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  1. #1

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    This question is really about the right hand. I've always modeled my fingerstyle after the classical technique. I use free stroke I-M for single note runs when I don't use a pick. It's perfect for nylon string guitar. But on heavy gauge steel strings, I find it too hard to get any volume. Rest strokes give more volume but transition from arpeggio technique and rest stroke is awkward.
    Today I tried to do scale runs with thumb and index (thump and middle as well). Even though I'd never done this before I could get a lot more conviction and articulation in the sound this way. I guess it wasn't hard to adjust because thumb and index runs are kinesthetically very similar to alternate picking.
    What are your thoughts about fingerstyle runs on steel strings. Do you use classical or another technique? Do you rely on the amp for the volume?
    Last edited by Tal_175; 09-21-2018 at 09:33 AM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    I revised the post and made the main point a bit clearer. Hopefully it'll get more attention this time

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    This question is really about the right hand. I've always modeled my fingerstyle after the classical technique. I use free stroke I-M for single note runs when I don't use a pick. It's perfect for nylon string guitar. But on heavy gauge steel strings, I find it too hard to get any volume. Rest strokes give more volume but transition from arpeggio technique and rest stroke is awkward.
    Today I tried to do scale runs with thumb and index (thump and middle as well). Even though I'd never done this before I could get a lot more conviction and articulation in the sound this way. I guess it wasn't hard to adjust because thumb and index runs are kinesthetically very similar to alternate picking.
    What are your thoughts about fingerstyle runs on steel strings. Do you use classical or another technique? Do you rely on the amp for the volume?


    I like TI as well, though I don’t actually use it, but it feels good. If your sound is consistent, go for it.

    OT, my main gripe with me classical training was the lack of training for the pinky. I see what yamashita can do with his, then I look at mine just hanging there sad and forgotten about. I’m trying to remedy it.

  5. #4

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    I traded playing nice and loud with pick to playing much softer but faster and with way more options with fingers. Hm, recently I transcribed a pop sax solo and found it's 96% doable with fingers.. impossible with pick(for my skills at least). So, so there's also that.
    It wouldn't work on big big stage at all (the eleven is missing) but whatever, it's just a hobby for me

  6. #5

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    Lorne Lofsky uses thumbpick and index finger for single note runs. Lenny Breau used this technique as well as other finger combinations for his. I favor t/i or t/a over i/m although without their proficiency or speed.

  7. #6

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    I find I do an organic mix of pi in the lower registers and im for most of my single line playing. Only when I am deliberately running scales do I find I stick with im. The truth is that the thumb is slower for me, but moving my hand way up on the soundboard to play im lines on the 6th or 5th is just impractical.

    I should add that I've developed the annoying habit of starting most lines with a pmi triplet before continuing with im lines. I am trying to break that habit so my lines aren't so repetitive and predictable --but old habits die hard.

  8. #7
    Speed with I-M to me requires some nail action, soft strings and responsive, light soundboard (aka nylon sting guitar). Perhaps I haven't pursued this hard enough but on a steal string guitar, speed with I-M (no nails) comes at the expense of articulation and tone in my case. By speed I don't mean anything crazy. Let's say 120 bpm 16th notes.
    Is, for example, a two octave scale run, ascend and descend on a 12 gauge archtop using I-M at that speed with a convincing articulation and tone an attainable goal? I'm curious, though, I don't doubt there are players here who can do that.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 09-22-2018 at 08:42 AM.

  9. #8

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    Joe Pass is amazing for doing these really fast bop runs in his playing, and his RH positioning looks very much straight out of Carcassi, very standard classical looking. Doesn't prop on the pinky, etc. But it's hard to distinguish between his pick paying and finger playing much of the time.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    I find I do an organic mix of pi in the lower registers and im for most of my single line playing. Only when I am deliberately running scales do I find I stick with im. .
    My classical guitar teacher could play fastest with PI, he said if a phrase was too fast he would "cheat" by playing it PI instead of standard IM. He was a fantastic player of course
    White belt
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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Joe Pass is amazing for doing these really fast bop runs in his playing, and his RH positioning looks very much straight out of Carcassi, very standard classical looking. Doesn't prop on the pinky, etc. But it's hard to distinguish between his pick paying and finger playing much of the time.
    That's true. Although I don't like his tone in some recordings, but that probably has more to do with other elements of the recording set up than his technique.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    My classical guitar teacher could play fastest with PI, he said if a phrase was too fast he would "cheat" by playing it PI instead of standard IM. He was a fantastic player of course
    That's probably is the best approach. Do both but use I-M as the default as it's not very natural to always have to reach treble strings with the thumb.

  13. #12

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    Virtuoso Guitarist Vol 1. New Approach to Fast Scales.
    by Matt Palmer

    Nice book takes 3 note per string scales and shows a method for using a AMI pattern to play them fast.
    This is the basic pattern used for tremolo so can be really fast if you practice -(slow and with metronome ... click click is your friend)

    Big improvement is possible, I am already adapting to the method as it fuses the jazz style left hand 3 note per string scale patterns I have played for years with classical guitar fingering on right hand. BTW it works on my steel string acoustic guitar too.

    There are some preview things on youtube - the book is where it's at though.


  14. #13

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    I don't really do what you'd call fingerstyle, but play without a pick very often, and it's mostly about the thumb for single note lines.

  15. #14

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    I've been pretty much all thumb for the last decade, getting the other fingers involved for comping and wider intervallic patterns. Letting the amp do the work is a valid approach. John Abercrombie hipped me to the strategy of using a clean boost pedal with the output cranked and starting the gig with a volume pedal at around 75% up, so you can get louder without having to dig in too much and overplay the strings. Have you checked out Kevin Eubanks right hand approach? I think he has a more consistent p-i approach to John's mostly p with occasional i thrown in...

    PK

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut View Post
    Have you checked out Kevin Eubanks right hand approach?
    I'll check his style out thanks. Looks like he uses P-M. I'm also interested in people who use P-I or P-M and into solo guitar arrangements. I wonder how they approach polyphony with this style.

  17. #16

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    I gave up the pick for good a few years ago. It was never comfortable for me. Sounds like my right hand style is similar to the OP. Thumb and index for single note lines. Other fingers get involved when they need to.
    I try to avoid thinking about my right hand...it almost always leads to overthinking it. If you're right-handed, that RH is pretty good at things. It's gotten you through a lot of stuff in life. It will keep up surprisingly well if you just leave it alone until there's a specific problem.
    When I started taking lessons, I was worried my teacher would try to change my RH technique or get me to use a pick. He actually likes the way I do things. He says the tone is great. And when I do run into a specific issue where my right hand can't manage something, I figure out a way to solve the issue. Then that becomes part of the technique.

  18. #17
    Can someone give me a good resource for PI or PM scale runs? I'd like to try it out but my attempts so far feel very awkward. I'm assuming it's not like the thumb-under technique that was used on lute which Rob McKillop introduced me too.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow of the Sun View Post
    Can someone give me a good resource for PI or PM scale runs? I'd like to try it out but my attempts so far feel very awkward. I'm assuming it's not like the thumb-under technique that was used on lute which Rob McKillop introduced me too.
    Well, what I do is P on downbeats and I( or M) on upbeats. You can use any resource for scale practice and apply this technique. It's a more forgiving technique I think than I-M, so I doubt there are as much material/discussion on the mechanics of release on follow through and such for this technique.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow of the Sun View Post
    Can someone give me a good resource for PI or PM scale runs? I'd like to try it out but my attempts so far feel very awkward. I'm assuming it's not like the thumb-under technique that was used on lute which Rob McKillop introduced me too.
    Having had a few Lute lessons, it is not that different. IMHO a lot of classical players use pi for fast runs. Classical technique isn‘t set in stone, either.

    On a different note, again inspired by Rob, I‘ve used the pick a lot on my Classical.


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  21. #20

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    m being the longest finger, p-m is a good scale combination. the issue has more to do with damping the ringing notes, getting speed and tone just takes a few weeks of metronome practice, but figuring out how to damp the other strings is a special study.

  22. #21

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    Switching over to fingerstyle a couple of years ago, I started taking classical and some flamenco lessons and while I'm no speed demon, I have improved greatly. I spent some time watching the technique video done by Slyvain Courtney. While I attempted to emulate the PIM approach, I also use my ring finger (A) quite a bit as well. It has taken me a while to get to the point where I'm not always thinking about finger placement/usage.



  23. #22

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    I had a classical guitar teacher tell me you should be able to get the same tone with a free stroke as you get with a rest stroke.

    Cool, then I'll just do free strokes.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft View Post
    Switching over to fingerstyle a couple of years ago, I started taking classical and some flamenco lessons and while I'm no speed demon, I have improved greatly. I spent some time watching the technique video done by Slyvain Courtney. While I attempted to emulate the PIM approach, I also use my ring finger (A) quite a bit as well. It has taken me a while to get to the point where I'm not always thinking about finger placement/usage.


    Cool technique. But unfortunately it involves using nails. I'm certainly not a big fan of having and maintaining long nails. I think, though, it's very difficult to have speed without nails using I-M. That's the appeal of P-I for me. I think speed is more feasible with P-I without nails.

  25. #24

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    One has to go with what works for one's self but as far as myself I can't play fast enough with just thumb and index. I also can't play well without some nail. Mind you I don't have nails anywhere near the length of Sylvain's more like the length of Joe Pass' nails (see pic below). If my nails get any longer than Joe's, my tone suffers i.e. too thin, tinny. Unfortunately I have weak nails so at one time or another I'm left with no nail at all at least on one finger.

    Last edited by rob taft; 09-28-2018 at 05:03 PM.

  26. #25

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    here is a short vid that shows my approach.


    Tim

  27. #26

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    I tend to play mostly PI, legato, and a lot of things borrowed from Kevin Eubanks technique (which i really like!) on steel strings. I just feel that to really develop speed using traditional classical IM technique is a huge time and practice investment i can never really make. I work at it, enjoy it, but to get it to a high level would probably require practicing for many hours every day, whereas the PI technique feels doable to me, coming from a non-classical background..

  28. #27
    I just found another thread on this subject that was started in 2015 for those who are interested in this subject:
    How to do line runs fingerstyle??
    Also I found out Rob MacKillop (also a member here) has a good website that covers this:
    rmclassicalguitar

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    I tend to play mostly PI, legato, and a lot of things borrowed from Kevin Eubanks technique (which i really like!) on steel strings. I just feel that to really develop speed using traditional classical IM technique is a huge time and practice investment i can never really make. I work at it, enjoy it, but to get it to a high level would probably require practicing for many hours every day, whereas the PI technique feels doable to me, coming from a non-classical background..
    Does anyone know where to find info on Kevin Eubanks' technique? It looks interesting, but it's hard to identify what he's doing just by watching, and I can't find much explanation in my searches.

  30. #29

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    I have been trying the thumb/index technique out today and it seems to work quite well. Even though I’ve never tried it before, I can get a reasonable speed with it and it seems to ‘swing’ more than IM.

    Even though I have a reasonable classical guitar technique I have never been very happy using IM for fast jazz lines, so the PI method looks promising.

  31. #30
    Inspired by one of Rob MacKillop's videos, I tried P-I-M today for even faster lines. It's pretty cool when extra speed is needed. It makes string crossing very smooth. It can be very useful for playing triplets too. Ta-ka-da ta-ka-da ta-ka-da ...

  32. #31

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    Here’s one of Rob’s videos demonstrating PIM, I must try this out too!


  33. #32

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    Check out a player called Nelson Veras. He recorded a duo album with kreisberg

  34. #33
    Of course there is always the hybrid picking option. Even though I use hybrid picking sometimes, I find that it has a limited potential to explore guitars polyphony. Two of your best fingers become one. You lose one of your best pickers. But what's worse is they (pick holding fingers) would have to play the bass part of polyphonic passages, not the melody. Given that most work both in speed and articulation is in the melody, it's conceptually not well suited to more complex polyphony.
    One solution to that is to string the guitar up side down. Treble strings at the top, bass strings at the bottom. Then I hybrid picking can be more powerful. I wonder anybody did that (other than some left handed players out of necessity).

  35. #34
    Here is a good article that recommends P-I, instead of I-M.
    Classical Guitar Right Hand Speed

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    Here is a good article that recommends P-I, instead of I-M.
    Classical Guitar Right Hand Speed
    Very interesting article, thanks for posting it. I am trying the P-I technique a bit and it seems that it may be better suited for me than I-M, which always felt unnatural (especially on steel strings).