Discussion:
damping a singing string
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Bernie Cosell
2019-11-20 00:34:26 UTC
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I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
buzz against the still-singing E string. Is there some technique trip I
don't know to "quiet" the E string as I go onto the next? thanks
/Bernie\
--
Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
***@fantasyfarm.com Pearisburg, VA
--> Too many people, too few sheep <--
Matt Faunce
2019-11-20 02:04:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernie Cosell
I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
buzz against the still-singing E string. Is there some technique trip I
don't know to "quiet" the E string as I go onto the next? thanks
/Bernie\
I often let my thumbnail grow longer than it needs to be, and it doesn't
cause any problem for 99% of what I play, but if I let it grow way too long
it would cause me the problem that you're having. Maybe you can play with a
shorter thumbnail.

However, in most situations when switching those chords, E to A, it makes
musical sense to mute the E string while playing the A chord so that the
bass note of the A chord is clearly A. There are a couple standard
techniques to do this. For example, in Giuliani's Allegro---the one that's
found in the back of Shearer's top-selling method-book---the one I usually
like the best is to mute it with the third finger of my left hand (that
finger isn't needed for the A chord) immediately after I play the low A.
Just make sure that when you're reaching for the E string you clear the A
string, because you don't want that muted too as you pluck it. The other
way is to mute the low E with the flesh of your right-hand thumb, near the
knuckle, immediately before you play the low A. This way is tricky, and
might, unfortunately, make it harder to avoid buzzing the low E with the
thumb nail. These two ways have two different musical effects, legato and
détaché, respectively. I thought of a third way, that I never use but I
just tried, and that's to employ the first way but to mute the low E
before, instead of after, you play the low A. This is also tricky, and I
wonder if the effort spent making it work wouldn't be better spent just
learning to keep your thumbnail away from the ringing E string.
--
Matt
Matt Faunce
2019-11-20 02:16:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matt Faunce
Post by Bernie Cosell
I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
buzz against the still-singing E string. Is there some technique trip I
don't know to "quiet" the E string as I go onto the next? thanks
/Bernie\
I often let my thumbnail grow longer than it needs to be, and it doesn't
cause any problem for 99% of what I play, but if I let it grow way too long
it would cause me the problem that you're having. Maybe you can play with a
shorter thumbnail.
However, in most situations when switching those chords, E to A, it makes
musical sense to mute the E string while playing the A chord so that the
bass note of the A chord is clearly A. There are a couple standard
techniques to do this. For example, in Giuliani's Allegro---the one that's
found in the back of Shearer's top-selling method-book---the one I usually
like the best is to mute it with the third finger of my left hand (that
finger isn't needed for the A chord) immediately after I play the low A.
Just make sure that when you're reaching for the E string you clear the A
string, because you don't want that muted too as you pluck it.
...you don't want that muted too *right after* you pluck it. (I was already
thinking of the third way, below, in which case you don't want that A muted
too *as* you pluck it.)
Post by Matt Faunce
The other
way is to mute the low E with the flesh of your right-hand thumb, near the
knuckle, immediately before you play the low A. This way is tricky, and
might, unfortunately, make it harder to avoid buzzing the low E with the
thumb nail. These two ways have two different musical effects, legato and
détaché, respectively. I thought of a third way, that I never use but I
just tried,
Actually, I do use it in other, fairly different, situations, but not in
the Giuliani Allegro or anything closely similar.
Post by Matt Faunce
and that's to employ the first way but to mute the low E
before, instead of after, you play the low A. This is also tricky, and I
wonder if the effort spent making it work wouldn't be better spent just
learning to keep your thumbnail away from the ringing E string.
--
Matt
Learnwell
2019-11-20 17:55:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernie Cosell
I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
buzz against the still-singing E string. Is there some technique trip I
don't know to "quiet" the E string as I go onto the next? thanks
/Bernie\
--
Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
--> Too many people, too few sheep <--
If you want to dampen the low E then then do it with the back of the thumb simultaneously with striking the A string. If you do not want to touch it adjust the angle, and if you can't do that without further adjustment try raising the wrist as you do it and see if that helps. Experiment with the subtleties through mass repetition, then when you get the solution make it an exercise. Do that exercise once every 7-10 minutes or so, slowly and controlled without correcting any minor mistakes, when you are practicing/playing (use a timer) and see what happens in 2-3 days.

You'll be amazed.
tom g
2019-11-22 22:21:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Learnwell
If you want to dampen the low E then then do it with the back of the thumb simultaneously with striking the A string. If you do not want to touch it adjust the angle, and if you can't do that without further adjustment try raising the wrist as you do it and see if that helps. Experiment with the subtleties through mass repetition, then when you get the solution make it an exercise. Do that exercise once every 7-10 minutes or so, slowly and controlled without correcting any minor mistakes, when you are practicing/playing (use a timer) and see what happens in 2-3 days.
You'll be amazed.
+ 1 although not usually damping simultaneously with striking the string unless I want staccato. In alternation of 6th and 5th strings, I use back of thumb to damp 6th string and apoyando on 6th string to damp 5th.
wizeazz
2019-11-22 12:12:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernie Cosell
I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
buzz against the still-singing E string. Is there some technique trip I
don't know to "quiet" the E string as I go onto the next? thanks
/Bernie\
--
Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
--> Too many people, too few sheep <--
I just use the back of my thumb. I had to get my guitar out to check. It's an unconscious thing with me now
Bernie Cosell
2019-11-24 16:32:40 UTC
Permalink
Bernie Cosell <***@fantasyfarm.com> wrote:

} I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
} another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
} play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
} am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
} buzz against the still-singing E string.

Thanks for all the good advice. I've tried several things and what seems
to work for me is damping the 6th string with the side of my thumb as i go
to strike the 5th. I need to practice doing this to get it smooth, but it
seems to work. Thanks!!

/Bernie\
--
Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
***@fantasyfarm.com Pearisburg, VA
--> Too many people, too few sheep <--
Learnwell
2019-11-24 22:19:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernie Cosell
} I'm trying to play a work that alternates between Emaj and Amaj, and
} another that alternates between Emaj and Amin. My problem is that when I
} play the E-chord [either chord or arpeggio] and then follow it with an A I
} am having a devil of a time not having my thumb, in going for the A string,
} buzz against the still-singing E string.
Thanks for all the good advice. I've tried several things and what seems
to work for me is damping the 6th string with the side of my thumb as i go
to strike the 5th. I need to practice doing this to get it smooth, but it
seems to work. Thanks!!
/Bernie\
--
Bernie Cosell Fantasy Farm Fibers
--> Too many people, too few sheep <--
If you have not tried this do so. You've got nothing to lose and it may blow your mind. When you can do what you want PERFECTLY no matter how SLOWLY stop practicing it. Whenever you practice, and at random intervals through the day if you wish, play it slowly and as accurately as possible once. If you make a mistake don't sweat it, just try to remember it for next time. Don't do it again for at least 7-10 minutes. It should get worse before it gets great.

When you get it right you have stored it in long term memory. When you put a period of forgetting in between reps you are working on retrieval. That is the part that can mess us up in performance (I had it at home!). By strengthening retrieval you strengthen contextual performance (playing).

It is called retrieval practice, and it works with learning anything.
tom g
2019-11-24 23:59:03 UTC
Permalink
Good advice. Slow practice before going to the bed has also helped me.
Learnwell
2019-11-25 00:42:54 UTC
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Post by tom g
Good advice. Slow practice before going to the bed has also helped me.
That is actually a great idea. Memory is consolidated in sleep.

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