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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:45 pm 
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The first step I'd like you to do is make sure of your hand position, especially with regards to being in a properly flexed position for free stroke.

You'll need to observe some concepts when performing the free stroke exercise. If you do you'll establish the ideal position for free stroke, understand the anatomy of proper extension and flexion for maximum efficiency. These are Primary Skills. Folks, even my hands need some review on occasion....so, lets go!

First we'll slightly alter the Free Stroke exercise to help secure what may feel like a new position. Instead of placing P on the 4th string place it on string three. When flexing sweep only strings 1 and 2 (instead of strings 1, 2 AND 3 as before). Relax so that the back of the nail falls outward across the 2nd string with a passive recoil, (yes, lightly strumming the second string on the way out) and resting on the back of string 1. Now 'pop' the finger out, engaging the extensors, mostly from the middle knuckle. The finger then returns to the extended position -no further.

    1. With P planted on 3, M and A in the flexed position, I in the extended position engaging the large knuckle, pushing slightly downward, flexing from the middle knuckle and following through with both knuckles bring the finger inward and sweep strings 1 and 2. The I finger should now be in the flexed position along with M and A. You should also notice a static tension above the knuckles. That's good, we'll need that in a sec. (If you don't feel this you haven't come to the flexed position).

    2. Let the I finger fall out of the hand by passive recoil (relaxing the extensors which have been loaded with a static tension). As the back of the fingernail lightly scrapes string 2 you'll see the knuckle rise. Rest I on the back of 1.

    3. Now engage the extensors and 'pop' the I finger, primarily from the middle knuckle, out to the extended position, just in front of string 1.

    4. Repeat 3 more times

    5. Now with I planted on 1 shift P only (not the hand) to the 4ths string. Bring I in front of string 3 and flex to the flexed position. As you allow the passive recoil take place all the knuckle to also lift slightly and as soon as you can complete the extension by extending primarily from the middle knuckle

This coordination of both knuckles is critical to observe. The knuckle engages the finger on to the string, depress slightly and then the middle knuckle joins in the process and the fingers complete the flexed position. Some players squeeze only from the middle knuckle when flexing, that brings the fingers upward, not back. Engaging both the knuckle and middle knuckle will create the proper range and follow-through that makes for relaxed efficient movement with a nice full tone. Worth checking out!

PS The adage that one simply relaxes the finger outward without a full flexcion resulting in the static tension is physically impossible. So, make sure you're moving with the full range of motion.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:34 pm 
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Ok, I've started doing this. It seems that what this is going to do is retrain the muscle memory as to what order and in what amount the big knuckle and the middle knuckle have to flex/extend both on the stroke and on the re-extension. Could be a long process to overcome the years of muscle memory coordinating those joints in a different manner.
Tom


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:37 pm 
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Tom - shouldn't at all. What you want to do is to direct your attention to both knuckles working. It really should feel better and/or different at first.

I caught myself while doing some slow-mo video taping yesterday. I could see that I was lifting my I finger on extension, from the knuckle and not swinging it out at all from the middle. I started swinging and my arpeggio speed went WAY up. I'd suggest everyone use their cameras, especially if you have a slow-motion mode.

I suggest trying these ideas in technique practice only.

Scott


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:34 pm 
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I just started this and my initial reaction is much like Tom's. Seems like it could be a long haul. Will keep at it and see if it really does go faster. Dystonia, of course, may complicate things.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:22 pm 
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Position, watch the fingers and move within the correct range of motion. That's the first protocol to maintain. When watching the fingers try to engage the knuckle/middle joint, (push down, pull in) when flexing the knuckle/middle joint (relax up and swing out).

It might be easier to start this with the IMA plucking strings 1, 2 and 3.

Scott


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:47 pm 
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I hope the Practice Along Videos will help!

Scott


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:49 pm 
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They look good

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:01 am 
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The practice along video definitely keeps the speed down - I have tended to rush trough these exercises treating them like a warm up and missing most of the point.
Tom


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:20 am 
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I'm glad Tom, that's the point and the feedback is helpful!

The slow tempo will allow for more concentration on important aspects of positioning, finger movement and relaxation. Becoming concious of these fundamentals will have an enormous impact on how you play the guitar. I've recounted many times that I practiced my technique in this manner for 3 months and it had such an impact on my performance that I dedicated myself to another 15 months of this practice before I began alternating this work with weeks of speed work.

I'm working on a plan now that works the slow fundamentals with quick bursts of speed within one practice....

Scott


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:42 pm 
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Tom,

Referencing your remarks about reworking the fingers...I'm still working on extending my I finger correctly (with the proper timing between the knuckles). Any one thing you change like that make sure to spend time every day focusing on it in technical exercises, a study piece and a piece in your repertoire.

My changes are getting comfortable and best of all they feel great and sound great when I do it!

scott


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:26 pm 
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I don't know if this is a bad idea, but I have been doing the delayed release of the passive finger in the sympathetic motion Practice Along With Scott video. The tempo is slow enough that it is easy to delay the release of the passive finger a half beat (rather than adding a whole beat). Seems like this should work fine.
Tom


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:46 am 
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Hi Tom,

I've been doing a similar thing with the same exercise, bringing the passive finger out a little slower than the active finger, making sure the active finger goes out first and the farthest. The exercise has really helped me bring that finger out first and into the correct placement. Before I was concentrating on bringing out the first finger that is played and the others came along for the ride, usually not out far enough.


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