Group 3

Improve your Left-Hand-Fitness with Slurs!

The Fitness of the left hand is responsible for how comfortable you feel on the guitar. Regular slur practice will improve your stability and agility and opens your hand for more fingering possibilities! Two Weeks, Fingers 1234, a gazillion different possibilites! Let me show you my workout tips for the left hand and let us improve together!

Fellow Participants in Group 3:

Nick

TM

Peter

Tony Gunia

Jim

peter hancock

Nick Trani

Martha Kreipke

Peter

Debbie

Oscar Leonardo Molina Sierra

Steven Liu

Nathan

 

Some tonebase productions to get you started

Martin Zimny - Left Hand Workout with Villa-Lobos Etude #3

Martin Zimny - Getting Slurs Right from the beginning

Mircea Gogoncea - Slurs

Artyom Dervoed - Slurs from Nothing

Artyom Dervoed - Legato Slurs

How to get the most out of this course

  • Start by watching the introduction video and practice the exercises given in the video.
  • Write a post with your experiences with Slurs.
  • At the same time, start practicing the first bars of Etude #3 by Villa-Lobos. If you are new to the piece, start with my livestream on this piece!
  • Share two videos per week and help your course partners through feedback on their submissions!

 

Zoom Check-In: Friday, June 24th at 6 pm CET (9 am PT)

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81881322333
 

100replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • wonderful and very challenging too.  thank you Martin...my left hand feels completely worked out.  

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Peter Happy to hear! That's what these exercises are al about! Don't strain your hand, be patient about it!

      Like
    • Nick
    • Nick.2
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Had to take a break after 2nd exercise. I'm definitely rushing it. My mind wants to go anywhere else. Maybe I should use a metronome to slow myself down

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nick That's a good idea, keep it at a meditative tempo!

      Like 1
  • This is a post about my Slur experience.  I did follow Artyom Dervoed, Tengyue Zhang, Ashley Lucero, Scott Tenant, and others over the years. Never really gave them the time needed to master them.   

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      peter hancock Thank you for sharing that! It’s always important to hear different approaches! Honestly, I was a little bit scared of having Xuefei Yang come in for a live stream about tremolo as I feared she might have a completely different approach to tremolo! But in the end, everything turned out right :) 

      Like
  • Martin,

    Nice work here, I have been doing Pumping Nylon off and on for a while. I like your set up. Fixed fingers can be a bear.

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Peter Definitely, be careful and don’t overdo them! Even a distance of 2-3 strings can be challenging for the untrained hand!

      Like
  • I have been working on Bouree I and II from Bach Cello Suite 4. It is full of slurs, including slurs with a fixed finger. I did a short technical practice of the first three exercises and then played the Bouree. The combination of relaxation, thinking about the weight of the fingers, and using the first finger whenever possible for hand position led to an improvement over how I have previously played it.  This will be a great challenge for me.

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martha Kreipke I am thrilled to hear that! Let’s focus on this for two weeks, and you will see great results with continued slur practice. Afterward, it is easier to keep your slur fitness level!

      Like
  •   Martin thank you so much for your so detailed videos ! I guess i need quite some time to absorb such amount of materials ! I will try to practice (given the very limited amount of time after work) and see if i can improve slurs on your advice , thanks so much again

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steven Liu That's the spirit! I will record some play-alongs that you guys can use as a guide!

      Like
    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Thanks Martin! 
    My slurs are ok but there’s always room for improvement and I have been looking for a succinct way to incorporate them into my warm up routine. I especially like exercises 3 and 4. I’ve been using Estudio del ligado by Barrios as a slur practice piece but I’ve never played Villa-Lobos #3 so I’m excited to learn it. I’ll check out your livestream on that. Ok, off to practice now!

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Debbie Feel free to share a bit of Estudio del ligado as well, I'd like to take a look at that if you're comfortable with that!

      Like
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin i will do that a Martin. Thanks for asking! It’s a challenge and I’d appreciate your input. I’m thinking that taking elements of both the Barrios and Villa-Lobos pieces, and doing them on alternate days might make for a good slur practice. But the isolated exercises are perhaps even more important for improving overall technique. Would you say so?

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Debbie oh, most definitely! When you look at slurs only in the context of the pieces, you can perfect those spots in those specific pieces, but it doesn't necessarily translate to other use cases. With a trained hand you can throw everything right at it and it will persevere!

      Like
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin So this has got me thinking. Especially since I'm also following Phil Golberg's workshop, and after watching Steve Goss's livestream last night. There seems to be a theme about focused technical exercises and how important they are for improving our technique. But it makes me wonder how important it is to play studies/etudes to improve overall technique? Wouldn't it save precious time to just practice specific technique exercises and repertoire pieces? Forget the studies/etudes unless you really want one as a repertoire piece. 

      Like
  • It's been a while since I've focused much on slurs.  My pinky is quite weak and inaccurate.  I just went through the first 4 exercises using all finger combinations for each and across the entire fretboard range (5th position up to 9th, down to 1st and back up to 5th).  I did all possible fixed finger combos in just the 1st position using alternation on all 6 strings when I could reach them (almost inaudible or altogether unplayable for me on the higher strings with most combos).

    I focused on shifting finger weight, using gravity as much as possible, playing just behind the frets with the very tips of my fingertips, relaxing each finger immediately after each note, keeping all unused fingers relaxed and close to the fingerboard and/or following along in position above each successive string, keeping the rest of my body relaxed and in good posture, listening for tone clarity, volume and consistent rhythm, and trying to maintain steady and deep breathing throughout...  It's pretty amazing how many things you can be aware of even when practicing such simple exercises!  Almost inevitably while focusing more intently on one or two aspects, others will slip up a bit and so I find myself constantly shifting my primary focus around the different areas mentioned as I see, hear or feel inconsistencies arise while playing.

    Going at a comfortable and steady pace, it took me almost exactly one hour to complete.  I took a 5-10 minute break after the first 2 exercises to get up, walk around and stretch a bit.  I also made sure to pause briefly while letting my hands hang down loosely away from the guitar after each finger combination had completed its cycle for the current exercise and shake them out a bit while taking a few deep breaths to stimulate my circulation before continuing with the next finger group.

    Now, if I can only maintain such enthusiasm and focus long term, on a daily basis - then perhaps great things could be possible!  

    Happy practicing and good luck, everyone!

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nick Trani Fantastic, thank you for your very detailed feedback!!! If you could keep this up only for a couple of days, you will start to see the benefits! Slurs are really doing magic to your hand and I am glad to dive deeper into that topic again as well!

      Like 1
    • Nick
    • Nick.2
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Today I added in some fixed finger slur work and watched about an hour of your livestream on villa lobos etude#3.

    I feel like I’m getting better already.  I really appreciate this Martin thanks

    Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nick Fantastic, happy to hear that! What about the rest of you, have you already tapped into the exercices? Slurs Group 3

      Like
  • This is my starting video for the slur challenge. I recorded exercises 1-3, 5th fret only. I did a complete practice for frets 5-9, 9-1, 1-5. I feel a shorter video for feedback on hand position and overall technique would be appreciated by the other participants.

     

    My observations:

    -          My left hand pinky needs special attention.

    -          I need to make more time in preparation before plucking

    -          I need to improve the accuracy of the hammer-on slurs

     

    I would appreciate any/all feedback and recommendations.

    Martha Kreipke, St. Louis, MO

    Like 1
    • Martha Kreipke Hi Martha!  I think your idea of demonstrating all the exercises quickly in one position was perfect for making things manageable to observe.  

      To me, it sounded like you were executing the slurs with very good volume and tone - even with the pinky!  One thing I noticed that might be something to consider is that it might benefit you to try to keep your left wrist in a straighter alignment with your forearm.  I don't know if this matters much, but I also noticed that on exercise 3 you were preparing your lower-fretted fingers (the stationary finger) in advance of the higher fretted finger (the hammering & plucking finger), wherein Martin's example he was hammering on first, before placing the lower finger to fret the note to be sounded by the pull off.  The way Martin did it allows for smoother legato since you can still be holding the last note on the previous string while hammering the first note on the next one.  

      Hope this helps!  BTW I also thought you did a good job of keeping all your fingers close to the fretboard.

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martha Kreipke Wonderful! Not knowing how your practice speed was, the demonstration was a bit quick! Nick Trani made an interesting observation that I was unaware of: I keep the finger on the higher string when I play the hammer-on on the lower string to keep the exercises legato. It’s not strictly necessary, but just something that I do :)

      Furthermore, I also think the angle of your wrist can be more straight on the lower strings. May I ask where your thumb is positioned behind the fretboard? If you have the thumb a bit higher, it allows for a healthier wrist position (which a steeply angled wrist has a higher chance of tendonitis). 

      Like
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Keep those comments coming everybody, we are here to improve together and cheer for each other 🥳😎💪 Slurs Group 3

      Like
Like Follow
  • 1 yr agoLast active
  • 100Replies
  • 157Views
  • 12 Following

Home

View all topics