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  1. #51

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    Old thread. Maybe somebody already made this point.

    Many years ago, I had the opportunity to play an L4 from the early 30s which had been in a closet for 30 years or more.

    Like new condition.

    The strings were like bridge cables and the action was what we now think of as high.

    Your pinkie would recoil in horror.

    I played some late 30's L5s which had lower action, but, by the time I played them were set up with lighter strings.

    I'm guessing that Charlie Christian's guitar wouldn't have been so easy to play, which might have contributed to a choice to limit the use of the pinkie.

    Wes started on 6 string guitar by playing CC's solos. They didn't require the pinkie and may well have sounded better without it.
    Wes later proved, to my satisfaction, anyway, that 3 fingers are enough (and Django may have proved it about 2).

    I've read other 3 finger players talk about the greater strength compared to the pinkie.

    3 finger technique requires more shifting up and down the neck. As a lifetime 4 finger player, the ease and speed of shifting position was not as obvious to me as it should have been. Once you get used to it, it works well and there probably isn't much you can't play.

    An aside: I still can't figure out how Wes fingered West Coast Blues. If anybody knows of a video showing it, please post.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #52

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    There is a good view of Wes playing it at 53:20 here:

    Last edited by grahambop; 03-24-2019 at 06:18 PM.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    There is a good view of Wes playing it at 53:20 here:


  5. #54

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    The classical cats are way ahead of us: they argue about using the fifth finger of the right hand.

    Heroic closeups of the Montgomery fingers on this clip from Jazz 625, on the BBC:

    Stan Tracey (p), Rick Laird (b), Jackie Dougan (dr)

    And another, presented by Humphrey Lyttleton:

  6. #55

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    OP mentioned Grant Green only using 3 fingers. Pretty sure this is incorrect from the video footage I've seen.

  7. #56

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    Remember how you started playing the guitar? The first thing to do was to make it through the first few weeks of finger tip soreness by playing cowboy chords and singing songs to distract you from the discomfort. All the cowboy chords are played without using your pinky. This means that by the time your fingers were toughened up, the pinky was still soft, weak, and unused. When you started to explore scales, lines, and soloing it seemed pretty natural to use the three "good" fingers that got a solid head start, and hold off on the ignored and undeveloped pinky.

    I don't think three finger playing so much comes from following the chord tone patterns because if this means something like CAGED, those patterns are from the cowboy chords, sure, but those used open strings, so if three fingers were holding strings to frets what was serving as the nut for the open strings? CAGED looks like a four finger system, to me.

  8. #57

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    This should be obvious but is rarely stated.

    And though it might help you to mimic someone else's technique - a reminder of a few things to be aware of.

    Even if you can mimic or clone someone's technique - say after a year or more - perfectly :

    You don't get their note choices and their time feel - you still have to work that out for yourself .

    If Zephyr the Goddess of Picking suddenly granted you Wes's Thumb Technique , or Benson's right and left hand technique -
    you would instantly have their articulation and most of their tones.

    But you would not 'hear' what they' hear '(heard) and instantly have their note choices and would definitely not have their time feel doesn't work that way.

    Conversely - if Wes had played with a pick or used four fingers for fretting - he might have 'heard ' the same notes and played exactly the same way ...

    Really .

    People seem to be very naive on this subject ....

    Art Tatum - basically a Savant on Piano - played a flat fingered style on Piano - very rare - it 'enabled' his stunning chops but his brain/mind was a larger factor playing with ambidextrous hand independence and incredibly low ' lag time' for his ideas to materialize.....
    His virtuosity would probably have been very similar if he used the more conventional curved finger technique on Piano .

    I don't want to debate it...not worth wasting time on it ...
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 04-19-2019 at 08:26 AM.

  9. #58

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    Woe... seems like these topics have incredible potencial.

    Maybe we could monetize it somehow?

    And again I can only say that I really appreciate that znerken did not create a new thread... but he managed to recreate older thread to make it intriguing...

    Robertkoa, you are coming in?

  10. #59

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    Didn’t we just do this? Or was that five years ago?

  11. #60

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    Is this the same thread? I don’t know any more.