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Thread: Fingering Technique

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    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Fingering Technique

    I would appreciate some opinions on this . . . say you are going to play 4 or 5 consecutive notes on the same string, either up or down - and you're not going to use your pinky. At what point and with which finger would you also use to fret the next note? (I = index, M = middle, R = ring). You could go I I M R or I M M R or I M R R.

    Hope I'm making my question clear. I find myself playing runs like this several different ways and I don't know why I choose which way when I do. I'm wondering are there "rules" that would suggest the "proper" way? Would it matter depending on going up or down the fretboard? Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

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    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    If you have one, I can't think of a good reason not to use your pinky.
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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    If tempo was anything other than slow, I would to use either slides, hammer-ons or pull-offs in order to play what you describe, with 3 fingers.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by tree View Post
    If you have one, I can't think of a good reason not to use your pinky.
    Only if you need to slide for phrasing - not just 4th finger laziness.

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    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    To clarify my thoughts. I do like to use and usually do use my pinky, let's say in first position on the 6th and 7th frets. I'm thinking more like in the first position going up on the 2nd, 3, 4, and 5th frets for instance. There you might not use the pinky, esp. if you had a note coming up higher on the 6th or 7th fret. Rather you'd . . . . get the the heart of my question, you'd most likely go with I I M R or I M M R or I M R R (I = index, M = middle, R = ring). So I'm wondering if there's a "most common" way players would likely play those four consecutive notes I I M R or I M M R or I M R R.

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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Wouldn't it depend on the melody? If a slide from one note to the next one up would sound good, that's the finger that will cover two notes. If there's a "breathing gap" between two notes, that's where a finger could move.

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    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    For me it all depends on where I’m starting. If I’m starting on the second fret it would be I M M R. Starting on first fret it would be I I M M. Third fret M M R R. I would probably not do I M R R if starting on the second fret, but that’s just me.

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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    I would do what felt natural to me, and it may vary with the run or tune. I'd say do what feels natural to you. The same run may be done differently by other folks and be totally fine for them.
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    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Yeah, when I hit a rough place I find it helpful to slow down, analyze my fingering and try to discover the most efficient way to solve whatever issue I'm having, even if it means playing or starting from a different position, a different note or string, or slightly altering the melody or lick I'm trying to play. Honestly, sometimes I make a mistake that sounds better that what I was trying for in the first place, or that gives me a different idea for a solution.
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    I think that tree captures it nicely! We have the general approach of two frets per finger. But depending upon the music being played that may not be the most effective approach. It’s all influenced by where you’re coming from, where you’re going to, what the music calls for, and what you are skilled to do. Moving the finger up one fret with or without a slide is a good technique to have in the toolbox. Each can come in handy in different situations. And don’t forget about what the right hand has to do at the same time to get the desired sound.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Maybe I am misreading the OP's question but I think he/she is talking about chromatic melody lines when he/she says "consecutive notes". Otherwise I am not sure what the problem is or the question, for that matter.
    Jim

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    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    That's correct Jim, four consecutive notes (same strings) - where you're not going to use the pinky. So two of the notes will be struck with the same fretting finger. As I mentioned, I'd find myself using a different finger at different times, different tunes . . . which got me thinking . . . maybe a little too much? As pops1 reminds us, going with what feels natural is usually pretty good advice.

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    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Whatever gets you where you want to go, with the goal that you're still in good position to play whatever comes next.
    Clark Beavans

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  19. #14
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    +1
    tree gives you the simple “rule” if you’re looking for a rule.

    I’m thinking of a solo I transcribed, there is a place where you find yourself holding a ringing note with middle finger, followed by 4 chromatic notes going down, and beginning with the same note you held. In that case, my only good choice is m-m-i-i
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    For 4 straight chromatic notes I would finger it IMRR on the way up and RMMI on the way down.on chromatic scales I use a different fingering descending than I do ascending..

  21. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    I believe there is a “correct” way to play chromatic runs as dictated by violin or mandolin methods but I wouldn’t know offhand what those methods would indicate though I could look.
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve 2E View Post
    For me it all depends on where I’m starting. If I’m starting on the second fret it would be I M M R. Starting on first fret it would be I I M M. Third fret M M R R. I would probably not do I M R R if starting on the second fret, but that’s just me.

    That's strange. Wouldn't your fingering depend on the desired phrasing and where this figure sits in the chosen position? I had to pick up my instrument and check. Say I'm playing b-c-c#-d on the 2nd course, in the key of G. Seems my default fingering then is index on the b, 2nd finger hammer-on on the c and sliding through the c# and d. In certain situations , e.g., if the next note is on a lower fret, I might use the 3rd finger on the d. I might even pick that note if passing to the e course; but passing to the d course or staying on the a course I would hammer it.

    And, if I had to transpose the whole thing to the key of F# or Ab, I would of course just move my fingering down or up a fret.

  23. #18

    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    To start with I had certain specific ways to do this based mainly on FFcP system and working vertically across the fretboard but now I find it’s easier to practice all the different combinations and then I don’t get caught out as much in a difficult position.

    Practice sliding each finger up and down, that’ll help too. Lots of bouzouki players use just the one or two strings...

  24. #19
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingering Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    That's strange. Wouldn't your fingering depend on the desired phrasing and where this figure sits in the chosen position? I had to pick up my instrument and check. Say I'm playing b-c-c#-d on the 2nd course, in the key of G. Seems my default fingering then is index on the b, 2nd finger hammer-on on the c and sliding through the c# and d. In certain situations , e.g., if the next note is on a lower fret, I might use the 3rd finger on the d. I might even pick that note if passing to the e course; but passing to the d course or staying on the a course I would hammer it.
    It might be strange. I donít know. I think I might agree with you. The strange part for me is analyzing two seconds of my playing when I can go a few hours without thinking twice. I was just trying to help somebody out.

    For the most part I stand by my first post. The example of playing a chromatic run in the key of G starting on the B on the second string is a good example of what I like to do. IMMR. If you end that run with your ring finger on the D your other fingers are in a good position to hit other notes in the key of G without having to move your hand position. Thereís also a few different slide and hammer-on combinations you can do to get there.

    Okay, hereís where I backpedal. I do find myself doing the IMRR in this position. I do like to sometimes slide the C# into the D with my ring finger. The most important thing for me is having my ring finger ending the run on the D. It just helps me to be in a good position to do other things. Iím not saying this is the right or best way to do it, but it works for me.

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