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 Playing Advice: Bluegrass (Scruggs) Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: How common is 3 finger single string?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/394065

Fax160 - Posted - 11/19/2023:  14:07:45


I saw some posts about 3 finger single string. As in, compared to the standard T I, using patterns like T I T M, T I M I, T I M, etc.

I think Noam Pikelny and Bela fleck use 3 fingers for single string triplets, but I'm not sure if they do this for 16th notes.

I've heard that Eddie Adcock and Ryan Cavanaugh use 3 fingers for single string. Are there other notable players using 3 fingers?

Texasbanjo - Posted - 11/20/2023:  04:27:05


I think it's according to what you're picking and how easy/difficult it is to do single string. I use both methods, again, according to the song. If you've got a long string of just 2 notes, it's usually easier to use 2 fingers. If you've got a lot of movement in single string then 3 finger would probably work better.

eagleisland - Posted - 11/20/2023:  06:09:50


It's basically non-existent in Scruggs style. It's more common in melodic style, and those who can competently play Celtic music on a five-string banjo tend to use it a lot.

It's also a technique that I've dabbled with, unsuccessfully, for many years. In the proper hands, it can be magnificent. But those hands sure ain't mine....

Bill H - Posted - 11/20/2023:  06:25:26


I play with a New England dance fiddler or two at times and they love Celtic tunes. I have been investing quite a bit of practice time into single string. I am making progress, but getting up to speed may require more years than I have left.

HSmith - Posted - 11/21/2023:  00:03:10


Hi
Can't answer for 'notable players' using 3 fingers in single string playing, but I certainly do. When I first attempted single string work many years ago, I found myself naturally using 3 fingers. I guess why would you not, why leave that 3rd finger just contributing nothing? It was initially quite a stretch to bring the middle finger all the way over to the low 'D' string ( and even sometimes to the 5th), but perseverance pays and now it feels natural. Triplets on any string seem to me easier with 3 fingers, but of course it all depends on what preceded the triplet and what follows. I guess that I use both the 2 and 3 finger methods, depending upon the demands of the music but my preference is to use 3. IMHO it's a skill well worth developing.

FenderFred - Posted - 11/21/2023:  01:31:05


quote:

Originally posted by Fax160

I saw some posts about 3 finger single string. As in, compared to the standard T I, using patterns like T I T M, T I M I, T I M, etc.



I think Noam Pikelny and Bela fleck use 3 fingers for single string triplets, but I'm not sure if they do this for 16th notes.



I've heard that Eddie Adcock and Ryan Cavanaugh use 3 fingers for single string. Are there other notable players using 3 fingers?






I can't say how common 3 finger single string is. What I will say is, it is a skill worth learning. I don't use it a lot but when the need arises, ie a triplet. I can play it without the need to think it through. In your query you have listed a number of notable players. Which leads me to wonder why you even asked the question.

Ira Gitlin - Posted - 11/21/2023:  06:18:09


Aside from triplets, I'd guess it's not that common. (I wouldn't be surprised if Adam Larrabee uses three-finger SS patterns.) Some players (myself included) will use their middle instead of index when playing on the first string, but that's using it in alternation with the thumb, so it feels basically like TITI SS playing, NOT like using rolls all on one string.


Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 11/21/2023 06:18:38

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 11/21/2023:  09:10:23


here's an example



banjohangout.org/tab/browse.as...p;v=24959

Old Hickory - Posted - 11/21/2023:  11:40:00


quote:

Originally posted by Fax160



I think Noam Pikelny and Bela fleck use 3 fingers for single string triplets, but I'm not sure if they do this for 16th notes.



I've heard that Eddie Adcock and Ryan Cavanaugh use 3 fingers for single string.






While I believe some of the players named here use three fingers for single-string triplets, and doing that makes total sense to me, I am not absolutely sure.



I am, however, absolutely sure that Noam Pikelny occasionally plays a three-finger forward-backward roll on a single string. I have seen his online lesson on this -- either as a guest teacher in Tony Trischka's Artistworks school or in his own. He says it helps achieve speed in certain situations. Because it's situational, three-finger has not replaced two-finger as his oerall approach to single string.



Bela is a staunch advocate of thumb-index single string.



I believe you're right about Ryan Cavanaugh. I believe his approach to single-string brings his middle finger into play on first string.

Laurence Diehl - Posted - 11/21/2023:  12:03:13


quote:

Originally posted by Fax160

I saw some posts about 3 finger single string. As in, compared to the standard T I, using patterns like T I T M, T I M I, T I M, etc.



I think Noam Pikelny and Bela fleck use 3 fingers for single string triplets, but I'm not sure if they do this for 16th notes.



I've heard that Eddie Adcock and Ryan Cavanaugh use 3 fingers for single string. Are there other notable players using 3 fingers?






Jens Kruger is a master at this. He uses a backwards roll with tremendous speed and fluency. 

chuckv97 - Posted - 11/21/2023:  12:15:35


It’s almost like classical guitar tremolo, except with 2 fingers and thumb instead of 3 fingers.

chuckv97 - Posted - 11/21/2023:  12:46:50


Here’s my attempt (on totally muted banjo) [the ticking is my ring finger nail]

share.icloud.com/photos/013Rs6...QIKiT-iig


Edited by - chuckv97 on 11/21/2023 12:47:26

Fax160 - Posted - 11/21/2023:  13:22:29


Thanks everyone. Based on the comments, it seems like it would be worthwhile to practice this.

I guess my underlying question was how much benefit is there for 3 fingers compared to 2, since a lot of players use only 2.

Jack Baker - Posted - 11/21/2023:  13:35:50


And I used to think juggling with 4 balls was difficult. Banjo will probably get more and more technically complicated until it burns itself out--let's hope not....Jack


Edited by - Jack Baker on 11/21/2023 13:39:21

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