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Author Topic: Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)  (Read 2223 times)

Offline simonlock

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« on: June 03, 2008, 04:05:34 PM »
I've written threads before on tension and technique and how I fight tension a lot. I think all this time trying to learn to play relaxed with my fingers I wasn't even looking at the real culprit. My thumb is stiff as a board! Motions that require palm shifting would force the fingers to clamp against the tight thumb causing my hand to jam up.

Take a look at YOUR playing. Is your thumb loose? Barre/tough Chords and bends/vibrato seem to really be the only things that need the thumb strength. I'm curious if it's something other people experience.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
 

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline loumt123

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2008, 05:21:18 PM »
I've never had an issue with my thumb where I took notice.

When I play, typically it stays behind the neck (I know some players have there's visible or grasping the top of the neck when playing). However, when i play gypsy jazz I'll use it to grab notes on the e string.
 

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline prjacobs

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2008, 06:23:35 PM »
Hi Simon,
    I don't know if I can explain what I mean here, but.... Sometimes, we tend to move the thumb at the joint where it connects to the hand, using the muscles of the thumb only, instead of using the entire hand. In other words, we move from the thumb instead of the hand. This isolates the thumb muscles.  Instead, think of the thumb/hand as one larger unit that runs from the tip of the thumb all the way to the wrist, which includes the large muscle and bone of the palm and hand. Imagine one long bone all the way to the base of the wrist, so that you couldn't pivot the  thumb by itself, but only with the muscles of the hand. If you let the larger, stronger hand move the thumb, you should be feel much more support and less fatigue.   As a quick exercise away from the guitar, just move from the base of the wrist, and watch the thumb move.

Best,
Paul
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 09:20:29 PM by prjacobs »
 

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline simonlock

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 10:29:35 PM »
Oh my thumb doesn't feel any fatigue. That's why it has remained hidden for 20 or so years. But in certain programmed ways I'll stiffen the thumb itself and the meaty ball. Especially when accents, intensity or speed are involved. It causes an effect of corning a motorcycle with the kickstand down. Well kinda.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
 

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline prjacobs

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 09:17:04 AM »
Simon,
When you say the meaty ball, do you mean the muscle in the palm?  I still believe that if you use the proper muscles to move the thumb your tension will be greatly decreased.  In many cases tension really is coming from fatigue or improper use.  I would also examine, at a very slow tempo, what you are doing physically with the techniques that cause you to tense up.  Practice at a speed that allows the tension to release after playing every note.  However slow that is... You have to be patient.  In the long run, it's better to play correctly, slowly, than too fast with tension.  Relaxation will give you speed.
 

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline simonlock

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2008, 04:54:48 PM »
Well Paul say you made your left thumb locked straight and stiff and squeeze the meaty ball, yeah the palm. Thats pretty much what I've been doing. The thing is I think that when I have to squeeze my right thumb for more agressive pick attacks and faster runs I was tensing my left more. Lol anyway I've almost got it mastered in a day and I'll tell ya I've never had it so easy running scales and arps. It takes seconds to learn something new and my hands aren't fatigued when I stop practicing. Horray! I'll forever have fun practicing now.

The only tough part is stretches make my thumb want to tense up and it's really hard to resist it.

Here are a couple vids I shot. At times the pesky habit jumps in there but in a few months it should be pretty much gonezos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oExRZBwRm70 S2 w/Bridge Pickup
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uLKAk3x3vcS2 neck single coil.


Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 04:56:15 PM by simonlock »
 

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline mountaindewaddict

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2008, 05:12:19 PM »
Hey Simon - nice to see your face!  You play really well, too!  Thanks for the vids!  I wish you could have been on the tour with us to check out that S3 of Bill's.

Casey

Gear:
Parker P-44, Digitech GNX4, other stuff...
"Remember, if at first you don't succeed, you're doing it wrong."
God Bless!
Casey

Gear: Parker Fly Deluxe, Parker PDF60, Way Huge, Digitech / Hardwire, Line 6, Source Audio,T-Rex, and TC Electronic Pedals, Egnater amps, other stuff... God Bless!

Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)

Offline prjacobs

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Got a stiff one?(thumb that is)
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2008, 10:30:05 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock

Well Paul say you made your left thumb locked straight and stiff and squeeze the meaty ball, yeah the palm. Thats pretty much what I've been doing. The thing is I think that when I have to squeeze my right thumb for more agressive pick attacks and faster runs I was tensing my left more. Lol anyway I've almost got it mastered in a day and I'll tell ya I've never had it so easy running scales and arps. It takes seconds to learn something new and my hands aren't fatigued when I stop practicing. Horray! I'll forever have fun practicing now.

The only tough part is stretches make my thumb want to tense up and it's really hard to resist it.

Here are a couple vids I shot. At times the pesky habit jumps in there but in a few months it should be pretty much gonezos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oExRZBwRm70 S2 w/Bridge Pickup
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uLKAk3x3vcS2 neck single coil.


Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!



Simon,
Sounds like it's working.  I wasn't very good at explaining what is so easy to see, but the premise is not to disconnect the thumb from the hand.  Like any other athletic activity, you use the big muscles to support and power the smaller ones. I had a problem  with tension and fatigue in my left thumb, playing the piano, and my amazing teacher, Miyoko Lotto, instantly diagnosed and fixed it.  Miyoko is on the highlight reel of my life.  There is nothing that escapes her amazing ears and eyes.  I've been playing piano for 52 years, and I feel like I'm at piano finishing school.  I walk out of every lesson a better musician than when I came in.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 10:33:40 PM by prjacobs »