain's El País newspaper. An artist (don't remember the name and it's not indicated in the cutting that I've saved) decided to use close-up photos of the hands and irises (you know, the colored part of your eyes) of a number of famous people, Paco being one of them. So the complete photo consists of those images, along with a general frontal view of the subject, placed on a black background. Pretty cool, huh? Part of my reason for saying all of this is to point out that I don't think using this photo constitutes copyright infringement, since it's just part of the picture. But the photo belongs to the artist (and the hands are Paco's!), so if there are any concerns in that regard, just let me know.

Pgh: My index is a lot shorter than my middle finger, but IMO the difficulty isn't so much in i-m-i/m-i-m but in certain runs where you end up moving to a lower-pitched string with the middle finger. Maybe it's just me, but that totally throws me off. I've tried exercising this kind of move specifically, but it feels really weird and uncomfortable, like sticking out my little finger while drinking a cup of tea or something.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 0:01:36
 
Stu

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to NormanKliman

This is an interesting thread.

I'd never really thought about it before.

quote:

stogie


on our recent forum etiquette thread I vowed to ask when i didnt understand slang/dialect.... so please explain michelob!


and you Norman....
quote:

bordones
???

I'd have liked to have seen the complete article from that paper.

is it worth noting that pacos nails are just as long on both hands???

quote:

What seems to work best, IMO, are fat little hands


what about the left hand, surely left hand fingers would benefit from being long. would be good to have short fat right hand fingers and long lefties!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 0:36:18
 
XXX

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

A very interesting topic on which i also kind of thought. I have the same problem when switching strings and i know it has to do with the difference in length (you get a different angle and must move your complete hand upwards, which needs extra coordination (->practice)).
The good news is imo, that the human body is changeable (within limits). The fact that players with different hands can play with more or less virtuosity shows that. But i dont really know if a certain handicap will really exclude you to get beyond a level in a certain technique.

Some weeks ago "bursche" posted a thread with a photo of his hands. I was in holidays, so i couldnt post, but i found it quite interesting. Unfortunately the feedback wasnt overwhelming.

quote:

is it worth noting that pacos nails are just as long on both hands???


Absolutely. When you do picado you move your both hands. Now if they have the same length in nails, then you have a symmetrical effect when it comes to aerodynamics. It takes less force and coordination when its symmetrical!


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 0:43:53
 
MarcChrys

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Don't know about difference in length (we probably need an expert in biomechanics!), but Vicente Amigo's fingers are amazing! Like long spidery tentacles :)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 1:17:55
 
MarcChrys

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

PS There is a lot of research showing that people with longer RING fingers than index fingers achieve more sporting and financial success - maybe we should be broadening our enquiry to investigate the comparative index/ring finger lengths of the most successful flamenco guitarists ? :)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 1:26:38
 
farteindj

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Wasn't it John F. Kennedy who once said: "Ask not what you could do if you had Paco's hands, ask what Paco would do if he had yours."

Farus
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 1:49:52
 
Francisco

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Thanks for the insight, Normal. Much appreciated.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 1:54:35
 
at_leo_87

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

how do people play with such long thumb nails? mine always gets stuck or slowed down when it's anymore than 2-3 mm.

anyways, look at paco's left hand. his index and middle finger are basically the same length.

yikes! you might be onto something pgh.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 2:59:33
 
Stu

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Francisco

quote:

Thanks for the insight, Normal




amusing error!! I take it you mean norman!..
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 3:37:51
 
Stu

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Stu

quote:


is it worth noting that pacos nails are just as long on both hands???


hang on maybe they're not as long as I thought. I've made a classic error. by thinking his left was his right due to my viewing angle. what an idiot!!

but thanks for the reply anyway deniz
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 3:41:51
 
gj Michelob

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Stu

quote:

quote:

"stogie"

on our recent forum etiquette thread I vowed to ask when i didnt understand slang/dialect.... so please explain michelob!


It is slang, indeed, Stu.
Stogie or Stogy (and occasionally stog) is an american-english noun describing a proletarian unsophisticated smoke, such as a cheap cigar. In "cowboy"'s vocabulary it describes a "cigarette", and it has become part of the hip-hop vernacular, and college kids' campus' parlance, as (almost endearing) reference to cigarette(s).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 4:45:07
 
NormanKliman

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Stu

quote:

and you Norman....


Hi Stu,

Bordones are the bass strings and tiples are the treble strings. Assuming that the negative hasn't been reversed (always worth considering), it looks to me like his right-hand nails are just a little longer. But I understand that he takes a break from the guitar for a few months out of every year, so maybe the photo was taken at a time when he was just letting his nails grow. Who knows. About the rest of the article, I only cut out and saved the photo of Paco. If I remember right, there was a bit of text, but it was about the artist who took the photos. About long left-hand fingers, I know what you mean, but I've seen a lot of small hands get around quickly on the fretboard. Don't know how they do it. Maybe it causes one to be more careful, insofar as paying closer attention to what strings are being played.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 6:59:56
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Thanks for the picture, Norman. Looks like PDL’s index and middle fingers are practically the same length on his left hand and I would assume the same is true for his right hand.

quote:

...it would be a sad break trhough however, if we were to conclude that evenly sized fingers afford a better picado.


It might only mean that people should use the pair of fingers that are closest in length. IM is only one combination--MA and IA are the other options.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 7:11:02
 
KenK

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

Any of you spend any time w/ i-a picado?

Seems to be a growing alternative amongst classical players.
Works pretty well for me, but I still use both combos.

KenK
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 7:33:27
 
Conrad

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to KenK

Ya, I'd say Paco's index and middle are very close in length. And it appears to me that it's only the thumbnail on the left hand which is long, which some players keep in order to glue to their right hand thumb when the nail breaks. Have you guys also noticed that your fingering hand (for most of us, our left) is longer from all the stretching over the years? I've seen this in many guitarists. I guess the tendons stretch.

Here's another picture of Paco's hands:



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 8:11:36
 
gj Michelob

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Conrad

quote:

Have you guys also noticed that your fingering hand (for most of us, our left) is longer from all the stretching over the years? I've seen this in many guitarists. I guess the tendons stretch.


omg... it is true, Conrad !!!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 8:26:40
 
Taranto

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

My middle finger is 15mm longer than my index finger and I'm convinced that finger length difference is very important for playing picado. My picado sucked for years, until a few months ago when I was doing gerardo's picado exercises. I realized that my ma picado is clearly smoother and faster than my im picado. My fingers get tired in no time when doing im picado and I miss a lot of notes.

I am since using ma picado.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 8:35:06
 
Ricardo

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

long ago we went in circles discussing picado technique regarding the power behind the movement. There was an arguement that the picado of Paco and some others is powered by the middle knuckle. I did and still disagree with that. It is an optical illusion when viewing picado front on if BOTH i and m fingers are bent. It would appear as thought the big joint is fixed, but from the side you can see what happens more clear.

So the point of the bent fingers is for the reasons discussed here, to let the tips line up more evenly. Some players only bend the middle and keep the index straight but you can see that angle of attack of each finger is different. But if BOTH fingers bend then you can see the tips line up AND the angle of attack is the same. As you go to bass strings from treble, you have to move the entire arm to keep the orientation the same.

Hope that helps.
Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 8:59:41
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Pgh_flamenco

My IA picado is faster, easier and feels better, than IM even with no warm up and despite the fact that I don’t practice IA. The sympathetic movement of A when I practice IM is probably the reason the muscles/tendons have developed for IA. It seems to me the additional separation between IA make it easier, too. I don’t have a cramped feeling with IA like when I do with IM.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 10:02:12
 
Pgh_flamenco

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

long ago we went in circles discussing picado technique regarding the power behind the movement. There was an arguement that the picado of Paco and some others is powered by the middle knuckle. I did and still disagree with that. It is an optical illusion when viewing picado front on if BOTH i and m fingers are bent. It would appear as thought the big joint is fixed, but from the side you can see what happens more clear.

So the point of the bent fingers is for the reasons discussed here, to let the tips line up more evenly. Some players only bend the middle and keep the index straight but you can see that angle of attack of each finger is different. But if BOTH fingers bend then you can see the tips line up AND the angle of attack is the same. As you go to bass strings from treble, you have to move the entire arm to keep the orientation the same.


I agree with Ricardo on this point. Watch Javier Conde’s right hand at the start of this Zapateado video. The same view can be found later in the video as well. It’s pretty clear the large joint is doing all of the work.


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 10:12:51
 
mark indigo

 

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Conrad

in the blue pic conrad posted paco's right hand middle finger looks longer to me than the index

ricardo mentioning the flexion (bending inwards towards the palm) of the fingers is significant, 'cos as he says, bending the fingers means the tips line up, so maybe it doesn't matter if the fingers are different lengths?

also, with the left hand, it's not so much the length of the fingers (pretty much everyone can reach the 6th string!) as the width of the hand. A wide hand will let the fingers stretch 5 frets a lot easier than a narrow hand....

this is great!
quote:

"Ask not what you could do if you had Paco's hands, ask what Paco would do if he had yours."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 12:38:27
 
XXX

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo
also, with the left hand, it's not so much the length of the fingers (pretty much everyone can reach the 6th string!) as the width of the hand. A wide hand will let the fingers stretch 5 frets a lot easier than a narrow hand....



hm... yes but... i have quite small hands and there are enough chords where i think i dont have actually enough space on the fretboard between two frets (chords that are played over 1-2 frets).
more than anything, i think flexibility is the key to grab (wide) things well. or i dont know, that is just something i get often told.

the only thing which really annoys me is when im trying to make a barre at 10, 9 or 8th fret AND try to reach the 6th string with the little finger while holding the (ringing) barre i always have to lift my hand / the barre. i hate my little finger.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 12:46:49
 
at_leo_87

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RE: Picado: Difference in Finger Length (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

long ago we went in circles discussing picado technique regarding the power behind the movement. There was an arguement that the picado of Paco and some others is powered by the middle knuckle. I did and still disagree with that. It is an optical illusion when viewing picado front on if BOTH i and m fingers are bent. It would appear as thought the big joint is fixed, but from the side you can see what happens more clear.


in the graf-martinez books, he states that "the only source of movement is the middle joint, never the large joint." he then goes on to say, "this is the only stroke which creates the typical flamenco picado which has become a standard. if it is played differently - it's just no flamenco."

HOWEVER, when you watch his dvd demonstration, you'll clearly see that the source of movement and power is from the base joint. so even he gets fooled by the optical illusion.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 28 2009 13:09:41
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