Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: Developing Finger Independence

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Developing Finger Independence

    My teacher is wanting me to work on strengthening my left hand 3rd finger so it may act independently of both 2nd and 4th fingers. She showed me an exercise where I tap each finger separately, specifically to strengthen the muscle extending from the 3rd finger up the arm. Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,550

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Mike Marshall’s Finger Busters
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  3. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  4. #3
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Palmer, Texas
    Posts
    3,708

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Any other suggestions?
    Yep.

    Pages 5, 6, 7 & 8 contain numerous exercises for doing just what your teacher is suggesting. This is a free (or donate what you wish) booklet that Brad Laird offered on a recent podcast. NFI

    Get the booklet here: https://payhip.com/b/VUzv

    Visit the podcast episode's webpage here: http://www.bradleylaird.com/podcast/...how-notes.html

    Jim's suggestion is a practical way that I'd highly recommend; also, as page 8 of Brad's booklet mentions, simply playing a tune you already know while leaving out the index finger, substituting middle for index and using middle, ring, pinky, is another finger busting hands-on-the-mandolin way.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Mark Gunter For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    The thumb, the index, and the little finger each have a dedicated tendon in the hand. The middle and ring fingers share a single tendon, and the same muscle up the arm. The challenge is that second and third finger independence must be developed in the hand. Good advice above.

  7. The following members say thank you to Jacob for this post:


  8. #5
    Hands of Pot Metal
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    1,517

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    I would also suggest being patient. Today's big effort is tomorrow's (and maybe the next day's) soreness. If 5 minutes is good, 20 minutes may not be better.
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  9. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  10. #6
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Mike Marshall’s Finger Busters
    Thanks, Jim. This one looks pretty advanced. I'll keep it in mind.

  11. #7
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Yep.

    Pages 5, 6, 7 & 8 contain numerous exercises for doing just what your teacher is suggesting. This is a free (or donate what you wish) booklet that Brad Laird offered on a recent podcast. NFI

    Get the booklet here: https://payhip.com/b/VUzv

    Visit the podcast episode's webpage here: http://www.bradleylaird.com/podcast/...how-notes.html

    Jim's suggestion is a practical way that I'd highly recommend; also, as page 8 of Brad's booklet mentions, simply playing a tune you already know while leaving out the index finger, substituting middle for index and using middle, ring, pinky, is another finger busting hands-on-the-mandolin way.
    Mark, I've enjoyed many of Brad's podcasts. I've downloaded the book and will listen to the podcast. I wish Brad included standard notation in his materials; otherwise, the ones I have are excellent.

  12. #8
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I wish Brad included standard notation in his materials; otherwise, the ones I have are excellent.
    Apologies to Brad! As I look over the entire workbook, I see there's one page with some serious notation. Not sure of the context, but will when I get to that point???

  13. #9
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    The thumb, the index, and the little finger each have a dedicated tendon in the hand. The middle and ring fingers share a single tendon, and the same muscle up the arm.
    Interesting!

  14. #10
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    PTC GA
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Practicing 3 finger chords is one the earliest steps to getting some independence with that ring finger.

  15. The following members say thank you to Tom Haywood for this post:


  16. #11
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Haywood View Post
    Practicing 3 finger chords is one the earliest steps to getting some independence with that ring finger.
    Maybe that explains why I struggle so much with 3 finger chords.

  17. #12
    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Americus, GA
    Posts
    238
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    To Sherry and anyone interested.

    For the record I encourage all players to learn both systems—in fact I did a recent podcast discussing tab and standard and 3 other ways we learn.

    Regarding my instructional material: All of my mandolin videos include tab and standard.

    Some of my books have both and some don’t for two reasons:

    It is my belief that learning to navigate and see “constellations” of notes and patterns on the fret board is assisted by tab and hindered by standard. The book Master Class, Training Camp and Excursion are tab only.

    Reason 2. When I wrote those books I didn’t have a decent program to create good notation. I was using some ancient Mac program (same one Banjo Newsletter used for years) and it worked to get my points across.

    If you want a full mea culpa go find my tab vs std episode on grasstalkradio.com.

  18. The following members say thank you to bradlaird for this post:


  19. #13

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Keep learning tunes with good technique and tone. Shift your hand so that in open position the 2, 3, and 4 fingers are playing melody rather than 1, 2, and 3...keep at it and it will come.

    It may have been mentioned but when you’re doing a 3 finger chord like A 2245 I use index and then ring and little, some people - Don Steirnberg, Aaron Weinstein other pros - use index, second, and ring to allow the pinky to “dance” for embellishment but I wouldn’t focus on that right now just go slow and listen for good tone, as you develop you’ll adapt.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  20. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to bigskygirl For This Useful Post:


  21. #14

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    The thumb, the index, and the little finger each have a dedicated tendon in the hand. The middle and ring fingers share a single tendon, and the same muscle up the arm. The challenge is that second and third finger independence must be developed in the hand. Good advice above.
    Jacob, that is very interesting fact and relevant I would imagine. So I'm testing this by sitting here and quickly wiggling my index & middle (separate tendons) and then wiggling the middle and ring (shared tendon). Just concentrating on how it feels and moves - as it should feel different. And, I think I can feel the difference - the separate index / middle does feel smoother and easier to move faster.

    Another observation - I can move the I / M and the M / R pair quickly and keep the other fingers relatively quiet. But the R / P pair . . . forget it, the M goes nuts!

    One little practice technique I use is to just play some tunes but shift to the next fingers down instead of the normal way. Very good for coordination and strength, hammers, pull-offs, triplets, etc.

  22. The following members say thank you to Dillon for this post:


  23. #15
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    An exercise for woodwind players has been helpful.
    Place your hands palm down on a flat surface in front of you.
    With arms & hands relaxed, concentrate on only raising and lowering the tips of the ring fingers.
    Then try developing speed at doing this.
    Have played finger style guitar using thumb & three fingers for fifty plus years.
    Last edited by Jacob; Jul-31-2020 at 4:51pm.

  24. The following members say thank you to Jacob for this post:


  25. #16
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    1,365
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    Keep learning tunes with good technique and tone. Shift your hand so that in open position the 2, 3, and 4 fingers are playing melody rather than 1, 2, and 3...keep at it and it will come.

    It may have been mentioned but when you’re doing a 3 finger chord like A 2245 I use index and then ring and little, some people - Don Steirnberg, Aaron Weinstein other pros - use index, second, and ring to allow the pinky to “dance” for embellishment but I wouldn’t focus on that right now just go slow and listen for good tone, as you develop you’ll adapt.
    Three fingers to cover seven frets? I can barely manage five.

  26. #17

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    Three fingers to cover seven frets? I can barely manage five.
    This is not ffcp, the 2, 3, and 4 fingers cover frets 1-5, no need to reach up to 7 in open position as those notes are not used on open position but if they are just shift your hand. The pinky can reach out to the 6th fret easily or just shift slightly if your hand is small.

    This is not an exercise one would do for hours. The goal is not to get the tunes to warp speed or performance level, simply get thru them cleanly and comfortably a few times then go back to the regular way, over time you will feel more finger independence.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  27. The following members say thank you to bigskygirl for this post:


  28. #18
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    So any suggestions for keeping 4th finger (pinky) over the fretboard, as opposed to allowing it to do its own thing?

  29. #19
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Palmer, Texas
    Posts
    3,708

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    If you figure it out, let me know.

    signed/flying fingers
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  30. #20
    Hands of Pot Metal
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    1,517

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Good left hand position helps keeping the pinky in line. I use scales and scales in thirds, ffcp, slowly, paying attention to my pinky mechanics. I've got a long way to go, I aspire to the Alan Bibey or Chris Thile level for sure, but its a large hill.

    I didn't start as a child, I'm sure that wasn't helpful
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  31. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  32. #21
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    If you figure it out, let me know.

    signed/flying fingers
    I've been slowing some things down a bit and really focusing on that 4th finger, keeping it under control. It's helping a lot, as I can see out of the corner of my eye. My teacher says she can tell a big difference as well.

    As I read back over Bill McCall's response, I'm pretty sure this is what he is saying.

  33. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Sherry Cadenhead For This Useful Post:


  34. #22

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    I'm new here and certainly don't want to act like the expert. I will just say that having played guitar off and on since 1961. I'm accustomed to using all my left-hand fingers for chords. Using my ring finger for a slide (as Sharon Gilchrist taught in an early Peghead Nation lesson) was surprising, but not a huge challenge.

    I think an easy way to get your ring finger into taking some responsibility would be to play a few simple G, C, D songs with your 2nd and 3rd fingers making the 2-finger chords instead of your 1st and 2nd.

    Jim

  35. #23
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon Jim View Post
    I'm new here and certainly don't want to act like the expert. I will just say that having played guitar off and on since 1961. I'm accustomed to using all my left-hand fingers for chords. Using my ring finger for a slide (as Sharon Gilchrist taught in an early Peghead Nation lesson) was surprising, but not a huge challenge.

    I think an easy way to get your ring finger into taking some responsibility would be to play a few simple G, C, D songs with your 2nd and 3rd fingers making the 2-finger chords instead of your 1st and 2nd.

    Jim
    Interesting!

  36. #24
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    I've mentioned many times in the Forum my teacher is a professional violinist. She is an amazing teacher, although I feel she demands a little too much perfection from me, as a late-in-life learner with no great aspirations. Technique is HUGE with her. Lately, one of my greatest challenges is separating the 2nd (middle) and 3rd (ring) fingers when I play. I was considering asking you guys if separation of those 2 fingers was the same with violin and mandolin. Then I saw this video posted by Tim Logan in another thread. OMG, can this guy separate those fingers! Anyway, just thought I would share. If you've seen the video in Tim's context, now look at it for the finger separation.

    Enjoy.


  37. The following members say thank you to Sherry Cadenhead for this post:


  38. #25
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    669

    Default Re: Developing Finger Independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I've mentioned many times in the Forum my teacher is a professional violinist. She is an amazing teacher, although I feel she demands a little too much perfection from me, as a late-in-life learner with no great aspirations. Technique is HUGE with her.
    I've studied under and observed a few music teachers in my day, and find that many aren't as sophisticated as they think. Although people learn in many different ways, a considerable number of teachers mainly imitate the way that they are taught; after all it worked for them, and works well for some of their students. Other teachers believe that the academy's method is the only standard, although mandolin is played in many styles. Finally, a great many teachers seem to have no concept that adults don't have the flexibility that children do. I've learned to tell teachers that I have physical limitations that affect how I can use my hands. As well, I tell young teachers that seniors like me generally aren't as mouldable as young folks. That's what they have to deal with, and I have to remind them now and then. If a teacher can't accept that, I'm gone. I'd suggest discussing your issues with your teacher. If you can't come to an understanding, you'd be better off with a teacher who understands your needs, goals, and limitations better. But keep exercising those fingers -- gaining finger coordination is a slow process.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •