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  #16  
Old 03-25-2023, 12:43 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Originally Posted by mawmow View Post
My former coach told me that he used to play in front of a mirror.
Playing in front of a mirror is good to see how you look to an audience, but not to look at your fretting.
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  #17  
Old 03-25-2023, 11:58 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Originally Posted by RichardN View Post
If you are reading music, or tabs or chord charts you can't look.
Sure you can. It's called "reading ahead." You're playing one thing while you're looking at the next thing. Or your neck. It's no different than driving a car -- if you're looking way down the road, you're fine. If you're looking at the road right where you are, you're gonna die.
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  #18  
Old 03-26-2023, 02:13 AM
Andyrondack Andyrondack is offline
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I watched a John Renbourn dvd last night and while playing Judi, Anji, Sweet Potatoe and White House Blues which are mostly in 1st position he wasn't looking at the fretboard. Others requiring more fretboard jumps then yes he looked.
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  #19  
Old 03-26-2023, 07:20 AM
mawmow mawmow is offline
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Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Playing in front of a mirror is good to see how you look to an audience, but not to look at your fretting.
With respect for your opinion, he was instructed to do so while studying at university.

I understand it is a way to help the fretting hand without looking at the fretboard.
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  #20  
Old 03-26-2023, 07:42 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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I've been teaching guitar on and off since the early 80s.

I don't agree either, if you need to look, you look if you don't then, well, don't.

guitar is hard enough to master without making things up to increase the difficulties.

...some teachers are better than others...
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  #21  
Old 03-26-2023, 07:49 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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Sorry, I enjoy watching a master at work.

Actually, I do and I don't. In the first position it's not necessary. But if at some point I'm going to jump up to, say, the ninth fret, I want to pretty well be sure it's the ninth fret.
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  #22  
Old 03-26-2023, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rllink View Post
My teacher has been riding me for over a year not to watch my hands. I noticed this week if I keep looking at them they get self conscience because they are being watched and mess up. I'm a not a great player by any means but I'm better if I don't watch. I just thought that was interesting.
Practicing not to look at my hands, I discovered that playing in bed at night with the lights out worked best by necessitating that I play without looking at my hands - thereby breaking the eye/hand fixation behavior problem.

This method stops the eye/hand fixation problem for as long as the light is out. This provides practice with playing without watching your fingers.

This method also helps you develop skills needed to play on a dimly lit stage or in any dimly lit environment.
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  #23  
Old 03-26-2023, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
Some things are just bad habits that a person falls into and then they try to correct them. I see the same people play the same song week after week for years now and they still have their head stuck behind a music stand.
It seems like people have a tendency to develop strong and repetitive behavior patterns. People seem to like to fall into regular behavior patterns. People like to build a bubble of comfortable behavior patterns within which they feel comfortable living.

These behavior patterns are strongly ingrained and they are difficult to change. Such as in 'watching your fingers '.

This kind of change requires focus and concentration, and practice.

I personally don't always look at the strings but sometimes I do. Sometimes watching my fingers messes things up ...
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  #24  
Old 03-27-2023, 01:15 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Default Watching my hands.

I looked at my hands when I first started out and little by little developed the ability to seamlessly look when I need to without staring so intently. It becomes more of a soft focus and part of your peripheral vision. Some folks look a lot at their fretboard and others not so much. If you are anchored in the music and express the emotion of the song, Iím not sure it matters.
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  #25  
Old 03-27-2023, 01:39 PM
Woolbury Woolbury is offline
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I definitely look at the fretboard as I play, and I learned how much I depended on it when I began doing some open mics a few years back. Trying to cover the microphone for vocals and looking at the neck was a real challenge for me. I actually started sitting a bit sideways so I could cover the mic and set the fretboard in the same view. Not the best approach. So, from that perspective, the more practice you have without having to view the fretboard constantly, the more flexibility you'll have with singing and performing.
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  #26  
Old 03-27-2023, 02:49 PM
capefisherman capefisherman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Sure you can. It's called "reading ahead." You're playing one thing while you're looking at the next thing. Or your neck. It's no different than driving a car -- if you're looking way down the road, you're fine. If you're looking at the road right where you are, you're gonna die.
Brent - EXACTLY!!! That is what I was trying to convey in my answer at the beginning of this thread. And in fact, I use that exact analogy with students (driving and anticipating).

A few of the responses here that diss looking at the hands and encourage not looking either missed one of my points or didn't understand it: except for perhaps a raw beginner hassling through a repetitive three, four or five chord song, looking at your hands to CONFIRM you're in the right place is counterproductive and will surely slow you down or cause the player to lose the beat. Anticipation, that's basically my entire point, and every great guitar player I've ever seen in ANY genre looks at his or her hands. But I seriously doubt they're thinking: yup, that's it, got it!

But the reality is that there are WAY too many variables to make a blanket statement that one should never or always look and if that's the way I framed my initial response - always looking - I apologize. If you're playing a gig where connecting with your audience using songs they know is paramount I won't argue for a second that NOT looking is way, way better strategy because eye contact with listeners is so important. As is smiling and letting your audience know that you're enjoying what you're doing, but that's an entirely different discussion ;~)

I also agree that for SOME people - and I'm talking about people who can do this....some just can't.....the idea of closing your eyes when practicing is a really beneficial way to develop the skill of anticipation. I've always wondered and been intrigued with what goes on in the "musical brain" of greats like Doc Watson, Jose Feliciano and Stevie Wonder who obviously don't have to worry about whether to look or not!
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  #27  
Old 03-27-2023, 03:19 PM
Nama Ensou Nama Ensou is offline
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Originally Posted by capefisherman View Post
...look at the lead guitarist behind that person. You will immediately notice that this person's eyes don't leave the guitar very often, if at all.
Absolutely excellent post, except for (in turn) this part, which is only mostly true. There are many solos where one only has to look once for location and can then finish and go back to rhythm without having to look again, or open position solos that can be done without have to look even once. These are only a couple of exceptions, but I thought at least worth pointing out.

I don't know if I play it in the same position as the original, but the simple solo on Have You Ever Seen the Rain is one that once I'd played it enough times I completely quit having to watch my hand, and it came during a period where I was making a conscious effort to keep looking up all night as much as possible. Even doing the double stop part going up to the 7th fret, still don't have to look, since it's so easily linked to what comes both before and after and the linking is the important part. Many solos can even be played up and down the neck without looking as long as they're linked parts, or someone puts in enough practice to nail their fingerboard locations.

Many times the heel of the neck and headstock are reliable locators, at least for doing very high lead parts, or dropping all the way back down to play in open position or change back to rhythm.
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  #28  
Old 04-05-2023, 08:09 AM
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Bluenose Bluenose is offline
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As I was playing along with Rainer Brunns' latest posting which is Blind Boy Fullers' Lost Lover Blues, I noticed that if I looked at my fretting hand I would mess up right away. Rainer plays the song capoed at the 3rd fret and I'm so used to playing without a capo that I forget and use the fret markers on the guitar for reference which throws me off right away. This is a good reason for me not to look at my fretting hand when I'm capoed on an odd fret.
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