Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Left "hand" technique  (Read 5577 times)

Offline Yoyo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 909
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2008, 08:19:54 AM »
It could be argued that the technique that prjacobs is demonstrating here should have been learned right at the start our guitar journey, but we didn't did we. I don't think, ultimately, it matters when you learn something. I'm certainly going to look into his advice and take what I can from it.
The only thing that exists is this moment now.

Left "hand" technique

Offline prjacobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 590
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2008, 08:22:04 AM »
Yoyo, I don't know about you, but I was self taught on the guitar.  By the time I took any guitar lessons, they were jazz lessons and I was already a well known rock player. This technique was from my classical piano lessons. The use of the forearms to move the hand position away from the body and on piano, using the forearms and tucking the elbows into the body when bringing the hands back are absolutely a necessity.    On guitar, I think that the advantages will be apparent most quickly on big position changes.  The thing to imagine, from the left hand's point of view, is that your fingers just keep playing as if the guitar neck was changing position under them.  

Bill, I use my fingers extensively and also a pick at times.  Certain techniques just sound better with a pick, but even for the heaviest rock, your fingers will work. These days, guitarists seem to use so much hammering on, finger tapping and distortion that a pick almost becomes superfluous. I would experiment with the thickness of the pick and perhaps start off thinner one and see if that helps you feel the strings. Even though you may lose a little bite with a thinner pick, I would try it and see how it feels. Also, be mindful of the volume difference with and without a pick and adjust accordingly. I used to play both solos of Allman Brothers songs at the same time.  Can't do that with a pick!
You do have to be careful about chopping up your right hand, when playing with your fingers.  I found that the back of my hand would get hacked up from strumming.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 08:44:27 AM by prjacobs »
 

Left "hand" technique

Offline prjacobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 590
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2008, 08:45:12 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by prjacobs

Yoyo, I don't know about you, but I was self taught on the guitar.  By the time I took any guitar lessons, they were jazz lessons and I was already a well known rock player. This technique was from my classical piano lessons. On piano, the use of the forearms to move the hand position away from the body and using the forearms and tucking the elbows into the body when bringing the hands back are absolutely a necessity.    On guitar, I think that the advantages will be apparent most quickly on big position changes.  The thing to imagine, from the left hand's point of view, is that your fingers just keep playing as if the guitar neck was changing position under them.  

Bill, I use my fingers extensively and also a pick at times.  Certain techniques just sound better with a pick, but even for the heaviest rock, your fingers will work. These days, guitarists seem to use so much hammering on, finger tapping and distortion that a pick almost becomes superfluous. I would experiment with the thickness of the pick and perhaps start off thinner one and see if that helps you feel the strings. Even though you may lose a little bite with a thinner pick, I would try it and see how it feels. Also, be mindful of the volume difference with and without a pick and adjust accordingly. I used to play both solos of Allman Brothers songs at the same time.  Can't do that with a pick!
You do have to be careful about chopping up your right hand, when playing with your fingers.  I found that the backs of my fingers would get hacked up from strumming.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 08:51:47 AM by prjacobs »
 

Left "hand" technique

Offline prjacobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 590
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2008, 08:46:41 AM »
Sorry all..... hit the wrong key....
 

Left "hand" technique

Offline Yoyo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 909
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2008, 09:10:10 AM »
"You do have to be careful about chopping up your right hand, when playing with your fingers. I found that the back of my hand would get hacked up from strumming."

That's exactly why I've been using a plectrum with my mandolin. I was lacerating the back of my first finger.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 09:12:11 AM by Yoyo »
The only thing that exists is this moment now.

Left "hand" technique

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2008, 09:22:17 AM »
quote:
What I'm saying is that when you move up the neck, it should not be the hand that initiates the motion. Your forearm and elbow move at the same time, towards your body, maintaining the exact same position relative to the neck.


I do this when playing scales and legato lines. I don't do this when playing chords, though, unless I am making fairly big jumps between chords (skipping several frets). I think this technique really helps when you are playing legato, you can play your lines much cleaner and with more articulation. At least in my experience.

 
quote:
Having a stiff thumb is something to avoid with position shifts as well. Some people I've talked to about Flys say that the painted surface is something they can't get past because it kinda grabs skin if it's at all sticky or clammy.


That's funny, I LOVE the smooth neck on my Mojo Nitefly. I don't like the satin necks, as MY hands get stuck to them more! Anyway, yeah, a stiff thumb is generally not good.

 
quote:
So why use a pick Bill? Jeff Beck doesn't, Mark Knopfler doesn't(well occasionally).


I don't think I would get the same end result using my fingers. I pick the strings fairly aggressively with a 1mm Dunlop nylon pick, yet I have a light touch... if that makes any sense. In other words, I can get a strong attack on lines where I use the pick for each note with minimal effort. I can often hear myself picking each note when my headphones are on (I don't have them too loud). And if you play legato, it would be really challenging to pull it off (for me at least). I guess it could be done, though.

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com
www.myspace.com/j201jams
« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 09:23:28 AM by Paul Marossy »

Left "hand" technique

Offline prjacobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 590
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2008, 10:06:51 AM »
Paul,
I agree that in  playing legato lines and scales, and in making big position changes, the benefits of this kind of arm movement are more apparent, but the benefits go beyond that for me. My main reason for applying this to guitar, was that the improvement in my piano playing was amazing.  It is THE modern way to teach piano and the premise that the hands, (or hand on guitar) essentially remain the same is really a radically new way to approach the instrument. (At least for me). One's hand will definitely become far less fatigued, because the arm and shoulder support the hand better with this approach.
 

Left "hand" technique

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2008, 10:12:16 AM »
quote:
My main reason for applying this to guitar, was that the improvement in my piano playing was amazing. It is THE modern way to teach piano and the premise that the hands, (or hand on guitar) essentially remain the same is really a radically new way to approach the instrument.


I can see how it would really help on the piano. I'll have to experiment with this concept a bit on the guitar.

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com
www.myspace.com/j201jams

Left "hand" technique

Offline prjacobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 590
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2008, 12:46:27 PM »
Paul, I really see a huge difference on guitar.  I posted this because I think it is the most important technical contribution that I can make to the forum.
 

Left "hand" technique

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2008, 04:56:40 PM »
quote:
Paul, I really see a huge difference on guitar. I posted this because I think it is the most important technical contribution that I can make to the forum.


Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not trying to dismiss anything you have said, I'm just relating it to myself, with where I am at today.

I'll try to be more conscious of what I am actually doing in every situation and see if I can apply it to my own technique - I'm kind of on auto-pilot these days, I just do what I have been doing for years and years without thinking about it anymore, so I have to pay particular attention to what I am actually doing! [:0]

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com
www.myspace.com/j201jams

Left "hand" technique

Offline bno

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1700
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2008, 10:54:02 PM »
Some expansion on this discussion.  The latissimus dorsai is a muscle that connects between your humerus (upper arm) and the sacrum (pelvis); this muscle is used to articulate your upper arm.  When pianists refer to playing from their back, this is what muscle group they are really referring to.  The iliopsoas is a muscle that connects between the inside of your femur and your lumbar spine and articulates your pelvis and femur, traversing through your abdominal cavity.  The integration of these two bilateral muscle groups is integral to body core strength and ties together your upper body to your legs - hands to feet.  It is the essence of dance and athleticism.

I believe prjacobs' point here (as a pianist and guitarist) is that if you can connect your fingers to the fretboard through the movement of your upper arm, you will be reducing the kinetic effort required to traverse the neck because you are using a large muscle group instead of a small muscle group to acheive motion.  In other words, if your fingers lead and your arm follows, the small muscles are pulling, but if you can connect your arm to your back and use the large muscles (latissimus dorsai) to push the arm and lead your hands, your small muscles are free the articulate and less prone to tension, fatigue and repetitive stress injuries.  More relaxed hands, less tension, greater freedom.  This is good kinesiology.  

This ties to a conecpt of core strength.  Playing from your guts is not figurative, it is literal.  If you play from core strength, from your back, through your legs and your connection to gravity, your small muscle 'twitch' control is releived of weight bearing; they make shapes instead of instigate movement.  Watch any fast and articulate guitarist, not from his hands but from his arms and upper body.  You'll see this at work instinctively in their technique.  

I studied ballet and dance movement for many years.  This idea of lifting your arm from your lower back is key to the arm freedom that modern/ballet dancers strive to perfect.  Your arms actually can move from the lower back, not just the shoulders and neck.  The same applies to playing the guitar.  Heady stuff.  A conceptual awareness of this kind of information may help to subliminally integrate your whole body into your playing.  Aside from just moving to the music and jumping around on stage....
« Last Edit: March 22, 2008, 11:17:44 PM by bno »
'94 Fly Deluxe
Listen first, then play.

Left "hand" technique

Offline Paul Marossy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7330
  • Excuse me while I kiss The Fly
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2008, 11:02:45 PM »
Very interesting bno. I always enjoy and in depth technical analysis of something like this. [:I]

And this suddenly makes a lot more sense to me now.

__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com
www.myspace.com/j201jams

Left "hand" technique

Offline Yoyo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 909
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2008, 11:32:46 PM »
Yeh fascinating stuff. I've been trying  pr's technique and although it feels a little strange as yet it's potential is evident. And with what bno has come up with this is all adding to be quite a big picture. I'm hoping that by reducing the stress in my left hand this will help with the tendonitis problem that only allows me to practice sparingly.
The only thing that exists is this moment now.

Left "hand" technique

Offline prjacobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 590
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2008, 12:16:02 AM »
Yes bno, You're right.  It's just too hard to play with the smaller muscles of the fingers doing work that they shouldn't do.  They exhaust themselves too quickly.  Speaking of exhaustion.... It's 1:18 here in New York.... zzzzzzz
 

Left "hand" technique

Offline Titus Pullo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 512
Left "hand" technique
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2008, 11:33:47 AM »
I stumbled onto this shortly before my tendon injury. I noticed that if I played with my thumb anchored classical style on the back of the neck that I tended to pivot more from the elbow when moving up and down the neck than when I used a baseball bat/thumb over the side style.  There are, of course, some things you can't play with your thumb over the side, but other than classical guitarists, most of the videos I watch of well known guitar players show them more often using the baseball grip and more arm motion - as the OP mentions - than the traditional grip, and not just with lead work.
--
"If you subscribe to the Stew-Mac style you have to have a template to blow your nose." - Ken Parker