Early Guitars and Vihuela

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I'm sure we all know the picture of Aguado from his 1843 method, which image some interpret as showing him with little finger resting on bridge. I'd have to presume such interpretation is arrived at by those who have not studied the text of the book.

In the book -




Aguado gives advice for arpeggios involving the ring finger, explaining that the little finger should be stretched out. (Tecla edition, page 73).

Having read this section once upon a time and followed the instruction ever after on account of finding it very helpful indeed  to stretch out that little finger for certain arpeggios,  I wonder that it's a bit of advice I've never seen mentioned elsewhere (although I've noticed one or two guitarists playing with little finger stretched out - youtube).

I was thinking about it today, and it dawned on me that in the picture, Aguado's left hand is actually holding the C major chord... poised at the ready  to play the EJERCICIO 15 it would appear!

I wondered about taking a photo of my own hand, arpeggio prepared, with little finger outstretched, would it look as if resting on bridge?

I didn't make any effort to set things up extra specially to get the desired result

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Mind you, it's probably fair to say that Aguado's advanced ideas published in 1843 are a bit far forward  for the general period enjoyed by the romantic guitars in these parts - thus of little interest here for not really actually being part of the technique in use I suppose.

Meself, I think this extending the little finger was a brilliant idea.  I took up the practice upon reading the notes on arpeggios involving the ring finger - the benefit to the plucking action of the ring finger was immediately felt, however...

Aguado seems to suggest the little finger be kept extended pretty much all the time which seemed a bit too much of a rigid discipline to me, but paying attention to my fingers today, I noticed that I seem to have my little finger extended quite a lot of the time, particularly when plucks with the ring finger are called for... habit establishing itself without me noticing.


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