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Most efficient way to finger 5ths?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Earthday, Sep 22, 2005.


  1. Earthday

    Earthday

    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    I'm trying to completely brush over and stabilize my technique for a few months before I proceed to advance my playing. I've noticed I have a hard time smoothly fingering 4ths (The note one string higher on the same fret)

    What's a smooth way to do this? Should I be fingering it like I normally finger any other note, or should I lay my finger down and fret it using a lower portion of my finger? Or should I bring another finger over?
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    The note one string higher on the same fret is a fourth.

    It depends in part where you're going after you play the higher note. If your muting technique is good, you can stop both strings with one finger as if it were a bar chord.

    It's good to practice this barring technique with both fretting hand index and middle fingers. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to use the ring and little fingers to stop a string each since they're not as strong, although practicing barring with those wouldn't hurt either. Ideally, you'd be comfortable with both techniques regardless of which finger you're fretting with.

    It all depends on the line you're playing and making the best choices to have the smoothest and most musical fingering possible. Hope this helps.
     
  3. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR

    +1


    Also, if you wanted to know the best way to finger actual 5ths, it really depends on how big of a hand you have. Say you are playing a double stop with your index on Bb and your other finger on F- does your ring finger make it over there with no problems? Do you have to use your pinky? I really see no downside to using your pinky when playing 5ths/octaves.
     
  4. Earthday

    Earthday

    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Yes I indeed did mean 4ths. What made me type 5ths, I dont know.

    So basically you're saying using the same finger to fret each note, and muting with my right hand and/or the other available left handed fingers depending on what I'm playing?

    So for example, for the first 3 notes of The Who's Pinball Wizard it'd work best to fret the B with my index finger, then fret both the F# and A# with my ring finger like I was fretting a chord, as in, tip of my finger on the F#, mid section of it on the A# and mute the A# using my pinky?
     
  5. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR

    That would work. Instead of holding chords, if I only have to play one note at a time, I release the pressure of whichever finger was fretting the note just played. That way, muting isn't nessecary. However, (and I know I am going to sound like a dufus), I have never heard Pinball Wizard, and I don't know exactly how it should be played. Where are you Blackbird?
     
  6. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Also, I think you mean B natural, not Ab... :confused:
     
  7. Earthday

    Earthday

    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    The part I mean which is a good example of what Im asking, is this in tab form (All eight notes)

    ------4
    ----4--
    --2----
    -------

    I'm not fluent in music language, only really know the basics, so I'm really just asking whats the best way to finger something like that. At the point I'm at I really want to sure up my playing, and make sure I'm doing what will make me most efficient in the future.
     
  8. AGCurry

    AGCurry

    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    I would use the pinky for the F# and the high B.
     
  9. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR

    Again, I think it really depends on the size of your hands. I would use my pinky too, but if you can comfortably use your ring finger, why not?
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't disagree with that, but I don't know what purpose it would serve to use the ring finger instead of the little finger. Maybe if you wanted to play a C# after you play the B it would help, but if all you're doing is an octave such as the example that Earthday has, why make things hard on yourself? In an example like that, I would never use the ring finger and always use the little one, just because I hate to stretch my hand out if I don't have to.
     
  11. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    apparently there's some nerve or motor control thingy in our hands that is shared by the ring finger and the pinky, so those fingers often don't have quite the independence of the other fingers... I can't bend my pinky without the ring finger involuntarily bending slightly too.. my ring finger on both hands isnt as strong, mobile or controllable than the other 3 fingers.. and since I'm probably not physiologically unique, I guess this would be true be to one degree or another for most of us

    so there are times when one-finger-per-fret isn't necessarily the most effective or efficient way of playing.. and root-5th-octave patterns, for me, are one of them... like JimmyM, I would nearly always grab an octave with my pinky, even though it's against 'the rules'
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    But it's not really. I have seen very few bassists who do octaves with index and ring. And in her instructional materials, Carol Kaye recommends highly that you do octaves with index and pinky. She claims you can do real damage to your hand if you use index and ring, and after trying it a few times, I'm inclined to agree.
     
  13. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I'd use my ring finger, or my pinky, it depends. I try to be as consequent as possible with the 1 finger/1 case approach, but once in a while my pinky slips through..
     
  14. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'd quite happily play that example (B F# B') with my first finger for the low B, my third finger for the F# and my fourth finger for the high B. I'd only make an exception to that if, as Blackbird already suggested, the context demanded it.

    Mind you, if I was just playing the fifth interval, with B and F#, I'd probably play it with first and fourth fingers (again, depending on the context).

    Wulf
     
  15. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    What if you have Shaq sized hands? I am just saying that pinky works best (usually!) for normal sized hands.

    Also (this one is to cowsgomoo) there are some great exercises that you can do to work on moving your fingers all indie.

    The first method is called by an old teacher of mine "the spider".

    Start out with your four fingers all lined up chromatically on the E string where the stretch feels themost comfortable. Now, pick up your 2 and 3 (middle and ring) fingers ONLY and move them down to the A string while keeping your 1 and 4 (index and pinky) on the same frets they started on. Then, you move the 1 and 4 down to the A string while keeping the 2 and 3 planted. Just go up and down the strings- slowly at first.

    After you have that mastered, you can try a different version of the same exercise. Instead of moving your fingers in these groups- (2,3) and (1,4), move them like this- (1,3) and (2,4). Same rules apply.

    I really think that this is a good way to practice seperating the movement between fingers. NOW GO PRACTICE!
     
  16. bonscottvocals

    bonscottvocals

    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
     
  17. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    It's all muscle memory. That is why I can sit down and play some songs that took me FOREVER to learn with ease... repitition.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The very first exercise Dave LaRue taught me when I took lessons from him was the spider. Good call!