How many fingers do you use?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Ben E, May 9, 2000.

  1. Well, as I said before: Not necessarily. I don't use 4 finger technique for the speed aspect of it, but for the flexibility aspect instead (i.e.: string crossing on a wide spaced 6 string). Speed comes from practicing consistently and slowly, with whatever number of fingers you choose to use. In other words, if you wanna play REAL fast, first you have to play REALLLLLLY slow, and preferably with a metronome :D. An example of what I'm talking about is in my very first post on this topic: I studied with Dave LaRue for several years, he only used 2 fingers, and was CONSIDERABLY faster than I was (still is too). He got that way by working on his accuracy, the speed followed. Hope this helps.
  2. TheBassPlayer


    Aug 22, 2000
    i primarily use my index and middle fingers and throw my thumb in when playing some slap bass or classical music. but when i feel like it i will throw in my ring finger and do some 3-2-1s. sometimes i even bring in my pinky and do some 4-3-2-1s. but when i really want to play fast i do some slap-hammer-plucks or slap-hammer-pluck-pluck.


    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    All ten....
    sometimes muteing or fretting with left thumb
    fretting with all four left fingers
    slapping with right thumb
    plucking or strumming or popping or whaterver the other four.
  4. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    I’m definitely in the “all ten” group, but I’m trying to learn to use as few as possible.
  5. Why would you want to impose such a limitation on yourself?
  6. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    I really prefer using a pick, but am fairly proficient with two finger technique (index/middle finger plucking), classical acoustic guitar (thump/index/middle finger) finger picking, double thumping, and faux pick technique (thump and index finger pressed together as if holding a pick and then using the very tip/nail of the index finger much the same way as you would a pick).

    And at the moment I am practicing at getting decent at 3 finger technique (index/middle/ring finger plucking) as well as index and middle finger flicking technique (same technique as for example Gedy Lee used almost exclusively later in his career, also called "flamenco technique", named after the similar technique used by flamenco guitarists), just spending a couple of minutes several times during every day to get better at this, and I am actually slowly improving and able to play faster and faster while still hitting the strings accurately.

    That finger flicking/flamenco technique is really much harder to get right than it looks, you need to hit the strings quite precisely with a quite slim margin of diverging from absolute accuracy, and at the same time avoiding tension and keep the muscles and tendons relaxed for it to work, but when done right and mastered it is possible to attain picking speeds that can fully compete with that of using a pick, and in some situations even faster, and beside that it has it's own unique, and to me great, sound (I could actually see my self possibly converting to primarily using this picking technique over using a pick if I ever manage to get anywhere near to mastering it).

    As said though I really prefer that unique tone that comes from using a pick, that quite specific snappy emphasis on the attack that no other picking technique can really give you (not even the faux pick technique), and to be honest it is probably also the one picking technique that I come closest to mastering currently, on electric guitar though strangely enough I much prefer classical acoustic guitar style finger picking (had a phase where this, combined with the faux pick technique, was actually also my preferred picking technique to use when playing bass).

    I suck at slapping but has absolutely no desire or intention of ever wasting my time learning how to use this God awful abomination of a technique properly.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    MattZilla likes this.
  8. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    All the fingers. Not often, but on occasion I’ll use the right hand pinky classical guitar style.
  9. johnh89


    Jan 25, 2020
    Kent UK
    All of em
  10. AFRO


    Aug 29, 2010
    10 club. but 9 most regularly.

    my fret (Left) hand thumb gets almost no work as it is the anchor for my 4 fretting fingers and since I dont play a 4string anymore, I dont fret over the top any more. so in a sense I do use it, but not to fret.

    My plucking hand (Right) Pinky gets some use in the mute dept on the G and D strings mostly. My thumb is mostly the floating thumb anchor, but it is in my 4 finger pluck arsenal as well as when I go 'DUB'... the thumb is my go to pluck so I can mute with my palm. pinky definitely the least used on the pluck hand.
  11. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    Seven fingers, two thumbs
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 29, 2021

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