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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:16 PM
Risha Grip


Hey Everyone,

One of the great things about playing with Simon has been watching his hands close up on a regular basis. Recently something struck me about the way he holds the risha that I had never examined very carefully before.

Basically, he keeps the flat side of the risha flush against the palm of his hand. I noticed in my own playing that the risha tends to drift towards my fingers, often flush against the last finger joint and consequently perpendicular (or nearly) to my palm. Having made more of a conscious effort to keep it flat, I notice better articulation (especially at faster speeds), more control, less tension, and more economical wrist motion. I don't know if this will be helpful to everyone (I'm certainly not going to say it's the "right" or best way to play), but it sure is helping me.

In case my descriptions aren't clear, I took pictures.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:18 PM


Yes:
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:19 PM


No:
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:20 PM


Yes:
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:21 PM


no:
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:23 PM


yes
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-26-2007 at 08:24 PM


nope:
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jwold
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[*] posted on 3-27-2007 at 12:27 PM


So Brian,

Your photos are excellent. This is exactly what I was looking for. I have a question though.

It seems that with this grip, with the tip of the risha poking out almost like a screwdriver (or an extended thumbnail), that you have to really bend your wrist in order to get a good angle of attack?

Just wondering...thanks
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[*] posted on 3-27-2007 at 05:22 PM


Thanks for going to the trouble of providing photographs, Brian. That is very helpful.

Regards,

Greg
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[*] posted on 3-27-2007 at 05:30 PM


Very nice Brian. Thanks for taking the time. Any tips on Simon's technique is always welcome. It's amazing how small changes can make a huge difference. I keep an oud at work, and just playing short 5 minutes bursts sometimes makes a real difference. I also noticed that if you can force yourself to calm down and relax, technique improves dramatically. For novice casual players like myself this can really improve playing.



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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-27-2007 at 06:47 PM


Jwold,

Actually, exactly the opposite is true. the way that the tip pokes out makes it possible to play with an almost perfectly straight wrist, with virtually no bend (as Simon in fact plays). This allows, among other things, more variety of attacks and more effective upstrokes.
It takes a little getting used to, but you should find that a nearly straight wrist gives you a perfect angle of attack with this grip.
I should note though, that this assumes your arm is coming around the front of the oud (directly in line with the neck) and not around the top. This can be difficult for people with short arms and large ouds.
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[*] posted on 3-28-2007 at 01:33 AM


Mr. Prunka,

Thank you for a wonderful advice.

As you've said, it is feeling a it awkward at the moment, but I think it's just a matter of time before getting used to. But an interesting thing is that this hold is making tremolos on thicker strings more accessible. For a moment, too, I've actually noticed that I momentarily lost all "woosh"es marring my picking. As with everything else, further practice will show.

The thing that keeps me wondering, however, is the amount of risha that is loose, i.e. beyond the left edge of the thumb. I don't seem to manage to get "control" when I make as it should be (more correctly, as I see it with most players), and when I play, I unconciously start making that loose bit shorter. I've also noticed that I do this with different stiffness.

Thanks again,
Hamid
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[*] posted on 3-28-2007 at 02:31 AM


Thanks a million Brian,

This does really improve playing, and much easier and faster attack :xtreme::applause:

PS: what risha type used on photos, just curious as it looks fab,

best regards

Awad
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[*] posted on 3-28-2007 at 08:51 AM


I will try coming around lower down. I messed about with it a bit this morning before heading off to work and found it really slowed me down...though I am a complete novice at this coming from a guitar/banjo playing background.

I think I was coming more in from the top of the oud, and with the risha extending out from my thumb, I couldn't hit the strings without my wrist being completely bent.

It sounds like the attack of the risha (sounds like a sci-fi film, eh?) with a straight wrist is more parallell to the strings as opposed to say a 45 angle...does that make sense?

Brian if you can, I'd like to see a photo from "your eyes" perspective looking down over the top as though you were playing to check out that wrist angle..though I think I understand what you are saying.
I think the oud I have is somewhat large, but I have never been accused of having short arms...dragging those knuckles on the ground has always been a problem...
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-28-2007 at 09:06 AM


Amtaha,
You've indirectly hit on another benefit of this grip. With very slight adjustments of your thumb and index finger, you can vary the stiffness and length of the risha tip. I know what you're talking about, and I don't think it's entirely undesirable, but is one way of playing that can b e useful.
However, keeping the risha longer and focusing wrist oscillation and forearm rotation may help you get control of that aspect of playing. It's hard to describe, but I think if you practice it, you'll see what I'm getting at.

Abusin,
It's just a plastic risha. I don't know how to describe it. It's not the soft rubbery yissi type, or the pyramid type. I spent a lot of time shaping it.

Jwold,
The risha is still coming in at an angle. It's hard to take pictures while holding the oud, but I'll try. This grip does allow you to vary the angle quite a bit, though. Incidentally, I'm planning a trip out to Portland soon, maybe we can hang out.
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palestine48
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[*] posted on 3-28-2007 at 08:03 PM


i am no expert and far less experienced than brian. but the way my teacher taught me to hold seems very similar to what brian is discovering.

but instead of going through the step by step picture procress that brian is showing. the most effeciant way i am finding is to make a cirlce out of your thumb an index finger like as in your making the hand symble for the term "ok".

the risha should be in between the the conections of the finger tips as if its preventing them from touching. then wrap the rest of the fingers around the risha.

p.s. my teacher says if someone were to sneak up on you and slip the rish from your fingers it should easily come out. if the person is facing resistance then you are gripping the risha too tight.
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[*] posted on 3-30-2007 at 08:34 PM
Risha Video


I posted a short video of Afif Taian's right hand. Afif has a great percussive attack with a solid rythm. This video focuses on his picking hand from a few angles so you can see the angle of attack.

http://www.varis.com/Oud/Afif-risha.mov



:xtreme:




regards,

Lee Varis
varis@varis.com , www.varis.com
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[*] posted on 3-30-2007 at 08:44 PM
Another One


I just realized that this last movie was from only one angle so here's another one from a different angle:

http://www.varis.com/Oud/Risha-2.mov




regards,

Lee Varis
varis@varis.com , www.varis.com
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 4-10-2007 at 11:56 AM


Hey Lee, that's really interesting. As far as I can see, Afif is holding the risha in the way I described, but unlike Simon his wrist has a pretty extreme angle.
This is why I stated before that I'm not saying anything about the "right" or best way to play . . . I've seen too many oud players get amazing results with techniques that are very different. There are some great players who swear by having the risha go between the 3rd and 4th finger.
I'm curious about how long Afif's arms are and if it has anything to do with his wrist angle.
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[*] posted on 9-14-2014 at 12:01 PM


Bumping this - Brian, the photos seem to have gone. Do you have them to hand [if you pardon the pun?]
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[*] posted on 9-14-2014 at 02:34 PM


I think Mike purged old photos from the forum a couple of years back . . . I will see if I can find them, if not I will take new ones



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[*] posted on 9-14-2014 at 04:39 PM


Wow, interesting discovery. Hope you can find the original pictures :)
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 9-14-2014 at 04:51 PM


I might just do new pics anyway . . . I'm sure I've refined the grip since the original post in 2007



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[*] posted on 9-15-2014 at 09:43 AM


Would be excellent, Brian. Very much looking forward to it.
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[*] posted on 9-20-2014 at 07:42 PM


Looking forward to seeing these. :applause:



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