Touching the corpus while strumming

@mfeeney0110 Oh, I gotta try that wrist thing, maybe it’ll be good for me too!

Here is the video with me and my smaller guitar, sitting in my chair. Don’t mind me loosing rhythm inbetween, I’m gonna do metronome practice way slower, but I felt for comparison it should have been roughly the same as before. As you can hear, no tapping the body, and I also felt a lot more relaxed. Thanks again for all your help! :hibiscus:

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Yeah, you’ll get there with time. I would visit a guitar store and play some some smaller models. I started on a big dreadnought like that and never got comfortable holding or playing it. When I finally bought a better fitting instrument, it made a world of difference in learning to play and enjoying it. Mine is an orchestra or folk sized guitar Alvarez AF60CE.

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Second video looks much, much better Eva!

If you want to do a deep dive into all the different ways to sit and hold your guitar, this is a good topic to read…

Definitely looks better than before but it’s still not easy for you. That looks like a Jumbo guitar to me so is actually the biggest variant of the acoustic guitar family. You would probably benefit from using either a OOO size or Folk (OM) size guitar.

@mfeeney0110 and @DarrellW I will definitely keep that in mind when I do have the means to buy my own guitar. At the moment, the first one is a loan from a friend, and the second one I inherited from some unnamed uncle. I think my mum just found it in a storage somewhere, and can vaguely remember one of her brothers learning a bit, but she doesn’t remember which one. It came with a small, cheap and frayed booklet from the sixties, some kind of course book that teaches only notes, no strumming or scales. I’m keeping it because it’s a bit of family history, but it does not teach what I want to learn. So glad we have the internet nowadays.

@Tbushell Thanks for the link and the kind words, I’m gonna check it out :+1:t5:

That’s a potential problem.

Guitars are made of wood, and if not properly stored, can warp, and become very difficult to play.

But when we’re beginners, we (usually) don’t know what a properly set up guitar should feel like, and end up struggling.

Learning to play even a properly set up guitar is difficult enough…you don’t want to be fighting a bad setup as well.

I’d suggest you have a more experienced player have a look at it before spending a lot of time with it. Often, some minor tweaks can make a huge difference in how easy it is to learn on.

If you have a local music store, one of the sales people can probably take a quick look, and might even do a free adjustment if it’s simple enough. If it’s more complicated, their tech / luthier can suggest if it’s worth fixing.

Maybe I’m lucky, but that’s the way it works at my local chain music store, at least.

Of course, it might be fine, and I don’t want to alarm you. But I’ve seen some beginners get very frustrated and blame themselves, when the real problem was the guitar.

Edit: I just noticed a friend lent you the steel string. Have they played the nylon string? They could give you some feedback on whether it’s set up correctly.

Take that to heart Eva.
My first guitar was a real bummer. “Struggling” is a nice way to say it. A wonder I even stayed with trying to learn to play. My 1st guitar made my fingers bleed the strings were so far away from the fretboard. Setup??? In '70 round abouts, I’d never heard or knew of that. No one let me know either.

It’s just food for thought that may make learning a much easier process.
Don’t know if it’ll help with the pick “touching the corpus”. But a well setup guitar is a real good step in the right direction.

Btw, you taught me a new word. Corpus. I had to dictionary that word. It appears your use of that word is spot on… :slight_smile:

Yep. Latin for body. Corpus Delicti = body of the crime. Corpus Christi = body of Christ, etc.

Well, my guitar is damaged; the body has a small tear on the side that lies on my knee, and two of the nut holes are partially broken (is this the right expression, ‘nut holes’? sounds kinda dirty :laughing: I mean the places where the strings fit into the nut). The strings still stay in place, so it doesn’t hinder my playing. Also, when I got it, the neck was really loose, and the strings were secured very badly at the end, and two of the tuning keys were broken.

I researched how to repair and set up a guitar, found out that I better not remove my bridge because it’s broken in two (it still works fine), tightened the neck, oiled the whole thing, got a set of new tuning keys and a set of new strings, and set up the guitar according to my research. It is as good as I can make it, and as good as I can afford atm.

I found a few music stores in my city, and will check out if they can do something for my beat-up beauty, and hopefully they can. I didn’t know they might do it for free, thanks for the tip :+1:t5: Meanwhile, I have played on two other guitars besides the two in the videos, and one was easier to play, the other more difficult. My friend played on it when we were jamming, and he didn’t say anything about the set up. But he is self-taught as well, so I don’t know if he would know about it.

At the moment, nothing about it frustrates me, or makes me feel like it is too hard. I get a tiny bit of a buzz when I play the open A string too enthusiastically, but that is the only thing I notice that is actively impairing my playing. It is a Hopf guitar, which is apparently a family business going back centuries here in Germany, and since some of their guitars go for, like 300+ euros even used and on ebay, it might not have been too bad of a quality guitar initially? I don’t really know, though.

@HappyCat Glad my difficulties of finding the right words for the guitar parts in English broadened your vocab horizon a little bit :+1:t5: :wink:

I am still trying to think if “touching the corpus” should be a song or a band…

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Glad to hear it! If you are not frustrated, and making steady progress, the instrument is probably fine at this point in your journey…as long as it fits you.

I’m impressed at how much work you did to make your guitar playable. That kind of “can do” attitude (as we say in English") will take you a long way in this often frustrating journey.

Some sort of experimental prog rock album maybe? :joy:

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@sevi1 Hi Eva. I have been looking and analysing some more.

I’m not sure of your height and length of limbs etc. I do see some aspects of posture and the way you hold the guitar that will definitely be adding to the problems you are finding.

Guitar position.
You have your guitar positioned far to your right. A little less with the nylon string guitar (smaller body).


On both guitars your forearm and (very importantly) your elbow is not reaching or is unable to reach fully over the top of the upper bout.

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This means you are unable to freely move your forearm and wrist and hand and fingers in a smooth, single pendulum motion that sweeps in a shallow arc across the strings for strumming.


On the Down strum your wrist has to contort and rotate through many degrees to hit the strings and move away again.

- image

Do you see that your first finger knuckle is innermost and the line of your knuckles is such that your little finger has been rotated a long way away from the strings.


On the upstrum you are having to rotate your wrist very far in the opposite direction

- image

Now your little finger is innermost and your first finger knuckle is far from the strings.


I recommend that you watch both videos at a slow speed with zero volume. Concentrate on looking, not listening. You should be able to detect the spinning, rotating movements that your wrist is undertaking.

I would suggest that seeking a different approach to holding the guitar so that your arm can move freely down and up in a shallow arc in front of the strings is going to help. A smaller guitar will definitely help in that matter. But you can do something too.

Try moving the entire guitar from sitting way out to your right. Move it across your body and further over to your left. Your fretting hand will need to reach a little further to find the chords. But your strumming arm should be able to come around the back of the guitar with - crucially - your elbow as much in front as you can manage, not behind.


When it comes to seeking a new guitar (good luck with that) I would recommend that you can get the best value for money by searching the used market near to where you live.
A thin body, small-size acoustic would be good for you.
Yamaha APX.
Ibanez Talman.
etc.

:slight_smile:

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@Jamolay Why not both? :laughing:

@Richard_close2u Wow, I don’t think anyone has ever gone into so much detail analysing something I have done, this is awesome! :star_struck: Thank you so much for this, I appreciate it very much :hibiscus: :blossom:

I have done as you said, and watched both videos in slow mo, with no sound. You are completely right with your analysis of my wrist rotation, and probably also where it comes from. It would also explain why often, on the upstrum, I feel like I only hit the thin(ner) strings, and not all of them equally. I will experiment with putting the guitar more in front of my body; I remember I tried for some time in the beginning with more of a classical posture, with it between my legs, and I cannot remember why I stopped. Maybe because my fretting arm was sore easier, because it has to hold itself out more? Idk. I will try it again, and other positions inbetween. And as soon as I am able, I will also get a strap, so I have more options still.

Now I only need to convince my strumming hand that it does not have to turn at the wrist anymore. It’s good that you caught it early, so it is hopefully not that much of a hassle to train out of me. Hopefully it’ll help when my posture is better.

I will keep you posted how my experiments shake out.

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Classical style is usually played with a footrest for the left leg. Did you have one? If not, you can experiment with a stack of books, and see if that makes things better. If it does, you’ll probably want to buy a proper footrest…I had one for a while, and I don’t think it was very expensive.

Since nylon string guitars are usually played without straps, you might need to get a strap button installed on the nylon string…on the body…er…corpus. :slight_smile:

One more thing…

I notice that your strumming elbow seems very high - almost shoulder height. This can be very tiring, and sometimes painful.

As others have noted this is mostly because your guitar is too big for you. But it’s also because you are holding the guitar neck parallel to the floor.

Using a footrest or strap will help you raise the neck, which will also lower the part of the guitar body (the “bout”) that is lifting up your right arm.

Raising the neck has other advantages as well…for example, you will probably find it makes barre chords much easier to fret.

@Tbushell

I didn’t know that, and so I did not use anything like that. I have now experimented with it, and found a position that feels really good, with the guitar between my legs and further to the left, my left leg on the rolling thingies of the chair, my right arm a lot more over the guitar (feels like hugging it, tbh :laughing:), and the wrist of my strumming hand not moving much anymore if I concentrate on it. It feels really good, and also more immediate, because much more of the guitar’s body is in contact with my own, which makes my body resonate more with the music. I’ll post a video when I got a moment to do so.

I did not know what an impact posture can have on your playimg; thank y’all for teaching me :hibiscus: :blossom: