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Thread: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

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    Default G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    I’m a beginner but can hold the dreaded G chop shape ok. When I practice chopping a I-V progression, I almost always go from the four-finger G (7523) to the 3-finger D (745x) by shifting the whole G shape up the neck 2 frets and over one string (i.e., fretting with index, middle, and ring, and freeing my pinky). But I’ve been playing along with the Pete Wernick Bluegrass Jamming DVD (second volume), and I notice that Eric Walser typically shifts from the 4-finger G to the 4-finger D (7452), keeping his hand in the same part of the neck but flipping his index, middle, and ring fingers). His way looks SO much more ergonomic, but dang, that finger shuffle sure is difficult for me! Since this is probably the most important chord change (right?), I’d like to learn how to do it the “right” or “best” way. Do most people do it the way Eric does it, with the finger shuffle? Should I keep working at that, or is my way of shifting the G shape up the neck and over a string just as good?

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    When you just go I-V its easiest to stay in the same neck position, although it may take a while to get comfortable with that. Look at some other pro's playing and I'll bet that most stay in the same position. But there will be exceptions.

    You can always practice A-E to get used to the shape in a easier to finger position.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Check out the fifth video on this page from Pete Martin: http://www.petimarpress.com/mando%20tips%20videos.html
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Thanks, Mark! This looks like just what the doctor ordered for what ails me.

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Wow, it’s brilliant to break this chord transition down to two movements (index and ring moving as one unit over one string and middle moving one string and one fret) instead of three separate finger movements. Just a few minutes of practice made it easier. Now I’m sure I’ll be able to get this 4-finger chord shift down.

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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    In the key of G, I find these shapes work best 98% of the time:
    G - 7523
    C - 523x
    D - 245x

    If D is my I chord, I'll use 745x.

    I do not like the 4 finger D chop - 2 roots and 2 thirds sounds weak to me, so I never use it.
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    It is important to learn and use both three and four tone chord forms. There will be times when one form suits the music better than the other. It is as much about tone as speed and ease of movement. Carry on... R/
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    I favor chord shapes that omit the e-string. This is especially true for chopping, where the e-string makes the chop shape more grating (to my ears). The 4-finger D shape doesn't add anything imo, whether you want to play a D (V) with the pinky or the ring finger is up to you. I practice both.

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    I favor chord shapes that omit the e-string. This is especially true for chopping, where the e-string makes the chop shape more grating (to my ears). The 4-finger D shape doesn't add anything imo, whether you want to play a D (V) with the pinky or the ring finger is up to you. I practice both.
    Well, it adds some economy of motion in some situations. I essentially only use the 4 finger D when there's a quick GDG change in the music. Just saves moving my hand much for that D for only 1 or 2 beats. The more arrows in the quiver, the more choices you have.
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Well, it adds some economy of motion in some situations. I essentially only use the 4 finger D when there's a quick GDG change in the music. Just saves moving my hand much for that D for only 1 or 2 beats. The more arrows in the quiver, the more choices you have.
    I use the 4-finger D shape when there is a quick GDG change as well. I just don't bother using 4-fingers (specifically the index). I still gain the economy of motion without sliding and with less hand tension.

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    I use the 4-finger D shape when there is a quick GDG change as well. I just don't bother using 4-fingers (specifically the index). I still gain the economy of motion without sliding and with less hand tension.
    Sounds like we use similar techniques. When using 4 finger chop chords I often do not hit the E string even though I DO finger it just a s a matter of orientation.
    Phil

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Keep the pinky planted on 7 do not pick it up when changing back and forth. This will help
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    Registered User gfury's Avatar
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Hagerty View Post
    Keep the pinky planted on 7 do not pick it up when changing back and forth. This will help
    Easier said than done . Pinky wants to move with the ring finger. I'm working on it ...
    Greg Fury

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?



    This is the video that got me there. It is probably somewhere embedded in the link that Mark posted above. Within Pete Martin shows the transition from the A chop chord to the E Chop chord, its the exact same transition from G to D only moved back 2 frets. I use this transition all the time and practicing it mad a big difference for me.
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Yeah, that Pete Martin video helped me, too. And although I prefer a D chord chop with the E string silent, chopping isn't the only way to use chord shapes, even in bluegrass. So it's beneficial to be able to finger the 4 string D chord regardless of whether or not you chop it.

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Muting the E - with the fretting hand is a big challenge for me.

    Suggestions, anyone?
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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Van Zandt View Post
    Muting the E - with the fretting hand is a big challenge for me.

    Suggestions, anyone?
    Just lighten up on that finger till the string is off the fret. Or lean the nearest finger till it slightly touches the E string.

    (Or don't hit the string with your pick.)
    Last edited by Philphool; Aug-30-2019 at 2:19pm. Reason: more thoughts
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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    Thanks, everyone for your advice and encouragement on this 4-finger G to D chop switch. After a lot of practice, it’s beginning to click in. I guess it’s just a matter of sculpting all those new synapses. Curiously, it’s much easier for me to go from the D to the G than from the G to the D, but they’re both coming along nicely now. Now I have to work on the D-C/C-D shifts.

    Through all this, I’ve come to agree with Jim and dadsaster in finding the sound of that 7452 4-finger D chord kind of grating. I much prefer the sound of the two 3-finger choices. But is is nice to have the 4-finger arrow in my quiver.

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    By the way, for all my fellow newbies who are also struggling with these and other chord changes, I find the Pete Wernick bluegrass jam videos very helpful and fun for drilling the chord switches and chops in the context of tunes. All three volumes are great. I used the ultra-slow 1st DVD to get the monster G chop down, and progresses (after a long time) to the second, moderately slow one. The early two-chord tunes on the second volume are especially good for working on the 4-finger G-D shifts. I recently tried going back to the third, “intermediate,” volume and was elated to discover that I could keep up with the chord chops, at least for the earlier tunes. Now I have to start all over again to work on lead soloing. But I do have to give a big plug for these Homespun videos. I just started taking a Wernick Method jam workshop and feel well prepared, having worked with the videos.

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    Default Re: G(I) chop to 3 or 4-finger D(V) chop?

    A good chop can be achieved with really only the G and D strings. I'd call it maybe 92% of what you'll get by adding the A string to it and the E string is useless in a chop as far as the sound I like to hear.
    Like Phil, I'll use that 4 finger D sometimes and may or may not be actually pressing the E string note down or just have my finger in that spot resting so it doesn't ring out.

    Bill made a great suggestion to practice it with A and E instead so the reach isn't as high. It's always funny to me that we all try to start with G which is the absolute hardest to reach. Start with B even and move it down gradually as your fingers get used to the idea.
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