Tips, Techniques, Examples about my favorite musical instrument, the Twelve-String Guitar.

If you play guitar check out Playing Technique, or Strings / Setup. There are also some interesting posts about guitars at, you guessed it, Guitars.

If you want to spread your musical talents around, you will find some good info at Recording.

Marketing - meh - I'm probably the world's best bad example. Although you could find funny stuff there.

I've made some music videos through the years, and you can find them and other interesting music at Music I Like, Music I Play.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pinkie- finger x

Try drumming your fingers as fast as you can with the pinkie extended, then compare the speed with drumming with your pinkie curled in. Most people get more speed, and accuracy, doing the latter. The pinkie tends to move in tandem with the annular (i.e. ring) finger. It's called sympathetic motion. Unfortunately, my pinkie tends to straighten out, especially as the music passages get more difficult. I blame this on the O'Leary brothers.

Many years ago Kevin and Tom O'Leary and I started playing folk guitar. The O'Learys had a neat basement where we hung around, swapping songs. We were inspired by the phonograph records of John Hurt, Joan Baez, and of course, Bob Dylan; and we picked up playing techniques from coffee-houses concerts. Sometime one of the O'Leary's (I'm pretty sure it was Kevin) taught me how to plant my pinkie on the fingerboard for stability. It's a technique I used off and on for years after. And it turns out that it was bad technique. Now I am cursed with a straight pinkie.

I'm taking some extra time during playing sessions keeping a watchful eye on the pinkie. There is a definite difference in execution when I can keep it curled. I'm trying to reverse years of muscle memory. The Bach Lute prelude, BWV999, is an excellent exercise for this. Here's a version from Jean François Dellcamp. I like playing the famous Prelude in C from the Well Tempered Clavier to force the curl, because right hand fingering for the 12-string that I made up uses only pim, so I can force the 'a' into a curl and keep it there.

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