'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Guitarists Hands - and Nails

The next time you find yourself at a concert, enjoying the sublime music and admiring the dexterity of the musician, take a moment to reflect, that behind every musician lies a significant other, carrying out a million household chores, that most people take for granted.
All musicians have to take care of their hands. They are their livelihood after all. But for guitarists it goes even further.
Not just the hands but the right hand nails too.

Those damned nails.

Robin goes to great lengths to protect his hands, but as you can imagine, protecting the nails of the right hand is a full time job in itself.
He long ago retrained his brain to use his left hand for tasks which he would instinctively have used his right.
Opening doors for example.
Such a simple procedure, but many a 'chip' in a nail, can be obtained whist carrying out such a manoeuvre.
Therefore Robin uses his left hand.
That may sound easy, but when you are naturally right handed, you have to override your urge to reach out with your dominant hand.
I tried it for a day once, and believe me, it isn't as easy as it sounds.
Luckily for Robin it has now become second nature.

You may be wondering what has brought on this tirade.
I'll tell you.
A new bicycle.
Son number one has grown.
Consequently his indestructible, easy maintenance bike, is now too small.
Off they went to purchase a new one with great excitement.
They came back with the new bike and explained all the special features.
Disc brakes and far too many gears to even think about.
So they went on a ride.
They came home full of joy and son still had his front teeth despite the disc breaks being much keener than the ones he was used to.

The next day they went out again.
This time my nephew was with them.
I was very pleased he was as the chain came off the bike.
Luckily for us my nephew is an experienced cyclist, and despite his young age, 8, deftly put the chain back in place.
This may have something to do with his Dad, my brother, being one of only two people to have cycled across Iceland. The other person being his friend that was with him at the time.

Unluckily for us, they went out again today, and nephew wasn't there.
You guessed it, the chain came off again.
I don't know if this is a faulty bike, or, if son number one just has to get used to gear changes.
However it left Robin in a dilemma.
Does he try and put the chain back on and please son, or, push the bike home and get me to do it.

When they arrived home Robin was already explaining that he had to play tonight and could hardly turn up covered in oil.
He has a point.
As you, the audience, admire his playing and watch every move those hands make, you really don't want to see ingrained oil, and what about the NAILS....

So I have now officially added bicycle maintenance to my ever growing list of jobs.
As I said, when you are next at a concert, enjoy the music, but remember that somewhere in the background is a hard working wife, whose hands are nowhere near as clean.
Don't even get me started on washing up.
Now, where's the swarfega?

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