In order to understand the importance of the Practice-Right, first we need to understand how our hand and fingers work.
1. How do we produce the sound on the guitar?
2. What is the most natural motion of the fingers?
3. What hand position feels the most comfortable?
How do we produce the tone on the classical or acoustic guitar? The way we produce the sound on the guitar is by making the string vibrate. The more the string vibrates the more tone we will get. 1. If we just pluck the string softly, the sound will be very weak (the string vibration is very small). This is not good enough, because we want to use the full potential of our acoustic instrument. 2. If we pull the string up stronger, we will get a snappy sound (string hits the metal fret on the way back). So, what we want to do is to push the string down and pluck. This is the best way of producing the tone on the classical or acoustic guitar. In this way we will get optimum volume and good quality tone.
Principle No. 2
What is the most natural motion of our fingers? In order to get the answer to this question, all we need to do is to do a very simple test. Try to grab any object that is close to you. Notice that our fingers will go towards the palm while making some sort of a circular motion and we use both finger joints (natural fist of the hand). This movement is pretty easy and everyone can do it because this is how our hand works naturally. In this way we have the best control, the most power and maximum dexterity. So, keep in mind that the most natural motion of our fingers is when they go towards the palm and both finger joints are used.
Principle No. 3
What position of the hand will allow the fingers to move easily and to achieve best playability, power and control on the guitar? The most natural position is always the best one! That means the player should have:
When the wrist is sunk down too low/arched up too high or turned left or right too much, you will notice that it does not feel good for your hand and fingers to move. This happens because there will be more pressure put on the tendons that are trying to move through the Carpel Tunnel. The Carpal Tunnel is the passageway on the palmar side of the wrist. It connects the forearm to the middle compartment of the deep plane of the palm and allows nine flexor tendons and a median nerve to pass through it. Besides the medical explanation, I will also try to explain how incorrect hand position affects one’s playing abilities from a perspective of a guitarist.
Since the collapsing of the hand and resting on the soundboard is certainly the most common mistake among beginning students, I will take a moment to explain this phenomenon more in detail.
Why do players collapse their hand and rest it on the soundboard? 1. The player tries to find the resting point for the hand since the hand naturally feels more stable in that way. 2. The player tries to hold the guitar with the hand since this leads to a sensation of holding the instrument more securely. Having the hand as a resting point and holding the guitar with the hand might seem easier at the beginning but will actually limit one’s playing in the future. Collapsing of the hand will make playing more difficult and will cause tension, loss of dexterity, power and control.
Collapsing of the hand will make playing more difficult because it affects the position of the fingers and prevents them from making their natural movement. In this way, it is really hard to pluck the string and avoid hitting the next string. For example, after plucking the first string the second sting is in the way. This happens because the first finger joint is too far back and the natural circular motion of the finger is disrupted. If the player tries to push the string down and produce more volume, the possibility of hitting the next string will be even greater. It is necessary to have the first finger joint more or less above the string we are plucking with the fingers slightly curved so they can pluck the string easily without hitting the next string.
Collapsing of the hand will cause tension, loss of dexterity, power and control. In order to avoid hitting the next string, the fingers tend to go up (outside the hand). Going outside the hand is not good because it is opposite from the natural motion towards the palm. If the player with a low hand tries to push down the string and produce more volume, the tension will be greater. The player is using one group of muscles in the arm to push the string down and another group of muscles to pluck the string up. These conflicting motions are not good and will cause tension and loss of control. In order to achieve maximum playability and control, it is necessary to keep the hand steady and prevent the fingers from going up.