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Thread: Right hand wrist position

  1. #1

    Default Right hand wrist position

    I've been playing for a handful of years, and I am having a moment of panic thinking that my picking wrist has been wrong this whole time.

    I play with an ever so slightly concave bend to my wrist, I've attached an image. I don't normally play this far up the fretboard but taking the picture while holding my other hand was a bit of a challenge What is happening is that the fatty part of my hand below my thumb is brushing the G and D strings when I am playing notes on the A and E string. I haven't noticed this affecting the sound, but I imagine it does.

    My question is, should I bend my wrist just slightly up so it pushes the pick down and the fatty part of my thumb away from the strings? When I try this my accuracy suffers quite a bit

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    I don't have any answers for you, but I'll comment on some of your remarks ... just expressing my own amateur opinion.

    I am having a moment of panic ... I haven't noticed this affecting the sound, but I imagine it does.
    It appears that you don't perceive a problem except in your imagination. My approach is usually to solve problems that I know for certain that I have. These would generally involve getting the sound I want at the tempo I want, and keeping myself healthy and free of tension when I play. Matters of the right or left hand positions and motions often need correction, and I'm not saying that yours doesn't, but you may be imagining problems that don't exist. At any rate, if you do need to change your right hand habit, then commit yourself to it - and do it with as little tension as possible.

    When I try this my accuracy suffers quite a bit
    Unfortunately, any time you work on re-training mechanics you can expect your accuracy to suffer. This never stops good players from making changes they truly feel they need. Temporary setbacks in your "progress" are a small price to pay for the potential long-term improvements you can make. Though it may not feel like it, setbacks are temporary, and short-lived. You can re-train yourself pretty easily with time and practice - the same as you trained yourself to do unnatural things in the beginning to learn to play and keep time. So if you know something needs to change, pay the price of temporary setback and get yourself past it. Better to learn this lesson early, and spend the rest of your musical life with no fear of trying new things (and sucking at it until you get it).

    While I'm on the subject, here's another of my own, unsolicited opinions: I read and hear that people worry way too much about having to "re-learn" some musical skill or another. It almost seems that sometimes folk get paralyzed about whether they are learning the "perfectly correct" way of doing something, because they are afraid they may have to go back at some point and "re-learn the right way". All that worry is totally misplaced, IMHO. Just learn to play and have fun at it, and keep doing it. Nobody learns to do everything perfectly from jump, then never has to go back and re-learn a better way, or learn new ways, or more than one way, of doing things! Reality. Plan to keep learning and re-learning things throughout your musical life, even if you sometimes have to suck for awhile in order to progress.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  3. #3
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    I think of changing my left or right hand mechanics as ‘refining’ my technique, rather than ‘relearning’. Much less traumatic.
    Play it like you mean it

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  5. #4
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I think of changing my left or right hand mechanics as ‘refining’ my technique, rather than ‘relearning’. Much less traumatic.
    I like that
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
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    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    Thanks for the advice Mark, I will definitely take it to heart. I think I may have psyched myself out a bit, I admit.

    And Bill, I also like that, I certainly don't need any more trauma in these times.

  7. #6
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    Some of my thoughts. I wouldn't get stressed over it. The important thing is the sound that you produce. You also didn't say what sort of genre and style you are playing. I use a whole range of different right-hand positions depending on whether I'm playing chords, or melody, and tremolo or individual notes. Also, I sometimes pluck the strings right up over the 10th to 14th fret or so, other times much nearer to the bridge.

    I will say though, not a recommendation, that some of the time my right hand rests on the bridge, actually touching it for support and accuracy. It doesn't affect the tone as I'm plucking the strings which are still clear of my hand. Additionally, I sometimes even dampen the strings with my right hand (or sleeve of my clothing) during playing to give a softer more staccato effect.

    I don't know, my playing may be unorthodox, but I've been doing it for so many decades that by now I've tried many variations of technique. In the end it's about enjoying playing, and listening to the sound being produced.

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  9. #7
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    all the great classical musicians seem to have taken lessons throughout their careers.
    belbein

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    I think your right hand position looks normal.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    It’s up to you, of course, but I’d take a look at some youtube vids on the subject. Mike Marshall and others recommend resting your thumb pad on or just below the top of the bridge, not enough to weigh it down, but enough to give your wrist and hand some stability when you pick. When you strum, the palm comes off, to give your hand the freedom to make a bigger up and down motion. YMMV

  13. #10
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    There are some great comments here. I would only add a little story about viewing a youtube lesson on mandolin 'right hand position'. This guy said that instead of thinking of your hand, think of your whole arm and the pick is just the 'end of the whip' (my terms). The placement of the pick is usually between the fingerboard and the bridge, and only sometimes over the fingerboard. This placement effects the tone color. More metallic near the bridge and more mellow near, and over the fingerboard.

    Hope this helps.
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  14. #11
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    I'm thinkin' you're overthinkin' a normal looking right wrist. Just generally keep it comfortably straight.
    Phil

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  15. #12
    Stop the chop!
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    Default Re: Right hand wrist position

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Findley View Post
    It’s up to you, of course, but I’d take a look at some youtube vids on the subject. Mike Marshall and others recommend resting your thumb pad on or just below the top of the bridge, not enough to weigh it down, but enough to give your wrist and hand some stability when you pick. When you strum, the palm comes off, to give your hand the freedom to make a bigger up and down motion. YMMV

    On the D'Addario video Marshall uses the word "touch" ("ever so slightly"), not "rest". And, actually, he doesn't say "should" or "is supposed to", but "touches", indicating a natural result of natural technique.

    As always I refer to Stangeland's survey on mandozine.com. There are many variations but they fall into two main groups.

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