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 Post subject: Re: Finger Exercises
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 340
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
I have managed to shift to something closer to a Rockstro hold (RH thumb push) as I've started trying to use the keys on my flute more. I'm trying to get away from the RH "pinkie post" on the flute body that I used with my previous keyless flute, and just floating with the lightest possible touch on the Eb key.

One thing I wanted to add to the discussion is that a Rockstro RH thumb push (if I'm understanding this right) needs a good thumb tip flesh pad in contact with the flute. That means little to no thumbnail.

It took me a while to figure this out, because I've played fingerstyle guitar for years and have always kept my RH thumbnail fairly long. Just that thumbnail in contact with the flute doesn't work. In fact, I've noticed small scratches in the wood at the point my RH thumbnail contacts it, either from me or the former owner (I bought this flute secondhand).

So I've made the supreme sacrifice to my guitar playing lately, cutting my RH thumbnail down almost to the quick, so there is plenty of flesh pad to contact the flute. I'm building up a side callus on the thumb to compensate on guitar, so not all is lost. I don't think I'm going full Rockstro because my RH thumb isn't pushing directly against the center of the flute, it's slightly lower but enough to make the fulcrum work. My flute hold feels more secure now, and I think my RH 3rd finger is more nimble without the 4th/pinkie locked down for support.


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 Post subject: Re: Finger Exercises
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:17 am 
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Location: N.E. Wales, G.B.
That last bit about improved R3 mobility is good news and a good illustration of the point of not using R4 as primary pusher (or counter-lever in a thumb underneath support system) and keeping them both slightly arched, not locked out. I have rather a tendency myself to lock them out even though my Rockstro thumb position is good.

Re: the thumb, I don't keep my nails particularly short but I don't use the very tip of it and I don't normally have nail to tube contact, but then, my thumbs reflex. I'd say the normal contact/pressure point is not exactly the side midline of the tube but somewhat lower. If you looked at the tube from the foot end, I'd expect contact/pressure to be at about 8-o'clock or a little lower/before, not 9-o'clock.

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 Post subject: Re: Finger Exercises
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 9:49 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:47 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Ontario, Canada
Jem, after my post yesterday, I experimented again and discovered that if I used the tip of my thumb I could do the hold. However, just like Conical Bore, I normally keep my right hand thumbnail long (after nearly 65 years of playing flamenco and classical guitar this is a reflex action even though I'm not playing my guitars much at all now). I'm pretty sure that if I cut my thumbnail short, I could manage the R-hold. For classical guitar there is a minority tradition (Fernando Sor, Francisco Tárrega, Emilio Pujol) through the centuries of playing the instrument without nails, but for flamenco that is an impossibility. I don't personally have any trouble with the thumb-under support so don't plan to change although I agree with you that the R-support makes more sense. As an aside, but a curious and interesting one I think, some players who rest the flute against their shoulder keep their right hand little finger up all the time. Catherine McEvoy is an example. She has what I would describe as a Quantz hold (grip in this case is perhaps accurate) with her left hand. On the other hand there are players such as Harry Bradley and Matt Molloy who never move their right hand pinkie from its resting place. Quantz did not advocate keeping the Eb key open as much as possible, only when needed, but with 19th century simple system and Boehm flutes it must be down nearly all of the time. (Most modern makers of keyed flute for playing Irish music make their systems so as not to require venting with the Eb key.)


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