Caaarrl94
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
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#1
Lately i've been really practicing my fingerpicking alot, but I just can't seem to get the positioning of my hand right.

In relation to the guitar and all of the strings and bridge etc, where should my hand be?

Should it be resting on the bridge? should my fingers be resting on the strings? etc

at the moment i'm resting the outside of my hand along the bridge, but it feels very wrong.
I've tried resting just above the E string but i find that i'm constantly muting the E string slightly.
"I think the most important thing about music is the sense of escape." - Thom Yorke
z4twenny
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#3
^ I just float my hand over the strings, if you're anchoring then you can't use those fingers.
KG6_Steven
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Join date: Nov 2006
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#4
Fingerstyle? I float my hand above the strings. For grins, I tried anchoring my pinky... Not saying that some don't do it, but it didn't work for me. You just need to practice. I remember that it took me a week or two to get to the point where I could do it fairly well.

As far as where the hand should be... I think of it like this - if you hold your hand parallel to the ground and let your fingers just kind of droop, you probably have it just about right. The hand position should be and feel natural.
Last edited by KG6_Steven at Dec 24, 2012,
Caaarrl94
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
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#5
It sounds like i'm doing it just about right, who knows, maybe it'll feel more natural with practice. thanks
"I think the most important thing about music is the sense of escape." - Thom Yorke
axemanchris
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Join date: Aug 2006
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#6
If you're interested in "proper" hand positioning for classical guitar, here is an easy way to achieve it:

- hold your hand out as if holding a glass or bottle of your favourite beverage.
- now drop your hand in that rounded position such that your fingers are basically perpendicular to the strings.

For proper classical positioning, you NEVER anchor with your pinky. NEVER. EVER. The main reasoning is, aside from the fact that you might occasionally need that finger, that it limits the mobility of your other fingers (especially the ring finger), and creates tension in the hand that can lead to tendonitis.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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CryogenicHusk
wannabe guitarist
Join date: Apr 2012
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#7
I do it similarly to this:



However, I recently had a class where a different teacher subbed my usual teacher and he suggested I do it like this, because it is how his school taught him:



but with the neutral position being with the hand more to the right. Notice how on the second picture the hand is kinda hanging down, while on the second one it is straight and lined up with the forearm.

I'm not sure I'm getting it right with the latter, though, because my forearm and wrist get sore and tired much more quickly when doing scales that way, BUT the notes do sound more clear and louder. I'll ask my actual teacher about it when he gets back from vacation, I guess.
axemanchris
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#8
The hand/wrist position in the bottom picture is closer to what I learned from my studies. Notice how the fingers are more perpendicular to the strings and the hand itself appears slightly more rounded. The back of the hand still seems parallel to the surface of the guitar, whereas in the first picture, the wrist appears sunken.

That all said, the bottom picture has the hand right in front of the sound hole. It should be just behind the sound hole, but not so close to the bridge that it starts sounding tinny.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
CryogenicHusk
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Join date: Apr 2012
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#9
Quote by axemanchris
That all said, the bottom picture has the hand right in front of the sound hole. It should be just behind the sound hole, but not so close to the bridge that it starts sounding tinny.


Yeah, that's not the neutral position. I guess he's playing "dolce" in the pic, which is when you place your hand like that in relation to the sound hole and it makes those "sweet" sounds as opposed to the more metallic sounds you make when playing closer to the bridge, but that's beside the point. The reason I chose that pic was because I saw in it what you mentioned: how the hand is hanging and the fingers are pretty much completely perpendicular to the strings. I'm trying to get used to it like that but I think I'm doing it wrong cause my wrist gets cramps, especially when playing on the lower strings (5th or 6th specifically). When I do like the first pic, this doesn't happen, though, but the notes come out less clear, which sucks, so I really want to get used to the form in the second pic.
Last edited by CryogenicHusk at Dec 26, 2012,
Hail
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#10
yeah the second pic is how i've adapted to fingerstyle rolls on bass and banjo and its given me the best tone and consistency results. i wouldn't be able to give real authority on classical guitar tho, that's why AMC exists
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rockingamer2
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#12
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the movie theater?

Not sure if joking, but he's talking about axemanchris.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


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Hail
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#13
no i was talking about the movie theatre

cause that movie with jamie foxx playing django reinhardt just came out
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z4twenny
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#14
Quote by Hail
no i was talking about the movie theatre

cause that movie with jamie foxx playing django reinhardt just came out

It all makes sense now
Hail
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#15
i'm off sunday tuesday and wednesday z4, what's on the agenda
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evolucian
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#16
Yeah, in agreement with the second pic. Kind of like shaking hands. I only have the title of a vid for you: Masterclass by Ana Vidovic at Zuidlaren Guitar Festival 2009 (Part 1)

There she speaks about hand position cos the tool who was playing went all over the place. Very dramatic hand gesture of a player. Anyways. Listening to what she says is a good thing, although I got sidetracked and perved on her instead. But watch a few players and it will help you out
z4twenny
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#17
^ nada man, I'm recording some friends here and there throughout the week, just hit me up whenever. I gotta tweak some brakes on my truck this Sunday.
axemanchris
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#18
Quote by CryogenicHusk
Yeah, that's not the neutral position. I guess he's playing "dolce" in the pic, which is when you place your hand like that in relation to the sound hole and it makes those "sweet" sounds as opposed to the more metallic sounds you make when playing closer to the bridge, but that's beside the point. The reason I chose that pic was because I saw in it what you mentioned: how the hand is hanging and the fingers are pretty much completely perpendicular to the strings. I'm trying to get used to it like that but I think I'm doing it wrong cause my wrist gets cramps, especially when playing on the lower strings (5th or 6th specifically). When I do like the first pic, this doesn't happen, though, but the notes come out less clear, which sucks, so I really want to get used to the form in the second pic.


Try changing the angle of your guitar, then, more than the angle of your hand. If you feel like you are over-extending the natural rotation of your right wrist in order to keep the fingers perpendicular to the strings, try notching up your footstool, which will raise the head and neck of your guitar closer to your eye level (which is where it should be pretty much anyways).

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
CryogenicHusk
wannabe guitarist
Join date: Apr 2012
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#19
Quote by axemanchris
Try changing the angle of your guitar, then, more than the angle of your hand. If you feel like you are over-extending the natural rotation of your right wrist in order to keep the fingers perpendicular to the strings, try notching up your footstool, which will raise the head and neck of your guitar closer to your eye level (which is where it should be pretty much anyways).

CT


I tried notching up the footstool, and changing the angle of the guitar. Problem is I can't figure out a comfortable place to rest my forearm when trying that position. When playing the 5th and 6th strings, I feel my wrist is bent far too much which I think is why it feels like cramping.
Hail
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#20
idk when i'm recording with my friend but one of these days i need to play with a guitarist for old times' sake

preferably one that doesn't play only crappy thrash and/or vai licks
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Hail
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#22
perfect

z4 lives like 5 minutes from my house tho so that'd prob be more convenient
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axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
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#24
Notice the guy in the top picture. His stool is up high, which brings the head of his guitar up to almost eye level. This is where you want it. He is also sitting up straight, with the guitar pulled in close to him.

The guy in the second picture is leaning forward over top of his guitar. This is not as good.

Here is a picture of John Williams:



Note the "best of both worlds."

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
CryogenicHusk
wannabe guitarist
Join date: Apr 2012
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#25
Quote by axemanchris
Notice the guy in the top picture. His stool is up high, which brings the head of his guitar up to almost eye level. This is where you want it. He is also sitting up straight, with the guitar pulled in close to him.

The guy in the second picture is leaning forward over top of his guitar. This is not as good.

Here is a picture of John Williams:



Note the "best of both worlds."

CT


The guy in the 2nd picture is Francisco Tarrega, btw.

Anyway, I think I found a decent position yesterday. Will try to find a way to get a good angle and video record it. Would you mind if I pm you with a link to the vid so you can give me some pointers?
Hail
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#26
AMC: do you think there's a point where personal comfort supercedes a "classical" approach to posture and positioning, or is it best just to iron out habits as much as possible to maximize efficiency?

i know in other realms of classical performance it's a pretty stern topic, but guitar (even classical) has always seemed amongst the more liberal members of the orchestra.

obviously you're maximizing economy of motion without sacrificing tone, but is there a single "okay, this is the best goal for you to have, try to learn to make this feel natural" position or is there some margin of "whatever gets the job done"?
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Last edited by Hail at Dec 29, 2012,
axemanchris
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#27
Quote by CryogenicHusk
The guy in the 2nd picture is Francisco Tarrega, btw.

Anyway, I think I found a decent position yesterday. Will try to find a way to get a good angle and video record it. Would you mind if I pm you with a link to the vid so you can give me some pointers?


Ah! I almost feel foolish for not recognizing him.

By all means, if you want to PM me, do so.

Quote by Hail

AMC: do you think there's a point where personal comfort supercedes a "classical" approach to posture and positioning, or is it best just to iron out habits as much as possible to maximize efficiency?

i know in other realms of classical performance it's a pretty stern topic, but guitar (even classical) has always seemed amongst the more liberal members of the orchestra.

obviously you're maximizing economy of motion without sacrificing tone, but is there a single "okay, this is the best goal for you to have, try to learn to make this feel natural" position or is there some margin of "whatever gets the job done"?


In general, yes. There are a few "have to's", but there is a certain amount of freedom for personal preference.

For instance, if your guitar is on your right leg, or the guitar is on your left leg but parallel to the floor, or if you play with finger picks, or if you plant your pinky, you would be hard-pressed to establish any credibility whatsoever.

As far as the height - eye level is a guideline, but it is whatever works for you, more or less in that area. As far as the angle of the wrist, same thing. My personal hand position is more like the top picture (only without the sunken wrist) - or maybe somewhere between there and the John Williams picture I posted. My first instructor's hand position was more like the bottom picture, except his hand was further back and was not covering the sound hole as a rule.

As a point of comparison, look how much more Segovia pivots his wrist downwards.



Imagine the implication of suggesting that either John Williams or Segovia is "doing it wrong" or has "inferior technique."

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Dec 29, 2012,
axemanchris
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#28
Interesting perspective here:

Here is my first instructor (Peter McAllister - the thinner guy) with a hand position very much like the second picture above with the wrist pivoted downward. Incidentally, Peter's hand is in front of the sound hole here. Ah, well. At least he's not leaning over the guitar.



My second instructor is here. His hand position is more like the first picture, though note that his wrist is not sunken.



Also notice that Jeff's guitar is at more of an angle with the headstock more at eye level, which probably impacts the angle of the right hand in relation to the strings.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.