2 or 3 picking fingers?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by m0nkeyChop, Jun 15, 2002.

  1. m0nkeyChop


    Jun 15, 2002
    I was wondering if it was a good idea to learn how to use the 'ring finger' as well as the index and middle fingers when plucking. Is it worth it? What are its advanatages and dis-advanatages? And does anyone here use 3 fingers?
  2. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    There are heaps of threads about this so if you do a search you may get some other stuff.

    I use 3 fingers occasionally. I first thought that I could use them to increase speed, but it doesnt. This is because you use the save amont of energy using the 3rd finger, as you do picking the string again.
    Now I occasionally use it when my fingers start to hurt I use it to give my other 2 a rest but, I still use the 2 that are "resting". I also use them for triplets. Its fun and it makes it much easier.
    matthewatl likes this.
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I began using 3 fingers for when I was called on to do "gallop" type beats. The triplets sounded cleaner to me that way. I really don't use more than 2 fingers though on anything else. There's really no need for it IMO, unless you are doing some really complicated two hand tap.
  4. melvin


    Apr 28, 2001
    I used to use 3 but I found it hard to do sets off sixteenth notes that werent triplets, fivelets, etc. So I decided to move on to using 4 fingers, but I only do that when I want to do a "tremolo pick" kind of thing...or shred :D

    I do find it helpful to use the ring finger if Im going for a fast triplet thing that as muted notes in it.
  5. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    i use three fingers... not counting my thumb.. I have tried using four.. but it just doesn't work well for me.. and I'm ok with that. 3 is good enough. 2 is good enough for most things.
    matthewatl likes this.
  6. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I started with 2. Because of my classical guitar training, I could play with either index/middle, index/ring or middle/ring fingers. Eventually I practiced integrating the three and now it works beautifully. Also, it makes for some interesting percussive effects.
  7. BassMann2112


    Jun 21, 2002
    I started playing music on the piano when I was 8 yrs old. I soon wanted to learn the guitar. So I did. I'm 33 yrs old now and have played guitar for over 22 yrs and bass for the last 14 with some crazy blues band. Soon after that abuse of drinking and the blues I started playing bass for my mentor Stacy Cummings. We played out for 5 years in and around Indiana a few years ago playing covers by: Joe Satriani, Greg Howe, Eric Johnson, Tony McAlpine, Yngwie and Steve Morse. Stac is a incredable player, also a bass player, playing now with Ted Alliota in the chicago area.
    Well really long story short. I developed a strong right hand technique for speed and let me tell ya, 3 fingers have the capability to be much faster than 2.
    I'm now in a cover band working on original material (were using the covers to get out to do our own material a bit at a time) playing from Kankakee to Joliet.
    we are "Bak Bone"
    Cheers to all
  8. VS


    Jun 6, 2002
    Mountain City, Tennessee
    Discounted Gear: Peavey
    I tend to use my index,middle and ring. I also like to incorperate my pinky for practice to make it stronger for regular use. It's getting there,but slower than the ring finger came along. I say use all of what ya got.;) -Luke
  9. I started playing with a pick but switched to 2 (i,m)fingerstyle real fast but then I changed to 3 (a,m,i in exactly that order) because 3 feels more natural to me and with some practice it will sound just as even a 2 finger playing (no , having a galloping sound when you don't want it is not good :rolleyes: )
  10. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I don't know how it happened, but one day I felt comfortable using T 1 2 3, so that's what I do. I started with T & 1, then T 1 2, then I think I all of a sudden jumped to 1 & 3 :confused:, only to gradually involving T & 2 again.

    I really have no discipline when it comes to order, I just take the finger that's available at the moment... works fine in most situations. :D
  11. clarkbrown


    Jul 8, 2002
    dang im confused, im 16, bass is my life and i play all the time. heres my question.

    say your index is 1, your middle is 2 and you ring is 3 do you go like

    123212321232 or what,

    also, i saw Bass players took over the world and Bill dickens is flying like mad all over that conklin with 2, why would you use 3.
  12. I go 321321321. And I use 3 fingers because it simply feels right.
    Geddaric likes this.
  13. clarkbrown


    Jul 8, 2002
    when your playing 321, it that triplets. It would make sense to play 321321321, like tri-pi-let tri-pi-let and so on but it would be harder to feel sixteents. oh well. ill try your method.
  14. Yes it IS harder to play 8ths or 16ths but it also works if you practice
  15. i usually use one,my index finger, unless i'm playing fast, or using my thumb, or plucking
  16. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's not recommended to do direction changes like 123212321, this prohibits playing fast and effective IMO.

    With practice it's easy to play groups in four with three fingers.

    <b>3</b>213<b>2</b>132<B>1</b>321 and repeat.
  17. i use 3 fingers sometimes on single string lines because it's less fatiguing on the hand, although a little confusing at first because most of the time you're doing a beat in 4 over 3 fingers.

    also, if i'm playing a line that is mainly on the E and A strings and there are a couple brief notes on the D string, i just hit those with my ring finger so i don't have to shift my whole hand. if there are too many notes up there i have to shift, though.

    i think oysterman put it best, use whatever's available at the moment. you can't overthink it too much.
  18. just_a_poser


    Apr 20, 2002
    My instructor showed me a lick a while after I first started taking lessons. Where I had to play three notes really quickly. I don't know if it was a triplet or what...I can't remember it now. I was trying to remember it because while reading it kind of made me think, because I always used my ring finger to hit the last note, and then that would throw me off because I had never used it before. I don't know hoow that threw me off, it just did...

    Anyway, I can only play using two. I think if the oppurtunity arose where I _had_ to use three, I mite be able to, but I don't know how that would come up, so I'll just stick with two.
  19. When using three fingers, I don't use 123 because of the length of the fingers, it is easier to angle the hand slightly and use the 321 for a quick triplet. Although, lately I'm trying to use my ring finger for popping because the length of my middle and ring fingers are closer to the same. It's seems easier this way. Plus my middle and ring fingers are shaped the same way. My index finger is "flatter"? I just read in another forum of using up and down with the finger, wow. I've played for how many years and never tried it? Learn something everday. Truly, some good ideas in this thread. But it's hard to beat two fast fingers with anything except a stick. lol. :)
  20. Just watch how Steve Harris from Iron Maiden plays. He can pull off triplets with just two fingers.