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What's the weakest "link" in your flatpick technique

Many students struggle with either the left or the right hand technique. Some have a problem with the slower one having to catch up (and keep up) with the faster hand. I was wondering how many out there have a challenge trying to keep up with the fingering hand. I mean like your picking hand (L or R) struggles to "track" with your fingering hand.

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Without a doubt, my right hand is what needs work. Although the left hand is equal in importance, the right hand is what gives the attack, volume, and tone. Most of my practices are concentrated on getting the right hand stroke to be uniform in all the parameters listed above. Also, if you pay attention to the greats, mostly Tony for me, his right hand rhythmic technique is what gives him his sound. Wyatt has adapted to it well and sounds fantastic. Sutton's attack is frighteningly good. Of course there are many others...

mark.
definitely my right (picking) hand. I can't get it to go fast enough. My right hand/wrist really tense up as I try to go faster. Also, I tend to pick too deeply. My pick does not flow nicely across the strings... I tend to get a lot of "up and down" motion kind of perpendicular to the plane of the strings instead of parallel with the plane of the strings.
I'm not sure I could say in all certainty that I have more trouble with one hand or the other, but in practice I definitely do focus more on right hand technique. As others have already pointed out, that's where you control the bulk of your musical variables like tone, attack, volume, etc. Left hand is basically about accuracy and quickness, and while those are certainly important concerns, to me they are more cut and dried -- not as subtle and less subjective, and therefore easier to address.
Right hand is always a problem...especially when performing. If our banjo player really gets on it...I may a well not even take a break in the tune....I just can't keep up. I play pretty fast and clean, but some songs just wipe me out. I use a metronome to push me and I will continue to do that, getting consistant speed is always a challenge. My tone is good, but I'm always trying to improve that also. The biggest key to all playing is getting your breathing under controland your jaw to relax. Doing that will help everything else alot. Keep picking.

Steve
Thanks for your input. Seems to be fairly common that the picking hand is working harder than the fingering hand.

A pick I found (literally "found" - because I wouldn't have bought one of these fat, funny looking picks) is the Dunlop Big Stubby. It doesn't not have the tone of some of the others - but something about the design that allows it to kind of "gliss" over the top of the strings without getting too deep. When I first tried it, I immediately noticed my fingering hand was getting tired! This told me that I was on the right track - and since then, I've been a little more open minded about judging picks by their color (in this case... purple)
I find that when i breakneck (really fast) sometimes my fretting hand lags my flatpicking hand so I innertune my mind and close my eyes and picture myself as if I were watching myself play. Then i consentrate on my fretting hand and then I think of every note i pick, even pick direction. Then things even out and I regain my continuity or flow of the song.
Bruce,
I feel your pain. I'm in exactly the same situation. I've always felt that being left-handed and playing right has kept me from being a better player. (At least that's the excuse I'm using). I tried a left-handed guitar once and it just felt "wrong". My brain couldn't process an upside-down guitar. If you run into anything that can help develop a spastic right hand let me know. If not, I'll just keep smiling and picking a little slower than all the righties.
Concerning left-handed players.... I was teaching in Sorrento BC last year (Canadian bluegrass camp) and one of my students was a professor at the university there. His expertise was the study of the human brain. He told my class there is a lot of interest right now in studying musician's brains - because evidently, ours are wired differently than non-musician's brains. This was VERY interesting to me as a guitar teacher... so I took the opportunity and went on to "pick" his brain. (google: brain studies musicians)

I have always steered any new, left-handed students who had not yet decided whether to learn left handed or right - to play right handed. My thinking was that each hand has a task to perform - each task being different and neither being a natural motion. I figured it didn't matter if they started left or right... except that the entire guitar world is geared for right handed players, so then it would make sense to simply conform. I ran this theory by the professor and ... he agreed with me!

However, I have a student right now who is left handed and has always played right handed guitar. He also laments that if he had started as a right handed player, his playing would be further advanced than it is now. Even with the professor's corroboration, I wonder if there is something to that.


Oh... I'll be teaching the Advanced Flatpick Workshop again at Sorrento in 2009

http://musicworkshops.ca/Bluegrasshomepage/Bluegrass_home.htm
I am left handed. The first time anyone handed me a guitar I was 15 and had played piano (taken formal lessons and conservatory exams for 6 years). I had lots of dexterity, but like a rifle, baseball bat, fishing rod or hockey stick, there was a way that felt 'natural' to me. I've missed lots of great guitars, played a 65 Tele and a 58 gibson upside down. I still 40 yrs later play left-handed, just because that's the way it felt 'right." My son is left handed and studied fiddle, now as a teenager he also plays guitar and mandolin, right-handed, because that's the way it feels good to him. I'm sure any answers aren't clear-cut. Roger....see you at Sorrento.!
I have a problem with both hands, arthritis in left fingers, right hand can't seem to get on the same string as the left hand when plucking single notes. OH! well time will heal all things. If interested Jamie Andreas has a good book titled The Principles Of Correct Practice For Guitar at www.guitarprinciples.com.

Howard
Interesting bunch of links (googling brain studies musicians). Sounds like we left-handers, a majority of whom are "mixed dominant" and somewhat ambidextrous have an advantage as guitar players. To me the typical guitar set up seems like a left handed instrument. I can't say my right hand is weaker than my left -- they are equally weak.
Hi,
Last year I decided to make a leap in my playing. Faster, cleaner, more enhancments etc. I started doing an exercise refered to me my the website developer and his partner. They saw me struggling. I did it as recommended for a few weeks then, doubled the time I was putting in on the exercise. I made huge strides in the right hand and my left was fully warmed up at the end. I do it mainly now as a warm up exercise.
Mark Rhodes www. freeguitar videos.com

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