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Jun 25, 2022 - 7:53:45 PM

DWFII

USA

445 posts since 1/9/2022

Open G...Several songs I've run across wat you to fret the third string at the second fret and the fourth string at the fourth fret. what fingers would be bst for this . Currently I've been doing index on the third string and pinky on the fourth. but it's not a smooth transition back and forth from there to another chord.

Jun 25, 2022 - 9:27:32 PM

112 posts since 8/31/2015

Ring finger on the fourth string, index on third.

Jun 25, 2022 - 11:48:27 PM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

41736 posts since 3/7/2006

It depends what chord or notes that are played before and after. My default position is index on third string and ring finger on fourth string., but I know that I sometimes use middle finger on third string and pinky on fourth string (it is a tune where I play a C not (second string first fret) in the measure before.

Jun 26, 2022 - 5:44:56 AM

johnedallas

Germany

190 posts since 2/18/2005

I find it easier to use a default allocation of finger-to-fret, rather than finger-to-string. Index finger, 1st fret; middle finger, 2nd fret; ring, 3rd fret; pinkie, 4th fret.
Of course, if you have to fret two (non-adjacent) strings in the same fret, you'll have to find out which string is more comfortable for which finger.
Cheers,
John

Jun 26, 2022 - 6:44:03 AM

DWFII

USA

445 posts since 1/9/2022

Thanks for the answers.  I want to use middle finger on the third string because that's where D7 comes from. But even with index finger on the third string my ring finger won't reach to the fourth fret on the fourth string.

Similar with F (in open G) --index finger on first fret second string, middle finger on second fret third string, pinky on third fret first string and ring finger reaching all the way over to third fret fourth string. My middle finger won't reach--and just to touch the fourth string, it's near-as-nevermind laying flat across all the other strings. So I get no live strings at all.

Only thing I can do is reach for the fourth string at the last moment... and hope. But if I'm brushing a chord that won't work because all the strings need to sound simultaneously.

Jun 26, 2022 - 6:50:50 AM
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8415 posts since 3/17/2005

I would say I never brush all four strings at once. If you have two consecutive notes, one on the 3rd and next on the 4th strings, you don't have to fret them both at the same time. You can rock your hand from one note to the next, so it's easy to use index and ring for those notes. So as you say, reach for the 4th string after sounding the 3rd. No need to feel like you're stretching.

Edited by - chip arnold on 06/26/2022 06:53:34

Jun 26, 2022 - 7:34:10 AM
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RB3

USA

1374 posts since 4/12/2004

In your last post, you wrote: "But even with index finger on the third string my ring finger won't reach to the fourth fret on the fourth string."

For most people this is not a difficult position to achieve. I would suggest that you take a close look at other aspects of how you're using your fretting hand. How you position your hand and your wrist relative to the neck can greatly affect your ability to achieve certain fretting positions. Take a look at some YouTube videos of accomplished players and compare their hand positioning to yours.

Jun 26, 2022 - 8:56:48 AM

6133 posts since 3/11/2006

I agree with Chip about rarely if ever brushing four strings. 
 

As for the preceding D7 chord, you might substitute a D chord, then your 1st finger will already be in place. I've typically never used 7th chords anyway. 
 

What RB3 posted is worth taking to the bank as well. 

Jun 26, 2022 - 9:39:18 AM

DWFII

USA

445 posts since 1/9/2022

quote:
Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford

I agree with Chip about rarely if ever brushing four strings. 
 

As for the preceding D7 chord, you might substitute a D chord, then your 1st finger will already be in place. I've typically never used 7th chords anyway. 
 

What RB3 posted is worth taking to the bank as well. 


I understand. And I seldom brush four strings either but it seems wise to be able to fret that fourth string and hold it. It affords a quick and more certain fourth string note  (like in C or Em) when you're picking and, of course builds strength and flexibility...all of which I'm still working on. So even if I'm not playing brushed chords I try to fret all the notes in the chord. It's easier to lift the second fret first string than to find it.

As for D7, some songs, esp. in the beginner repertoire seem to demand it. It doesn't seem...to this newbie...like D is a good substitute for D7 in Boil Them Cabbage, for instance or even Banks of the Ohio.

Jun 27, 2022 - 3:16:39 AM

6133 posts since 3/11/2006

Sorry, but I disagree. Tying your left hand down with chord positions, especially when the notes are unnecessary is a bad idea. 
 

As far as the other fingering issue, you're going to have to come up with a work around if none of the solutions are working for you. That note sequence constantly occurs in gDGBD. 

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Jun 27, 2022 - 5:17:29 AM

DWFII

USA

445 posts since 1/9/2022

quote:
Originally posted by R.D. Lunceford

Sorry, but I disagree. Tying your left hand down with chord positions, especially when the notes are unnecessary is a bad idea. 
As far as the other fingering issue, you're going to have to come up with a work around if none of the solutions are working for you. That note sequence constantly occurs in gDGBD. 


Hmmm...well that answers a question I asked months ago about fretting the fourth string in the C chord when picking. I suspected at the time that it wasn't necessary, although it would seem that the best way to be able to fret awkward positions quickly and cleanly, would be to actually use them as often as possible.

I do understand the point however, and I suspect, it's just something I'll have to put on my list of hard-things-to-work-on.

So... when actually playing,  if the music wanted an E note but not a C, or another E anywhere in sight,   you wouldn't bother with the other two frets of the C chord?

Jun 27, 2022 - 5:52:23 AM

8415 posts since 3/17/2005

"So... when actually playing, if the music wanted an E note but not a C, or another E anywhere in sight, you wouldn't bother with the other two frets of the C chord"?

Nope, just fret the E. Just worry about the chord the tune is playing through (in your example, the chord would still be G) and the strings you need for the melody.
And quit brushing so many strings. Practice playing without any brushes at all and when you get that down, add a brush in where you think it fits. :-)

Jun 27, 2022 - 6:21:42 AM
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DWFII

USA

445 posts since 1/9/2022

quote:
Originally posted by chip arnold

And quit brushing so many strings. Practice playing without any brushes at all and when you get that down, add a brush in where you think it fits. :-)


[chuckle] "No brushes," that's my motto. Aside from the issues of figuring out fingering--index/thumb sequences, brushes are the bit that make me avoid trying to play chawhammer tabs.

Jun 27, 2022 - 6:49:33 AM

13457 posts since 6/2/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by DWFII

I want to use middle finger on the third string because that's where D7 comes from. But even with index finger on the third string my ring finger won't reach to the fourth fret on the fourth string.


Yes, that's where D7 comes from. But if the sequence of notes you're picking doesn't come from that D7, then different fingering is called for.

In this case, your initial instincts are correct: index for the A at 3rd string 2nd fret and either ring or pinky for the F# at 4th string 4th fret. For most of my banjo playing life, ring finger was my default choice for 4th at 4. But in the past decade, I've started using my pinky more often. I'm thinking this is an influence of my bass playing technique where the frets are further apart and so I need to use pinky for a lot of stretches. And I rarely use ring finger on its own. I'm self-taught, so I have no idea if this is standard technique or a bad habit.

But I digress: There are preferred or most-widely-used fingerings for all the shapes on banjo, but everyone has to choose the fingerings they can actually do.

As to your 4-finger F chord, you only need to fret the notes you need to play, so forming a 4-finger chord may not be necessary. But you do need to be able to cleanly fret a 4-finger F chord because you will use it a lot.

Yes, in some or many lead/solo picking situations, you can fret the notes of a 4-finger chord as you need them when you don't have enough time to fret them all at once. But cleanly fretting 4-finger chords is a foundational skill.

Jun 27, 2022 - 7:19:48 AM
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DWFII

USA

445 posts since 1/9/2022

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by DWFII

I want to use middle finger on the third string because that's where D7 comes from. But even with index finger on the third string my ring finger won't reach to the fourth fret on the fourth string.


Yes, that's where D7 comes from. But if the sequence of notes you're picking doesn't come from that D7, then different fingering is called for.

In this case, your initial instincts are correct: index for the A at 3rd string 2nd fret and either ring or pinky for the F# at 4th string 4th fret. For most of my banjo playing life, ring finger was my default choice for 4th at 4. But in the past decade, I've started using my pinky more often. I'm thinking this is an influence of my bass playing technique where the frets are further apart and so I need to use pinky for a lot of stretches. And I rarely use ring finger on its own. I'm self-taught, so I have no idea if this is standard technique or a bad habit.

But I digress: There are preferred or most-widely-used fingerings for all the shapes on banjo, but everyone has to choose the fingerings they can actually do.

As to your 4-finger F chord, you only need to fret the notes you need to play, so forming a 4-finger chord may not be necessary. But you do need to be able to cleanly fret a 4-finger F chord because you will use it a lot.

Yes, in some or many lead/solo picking situations, you can fret the notes of a 4-finger chord as you need them when you don't have enough time to fret them all at once. But cleanly fretting 4-finger chords is a foundational skill.

 


Thank you. That makes sense to me.

Jun 27, 2022 - 8:39:11 AM

13457 posts since 6/2/2008
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
I've started using my pinky more often. I'm thinking this is an influence of my bass playing technique where the frets are further apart and so I need to use pinky for a lot of stretches. And I rarely use ring finger on its own. I'm self-taught, so I have no idea if this is standard technique or a bad habit.

Just to clarify: All of that applied to my bass-playing, where there are big strings and big stretches. So I often fret with my ring and little fingers at the same time. I never do that on banjo.

I'm mostly self-taught on banjo, too. So whatever I do "wrong" (or contrary to prevailing technique) is my own fault. I've tried to change some things, but habits of 50 years are tough to break.

Jun 27, 2022 - 3:33:36 PM

8415 posts since 3/17/2005

Remember that bluegrassers tend to play out of "shapes" and often those are chord shapes. Three and four fingers fretting at the same time. OT players are much less likely to use three or four fingers fretted at once. Watch good clawhammerers on youtube.

Jun 28, 2022 - 3:46:22 AM
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6133 posts since 3/11/2006

Don't get me wrong... this is the playing advice forum so we're here in large part to answer questions, but be assured, a lot of these basic conundrums will become self-evident after you get a little practical real world playing experience. A year from now it'll be a different world, and lots of things- like lefthand fingering- will be intuitive. 
 

The key at this point is to get some good tuition, in person, on line, from a video, a book, or whatever, and it will all sort itself out in due time. 
 

Though a lot of CH stuff applies, I'm not a 2 finger player, but we do have some good ones here, and Chip is arguably the best out there, so having access to his help is unbelievably good fortune. 
 

Another great resource is Don Borschelt- an OT 3 finger artiste whose weapon of choice is a fretless!  Here's a player with massive insight about meshing lefthand technique with fingerpicking in an OT context. 
For my money, one of if not the most amazing musicians we have recourse to on BHO. 

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