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Right Hand Movement (Good Vibrations part 2)

Many people have a lot of problems with correct finger mechanics on the right hand. In yesterday’s post I stated that the big idea behind getting a good sound is to get all the joints moving in the same direction into the hand. Many people have the problem of the fingers moving up and down rather than in and out of the hand. Here are some exercises to get this sort of motion through the strings going.

First off, it’s very easy to get a good hand position. The steps to get a good hand position:

  1. Hold your hand out away from your body, make a fist but with the thumb along side
  2. relax the fist and let if fall open naturally
  3. keep the same wrist/hand position and put it on the guitar. Establish a “home” position with p on the fifth string, ima on 3rd, 2nd and 1st string respectively

In order to get the sense of what it feels like to move the joints all the same direction, you need to work on the follow through. To that end it’s helpful to exaggerate the motion for a few weeks. As in, every time you play bring the finger all the way back into the hand. This should feel like one big motion that carries the finger from plucking the string all the way into the hand. Playing like this in repertoire is not going to work, but it’s a useful exercise.

A few exercises to help with this:

  • Snap off all fingers: pima all at once, bring them completely into the hand, except the thumb which will go to the side of the hand
  • Plant the thumb on the fifth string, playing ima, bring them all the way back in
  • planted thumb: play im together, follow through. a and the pinky should be relaxed and naturally come along with m as it pulls into the hand. DON’T try to stop this, let it happen
  • planted thumb, play am together, i should just hang out. Doesn’t need to come with, but don’t put any extra tension into it.
  • planted thumb, play each finger individually. big follow through. as a or m plays, they should pull m a and the pinky in the hand, let this happen, don’t stop it.

That should give you a good feel for it what it feels like to move the fingers like this. It should result in a better sound almost instantly.

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