Left hand technique question

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Libersolis, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Libersolis


    Sep 9, 2004
    Austin, TX
    Lynn, not sure if I am going to explain this well but I will give it a shot..

    I know that many players are believers in the method of keeping all the fingers down on the left hand and not letting the trailing fingers dangle about... How does this apply when playing across the strings? say on the A string I play the notes Bb and B in half position with the 1st and 2nd finger and the next note I am supposed to play is an F on the D string. Would I keep my fingers down over the Bb and B on the a string while playing the F or would I move all of my fingers down to the d string (thus covering Eb and E). Not sure if I explained this clearly, but if you can help me that would be great! Thanks

    By the way I have started taking lessons twice a month from Craig Butterfield at the University of South Carolina and he highly sings your praises and has me reading out of your book on jazz solos to get my reading chops up!!!

    Thanks again Lynn.
  2. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    It is a challenge to describe things over the internet sometimes, but I think I understand your question. Yes, it is good to minimize movement and not let the fingers flop around a lot, but when changing strings the fingers on the left hand do move independently. As with your example, it depends on what note is next. Francois Rabbath's "crab technique" is based on the concept of independent finger movement and rotation of the thumb. If one uses vibrato, then of course only one finger will be pressed so the hand is free to vibrate. If I am playing a chromatic scale up one string 1, 2, 4, shift, 1, 2, 4, shift , I will keep 1 down then 1 and 2, then 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then shift the whole hand to 1. I compare that to a zipper closing. In reverse, I will have all down for the note under the 4th finger, 1, and 2 for the note under the 2nd finger etc "unzipping" as I descend chromatically.