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Rule of Thumb for fingers

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(@robbie)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 453
Topic starter  

I have trouble when reading and playing tabs. Up till now have been basically playing open and barre chords but want to incorporate some licks It seems I never know what fingers to us for the individual strings and frets. I get the concept of one finger one fret but some tabs cover many frets and I seem to get lost when trying to reach them. Anyone have any suggestions as to how to start playing these tabs and how do you determine what fingers to use on any particular fret. Thanx for this
Robbie


   
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(@musenfreund)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

It's a bit of a difficult question to answer without seeing a tab, but in general look at the licks and figure out where they're situated on the neck. 5th to 8th fret? 7-10? You can often figure out a four fret box to play in using four fingers.

Have you learned how to play scales up and down the neck? You'll find, for example, that most rock or blues licks are played in the pentatonic scale. If you learn that scale and practice playing it up and down the neck, you'll become much more comfortable fingering these riffs across the fretboard.

I hope that helps.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@robbie)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thanx musenfriend. I have practiced the pentatonic scale but must say that I usually play it in A, not up and down the fretboard,will try that tho. A very simple tab would be the intro to Jonny Langs "give me up again" although it seems simple I don't know whether to play for instance the B string with just my ring finger,G with middle and D with index.Then on the A string seem to want to just use my index. The tab goes like this:
E..........................................
B.4/5..4.................................
G............4.............................
D.................4........................
A......................2..1.2/4..........

Robbie


   
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(@musenfreund)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

I'd try either the index or middle finger for the beginning of the figure and just barre at the 4th fret.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@jasoncolucci)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 339
 

usually songs go in positions. for example, second position suggests that your index finger would be on the second fret and you would use the middle for the third, ring for the fourt, and pinky for the fifth(obviously there are acceptances when the same fret is played on a few strings). Just look for what position it may be in...of course it's not all the simple. As well, try to use your index or pinky as guide fingers based on the direction the song is going in. It'll come with practice but keeping these things in mind should help.

Guitarin' isn't a job, so don't make it one.


   
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(@Anonymous)
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usually songs go in positions. for example, second position suggests that your index finger would be on the second fret and you would use the middle for the third, ring for the fourt, and pinky for the fifth(obviously there are acceptances when the same fret is played on a few strings).

That's where I have problems is when you play different strings on the same fret and it's not convenient to barre the fret. Any sugestions on that?

Thanks


   
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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

If you're playing two or more notes simultaneously, then barring the notes with one finger is certainly an option. However, methinks a cleaner solution is to look at what comes after the simultaneous notes and what fingering you need for that. That way, the easiest fingering for the simultaneous notes is the one that makes the change easiest.

From your tab, I think you need to do a position shift. Start at the 4th position. Barre the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings, the opening 4/5 on the 2nd string is a hammer on using the 2nd finger, then rake up across the 2nd 3rd and 4th strings at the 4th fret, ===>change to 1st position<===, finger the 5th string with the 2nd finger at the 2nd fret, then the first finger at the 1st fret, 2nd finger at the 2nd fret again - and then you have a choice. Either slam the pinky down on the 4th fret for the hammer, or slide the 2nd finger up to the 4th fret, depending on what comes next.

And - when Musenfreund talks about playing a pentatonic up and down the neck, I presume he means from the 6th string to the 1st string and back again in all five positions (with repeats if you can get to the frets above the 12th). If any of that leaves you thinking wha? then let us know and we'll point you in the direction of some very good David Hodge lessons on this site.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

Some great advice,
I would only add, when looking at a piece, see if there is a chord shape associated. (not really true in the tab you posted but often true)
Quite often pieces are written around chord shapes and if you hold that chord shape you can often play a particular measure with very little finger movement.
Look for a way to play with as little moving around as possible.
When I looked at the tab you posted my first thought was to barre the 4th fret with my ring finger and hammer with my pinky, leaving my index and middle fingers open and ready to grab the 1st and 2nd fret on the A string.
Many ways to do it, play around with it and come up with what is most comfortable for you.


   
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(@robbie)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 453
Topic starter  

Thanx guys, have tried a couple of suggestions and they all work fairly well for this short tab.Barring the fourth fret works and was not one of the things that first came to mind for me. I see there is no definite answer to how to play any one piece. I guess I was looking for a magical answer that would help me with all tabs, I see this isn't going to happen. Have looked at several lessons and get too much info too fast doing this. Alan or anyone else could you recommend one of David's lessons to focus on for the next while.Maybe I need to focus on learning one step at a time rather than jumpnig around Once again thanks for the help so far.
Robbie


   
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