| Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com |
Oct 29: Comcast.net has stopped rejecting forum emails. 🙂

Post new topic Not looking at your hands...
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Not looking at your hands...
Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 2:51 pm    
Reply with quote

Sometimes I practice without looking down at the strings for extended periods of time. It brings about a totally refreshing headspace. Its tricky though..

I heard Buddy Emmons talk about practicing in pitch darkness and I'm inclined to explore this approach more. Not necessarily playing in the dark but putting a portion of practice time toward this each day.
Our instrument is probably harder than most to play entirely by physical feel and sound but I think consciously practicing this would improve anyone's playing tenfold.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 10:40 pm    
Reply with quote

Interesting thought. I find myself wishing I should achieve better eye contact with the rest of the band, and this could be the way forward.
_________________
Make sleeping dogs tell the truth!
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Williams keyless U12 7x8, Telonics rack and 15" cabs
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 1 Aug 2020 11:41 pm    
Reply with quote

I had a teacher who made me slip blank paper between the strings and the fretboard to obscure the frets. Very tough...
_________________
Franklin D10 8&4 (8&5 now), Excel D10 8&5, homemade buffer/overdrive, Moyo pedal, GT-001 effects, Trace Elliot Elf, PRV10FR300PR 10" HiFi speaker in a tiny box.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 4:55 am    
Reply with quote

That's cruel and unusual. What did you do to rile him up? Smile

On the assumption that we're already not looking at our right hand, that leaves two considerations. First is left-right placement of the bar, which the ear should be able to cope with. What I would find tough is knowing which string the nose of the bar is on. That's what I reckon I mostly look at, rather than the frets.
_________________
Make sleeping dogs tell the truth!
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Williams keyless U12 7x8, Telonics rack and 15" cabs
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Johnie King

 

From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 6:27 am    
Reply with quote

Joe Wright does the best at not looking at the strings.
Watch some of his videos on YouTube.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 7:39 am    
Reply with quote

Yes, he is quite amazing. I shall never achieve what he does, but I'm determined to at least get my head up a bit more.
_________________
Make sleeping dogs tell the truth!
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Williams keyless U12 7x8, Telonics rack and 15" cabs
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Glenn Demichele


From:
(20mi N of) Chicago Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 8:28 am    
Reply with quote

Ian Rae wrote:
That's cruel and unusual. What did you do to rile him up? Smile.


That’s easy: I sucked.
_________________
Franklin D10 8&4 (8&5 now), Excel D10 8&5, homemade buffer/overdrive, Moyo pedal, GT-001 effects, Trace Elliot Elf, PRV10FR300PR 10" HiFi speaker in a tiny box.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 8:40 am    
Reply with quote

It’s a great idea. I am lucky to have a lovely view out the window of my practice room, and have my steel set up to take advantage of it. If I’m not doing something that requires (me) looking at the bar hand, like sliding 7 frets, I’ll take a gander outside and see what the squirrels are up to. It does put your mind in a different space - listening to what you’re playing, intonation, the sound of the guitar, maybe more relaxed, fun.

The thing that Buddy Emmons did, playing in the dark, starting out at one fret, sliding all over the place, getting back to the starting fret...but then he would turn the lights back on to see how close he was to that starting fret - that is how a great mind works.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 4:59 pm    
Reply with quote

Yes, playing in the dark (or, with your eyes closed) accomplishes several things. It sharpens you "ear", and keeps you from staring at the frets. It also keeps you from staring at your tuner! (A problem for even some fairly experienced players.) Laughing
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 7:07 pm    
Reply with quote

Thanks all for your input.
Fred, I see what you mean about the 'lightswitch reveal'.Tbis is like the choir director hitting a piano key at the end of a tune to see how far the ensemble has drifted. 😅

The eye contact thing with bandmates is good.
And audiences too. Whenever I look at those old clips of Speedy West and Buddy Merrill I'm always eaqully impressed with their 'heads up' approach as I am with their playing.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Kevin Fix

 

From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 7:31 pm    
Reply with quote

I heard that the Big "E" taught himself to play in the dark. Done it for 3 days. Did it just in case he lost his vision.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2020 2:00 am    
Reply with quote

That's a pretty stark reason!
_________________
Make sleeping dogs tell the truth!
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Williams keyless U12 7x8, Telonics rack and 15" cabs
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Jim Kennedy

 

From:
Brentwood California, USA
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2020 8:41 am    
Reply with quote

If you are sighted, part of the learning process is looking. Our brains are wired to use visual cues while learning. How else are we to know where to start? Once muscle memory is developed, looking will decrease. Looking at your at hands is a necessity, not a crutch, for new and novice players. I do not look as much as when I first started playing, but I do occasionally look to make sure I am in the ball park, and use my ears to determine if I am "on pitch" with the rest of the band. There is a lot for the brain to coordinate when playing pedal steel guitar, and looking at hand placement, given all that we do, is far from a bad thing.
_________________
ShoBud Pro 1, 75 Tele, 85 Yamaha SA 2000, Fender Cybertwin,
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2020 9:23 am    
Reply with quote

Andrew made it pretty clear in his OP that sometimes he practices without looking at the strings or hands. From my perspective it is an advanced technique, far beyond novice level, with a good deal of value for live performance.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2020 5:06 pm    
Reply with quote

What I experience alot are the sudden moments of realization that I don't actually need to be staring at my hands.
I think its safe to say there's plenty enough going on when playing steel to warrant keeping an eye on things.
But in my experience, it is a habit- a routine posture that I have to snap out of at times
What Jim is saying about developing the muscle memory and neural connections makes sense.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2020 5:12 pm    
Reply with quote

Ian Rae wrote:
That's a pretty stark reason!


Indeed 😅
Apparently he'd also practice with just right hand ring & pinky, in case he ever lost control of the other two fingers.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 3 Aug 2020 6:45 pm    
Reply with quote

This is getting grimmer - should I start practising with one arm?

I'm beginning to question what I said above about tracking the nose of the bar. I think my real reason for wanting to see the neck is the overall layout rather than the individual features, as it helps my brain to figure out what's occurring musically.
_________________
Make sleeping dogs tell the truth!
Homebuilt keyless U12 7x5, Excel keyless U12 8x8, Williams keyless U12 7x8, Telonics rack and 15" cabs
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Stu Schulman


From:
Ulster Park New Yawk
Post  Posted 4 Aug 2020 8:12 am    
Reply with quote

What I find amazing is Jonathan Candler...Totally blind,and just killing it,plus cracking jokes and a real sweetheart of a guy!!
_________________
Desert Rose S-10 4+5,Desert Rose Keyless S-10 3+5... 8+5 Mullen G2D-10 8+5 Carter D-10 8+5,Blanton SD -10 any amp that isn't broken.Steel Seat.Com seats...Licking paint chips off of Chinese toys continously since



the mid 50's.Peavey Nashville Scott Swartz Z-pickup...112,and LTD ,Sho-Bud Bill Groner .Telonics volume pedal,and 206 pickups.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 4 Aug 2020 9:01 am    
Reply with quote

[quote="Ian Rae"]This is getting grimmer - should I start practising with one arm?

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst,
I suppose. 😉
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Andrew Frost


From:
Toronto, Ontario
Post  Posted 4 Aug 2020 9:03 am    
Reply with quote

Stu Schulman wrote:
What I find amazing is Jonathan Candler...Totally blind,and just killing it,plus cracking jokes and a real sweetheart of a guy!!


Stu, I wasn't familiar with Jonathan. Looked him up, sounds like quite a picker!
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  
Please review our Forum Rules and Policies
Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction, and steel guitar accessories
www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Click Here to Send a Donation

Email SteelGuitarForum@gmail.com for technical support.


BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron