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CAN THE WRIST BE BENT TOO MUCH..?

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  • HotTinRoofHotTinRoof Florida✭✭✭
    Posts: 308
    Bones wrote:
    Also, note that his hand is definitely free from the top (not resting the wrist on the bridge like a lot of modern jazz and rock players do) and his wrist/fore arm is very relaxed.....

    This is exactly where I am coming from. 20 years of habit to break. :lol: Accuracy is an issue at the moment which is why I'm slowing everything down. Painful on the ears at times - especially when my wife says it sounds like I'm 10 and trying to learn how to play guitar. Ouch! :lol:

    But like I said earlier - it's greatly helping me to think about the heavy rest stroke as this makes me assume a comfortable wrist angle. When I only concentrated on the wrist angle alone I found I was pushing too far, tensing up, and actually experiencing soreness the next day.

    Geez, could someone take that last paragraph out of context. :lol:
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    Keep at it!

    It takes months to change technique but if you stick with it (start slow as you say) and concentrate on using good, comfortable position, staying loose and relaxed, eventually you will find you are doing it without thinking including the correct up/down strokes on string changes, etc.

    If you are experiencing pain, stop and take a break or come back the next day. That probably means you are too tight or are doing something wrong. There shouldn't be any pain and you don't want to develop a chronic condition.

    Also, use a mirror and watch your position from that angle. Does it look like the players that you are trying to emulate? Does it look/feel relaxed?

    As far as accuracy, that will also improve with time. A lot of players brush their fingers on the top of the guitar or against the strings and you can do that if it helps but it is not really necessary.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited February 2011 Posts: 1,252
    I used to have a fairly extreme wrist angle and a handful of very good players told me to relax it so I didn't injure myself. Patrick Saussois actually went so far as to reach over, grab my wrist with his thumb & forefinger and straighten it out, saying: "So, you were planning on a short career? ;-)" He smiled and said, "Now you will play many years longer."

    I'll reword this to be clear: (edit)

    There are two issues:
    1.) Macho: Some wrist angle is necessary to help you increase your power
    2.) Medical: Excessive wrist angle can put you at risk for stress injury

    As Bones said (above)... "does it look like players you are trying to emulate / does it feel natural." So, write down a short-list of players in the genre... pick some who are over 40 and have been playing for a long time. Find videos of them and go to school on the angle. Then find videos of the older guys when they were young & see if their angle has changed. Really go to school on it. Ask great players when and if you meet them. This is important to your longevity as a player. Play well but play safe. Here are some good examples - some high quality videos where you can get wrist views.


    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    Rather than worry about the amount of wrist bend, it's probably better to focus on a couple of other couple of other factors, both of which Michael discusses on on page 13 of Gypsy Picking.

    One, you have to make sure your right hand floats and is not resting on the bridge or otherwise anchored in place, as we tend to do in other styles of playing. You can't get the drive and forcefulness into your picking with a hand that's stuck in place. Learning to float your hand is one of the hardest aspects of gypsy picking if you are accustomed to a fixed hand position.

    Second, Michael talks about letting your hand hang at about a 45 degree angle. This will allow you to attack the strings at an angle with the pick moving somewhat towards the top of the guitar (on the downstroke) and not parallel to it. This motion is just about impossible with a flat wrist.

    Focus on these things and the wrist bend will take care of itself. IMHO.

    Kruno gave a demonstration at Django in June a few years ago which convinced me that it was time to quit being lazy about gypsy picking. He played a passage using alternate picking with his right hand resting on the bridge. Sounded nice - he is Kruno, after all. Then, he played the same thing with gypsy picking, and the sound exploded from the guitar. Case closed.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • pinkgarypinkgary ✭✭✭
    Posts: 282
    Good thread...


    I especially like:
    Geez, could someone take that last paragraph out of context. :lol:
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    One trick I did to get my hand to totally float I took an archtop with a big space between the strings and the top and took off the pick guard. That way there is no way to anchor the hand. It felt weird at first but very quickly I didn't notice it anymore.

    It's just what you are used to.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    One way I have trained myself is to use a similar technique in other styles. You'd be surprised how adaptable it is. I do a lot of fingerpicking (in my day job as a music therapist), and where most people anchor the last two fingers to the top, I taught myself to play with a bent wrist and suspended right hand. Instead of plucking the strings when the thumb plays, I really drive the thumb down into the string rather percussively, ending in a reststroke, much as you would do in gypsy picking. It actually works and turned out to be a very good practice method and has become pretty much unconscious.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Don't bend your wrist, just let it hang down naturally.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    Don't bend your wrist, just let it hang down naturally.
    Right. I think that's what Michael is getting at in the book. "Bending" requires some effort (as does holding it flat), letting it hang does not.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
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