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Sideways Fingering


(@ak_guitar)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 48
Topic starter  

What if you have something like this:

-----------
--------3--
-----3-----
--3--------
-----------
-----------

I'm inclined to play this with the same finger. Is that the correct fingering? Or is there some rule like with piano that says not to play two successive notes with the same finger?

Assuming that the "correct" way to play this is with the same finger, the results I'm getting sound pretty choppy. I'm wanting a more legato effect. What might I be doing wrong? Is the answer simply "practice, practice, practice"? If so are there any good exercises that build proficiency in this area?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:2-4


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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5134
 

Yes, you could play it by barring the string with one finger. If you pluck each string individually with alternate picking, you'll get more of a staccato effect. If you want more of a legato effect, just strum the string slower than you would to strum a chord -- i.e. slowly enough to let the notes sound individually but not so slowly that they sound like three notes picked individually. A bit of a rake across the strings in other words.

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


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(@ak_guitar)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 48
Topic starter  

OK, thanks. Just to be clearer, the piece of tab that I posted is part of a melody, so I'm going after separate notes, not a chord.

I think barring in this case would produce unwanted ringing of the adjacent strings. I'm looking for a more defined melody (if that makes any sense).

Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:2-4


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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5134
 

But if you barre, you may get a more legato sound than by moving the same finger to each string. (If that's what you're asking). By the way, playing the notes of a chord individually is called an arpeggio (or arpeggiating the chord, i.e. playing the chord as though you were playing a harp).

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


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5367
 

Conventional wisdom says to either barre the third fret with your index finger; or use the 4th finger on the 2nd string, 3rd on the 3rd string and 2nd on the 4th string as though you were playing an A-shape chord.

The most important question is - what comes before it and what comes after it? OK, that's two questions, but you know what I mean. That will determine what is the best fingering.

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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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2198
 

using the same finger to finger successive notes on different strings can be a very hard thing to do well.

It's probably easier to either barre it, or to use three seperate fingers. However, what is "correct" is, as was noted above, highly dependent on other factors that we don't know about -- what's before and after, what's the tempo, what's the style, etc.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 974
 

Just a thought... Are you playing those notes with a pick or fingers? If playing with fingers then using 'rest stroke' (in which the finger, after striking the string comes to rest on the adjacent string) will ensure the notes don't produce unwanted ringing.

If using a pick, then forget I spoke :)


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(@ak_guitar)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 48
Topic starter  

I wish I could post the piece. That would require a flat-bed scanner which I don't have.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies. I think the error of my ways was thinking too much in terms of scales where one finger is assigned to each fret (give-or-take). I will try applying the A-chord form to the passage and see how that goes. Since I use individual fingers instead of a barre for that form, that should give me the control I'm looking for WRT dampening. BTW, I am using a pick, so a right hand dampening strategy won't work.

Thanks again for the replies. That helps.

Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:2-4


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(@guitarteacher)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 46
 

A melody is a succession of notes, therefore it is as important not to overlap the notes as it is not to leave gaps between them. Since you are using a pick, the most logical choice would be to use individual fingers (such as the A chord fingering you mentioned), releasing each finger at the arrival of the next note. An alternative fingering would be to use 1, 2, 1, essentially walking the left hand fingers across the strings.

GT

If you want to be good, practice. If you want to be great, you must constantly change the way you think.


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(@ak_guitar)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 48
Topic starter  

A melody is a succession of notes, therefore it is as important not to overlap the notes as it is not to leave gaps between them.

GT

Well said. That's exactly what I was trying to accomplish, notes that begin as the others end (no left-over ringing and no choppyness) but lacked the knowledge as to the proper technique. Thanks.

Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:2-4


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