3 finger strict alternation

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Rockin Mike, Nov 25, 2012.


  1. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    I know there are lots of folks who say use whatever feels natural or gets the job done, and folks who say strict alternate most of the time but make exceptions where it makes sense.

    This is a question for committed 3-finger strict alternators, however. First question is, are there any players out there who use 3-finger SA without exception?

    I learned in many years of flatpicking that strict alternation is far superior to raking. Raked for years, spent more years unlearning it.

    I know there is debate among 2-finger players about SA vs. Raking. I lean more toward the SA players because of my experience with flatpicking.

    I'm working on RMI and I see the value of SA in many (most?) things, but there are certain things that seem more natural to play differently. For example, playing a 1-5-8 arpeggio like:

    Using lowercase g for the low g and uppercase G for the high G,

    --------------
    --------G---- Ring
    --------D---- Middle
    --g---------- Index

    My instinct is to only ever play that as
    Index for the low g,
    Middle for the D, and
    Ring for the high G
    regardless of the ordering of the notes,
    regardless of what comes before or after.
    I would tend to change up the part prior to the arpeggio in order to play it with the "right" fingers rather than try to do something like:
    Middle for low g
    Index for D
    Ring for high G

    Question for committed 3-finger strict alternators: How do you handle such things?

    How would you play this?
    g-G-D-G g-G-D-G g-G-D-G
    The stretches needed for SA there seem very unwieldy to me.
  2. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    for something like that I would do : index for low G, middle for D and ring for high G.

    It is like a classical guitar technic.
  3. TOOL460002

    TOOL460002

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA
    Consider this:

    On one string go ring down, middle down, index down, and then index UP. It's like Geddy's flamenco thing where you hit the string with your nail on the up stroke. This let's you emphasize certain notes, or give you time to reset your ring finger and middle finger.

    I don't do this all the time. Sometimes I just play with one finger, sometimes two, sometimes three, and sometimes that quadruplet thing with the index up stroke. It'll take some time to build those muscles, but it's worth it. You can play things you never thought possible.
  4. nysbob

    nysbob

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I don't like strict ANYTHING. :p

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