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Author Topic:  Eyes on the Road!
Cameron Kerby


From:
Rutledge, TN
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 4:21 am     Reply with quote

I couldn't find anywhere this has been previously posted, so I thought I'd poll around and see what you guys thought.

Where are your eyes supposed to be while playing??

Like many people, coming from a six string background. I was taught that looking at your picking hand was a sin. Many teachers would say if you had to look at the guitar always look at your fretting hand, or in this case your bar hand. Should this also apply to steel??

I've seen few if any players play without looking at there steel when they play, and I doubt I'll get to a point where I can look at the audience while playing, but I tend to drift back and forth from bar hand to picking hand. Mainly the reason is to change picking location for different tones and sustain.

Just thought I'd pick (no pun intended) everyone's brains and see what there thoughts on this topic might be. Thanks!
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Dale McPherson


From:
Morristown, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 7:06 am     Reply with quote

Stoney taught me to watch the bar---- not the picking hand.
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 7:21 am     Reply with quote

I taught my 6 string students to not look at either hand. That was because watching the fretting hand made them tip the guitar back and made it harder to reach the low strings. I told them that the frets weren't going to move, and if the string isn't where it's supposed to be, it's broken. So learn to play by the feel.

But steel guitar has no frets, so looking at the bar hand is pretty imperative, unless you set up consistently in the same place and practice a LOT. However, you will see great performers like Joe Wright and Sarah Jory, look out to the crowd while playing at one fret, only looking down when moving the bar.
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Dale McPherson


From:
Morristown, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 7:27 am     Reply with quote

I have been practicing some with my eyes closed. Learning to hear and not look. It gets interesting
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 8:00 am     Reply with quote

Theres actually a science behind this. Ever hear a band play a song and thought they were great but then listened to the recording of that song the band played and heard many mistakes?

Well while your were watching the band play that song , your senses were around 50% visual and 50% audio. While you listen to a recording of the song your audio senses are now at or near 100%. Therefore you are able to distinguish discrepancies much easier.

The same applies to watching your hands while playing to some degree. When you change positions on the fretboard your visual sense percentage increases for a second or two before your audio senses catch up.

Once your are aware of what is happening , you learn to make the proper adjustments of your playing.
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 8:10 am     Reply with quote

Bar hand and babes.
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b0b


From:
Northern California
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 9:27 am     Reply with quote

I look at my right hand to do harmonics. Other than that, I'm with Richard: "bar hand and babes". Cool
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 7:17 pm     Eyes and Hands Reply with quote

I watch my bar hand most of the time. Never watch my right hand. The big "E" taught himself to play in the dark. He played in a room without lights for 3 days. He did this just incase he lost his sight. He wanted to make sure he could still play music to take care of his family. He also taught himself to play with all of his fingers on the right hand. That was just in case he lost a primary finger or even his thumb.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 29 Sep 2017 7:20 pm     Eyes and Hands Reply with quote

I like Richard and bObs comment!!!! LOL Been There!!!
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 30 Sep 2017 6:44 am     Reply with quote

Greg Lambert wrote:
Theres actually a science behind this. Ever hear a band play a song and thought they were great but then listened to the recording of that song the band played and heard many mistakes?

Yes. That would be my band.
I watch both hands to help prove my innocence during playback.
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Mike Scaggs


From:
Nashville, TN
Post Posted 30 Sep 2017 6:54 am     Reply with quote

Buddy Emmons just looked around the room and laughed LOL
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 30 Sep 2017 7:02 am     Reply with quote

Dale McPherson wrote:
I have been practicing some with my eyes closed. Learning to hear and not look. It gets interesting


Budddy said he used to practice at night with the lights turned out , in dark... pretty much the same you are doing....
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Cameron Kerby


From:
Rutledge, TN
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 7:28 am     Reply with quote

I really appreciate all the feedback guys!
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 4:48 pm     Reply with quote

Watch Joe Wright play sometimes. Looks everywhere but at his steel.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 8:42 pm     Reply with quote

Most of us aren't Joe Wright.

While I think it is important to appear to be enjoying myself while playing steel, it is much more important to make the music sound right. If I have to look at the thing I'm playing in order to accomplish that, then I am willing to sacrifice a little stage presence for the cause. Chances are, there is someone else on stage handling the presence thing anyway.

The other side of that coin is that there are photos of me playing where I look like I am studying for a calculus exam.

Eye contact with band mates during the course of a song helps with communicating certain things too. Closing the eyes for a few moments at a time can help with hearing the sound in better context. So the visual skill to be developed by most of us mortals is to be able to glance up occasionnally and be aware of what is going on around us.

Short answer is bar hand. Babes ain't looking back anyway...
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Dustin Kleingartner


From:
Saint Paul MN, USA
Post Posted 4 Oct 2017 5:14 am     Reply with quote

Ya gotta remember to look up at the band leader once in awhile... especially if you're doing some kind of improv, and he's calling on different people to solo
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Micky Byrne


From:
Essex United Kingdom
Post Posted 5 Oct 2017 1:01 am     Reply with quote

I so agree with Rich....yes look at Joe Wright and Sarah Jorey.....I love Sarah's infectious smile..even her "eyes" smile Smile

Micky "scars" Byrne U.K.
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Micky Byrne


From:
Essex United Kingdom
Post Posted 5 Oct 2017 1:03 am     Reply with quote

Babes for sure Bob Winking Laughing

Micky "scars" Byrne U.K.
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Rich Sullivan


From:
Nelson, NH 03457
Post Posted 6 Oct 2017 2:34 am     Reply with quote

To further refine the bar hand suggestion, you should be looking at where the bar will be moving to before you make the move.
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Mule Ferguson


From:
N Wilkesboro NC,
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 5:04 am     Reply with quote

Barbara likes looking at the bar hand.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2M_J16z9sk
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Mule Ferguson


From:
N Wilkesboro NC,
Post Posted 7 Oct 2017 5:12 am     Reply with quote

Another left hand looker. Keep the eye on the slants.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fScolqR-_Y
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Rich Peterson


From:
Moorhead, MN
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 3:01 pm     Reply with quote

Mule Ferguson wrote:
Another left hand looker. Keep the eye on the slants.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fScolqR-_Y

He looked up at Marty or Vince at the end. When he wasn't going to be moving the bar.
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Dan Robinson


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 11 Oct 2017 9:52 pm     Reply with quote

I look at the fretboard. Must have learned at a young age when my teachers said, "Danny, you won't find the answer on the ceiling."

I make eye contact, but not at the expense of making mistakes. I smile at the end of every song, unless the bass player is too loud.

When babes are dancing... well a few mistakes are a small price Winking
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 12 Oct 2017 8:26 am     Reply with quote

Rich Sullivan wrote:
To further refine the bar hand suggestion, you should be looking at where the bar will be moving to before you make the move.


This. Look at where you're going, you already know where you are.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 12 Oct 2017 1:05 pm     Reply with quote

Dan Robinson wrote:
I look at the fretboard. Must have learned at a young age when my teachers said, "Danny, you won't find the answer on the ceiling."

Ha! I think I had those same teachers. They didn't call me Danny though...

I look at my pick hand when I'm drilling on picking technique. Then I'll practice the same thing looking away (up at the ceiling Rolling Eyes) and see if I have the muscle memory down.
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