Left hand pressure

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Left hand pressure

Postby Rich » Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:11 pm

I've been playing a fair while now.. on and off at this style. In the summer I started to get the right hand technique down. My question is.. how much does the left hand play in creating tone?

Its hard to tell off the videos of the masters whether their left hand is lightly touching the string or really pushing the string into the fret board. Does it make a difference to tone?

When I was first getting into Django someone told me that django used to use so much pressure in his left hand that he would wear out necks (!?)

Not heard that story since.. anyone else heard something similar?

I find that when playing slow I really squeese the strings with my left hand.. but don't have the time or strength to do that when playing faster..

Any thoughts?
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Postby cap_django » Sun Dec 04, 2005 8:36 pm

Ideally, I would say to use just enough pressure to get a well defined tone.

If you use excessive pressure, you will have an extremely hard time playing fast. It can also make notes go sharp.

A good tip to get a good solid tone is to lay your fingers right before the frets - neither directly on them, or too far away from them. If you finger directly on the fret, you will get a dull thud and if you finger too far away from the fret, you will get fretbuzz. Also use the very tips of your fingers, rather than the more flat "fingerprint" area of your fingers.

I've heard people complain more about the duration of pressure, rather than the amount. i.e. bad rhythm playing with chords ringing too much.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Left hand pressure

Postby frater » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:58 am

Rich wrote:When I was first getting into Django someone told me that django used to use so much pressure in his left hand that he would wear out necks (!?)

Not heard that story since.. anyone else heard something similar?



Yeah, here:

http://www.gypsyjazz.net/Article.php?aid=15
"Et pas besoin d'avoir de fines moustaches pour jouer cette musique!" B. Lagréne
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Postby cap_django » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:31 am

I'd be more inclined to say that Django's huge vibrato was the cause of fingerboard wear. You need to put some serious muscle into the vibrato to get that fast, wide vibrato, so I think it'd make sense.

Sorry, I just have a hard time believing that Django used so much excessive pressure, considering how economical his right-hand technique was. :twisted:
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Postby phil_g » Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:12 am

Good question, I've been working on that myself.

I have a problem with this in chromatic chord endings eg there is one excercise in the gypsy guitar secrets book which ends in a C6/9 chord played on 1/8 notes at frets 3,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. It's a balance between the pressure on the frets and mobility on the neck and I haven't got this right yet. Here's the chord..

3
3
2
2

The 1st chord is an upstroke.

Also if I have to make a 1 finger descending chromatic run on 1 string the same problem tends to show up, any ideas appreciated, cheers.
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Postby cap_django » Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:14 pm

phil_g wrote:Good question, I've been working on that myself.

I have a problem with this in chromatic chord endings eg there is one excercise in the gypsy guitar secrets book which ends in a C6/9 chord played on 1/8 notes at frets 3,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. It's a balance between the pressure on the frets and mobility on the neck and I haven't got this right yet. Here's the chord..

3
3
2
2

The 1st chord is an upstroke.

Also if I have to make a 1 finger descending chromatic run on 1 string the same problem tends to show up, any ideas appreciated, cheers.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but, what you are trying to say is that you have trouble moving these chords up and down chromatically because the press/release is tricky?

The solution to it is just slide through all of them without ever releasing the pressure. I'm sure this is how it's done at faster tempos. The faster you play, the more you can get away with sounding like a glissando. Same deal with the chromatics, slide all the way.
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Postby justjack » Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:37 am

I think what Phil meant is that sometimes he feels the pressure from his left hand makes it hard to slide the chord up smoothly (it doesn't seem like he's releasing it, just that he hasn't found the right amount of pressure to use)...if so, it's really just a matter of practice, not tensing up right before you start the chromatic passage, and (as Phil mentioned) starting with an upstroke. It's definitely an important ending to know; it comes up so often that we in the band refer to it as Ending #1.

Best,
Jack.
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Postby phil_g » Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:37 pm

I think you're on the right track there Jack, I've just been playing the problematic figures from the Angelo book.

There's no problem with one of the chromatic chord runs that is just ascending, the bits I'm having a job to play cleanly at high tempo are the ones involving descending chromatics, ie the 1st part of ending#1 above which seems to be introducing a bit of tension to the rest of the run, also one finger descending chromatic runs which I'm finding awkward. There is another example in the same book involving a descending run with 1 finger (if you have the book track 45 bar 12), 1st string 7,6,5,4,3,2. Much easier to play this kind of run ascending for some reason?!

Cheers, Phil
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