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  1. #1

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm an beginner guitarist who is learning to play jazz guitar. In this moment, I'm studying with the third book of Jody Fisher (Mastering Chord/melody) and I'm wondering if there are any kinds of exercises to play with the five fingers of the right hand. Many of the exercises of this method require to play five notes at the same with the right hand.

    I'm having some problems to play with my thumb, index, middle, ring and pinky fingers at the same time and I don't know how to practice this technique.

    I'll appreciate your help and advice to overcome this challenge.
    P.D: Sorry for my English. It isn't my native language.

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  3. #2

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    Never heard of that! Unless it's a flamenco technique. I'd strum. Try it, it works!

  4. #3

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    I am working on that 5-finger chord technique as well, it's a bear. Try this: start with thumb and index together, make a C chord, play on the 5th and 4th strings slowly and evenly with a metronome, say 8 beats, then add middle to those, same routine, add ring finger, then add little finger. You will have to have your right hand at an angle that allows the little finger to reach the 1st string, and you may need to grow the nail out a bit to get a sound. After doing the exercise for a few minutes, reverse it: p-c, p-ca, p-cam, p-cami (p=thumb, I=index, m=middle, a- angular or ring, c=little or chico). this will take you some weeks to get down. The alternative is to strum bottom two notes with thumb and pluck 3 notes with i-m-a or m-a-c.

    In addition, try playing arpeggios on 5 strings with 5 fingers: use a chord progression like C-E7-Am-G7, and play p-i-m-a-c-a-m-i slowly in even 1/8 notes with metronome. This will take some time, but will be a worthwhile investment in a more efficient technique. In fact, start with the arpeggios and then do the chord-building, the arps will warm you up.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Never heard of that! Unless it's a flamenco technique. I'd strum. Try it, it works!
    Yeah, I considered that option but Jody Fisher recommends to use the five fingers of the right hand. He says that this is useful to play chord melody.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    I am working on that 5-finger chord technique as well, it's a bear. Try this: start with thumb and index together, make a C chord, play on the 5th and 4th strings slowly and evenly with a metronome, say 8 beats, then add middle to those, same routine, add ring finger, then add little finger. You will have to have your right hand at an angle that allows the little finger to reach the 1st string, and you may need to grow the nail out a bit to get a sound. After doing the exercise for a few minutes, reverse it: p-c, p-ca, p-cam, p-cami (p=thumb, I=index, m=middle, a- angular or ring, c=little or chico). this will take you some weeks to get down. The alternative is to strum bottom two notes with thumb and pluck 3 notes with i-m-a or m-a-c.

    In addition, try playing arpeggios on 5 strings with 5 fingers: use a chord progression like C-E7-Am-G7, and play p-i-m-a-c-a-m-i slowly in even 1/8 notes with metronome. This will take some time, but will be a worthwhile investment in a more efficient technique. In fact, start with the arpeggios and then do the chord-building, the arps will warm you up.
    Thanks for the advice. I'll try that exercise as you said.

    Thanks!!!!

  7. #6

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    Andy Brown suggests ‘rolling’ the right hand to bring the pinky finger to bear more easily. Of course this means you will get a more arpeggiated sound rather than all the notes sounding at once.

    I’ve tried it a bit but I need to grow the nail because it sounds weaker than my other RH fingers.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by cachalote View Post
    Yeah, I considered that option but Jody Fisher recommends to use the five fingers of the right hand. He says that this is useful to play chord melody.
    For me it's not a useful idea also because I use my pinky on pickguard for support a little. Many guitarists do. Sacrificing precision for being able to pluck an extra note when you can perfectly strum it if you must play 5 note chord is not a good proposition.

    I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner anyway, there's much more important things to spend time on.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    For me it's not a useful idea also because I use my pinky on pickguard for support a little. Many guitarists do. Sacrificing precision for being able to pluck an extra note when you can perfectly strum it if you must play 5 note chord is not a good proposition.

    I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner anyway, there's much more important things to spend time on.
    Actually, utilizing the little finger adds 20% to one's efficiency, a worthwhile goal, while dragging that finger along the pick guard adds nothing except a false sense of security. Among the most precise of guitarists of either plectrum or finger style are Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, Segovia and Paco de Lucia, none of whom use the little finger as you describe. And beginners really get the most benefit by starting with an advanced technique, not trying to adopt it years later. That's not to say that the 5-finger technique is for everyone, but it certainly is for some. Perfectly strumming a chord is light-years away from plucking each note simultaneously.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    For me it's not a useful idea also because I use my pinky on pickguard for support a little. Many guitarists do. Sacrificing precision for being able to pluck an extra note when you can perfectly strum it if you must play 5 note chord is not a good proposition.

    I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner anyway, there's much more important things to spend time on.
    I did what you recommended (playing with the pick instead of with the five fingers) and it worked. Now, I'm re-studying the method (Jody Fisher - Chord and melody) using the technique you recommended. Furthermore, for some exercises I'm using a hybrid tecnhique too (pick with fingers).

    Thanks!!!!

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cachalote View Post
    I did what you recommended (playing with the pick instead of with the five fingers) and it worked. Now, I'm re-studying the method (Jody Fisher - Chord and melody) using the technique you recommended. Furthermore, for some exercises I'm using a hybrid tecnhique too (pick with fingers).

    Thanks!!!!
    Sure thing, glad it helped!

    Now hybrid picking is great, I use it a lot myself. It took me a while to learn how to go back and forth between strumming and hybrid picking, but it's really a useful technique. Sometimes I use it by itself, especially for bossa rhythm.

    You're on the right track!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz View Post
    Actually, utilizing the little finger adds 20% to one's efficiency, a worthwhile goal, while dragging that finger along the pick guard adds nothing except a false sense of security. Among the most precise of guitarists of either plectrum or finger style are Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, Segovia and Paco de Lucia, none of whom use the little finger as you describe. And beginners really get the most benefit by starting with an advanced technique, not trying to adopt it years later. That's not to say that the 5-finger technique is for everyone, but it certainly is for some. Perfectly strumming a chord is light-years away from plucking each note simultaneously.
    It very well may be, but a lot of great players use pinky on pickguard as well. But for me the strumming is a conscious choice, I simply prefer the feel of it.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    It very well may be, but a lot of great players use pinky on pickguard as well. But for me the strumming is a conscious choice, I simply prefer the feel of it.
    But "a lot of great players" are not looking to sound 5-note chords simultaneously. And strumming is really not a conscious choice for most of us while using 5 fingers certainly would be. Strumming is a natural way to play, most of us strum from the very first days of playing. All I'm pointing out is that we fall into habits that generally start with the ease of the approach, not the practicality, especially on the guitar, which is an instrument that most people pick up and start to play without a teacher or lessons.