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single-string slide melodies

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(@moonchild)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

I'm beginning to teach myself how to play fingerpicking slide guitar in open D tuning. The lessons I use start with single-string melodies (on the high E string) with the thumb playing the bass part (basically just playing the open low E string on every beat).

But I'm not sure which fingers I should use for the melody on the high E string. The lessons I use don't give any information about that (just says "the fingers"). I started by playing every notes with my ring finger as I'm used to fingerpick using index, middle and ring respectively on strings 3, 2 and 1 but it seems like a waste to me as all the melody notes are on the high E string (which means that I use my ring finger all the time and never use my index and middle finger...) Should I stick with this (knowing that later on I'll use all three bottom strings for the melody) or use my index and/or middle finger on the high E string?


   
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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Lots of great blues players have used only their thumb and index finger to pick. If you throw in the middle finger it helps with rapidly repeating notes to be able to alternate fingers on the same string when needed.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@rockhard)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 13
 

I taught myself open d tuning using a disposable lighter for a slide. I just "roughed it out" using the slide then improvised with my fingers. Amazing what the slide taught me. Hope this helps.

Maybe I should clarify, if it is possible , since I have no formal schooling in music. I was really just experimenting one night with a slide of dubious origin (the bic lighter) when I stumbled upon the finger picking style I have heard so often in Blues and Rock songs. I discovered with patience and perserverence these slide techniques can be played with your fingers (painfully until sufficent callus build up dulls the senses). I am embarrased to admit that I "borrowed" an antique sewing thimble made of porcelain, from my wife to play a slide/fingering technique that I use somewhat regurlarly. I place the thimble on my my ring finger (because thats where it fits) and play using it as a slide so that determines how I play. It is different to say the least but I have heard stranger stories. Anyway sorry to bore you with my eccentricities.

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma


   
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(@moonchild)
Active Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

Lots of great blues players have used only their thumb and index finger to pick. If you throw in the middle finger it helps with rapidly repeating notes to be able to alternate fingers on the same string when needed.

Would it make sense to force myself to always use my index on the beat and my middle finger on the offbeat? (at the moment the exercises I do only use eighth-note, but maybe it's not always going to be like that, what would I do then?)


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

To tell the truth, I've never thought of it that formally. Mostly I pick with the thumb on the bass strings and the index and middle fingers picking separate strings for the melody, going to alternating them on one string only when a note needs to be repeated rapidly. I throw in the ring finger occasionally when I want to pick 4 strings at once. There aren't hard and fast rules for picking blues. There are lots of different styles individual players have used. It's not like classical guitar at all.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 300m
(@300m)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 339
 

I do not personally fingerpick.. yet. But in Jamie Andreas book he does cover this. I skipped that area as I use a pick. However on the guitar priciples forum there are a lot of classical and fingerpickers who could answer your questions. You want this forum http://www.guitarprinciples.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=2

John M


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

However, blues players do not use classical fingerpicking techniques.

Here's where I'd go to ask your question: http://www.bigroadblues.com/cgi/dcforum/dcboard.cgi
:D

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 300m
(@300m)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Interesting, I did not know there was a difference in fingerpicking!

John M


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

My point is that most blues players have not been formally trained in "the proper way" to fingerpick. They have just done it the way they found worked. If you want to use Segovias' techniques, you may not sound like Bukka White. Neither is "wrong," IMO.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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 300m
(@300m)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 339
 

Thanks for the info. Always good to learn something :)
Very good point also. Fingerpicking is something I want to learn, just have a lot on my plate right now. I would like to get my foundations down right before I add more new to the mix.

John M


   
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