Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 89
  1. #1

    User Info Menu



    A debate that has raged for many a year on JGO haha.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-04-2021 at 01:15 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Didn't Charlie Christian use 3 fingers, with rare 4th finger use?

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS
    Didn't Charlie Christian use 3 fingers, with rare 4th finger use?
    Indeed. Sorry, video had to be reuploaded, will be accessible soon.

    Examples I give (only some of the ones I can think of):

    Charlie Christian
    Grant Green
    Wes Montgomery
    Pat Metheny
    Peter Bernstein
    Kurt Rosenwinkel

    In most/all of these cases, three fingers dominate, but the pinky is used from time to time, so it's more about hand position.

    What I don't mention is that some of these players swap to 'thumb behind' for at least some chords including Metheny and Bernstein. This implies a conscious or intuitive choice to use 'thumb over, pronated fretting hand' for solo lines.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-04-2021 at 03:21 PM.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Good video and thought provoking for me.

    I had a serious dislocation of my 4th finger on my left hand (rugby) and it has never fully recovered … I have learned ways to adjust my classical guitar technique, but it is a severe limitation in the classical world. I mostly play chord-melody in the jazz world and my finger injury is pushing me towards more sparse chord voicings.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I can't run the video yet...

    This debate is very curious, indeed.

    Without taking into account experience or instruction regarding proper form, how might one expect the fingers to position themselves over the fingerboard? Hold your hand in front of you looking at your palm, then make a fist; your finger tips will align diagonally. When you place your hand about the guitar neck with a straight wrist, the forearm's angle to approach to the neck makes that finger tip alignment parallel to the strings. This gives all four fingers full access, which continues as hand position moves up the neck maintaining a straight wrist.

    To play with three fingers, the wrist rotates and flexes in order for the third finger to angle up the neck to make a four fret span above the first finger. As the hand position moves up the neck, rotation in maintained but flexion is reversed to extension.

    The first idea that usually comes up suggests a relative weakness and lack of coordination inherent in the fourth finger compared to fingers one through three, the implication pointing to the high and tight actions on traditional jazz guitars allowing play-ability for fingers one through three but generally excluding play-ability for the fourth finger. I find two things about this which question this idea.

    One, if you switch the guitar over so that you attempt to finger and pick it with your opposite hands, even if you have played for decades you will discover a devastating lack of strength and coordination of all the fingers of both hands making the guitar absolutely unplayable. This simulates your first day learning to play the guitar when all fingers began utterly weak and uncoordinated.

    Two, if you grip a sword, bat, golf club, tennis racket, or flashlight, the strongest grip strength comes from the side of the hand opposite the thumb. Go grab something right now to convince yourself of this. The side of the hand opposite the thumb also contributes the most coordination and control when swinging or waving these things around. Swing and wave the thing you grabbed to convince yourself of this, too.

    So it looks to me that playing with three fingers develops less from any innate mechanical perspective and more from basic human nature - the desire for short term expediency winning over deliberate plans for the long term. This probably describes most beginning guitarists, especially teenagers eager to get going on the instrument.

    It seems peculiar to me now days that some who hold certain technical approaches to the guitar (needing to know all the note names, forming lines and chords by construction through note names, knowing the chord functions by names, and other theory aspects) ignore concern with the physical mechanical approach to the instrument. I have the opposite situation; no technical approach whatsoever (I play by ear), yet a really absurd adherence to mechanical form. It seems that we would expect to observe two natural cases; those that combine both a technical approach and an adherence to mechanical form, or those that do neither... not so much the cross combinations.

    I myself began guitar as a teenager playing with three fingers. After about four years I decided that in order to approach playing the music I liked, I would need to change to playing with four fingers. A few days later I changed, never to play with three fingers again, ever. It slowed me down considerably for two years to catch up, then overall development and improvement accelerated through today, almost 50 years later.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Much ado about nothing. We play in whatever way works for our physique at the level we are at.

    I use pinky all the time, but some stuff is best played with thumb over.

    Most jazz chordy stuff works best with barres for me. Hendrix and Bert Jansch with thumb over.

    Use whatever works for you.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    I'm a 3 finger player, it stems from laziness as a teen, not as an artistic choice.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    The ‘short term expediency’ idea would hold more weight if 1) many jazz guitarists on my list above didn’t swap between three fingered and four fingered approaches depending on what they are doing 2) players that adopt a three fingered approach for single note playing don’t represent a reasonable who’s who of the instrument.

    Rather than critique a master’s approach, I think that it’s more interesting and imaginative to investigate if there’s something in what they are doing that I can learn from.

    Anyway Miles Okazaki argued it well.

    Also people get hung up on the three fingers thing; the actual issue is left hand stance; square on or pronated with thumb over. In fact most players with the exception of a few like Lage Lund and Adam Rogers pronate a bit; even Holdsworth.

    For my own case, I am perfectly happy to adopt the technique which works best for the situation.

    Because my left hand is a bit pronated generally, I have found my little finger to lack the rhythmic clarity of my other fingers. Also tonally three fingers is just stronger. It always sounds way better on play back, and I think it’s worth overcoming some of the difficulties to make it more a part of my playing. The alternative is to ‘proper legit’, but I feel that since most of my favourite players prefer three fingers it’s worth seeing where that path leads.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-04-2021 at 03:09 PM.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Anyway, I expect an influx of comments from people who haven’t watched the video haha. The ethos of which is very much ‘try it and see.’

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I'm a 3 finger player, it stems from laziness as a teen, not as an artistic choice.
    The thing is that’s the sort of thing three fingered players always say... and the thing is they quite often sound really good and play with an ease and naturalness.

    So I reckon; not all artistic decisions are made consciously and a lot of good decisions can be made by listening to your body. ‘laziness’ if you like...

    After all of you couldn’t play the music you wanted to that way it you would have changed the way you played.

    After all, it’s no big deal to just change ones hand posture to ply a stretch or whatever when required.
    Last edited by christianm77; 05-04-2021 at 05:37 PM.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    The ‘short term expediency’ idea would hold more weight if 1) many jazz guitarists on my list above didn’t swap between three fingered and four fingered approaches depending on what they are doing 2) players that adopt a three fingered approach for single note playing don’t represent a reasonable who’s who of the instrument.

    Rather than critique a master’s approach, I think that it’s more interesting and imaginative to investigate if there’s something in what they are doing that I can learn from.

    Anyway Miles Okazaki argued it well.

    Also people get hung up on the three fingers thing; the actual issue is left hand stance; square on or pronated with thumb over. In fact most players with the exception of a few like Lage Lund and Adam Rogers pronate a bit; even Holdsworth.

    For my own case, I am perfectly happy to adopt the technique which works best for the situation.

    Because my left hand is a bit pronated generally, I have found my little finger to lack the rhythmic clarity of my other fingers. Also tonally three fingers is just stronger. It always sounds way better on play back, and I think it’s worth overcoming some of the difficulties to make it more a part of my playing. The alternative is to ‘proper legit’, but I feel that since most of my favourite players prefer three fingers it’s worth seeing where that path leads.
    Do you have a link to Miles Okazaki talking about it? Was it in his Fundamentals book? I have been thinking about picking that up.

    My teacher and I talked A LOT about this. I was a very late to jazz guitar after spending years and years as a blues/rock based guy (who needs a pinky right??) My teacher was a pianist originally who taught himself jazz guitar. Yeah, I know picking just one of those instruments is enough for a lifetime. Anyway, since he did not come up in the rock/blues pentatonic background he is all about the 4 finger position playing utilizing the pinky.

    There are somethings where my muscle memory just would not let me use my pinky effectively, like pentatonics in jazz, the blues scale, etc. I too feel like my rhythm suffered on notes played with my pinky. I find that I now switch back and forth between both styles in a line, depending on what I am going for. If it is blues based licks or melodies I am probably playing with three fingers only. If I am playing more bop figures, with chromaticism, enclosures, etc, I will switch over to the the four finger position playing. I find that, and speaking for just me of course, my playing sounds more natural with three fingers but there are definitely some lines that I need to get with 4

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I have seen the video!
    As you mention in the caption, this debate has 'raged' for sometime hereabouts, though I think most of the debate is based on divergent understandings of "three fingered playing." Some hear that as ONLY 3 fingers, NO DEVIATION. This is simply a mistake. "Three fingered playing" means MAINLY (or predominantly) three fingered, not exclusively. It's not an oath one takes but a practice one develops.
    And as you say, the hand position is different.


    In my own wayward case, I tried to play with four fingers (because I read in a book that was the way one was supposed to do it) but held my hand the way three-fingered players tend to (-slightly pronated). I'm glad I can use my pinky--and often do--but the three-fingered way provides a different, more vocal-like feel. (One can hear/see it in a lot of blues and country players too)

    Herb Ellis is interesting in this respect because he "swung both ways", so to speak: 3-fingered and 4-fingered.

    Lots of 'thumb over the top' in this video, but lots of pinky too. The pronated left hand is clearly visible often, and the pinky is often tucked (or curled and out of the way).


  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Just for the record, I'll be the first to ride that chrome three wheeler and say:
    Django made hay with mostly two fingers.
    Fernando Sor insisted on using the fingers in order of strength: index, middle, ring, then pinky.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by frankhond
    Much ado about nothing

    It actually really isn't ... Well maybe in pure jazz, but not in guitar playing in general.

    I wasn't really conscious about any of this and played without thinking about it in a classical position for long time, but around 10 years ago my left wrist just gave up and started hurting like crazy.

    if you play with any vibrato or bending you definately prefer the 3 finger approach over classical position. I switched back then and never looked back

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    It actually really isn't ... Well maybe in pure jazz, but not in guitar playing in general.

    I wasn't really conscious about any of this and played without thinking about it in a classical position for long time, but around 10 years ago my left wrist just gave up and started hurting like crazy.

    if you play with any vibrato or bending you definately prefer the 3 finger approach over classical position. I switched back then and never looked back
    Classical is pretty risky if you don’t adopt the right position etc. Be careful of the left wrist, make sure it’s straight.... had the same problem myself

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2
    Do you have a link to Miles Okazaki talking about it? Was it in his Fundamentals book? I have been thinking about picking that up.

    My teacher and I talked A LOT about this. I was a very late to jazz guitar after spending years and years as a blues/rock based guy (who needs a pinky right??) My teacher was a pianist originally who taught himself jazz guitar. Yeah, I know picking just one of those instruments is enough for a lifetime. Anyway, since he did not come up in the rock/blues pentatonic background he is all about the 4 finger position playing utilizing the pinky.

    There are somethings where my muscle memory just would not let me use my pinky effectively, like pentatonics in jazz, the blues scale, etc. I too feel like my rhythm suffered on notes played with my pinky. I find that I now switch back and forth between both styles in a line, depending on what I am going for. If it is blues based licks or melodies I am probably playing with three fingers only. If I am playing more bop figures, with chromaticism, enclosures, etc, I will switch over to the the four finger position playing. I find that, and speaking for just me of course, my playing sounds more natural with three fingers but there are definitely some lines that I need to get with 4
    This description of the left hand makes sense, given the logical fingerings that can be used to play the solos, and is supported by the few pictures that we have of Christian in the act of playing. In certain circles of guitar playing, tucking away the fourth finger and putting the thumb over the top of the neck is considered improper technique. I would side with the contrary view, that this is an absolutely natural way to approach the guitar when the goal is strong articulation, groove, and rhythm. Using primarily three fingers does not at all limit speed or harmonic options — look at all the stuff drummers can play with two sticks! And the third finger easily spans four frets when the hand is angled towards the guitar’s body. This approach is clear in the video footage that we do have of Wes Montgomery and George Benson, who modeled their styles after Christian. I once had the pleasure of sitting with George Benson in his house and listening to this very solo on the record player, while he pointed out his favorite lines

    Stompin’ at Minton’s (by Miles Okazaki) | DO THE M@TH

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    guitars with the finger tailpiece have 6 fingers. what about that?

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    I started on cello at 10. When I started playing guitar it never occurred to me to not use my pinky.

    I can see that if you put the guitar on your right leg the pinky just ain't in it as much as if you take a more classical posture. I don't know why I started doing that. Actually I do. It's from standing. Early on I figured I wanted the same position as much as I could between standing and sitting.

    I guess I don't really care what folks do as long as it sounds good.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Analyse this.


  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I found the video very informative, and describing well the two stances.

    I think the three fingers style probably was born out of necessity. Players coming from the blues, where this style is very fitting, and using heavy strings or higher action. Fourth finger can't really keep up. Use a 335 or a guitar really easy to play, no problem!

    For me it's mostly a musical and stylistic choice, not so much a technical one. If one wants to play in the style of players that mostly use three fingers, it makes sense to me to play this way. You'll end up playing closer to these sounds, and style, nuances, movements, etc, will be similar. Same for four fingers players. If I was really into Django I'd practice his stuff with two fingers!
    Last edited by Alter; 05-05-2021 at 04:56 PM.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I found the video very informative, and describing well the two stances.

    I think the three fingers style probably was born out of necessity. Players coming from the blues, where this style is very fitting, and using heavy strings or higher action. Fourth finger can't really keep up. Use a 335 or a guitar really easy to play, no problem!

    For me it's mostly a musical and stylistic choice, not so much a technical one. If one wants to play in the style of players that mostly use there fingers, it makes sense to me to play this way. You'll end up playing closer to these sounds, and style, nuances, movements, etc, will be similar. Same for four fingers players. If I was really into Django I'd practice his stuff with two fingers!
    It was actually playing the Tele with lighter strings which pointed me towards using more three fingers wierdly

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    If I was really into Django I'd practice his stuff with two fingers!
    Since I spent time with sitar players, who mostly use fingers 1 and 2 anyway, and was curious, I tried to play some Django-style stuff with 2 fingers...and it does work. At times it felt like the other fingers were in the way!

    That said, I normally and almost always play with all 4 fingers!

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by StringNavigator
    Just for the record, I'll be the first to ride that chrome three wheeler and say:
    .
    Brother Seger fan....

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    The thing is that’s the sort of thing three fingered players always say... and the thing is they quite often sound really good and play with an ease and naturalness.

    So I reckon; not all artistic decisions are made consciously and a lot of good decisions can be made by listening to your body. ‘laziness’ if you like...

    After all of you couldn’t play the music you wanted to that way it you would have changed the way you played.

    After all, it’s no big deal to just change ones hand posture to ply a stretch or whatever when required.
    This is very true.

    It's also interesting to me that almost all of my favorite players are predominantly 3 finger players.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Anyway, I expect an influx of comments from people who haven’t watched the video haha. The ethos of which is very much ‘try it and see.’
    Yes, I didn't watch the video. I think it doesn't matter how many fingers and the player should focus on sounding good. To butcher a different quote, nobody will remember you as the guy who can't play with four fingers, they'll remember you as the guy who can't play.

    How was that?

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    If you ignore that this is a huge the DiMarzio ad then Paul Gilbert actually illustrate some big points about the 3 finger approach which actually works well with a low strap



    I mean, it's not obvious if you just casually see this video ... But first time I watched it was just after I started having wrist pain issues and was kind of a light bulp moment for me.

    Oh .. thumb over .. smooth wrist action .. That's is key!

    Kind of boggles the mind that you can play for ages and not think about these thing, but ok .. We didn't have youtube in 1991, so it was mostly just you, your imagination and your record/cassette player and you just made do

    I blame Frederik M. Noad's guitar primer .. My first book on guitar that I was gifted by non-guitar playing uncle, who happened to have it laying around.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    Yes, I didn't watch the video. I think it doesn't matter how many fingers and the player should focus on sounding good. To butcher a different quote, nobody will remember you as the guy who can't play with four fingers, they'll remember you as the guy who can't play.

    How was that?
    I didn't read your comment, but here is my opinion: the Honda Accord is, while not exciting or "sexy," a very reliable car. Apologies if that's not a direct response to your comment, as I haven't yet read it.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Solid! Thanks for posting the video. There is certainly a commonality of '3-fingers' that runs from Charlie Christian to Wes to Grant to Jim Mullen to Peter Bernstein. I feel like all those folk play with more swing, drive and 'narrative' than most of their peers. How much of that is due to their fingering choices seems like a question that deserves some serious consideration....


    PK

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Analyse this.
    Great to watch Barney play. (For those who don't know the tune's title, this is "Basie's Blues.")
    He does a lot of typical 3-finger things----he slides up with the 3rd finger at times rather than using the pinky. The turning of the hand makes that doable. Also, as Christian said, you get a lot more vocal sounding phrases when you slide that finger up and back than when you strike the first note with a pinky and then pull off. Same notes but not the same feel.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu


  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut
    Solid! Thanks for posting the video. There is certainly a commonality of '3-fingers' that runs from Charlie Christian to Wes to Grant to Jim Mullen to Peter Bernstein. I feel like all those folk play with more swing, drive and 'narrative' than most of their peers. How much of that is due to their fingering choices seems like a question that deserves some serious consideration....


    PK
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Great to watch Barney play. (For those who don't know the tune's title, this is "Basie's Blues.")
    He does a lot of typical 3-finger things----he slides up with the 3rd finger at times rather than using the pinky. The turning of the hand makes that doable. Also, as Christian said, you get a lot more vocal sounding phrases when you slide that finger up and back than when you strike the first note with a pinky and then pull off. Same notes but not the same feel.
    Good, now we're discussing phrasing! and articulation, etc.

    I find myself using 3 fingers for just those reasons - and 4 fingers for the same reasons but different musical situations.

    The choice of fingerings has a lot to do with how one wants to phrase. It's not simply lazy fingering.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    As somebody who might charitably be called a late-beginner/early-intermediate level player, there are a couple things I don’t get:

    1. If the three-finger method is superior, what is the the use, then, of learning scales and patterns with all four fingers, as I was taught to do? Judging from my attempt, after reading this thread, to play a G major scale in the second position with three fingers, learning the four-finger method is a severe impediment.

    2. Sight-reading is difficult enough with four fingers, requiring a lot of finger stretches (and/or the occasional shift). How in the world do you sight-read with three fingers? You must be shifting all over the place, all of the time. I guess you get really, really good at feeling where you are on the neck? Seems like a very long-term project.

    (Maybe best to go back to learning classical, where things are cut and dried? Just kidding, sort of.)

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by raymoan
    As somebody who might charitably be called a late-beginner/early-intermediate level player, there are a couple things I don’t get:

    1. If the three-finger method is superior, what is the the use, then, of learning scales and patterns with all four fingers, as I was taught to do? Judging from my attempt, after reading this thread, to play a G major scale in the second position with three fingers, learning the four-finger method is a severe impediment.

    2. Sight-reading is difficult enough with four fingers, requiring a lot of finger stretches (and/or the occasional shift). How in the world do you sight-read with three fingers? You must be shifting all over the place, all of the time. I guess you get really, really good at feeling where you are on the neck? Seems like a very long-term project.

    (Maybe best to go back to learning classical, where things are cut and dried? Just kidding, sort of.)
    I think this cuts to an interesting issue in teaching the guitar; which is that a lot of players learn positions/fingering as the way they find notes, and actually it’s useful in my opinion to seperate fretboard mapping from technical practice.

    So, here’s an obvious example of what I mean, play

    Dm Dm(maj7) Dm7 Dm6

    starting with the standard grip (x 5 7 7 6 x) and changing only the note on the 3rd string. This is a simple exercise in fretboard mapping but the fingering required to play this is actually quite complicated.

    It’s like a difficulty thing Classical students hit when they start to play polyphonic music; their simple ‘finger a fret’ practice isn’t relevant any more; and intermediate classical pieces come festooned with numbers.

    now, this is like the same problem in fact, but now you are saying practice everything with only three fingers and shift. Will be tough at first: but it’s good for you.

    And you know what? It’s good for flexibility. Don’t get stuck in positions; if you know them well, start to try different ways of fingering the same stuff.

    You need to know where the notes are; how you finger them is a choice.

    Play scales along the neck with one finger. Play scales with open and stopped strings. Use diagonal positions, four notes a string, two notes a string, whatever breaks you out of the box.

    If you are not yet comfortable, practice whatever positional methodology you have adopted and stick with it until it’s second nature. But the moment it is; start doing other stuff... don’t be wedded to it forever.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut
    Solid! Thanks for posting the video. There is certainly a commonality of '3-fingers' that runs from Charlie Christian to Wes to Grant to Jim Mullen to Peter Bernstein. I feel like all those folk play with more swing, drive and 'narrative' than most of their peers. How much of that is due to their fingering choices seems like a question that deserves some serious consideration....


    PK
    well, let me put it this way - I’m hesitant to call their fret hand technique incorrect or flawed just because of what I was told when I studying beginner classical haha

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS
    Since I spent time with sitar players, who mostly use fingers 1 and 2 anyway, and was curious, I tried to play some Django-style stuff with 2 fingers...and it does work. At times it felt like the other fingers were in the way!

    That said, I normally and almost always play with all 4 fingers!
    Yeah that’s good fun

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    As a goof, I have tried the "tape your ring and pinky together and play Django lines" experiment, and while I think it would be very difficult for me to improvise freely like that, it definitely made some Django lines I've copped much more logical and they were surprisingly playable.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    Yes, I didn't watch the video. I think it doesn't matter how many fingers and the player should focus on sounding good. To butcher a different quote, nobody will remember you as the guy who can't play with four fingers, they'll remember you as the guy who can't play.

    How was that?
    Of course. And when I listened to how it sounded with three fingers I thought it sounded better than with my usual approach.

    Probably wouldn’t bother otherwise

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    I don't think there's anything wrong with classical technique per se, it's just that what works best for sustaining and moving contrapuntal voices isn't necessarily optimal for swinging single lines. The problems come in when students aren't made aware from the get go that fingerings/technique can evolve.The fingerings you learn while first mapping the notes on the neck might not be the best or only fingerings to use as your concept of the fingerboard improves. Then it gets even more off the rails when you're on the internet dealing with large groups of anonymous folk with disparate goals, the benefits of 3-fingers might be less apparent playing by oneself at home vs having to follow Pete Bernstein at a late night jam session...


    PK

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut
    I don't think there's anything wrong with classical technique per se, it's just that what works best for sustaining and moving contrapuntal voices isn't necessarily optimal for swinging single lines. The problems come in when students aren't made aware from the get go that fingerings/technique can evolve.The fingerings you learn while first mapping the notes on the neck might not be the best or only fingerings to use as your concept of the fingerboard improves. Then it gets even more off the rails when you're on the internet dealing with large groups of anonymous folk with disparate goals, the benefits of 3-fingers might be less apparent playing by oneself at home vs having to follow Pete Bernstein at a late night jam session...


    PK
    well from the get go might be pushing it. You have be clear with beginners, and consistent even when things aren’t so simple (I kind of want to do a deep dive into the value of pedagogical fibs haha.) but I think once you are out of the beginner phase...

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Being largely self-taught, I've always played with a 45 degree neck (it just seemed the best way) and played with all four fingers with the occasional thumb. It's the only way I can get to the notes I want.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by raymoan
    1. If the three-finger method is superior, what is the the use, then, of learning scales and patterns with all four fingers, as I was taught to do? Judging from my attempt, after reading this thread, to play a G major scale in the second position with three fingers, learning the four-finger method is a severe impediment.

    2. Sight-reading is difficult enough with four fingers, requiring a lot of finger stretches (and/or the occasional shift). How in the world do you sight-read with three fingers? You must be shifting all over the place, all of the time. I guess you get really, really good at feeling where you are on the neck? Seems like a very long-term project.
    This is only my perspective:

    1. 'If the three-finger method is superior, what is the the use, then, of learning scales and patterns with all four fingers, as I was taught to do"

    A. The 3 finger system is not "superior' nor necessarily "wrong"

    B. Just because some superior players have used that sort of fingering to make great music does not mean that the system is the reason. One can make great music in spite of one's technique just as much as because of one's technique.

    C. Your G major scale could be fingered many ways...it depends on the phrasing, picking, articulation, where you are coming from ( in the tune), where you are going, the dynamics, etc. to simplify the question into "3 or 4 fingers" does not really do justice to the subject.

    "How in the world do you sight-read with three fingers? You must be shifting all over the place, all of the time. "

    You often will be with 4 fingers too.

    " I guess you get really, really good at feeling where you are on the neck"

    No matter how many fingers you use, you can't look at the neck AND read the chart. Yes, you'll develop a sense of where you are on the neck.
    Spend some time playing with your eyes closed or in a dark room and work on position shifts.

    Good questions!

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Just for the record: a four finger guy can still use the same articulations and moves as a 3 finger guy. You don't have to always use the pink. I use use the 3rd finger slide to the pinky position plenty. Especially if I'm travelling on up the neck from there.

    It's about fingering, phrasing and articulation, right?

    I'd also mention that if you use the pinky for like 50 years or so, it's plenty strong enough for bends of 13 guage strings.

    I had a little injury last year that kept me 3 fingered for a few weeks. I still enjoyed playing and worked out some new things. I say you need to use everything you can muster.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Jimmy Raney. 3 finger bebop.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    if I want to sound rootsy , bluesy ,
    swingin , groovey , cool etc
    ie most Jazz and Bop (i do)

    then I have to use the three finger thumb
    over thing ....
    ——————
    if I wanted to sound classical with all
    the multipart counterpoint etc etc
    (not so much)
    then I would use classical left hand
    —————-
    Joe pass solo guitar style is maybe a hybrid of the two
    I dunno I don’t play/can’t that style

    different strokes for different folks ....

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    Just for the record: a four finger guy can still use the same articulations and moves as a 3 finger guy. You don't have to always use the pink. I use use the 3rd finger slide to the pinky position plenty. Especially if I'm travelling on up the neck from there.

    It's about fingering, phrasing and articulation, right?

    I'd also mention that if you use the pinky for like 50 years or so, it's plenty strong enough for bends of 13 guage strings.

    I had a little injury last year that kept me 3 fingered for a few weeks. I still enjoyed playing and worked out some new things. I say you need to use everything you can muster.
    Since I'm the one that has been talking about injuries here, I kinda feel obliged to answer.

    In my view (tho can't speak on behalf of Christian) this thread is labelled wrong. It's not about fingers or fingering .. nor is it about the strength in your pinky.

    What it is about is playing in a classical position with a straight wrist, your fingers at a 90 degree angle compared to the fret board and thumb low on the back of the neck ..... vs. playing in a "rock" position, where you have a pronated wrist, your fingers are at a 45 degree and the thumb is wrapped around the neck.

    There is nothing that prevents you from using all four fingers in the "rock" position, but it does lend it self to 3 finger playing.

    But the thing is that anything bends and vibrato becomes a wrist/underarm movement that is more solid and a lot less injury prone than in the classical position. There are just movements that are very easy and natural in this position that are not in a classical position. It also facilitates thos 3 finger runs that that go across the neck



    Plenty of tree finger players have been posted, so I'll post a player from the other end of extremes. I guess John Stowell is the furthest from the 3-finger crowd that I can think of and what he does you just won't be able to do in a "rock" position.


  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    I love this topic because:
    - I think there are some really interesting differences, but...
    - Since improvising on the guitar has so many different variables and elements, it's hard to really say which of those elements are affected by this specific hand position difference and which are not. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but it doesn't negate causation either.
    - I do think the more that the guitar-teaching community explores this issue, the more we'll get closer to some set of agreeable 'truths', especially with some more hard data. I think those conclusions could be very useful, because guitar teachers like myself sure spend a lot of time working on hand position, sitting position, left hand technique, etc. (for whatever it's worth, most of my students grab the guitar in that rock kind of way, and then they usually have a very hard time playing just about anything, so I wind up getting them playing with a mostly classical type of left hand.)
    - It's another one of these things in music where we can mostly only take guesses and theorize as to the cause/effect of different things. I used to be dogmatic about these things, but more recently I've accepted that whatever seems like it makes the most sense, might not actually make the most sense, because there can always be variables I was previously unaware of.

    One thing that didn't click until mulling the subject over and poking around in this thread, I guess in classical guitar you don't do a ton of slides, not nearly as much as we might get in something like a Wes solo. Being able to slide that often definitely changes the demands on the left hand significantly. And sliding is also of course a great way to easily get into a new position. So, stylistically appropriate articulation + ease of navigating a position change. That's a "seems like it's easier with the rock stance" in my mind. Maybe I'll make a spreadsheet...

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Since I'm the one that has been talking about injuries here, I kinda feel obliged to answer.

    In my view (tho can't speak on behalf of Christian) this thread is labelled wrong. It's not about fingers or fingering .. nor is it about the strength in your pinky.

    What it is about is playing in a classical position with a straight wrist, your fingers at a 90 degree angle compared to the fret board and thumb low on the back of the neck ..... vs. playing in a "rock" position, where you have a pronated wrist, your fingers are at a 45 degree and the thumb is wrapped around the neck.

    There is nothing that prevents you from using all four fingers in the "rock" position, but it does lend it self to 3 finger playing.

    But the thing is that anything bends and vibrato becomes a wrist/underarm movement that is more solid and a lot less injury prone than in the classical position. There are just movements that are very easy and natural in this position that are not in a classical position. It also facilitates thos 3 finger runs that that go across the neck



    Plenty of tree finger players have been posted, so I'll post a player from the other end of extremes. I guess John Stowell is the furthest from the 3-finger crowd that I can think of and what he does you just won't be able to do in a "rock" position.

    I agree

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    I think it boils down to one thing - are you a frustrated horn player or a wannabe pianist?

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Is it even possible to do the thumb over position on a classical width neck with small hands? I do practice limiting my fingers (even to just one!) but all of that was done classical style.. I might be willing to try though

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think it boils down to one thing - are you a frustrated horn player or a wannabe pianist?
    I am a disgruntled composer of 1980's film scores trapped in the body of a guitarist.