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Advice on right hand - floating or brushing the top?

Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
in Technique Posts: 432
So after Christian van Hemert's excellent video I thought I'd raise this again. The floating R hand has always felt clumsy to me. Granted, I came to GJ out of bluegrass and rock where the palm is usually touching the top somehow...

But I started to do GJ with my R fingers touching the top, like Angelo Debarre and Stochelo do. And still I feel like that gives me more control. But at DiJ I started experimenting with the floating hand and noticed that the descending double down runs (especially triplets) became easier. More to the point I found that I could finally relax my R hand when doing this - something I was never able to do when my fingers were touching the top. For now I'm trying to get more facile with the floating R hand, but I still feel like what Christian calls "anchoring" yields a little better control and precision. Any opinions?
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Comments

  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    edited August 2015 Posts: 264
    To be fair, both options are perfectly fine. Here in the Netherlands I'd say top 5 virtuosos - and by that I mean people who can play extremely fast and still clean - are probably Stochelo, Mozes, Paulus, Zonzo Basily and John Rijsdijk. Two of them play with a floating hand (Paulus and Mozes), three with the flexible anchor. So, both work and I see no big advantages or disadvantages either way as long as you don't lock any joints!
  • Christiaan lays it out very well. For me, I have large palms and shortish rather muscular stonemason type. Hands. If I try and play with fingers curled under, well, even with a bit of tension in the fingers my knuckles still brush the strings. Ok for a few songs nut after that...owie...

    I think what is important is to be completely relaxed, unanchored, and whether or not your fingers are brushing the top or curled under isn't really important.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2015 Posts: 697
    I keep a loose free floating wrist now (came from being an electric player with wrist on the bridge) but my fingers are tucked in quite tightly. I watch most GJ players and their fingers looked more relaxed and stretched out, but again my wrist is loose, don't know if I am loosing anything by keeping my fingers tucked but experimenting with trying to loosen my right hand fingers. Has anyone dealt with this?
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    I like open R hand better. But it's the descending triplet runs (like DUD on each string) that always caused my R hand to tense up playing fast. But with a floating hand it feels relaxed. It's weird...
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited August 2015 Posts: 1,184
    If you're really "anchoring" on the top then that sucks because it greatly reduces the mobility of the right hand. If by "anchoring" you only mean lightly brushing against the top but with the hand still moving freely, then I agree with Christiaan - it doesn't matter very much for the music.

    But in my opinion a floating RH is slightly preferable for a few small reasons

    1. If you are used to the "reference point" from brushing the top, it can throw you a bit when you try someone else's guitar and the bridge is higher/lower. When the top is even just a millimetre or two up/down from where you are used to, it can feel a bit weird and really bugger up your technique!

    2. Your guitar doesn't have to wear a scratch plate. It looks better.

    3. You can play other peoples guitars if they don't use a scratch plate.

    I don't use a scratch plate so I get a bit nervous when other guys are trying my guitar and they're digging on the top with fingernails.
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 697
    Wim Glenn wrote: »
    If you're really "anchoring" on the top then that sucks because it greatly reduces the mobility of the right hand. If by "anchoring" you only mean lightly brushing against the top but with the hand still moving freely, then I agree with Christiaan - it doesn't matter very much for the music.

    But in my opinion a floating RH is slightly preferable for a few small reasons

    1. If you are used to the "reference point" from brushing the top, it can throw you a bit when you try someone else's guitar and the bridge is higher/lower. When the top is even just a millimetre or two up/down from where you are used to, it can feel a bit weird and really bugger up your technique!

    2. Your guitar doesn't have to wear a scratch plate. It looks better.

    3. You can play other peoples guitars if they don't use a scratch plate.

    I don't use a scratch plate so I get a bit nervous when other guys are trying my guitar and they're digging on the top with fingernails.

    What's interesting here is Hemert is saying by having the pinky lightly anchoring it stops your pick from hitting the guitar. Just thought I'd muddy the waters by clarifying...:)
  • Christian is correct. I hit the top all of the time. When I try the anchoring style, I don't hit the top. But my hands just aren't big enough for that style.
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    Posts: 264
    Stuart, I can probably help with the rest stroke problems. If you post a short clip of yourself playing with the camera angle like my close up camera from Q&A nr 2 I'll take a look!
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    That's an interesting point Jim.
    I have tried to emulate Angelo and Stochelo. And the "anchoring" feel most natural to me. But I think my hands aren't big enough for all 3 fingers to touch the top like this:
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    Maybe this:

    I slowed down a double down triplet part here from "My Blue Heaven". It almost looks like Stochelo is bouncing just a bit off the G string here on the first down note of a double down.

    The whole rest stroke thing is finally at the point where it's feeling natural and strong. But I am still trying to get the double downs to where I can feel relaxed while doing them faster - that's what's still elusive. maybe I just need more metronome time!

    Any thoughts Christian?
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