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Old 03-16-2010, 09:12 PM   #1
GrammerAngel
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Problem with "Finger Independence"

Alright, I'm trying this finger independence lesson on Youtube.



And I'm noticing a problem. When this guy's fingers relax, they stay above the string. My fingers, when relaxed, float an inch and a half over the frets (more or less, depending on the finger playing), and my pinky finger constantly juts out off of the board altogether. I'm wondering if this is a physical problem, or if I'm holding the guitar incorrectly, and more importantly if this can be fixed. I have a feeling this is what's holding back my trilling, so any assistance would be helpful.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:16 PM   #2
tenfold
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it can be fixed, of course.
go slow, release unnecessary tension. really focus and u can keep those fingers close until its automatic
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tenfold
it can be fixed, of course.
go slow, release unnecessary tension. really focus and u can keep those fingers close until its automatic


That's the problem. Tension and force need to be applied in order to keep my fingers close to the fret board.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammerAngel
That's the problem. Tension and force need to be applied in order to keep my fingers close to the fret board.


No it doesn't, not if you do it right.

The key thing here is that Freepower is actually relaxing his fingers rather than bringing them away from the fretboard with any actual effort.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:51 PM   #5
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Maybe that's the problem. Basically, when I'm not applying force, my hand curls up like a dead spider. That's the way it's shaped, and has been shaped since I was a kid. It takes force just to make my fingers go straight normally, much less to hold them at a certain height.

Here's how it works;

I push down with my index finger. Everything is correct.

I push down with my middle finger and relax my index finger. With no force, my ring finger goes up half an inch and my pinky finger foes up maybe 3/4 an inch higher off the board.

Next step. My pinky is now a full inch off the board, index further off and back, almost on a lower string.

Pinky down, every other finger goes a full inch off the board. With a little effort (which I shouldn't be using) I can keep index and middle in the correct position, but it takes serious effort to force my ring finger to stay in place. Besides being uncomfortable, it seems needlessly difficult to so something this guy seems to assume I can do.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:55 PM   #6
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well instead of working on flying fingers first, work on independence first. try the chordal stuff in Rock Discipline in my signature.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammerAngel
Maybe that's the problem. Basically, when I'm not applying force, my hand curls up like a dead spider. That's the way it's shaped, and has been shaped since I was a kid. It takes force just to make my fingers go straight normally, much less to hold them at a certain height.

Here's how it works;

I push down with my index finger. Everything is correct.

I push down with my middle finger and relax my index finger. With no force, my ring finger goes up half an inch and my pinky finger foes up maybe 3/4 an inch higher off the board.

Next step. My pinky is now a full inch off the board, index further off and back, almost on a lower string.

Pinky down, every other finger goes a full inch off the board. With a little effort (which I shouldn't be using) I can keep index and middle in the correct position, but it takes serious effort to force my ring finger to stay in place. Besides being uncomfortable, it seems needlessly difficult to so something this guy seems to assume I can do.


Right, this isn't going to be an answer you like but... slow it down even more than you already have, you need to slow yourself down to the point at which you can do it and that's all there is to it.

It's hard to play that slowly, it's really quite boring sometimes and it takes a while to see any improvement but if you push through and make yourself do it you will, you just need to practice at a speed at which you can do it perfectly and have patience.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:11 PM   #8
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He's saying to relax your fingers. If they don't do like his do naturally and comfortably, then don't force it. Simply do as he says - fret the note, relax your finger. Fret the next note, relax, fret the next, relax, and so on.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:15 PM   #9
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+1 to the other responses here. Especially important is to not force fingers down if they leap up - you have to keep them relaxed (which should stop them jumping up in the first place). Otherwise you're training that "forcing down" into your hands, which isn't going to be healthy for your playing or hands.

The other thing is that it's very difficult to relax - it takes a lot of mental effort. You can even try it without the guitar - moving one finger at a time is tricky! That's the point behind the speed of the practice - you just have to keep slowing it down until you're 100% in control. The ring and pinky combination is especially tricky because they share a tendon.

The other thing is that your posture might be a little off - if you don't exert any pressure, can you get your fingers to comfortably line up on one string, finger per fret?
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammerAngel
Maybe that's the problem. Basically, when I'm not applying force, my hand curls up like a dead spider. That's the way it's shaped, and has been shaped since I was a kid. It takes force just to make my fingers go straight normally, much less to hold them at a certain height.


I have to add that fingers are naturally curved. When you play guitar they're not dead straight, but slightly curved. Nobody is asking you to keep your fingers straight or hold them at a certain height.

The main point is to only apply force to the finger that's fretting the note, which is totally the opposite of holding them dead straight. The whole idea is to only move one finger at a time while the others are relaxed and this is what gives you the efficiency you need.

Apart from that, +1 to everything Freepower said
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:21 PM   #11
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In general I find that it's best not to work directly on keeping your fingers close to the fretboard - you wind up forcing them down. Instead, work on keeping the tension down and the independence, and the small movements will come over time as a byproduct of having gotten better at those two things.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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I had the same problem you had; I ended up just running through scales over and over and over, as relaxed as I possibly could be without basically dropping my guitar (lol) and after awhile, muscle memory built and it was second nature to stay relaxed. I am now able to fly thorough my scales because my fingers stay relaxed and close to the fret board, including (and hardest to do) my pinky.

It sucked at first, I played slow, it felt awkward, but after about a week straight of doing it the improvements in all my playing really showed, especially in fast sections of solos etc.

Sidenote: I also noticed my picking cleaned up, and sped up alot, I'm assuming as a byproduct of staying relaxed (in both hands, of course).

EDIT: incase anyone took me literally, i was exaggerating with the idea of actually dropping my guitar .

Last edited by nmartin1187 : 03-19-2010 at 09:33 AM.
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