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Fingerpicking standing up: What works?

MichaelAnthony 08 Nov 01 - 01:04 PM
Allan C. 08 Nov 01 - 01:29 PM
Allan C. 08 Nov 01 - 01:32 PM
Whistle Stop 08 Nov 01 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Fiver 08 Nov 01 - 03:50 PM
MichaelAnthony 08 Nov 01 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Les B 08 Nov 01 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 08 Nov 01 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Mark. West Sussex U.K. 08 Nov 01 - 07:04 PM
Murray MacLeod 08 Nov 01 - 09:08 PM
MichaelAnthony 08 Nov 01 - 11:46 PM
Midchuck 09 Nov 01 - 08:28 AM
Grab 09 Nov 01 - 08:37 AM
MichaelM 09 Nov 01 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Frank 09 Nov 01 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Brad Sondahl 09 Nov 01 - 09:37 PM
53 09 Nov 01 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,Brad Sondahl 10 Nov 01 - 01:55 AM
53 10 Nov 01 - 12:29 PM
Mark Clark 10 Nov 01 - 12:32 PM
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Subject: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 01:04 PM

I'm still practicing fingerpicking with steel strings, and now the question of how to best position my guitar and hand while standing up comes up. I've never really practiced standing up. Low or high...anchor at the forearm...etc.

What works for you?

MA


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 01:29 PM

The most important thing is: What works for YOU? There are so many variables involved that are dependant upon what manner of picking you are doing, how many fingers are being used, what sound you are hoping to produce, etc.. I don't believe you will find an answer that will be specific enough to be of much help. There are too many of them that are possible.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 01:32 PM

BTW, I haven't noticed that, when standing or sitting, I pick differently or position my picking arm/hand differently at all.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 01:52 PM

Michael, I think the key is to make sure you have the guitar positioned well for your hands. You've probably already worked this out, consciously or not, for when you're sitting down; you may prefer a chair of a certain height (and perhaps a foot stool of some sort), a certain angle across your leg (right or left), a particular angle for your right arm to hang across the face of the guitar that allows your fingers to relax over the strings, etc. For starters, I would suggest analyzing what position works best for you sitting down, then try do duplicate it standing up. That may require some adjustment of the length of your strap, some alteration of the angle of the guitar across your body (whether parallel to the floor or more angled), and so forth. But if you pay attention to what works for you when you sit and play, you can probably identify what you need to do in order to duplicate that while standing.

A related suggestion is one that I read somehwere a long time ago that bears repeating; if you plan to perform standing, practice standing. The first time you stand and play, it's likely to feel a little awkward, and you don't want to experience that awkward moment in front of an audience. If you try to duplicate what's already comfortable (as I suggest above), you can miminize the awkwardness, but as in all things musical, it still helps to practice.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Fiver
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 03:50 PM

Why fingerpick standing up? Someone else pointed out that fingerpicking comes from classical guitar technique, and, check me if I am wrong, but I never remember Segovia standing up--


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 04:42 PM

I may need to walk around and serenade a bit.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 06:46 PM

A rather broad guitar strap with a "roughness" or "nap" on the inside - the spot that touchs your shoulder - will help. Once you get the angle of the neck & body where you want it, the "nap" will help it stay there without sliding around too much.

I've been struggling with this problem recently while fingerpicking a brass bodied, resophonic guitar that is real bottom heavy and wants to droop away to my left. The broader, "grabbier" strap has helped somewhat.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 06:52 PM

This is one of those non-question threads. Allan C. said it--it's what works for Y.O.U. The strap suggestion is good; don't use a "classical" strap if you're going to be up & down.

CC


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Mark. West Sussex U.K.
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 07:04 PM

Of course there is a difference. When you sit the guitar is anchored and the drape of the right arm can be more flexible. The neck angle can be altered more easily by "pivoting" the body on your lap. The left hand can be braced against the body for bar chords etc. When you stand up, the guitar hangs as a pendulum on the strap and alterations of angle mean that the strap has to slide across your shoulders etc. You have all my sympathies because I find sitting down much easier too! But, some songs, some venues, some audiences and some line-ups do work better from a standing position. So, for what its worth - Study how you sit, where things are, what moves when you play. What needs to adjust when standing? Play standing up. What hurts? What doesn't work? What needs to change or be flexible? Some hints- 1. You cannot lengthen your arms but you can go for a guitar with a smaller/thinner body and a narrower neck. 2. You can think about your action and string guages. 3. Put the guitar in a comfortable postion and get someone to measure the strap length, then get someone to cut you a strap from a single piece of good quality leather. 4. If you want the guitar to stay still, have the "hide" against your clothing. If you need the neck to tilt have the shiney side against the cloth to reduce friction. 5. Practice before a mirror. If you detect an awkwardness have a look to see what is causing the problem. 6. Practice standing up. Develop those tiny muscles that are not used sitting down.

If you are still not happy, buy a high stool. Best of luck. Mark


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 09:08 PM

Whatever else, persevere, and it will happen for you. Performers who stand up always have a much better rapport with the audience than those who sit.

It does take time and effort to get it right, but it will be worth it.

And if Segovia had slimmed down a bit he could have played standing up as well :-)

Murray


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 11:46 PM

Those are some good suggestions. I'll listen to suggestions while I'm finding what works for me -- perhaps someone has worked through similiar issues.

One of the biggest differences for me is that the guitar angles up a bit when I'm sitting. I may be able to comfortable reproduce that when I'm standing.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Midchuck
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 08:28 AM

Perhaps the truth is that some activities, even though it is possible to do them standing up, should not be done in that position unless the performer is strong and agile and has excellent balance, or can brace him/herself against a wall or tree or something...

Peter


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Grab
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 08:37 AM

I find the "low-slung" position works for me. It doesn't help my finger-picking much, but it allows my chest to expand for singing. If I have the guitar right up high, it gets in the way of my breathing. Obviously not right down "Slash" style, but fairly low.

Les B (and others), I've recently worked out a way of helping to lock the guitar in place, if the strap goes from a strap button to the guitar neck. Get a very thin strap (a couple of bootlaces does well) and a small piece of tubing the same length as the width of your main strap (and about 1cm diameter). Put one lace through the tube, round the strap, through the tube again and then tie the ends together, so that the tube is tied onto the strap (above the strap, not underneath it) but is free to slide up and down. Then tie another lace from the strap button to the second lace, so that it crosses the face of the guitar. This pulls in exactly the right way to stop the guitar swinging round. Also, by altering the length of the lace, you can make the guitar "kick out" more or less (as per MichaelAnthony's last post), which angles the face of the guitar up to make it easier to fingerpick. The tube isn't 100% essential, but it allows the lace to slide into position more easily, and stops the main strap from getting creased up.

I invented this as a way of keeping my Regal resonator in place, for exactly the reasons LesB says. I believe this is my "invention", so let me know if it works for you and I can adjust it if you've got any suggestions. If this is already on sale anywhere or has been done previously, let me know; if not, I plan on proposing this to Elderly and seeing if they want to work on it. If they want to run with it, you may be able to buy this off the shelf instead of having to make it yourself. :-)

Graham;


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: MichaelM
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 08:44 AM

I have seen standing fingerstyle players move their strap attachment from the now common strap pin at the heel to the two laces around the peghead attachment. This moves the instrument to the right (if you're right-handed) and lessens the reach required of the left hand. It also allows you to raise the fingerboard closer to your face thus better resembling classical position.

Try it even if you have a neck attachment. It's free!

Michael


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 10:22 AM

Slider straps work for me. The guitar is stationary.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Brad Sondahl
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 09:37 PM

I like Michael's suggestion of moving the strap. I never had the gismo on my old Martin 00-18, so have tied the strap on at the peg head for years. It's definitely a bit harder to pick completely accurately, but not enough for most songs. It does help to have the strap tight enough to hold the guitar right over the belly--where it would be seated. Brad http://pages.about.com/bsondahl


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: 53
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 09:38 PM

i'm still having trouble with blackbird, standing or sitting, i guess that there's no hope for me as a fingerpicker, beet just stick to the pick. BOB


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: GUEST,Brad Sondahl
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 01:55 AM

Since posting I checked my technique--elbow on the edge of the guitar, two fingers resting on the pick guard to support the 3 I use for picking. When sitting the strap should hold the guitar in place--when you stand up it will still be in the right position. And BOB, Blackbird is a gimmicky bit of picking. Try some nice straightforward 4/4 hymn tunes or simple John Hurt melodies... Brad, looking forward to the Spokane Folk Fest on Sat.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: 53
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 12:29 PM

i've also tried some peter paul and mary and kansas dust in the wind, i'll take your advise and try what you suggested. BOB


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking standing up: What works?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 12:32 PM

MichaelAnthony, You're right on when you say you've received a lot of good tips here. It hadn't occurred to me that there were so many different considerations to holding an instrument.

In your last post, you actually answered your own question.

Most people playing “our kind of music”—folk, blues, country, Celtic— while seated will hold a guitar so that the waist of the instrument rests on the leg directly beneath the picking hand. A more comfortable picking position, while seated, is to rest the waist of the guitar on the leg opposite the picking hand with the neck angled up at a forty-five degree angle or so. This is similar to the way a clasical guitarist holds the instrument.

When standing, it will be most comfortable to arrange the instrument so it is in the same position—relative to your torso and hands— as when you are seated. This strategy obviates the need to learn two ways of playing.

Use a wide, soft leather strap as suggested and place a button under the heel of the neck. You'll have to fiddle with the strap length but you should be able to duplicate your seated position while standing.

      - Mark


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