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Common Bad Habits...

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Ghost Rider
(@ghost-rider)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I've used a guitar strap on my acoustic since about day 1. At the beginning, this was to avoid worrying about dropping the guitar. Now, I use it all the time--sitting or standing. I find with the acoustic, I tend to tilt the fretboard towards myself, not so much to see my fingering, but to reduce reaching around the lower bout of the guitar. (It's different for the electric, which is not as wide). With the acoustic, I also push the neck out so that the body of the guitar rests more on my hip. I find it's a more comfortable position for me; but I'm sure it's bad technique.

As Noteboat said, we're all built differently; and what works for one may not work for another.

The main thing is awareness of how it feels. Cause if it hurts, it's not good technique :)

Ghost 8)

"Colour made the grass less green..." 3000 miles, Tracy Chapman


   
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jimmy_kwtx
(@jimmy_kwtx)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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I have a bad habit of holding the pick "incorrectly".

Istead of holding the pick at the big end with the smaller tip attacking the strings. I hold mine sideways. With1/2 of the bigend smaller tip and use the other edge of the big end for picking.

Have always done it and know it's wrong but the other way just doen't feel right. :roll:


   
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donzo
(@donzo)
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I understand the "there are no bad habits, only personal style" philosophy but I don't think its true 100% of the time. There are definitely bad habits :)

I've played a bit of finger picking off and on but never had any real instruction in it. I just started with a new teacher who comes from a classical background, although we are working on pop stuff. But he thinks pick are for losers (he doesn't say that, but its clear thats what he thinks) (*) so its all finger style. In our first lesson we did 55 minutes of music theory and 5 minutes of practical, of which 2 minutes was "how to hold your right hand, how to hold your fingers when plucking strings, how to pluck with your thumb". Hallelujah, what a difference! Earlier in the lesson I had thought "wow, he has a great guitar, the tone sounds so deep, strong and clean - maybe I need a new guitar". After the lesson I realised its mostly because he's striking the strings properly and I'm not!

It was something I had never really though about before and not worried about and suddenly I discover I have a bad habit that is seriously affecting my play and I had no idea!

Don

* BTW - the "picks are for losers" attitude kinda bugs me. But this teacher seems to have a good teaching method and I'm interested to see where it leads me, so I'm willing to put up with this bias as long as I'm liking what I'm learning


   
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jimmy_kwtx
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* BTW - the "picks are for losers" attitude kinda bugs me. But this teacher seems to have a good teaching method and I'm interested to see where it leads me, so I'm willing to put up with this bias as long as I'm liking what I'm learning

Amen to that. Take what you want and leave the rest a the door.


   
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Clazon
(@clazon)
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Topic starter  

Gosh, that's a broad question. I could probably write a whole book on this topic. Off the top of my head, these are some things that I constantly correct for students:

- neck angle
- moving the fingers too far from the fretboard
- moving the pick or picking fingers too far from the strings

I just had to queery what the correct technique is for these things, which is great cos I was hoping to hear a few things that I hadn't previously heard.

I seem not to have any other flaws (that I can see myself) except as someone said, alot of tension in my picking hand. Sometimes it's rediculously tense and I just can't play something, then I realise I need to relax. I just take a deep breath, refrain from playing and shake my arm and go at it again. I need to learn how to not build this up whilst playing, because the difference is truly incredible.

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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Wes Inman
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Gotta say I've never heard anyone recommend keeping your elbow in close to the body before. The elbow should be relaxed and normal feeling. Place your left hand on your heart, where is your elbow? That is how it should be, neither jammed into your ribs or sticking up in the air, just normal.

And also, holding your breath? I sing when I play, if anything it is very important for me to breathe well when I play. Holding your breath is a symptom of tension. You do not need to feel tense to play phrases. It is important to relax when you play.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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I'm with Wes on elbow angle. I've had a couple students who wanted to glue it to their side, which affected the angle of the wrist/fingers on chords, so I put it on the list.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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jimmy_kwtx
(@jimmy_kwtx)
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Gotta say I've never heard anyone recommend keeping your elbow in close to the body before. The elbow should be relaxed and normal feeling. Place your left hand on your heart, where is your elbow? That is how it should be, neither jammed into your ribs or sticking up in the air, just normal.

And also, holding your breath? I sing when I play, if anything it is very important for me to breathe well when I play. Holding your breath is a symptom of tension. You do not need to feel tense to play phrases. It is important to relax when you play.

When I mentioned keeping your elbow close to the body I was referring to not having your elbow out as if you were holding a cup of water and taking a drink from it. Causes you to not get the proper "curve" in your fret hand and tension along the upper part of the arm and bad placement of thumb for beginners.

If I had a digital camera I'd post pics of what I mean. Sorry if this cuased a misunderstanding or was not presented properly.

As to holding breath. Yes tension can cause this but I refer to more of phrasing as it comes to singing. I'm not prescribing holding your breath but using your breathing as a way to help give your phrasing a more vocal appeal.

I played wind instruments and in that case they actually give you "breath marks" in the scores and music to signify a phrasing of a melody since different people can hold breathes longer etc. or the composer wanted there to be the "pause".

I ususally try to guide my students to using this breathing technique by having them "sing" the melody. By pionting out their breathing while doing so you can help them by showing them to "stop" playing/holding a note etc. by noticing how they "sing" the part.

Thus you take a breath play/sing. Pause to let your air out and breath again**While either holding a note or stopping?silence (this could even be a fraction of a second) then continuing so on and so forth.


   
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Wes Inman
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jimmy_kwtx

OK, I misunderstood. I have seen players who push their elbows into their ribs, this is what I was talking about.

I used to sing in a choir and we had the "breath marks" you spoke of. So I understand what you are saying there. Yeah, that sounds good, gives the playing a vocal quaility.

So I guess we agree afterall. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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jimmy_kwtx
(@jimmy_kwtx)
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Wes,

No prob brother man. I am new to this forum thing and with out the ability to (Thinking)

"Show"--- What I am talking about (dig pics and sound files) I am sure it is like the blind leading the blind :) and I probrably cause more confusion than helping:(

I am currently trying to rectify te situation so please feel free to bring "bad habits" ;) on posting to my attention.

BTW I was In Madison CT about 2-3 weeks ago are you close to there?


   
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Wes Inman
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Well, Connecticut is very small, they say you can go from any location to another in 90 minutes or less. Not really true, the traffic is terrible. I am not absolutely sure where Madison is, but I am in the Northwest Corner. There are a few members here from Ct., Laz and Cnev, David Hodge lives just over the line in Mass. about 25 miles from me.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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Total 13
(@total-13)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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I think most 'bad habbits' come from not being relaxed enough while playing. I sometimes get the tension in my picking hand which is annoying but im working my way out of it.

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