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> Ruminations On Renewing Membership
fkalich
post Mar 15 2009, 07:22 PM
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Last November after being a member for a year and a half, I let it expire, thinking I had plenty to work on. Which was true and fine. I figured I would renew my membership at some point. I kept track of what was new. I also was missing the lesson segment videos of the stuff I kept working on, which are valuable. Finally what brought me back with my $48 was Piotr's recent lesson, he sounded so nice, and the lesson was clearly valuable. I had seen others that were great over the past months, but that was the hook that brought me back.

There are two things I can state that I have learned that I think can be useful, which are related.

1) I developed some tendonitis in my hands, at least when I had my yearly physical, my doctor thought that is what it ways. He said, "for that I will proscribe nothing". Which was his way of saying "you did this to yourself trying to play so fast, if you have any sense you will slow down and let it heal". It was not real bad, just a little pain in one tendon on my right hand. Mostly it was manifested in tightness, making it difficult to play.

2) So I stopped for a bit, and then started doing this exercise. Just hammering notes, playing with one hand. Now I mean just hammering, no pull offs, only hammering. Hammering every single note in the passages or song. No pick use. The key to this exercise is finger independence. Mostly I would practice this on neoclassical stuff. I found this to be an amazing exercise. When you do it, you learn finger independence. And I learned how much tension was in my hands. So now I spend a lot of my practice time just hammering the notes. It is hard, not real fun, but it seems that I get maybe 5 times as much benefit from doing that as playing with a pick. It forces you to learn to play the right way. I tend to play passages hammering the notes, then picking, then hammering, watching that when I pick I do not bring tension into my play, that my fingers just tap tap tap lightly. I really find this beneficial, it illustrated to me how my technique was bad, because I had tightness in my hands as I played. I really feel the tension in both hand fall away when doing this exercise.

That is all I have to add that I think can be beneficial. Oh, the thing about the fast play. The problem was not fast play, it was playing fast with tension in my hands, which also makes you play sloppy. The tendonitis is gone now. I think the cold weather was a contributing factor btw. However, good things can come out of bad, you can learn form bad things, I feel my play is really improved now.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Mar 15 2009, 07:34 PM
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Fran
post Mar 15 2009, 07:32 PM
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What a nice doctor you have Fkalich, is he Dr Greg House by any chance? laugh.gif

Glad to hear the problem is gone, plus I agree, playing with tension is definitely not good, in my case I can only play "without tension" when it's something I have practiced a lot, if not I over-concentrate and don't relax my fingers, specially on the picking hand. Good thing I don't suffer tendonitis afaik. Knock on wood.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Mar 15 2009, 07:35 PM
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Nice to have you back fkalich smile.gif .

I think you're right btw about the hammer ons - one thing that many of us do is apply to much pressure when fretting a note and so also stress our hands and bodies unnecessarily as a result. Anything that helps us understand the minimum amount of pressure to fret the note is good imo smile.gif .

Another good check here is to watch yourself in a mirror and see if you are tensing up.


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fkalich
post Mar 15 2009, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (Fran @ Mar 15 2009, 12:32 PM) *
What a nice doctor you have Fkalich, is he Dr Greg House by any chance? laugh.gif

Glad to hear the problem is gone, plus I agree, playing with tension is definitely not good, in my case I can only play "without tension" when it's something I have practiced a lot, if not I over-concentrate and don't relax my fingers, specially on the picking hand. Good thing I don't suffer tendonitis afaik. Knock on wood.


Doctor is ok, he has known me for over 20 years, he knows how to talk to me. I am sure he would be different with others.
I figure the problem is more due to tension while playing than anything else. It never got bad for me, but I realized I need to change my ways, and now I am fine. And I won't do the bad things again that bought it on.

I figured anyone who plays well here has learned this in some fashion. When I first started this exercise, I would play something with hammers, say like Marcus' Etude 1, and it was very difficult for me to play it with just hammers. I realized then that my play was crappy, that I should be able to do that. And with work, I find that increasingly I can play with hammers exclusively, it forces finger independence. And then when I play with a pick, it is SO MUCH improved. I just am careful that when I start picking, I keep the same looseness in my hands that I have when I play with hammers.

QUOTE (tonymiro @ Mar 15 2009, 12:35 PM) *
Nice to have you back fkalich smile.gif .

I think you're right btw about the hammer ons - one thing that many of us do is apply to much pressure when fretting a note and so also stress our hands and bodies unnecessarily as a result. Anything that helps us understand the minimum amount of pressure to fret the note is good imo smile.gif .

Another good check here is to watch yourself in a mirror and see if you are tensing up.


I noticed that, it just forces me to notice things, like squeezing the neck. You simply cannot do the bad things when you play with just hammers. And it does get better, it is pretty amazing, your fingers do learn to move independently. But I consider it work, really not a lot of fun. A lot of things are like that. Like guys who are good at sports, don't get that way by doing the fun things all the time.
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Pedja Simovic
post Mar 15 2009, 07:49 PM
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I am so glad you had one of those "Wow" moments smile.gif Especially happy that tendonaitis is gone and now you can keep learning things you like wink.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Mar 15 2009, 09:29 PM
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Welcome back fkalish! smile.gif Are you saying you are practicing some legato now? This could be very useful indeed!


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fkalich
post Mar 17 2009, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Mar 15 2009, 03:29 PM) *
Welcome back fkalish! smile.gif Are you saying you are practicing some legato now? This could be very useful indeed!


Thanks Ivan. No, not really Legato. The exercise is all hammers. Every note is played as a hammer. Pulloffs by their nature (unless using an open string) require two fingers, so that is not part of an exercise that stresses total finger independence.

I started doing this when I had a bit of tendonitis in my hands, just to go easy. Now I do it a lot as an exercise. I just play a song or passage for awhile with all hammers, than after that will play it in a normal fashion. Like typing on a keyboard, except I hold my left hand in the normal fashion, palm down. I just play songs and passages like that for awhile, all with hammers, and then after that play it in normal fashion, I find the beneficial effects to be dramatic. It is not one of those things where it happens on day, and you get carried away, this has been going on for a couple months now.

I find it very beneficial. And it seems to improve all parts of my play, even the picking. That may also be tension related. When I do the exercise, I noticed after about 10 seconds that the tension also falls out of my right hand, even though I am not using that hand at all. Ever notice Lian, how loose his picking hand is? I don't hold my pick like he does though.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Mar 17 2009, 05:36 PM
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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Mar 17 2009, 10:50 PM
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Great! You have a great doctor! Welcome back!


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