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Regarding fingerstyle technique...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Sheep Man, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. For those of you who play fingerstyle part of the time, most of the time, or all of the time, do you leave your plucking hand open while you're playing, or do you close/roll up the fingers you're not using?

    Let's take me as an example. Normally, I play 2 finger plucking style (?!) and have the ring & pinky fingers "closed" while I'm playing. I'm wondering, does that affect the mobility/dexterity of my middle finger? I remember when I saw Billy Sheehan play with Steve Vai & Mr. Big, he was playing with 2 fingers but his right hand was open all the time, the other 2 fingers just sort of...flailing about anywhere but touching the strings. Does anybody know if it helps with dexterity/strength/speed/consistency/anything at all?
  2. I play two finger style with my thumb either floating, or on the thumbrest. My ring finger and pinky are loosely closed. I don't think it has affected my dexterity any. Then again, I could be wrong. I just play the way that feels most comfortable.
  3. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    It all depends if I'm just thumpin along or I'm playing some walking line or a lightning fast line.
    I use two and three fingers mostly index middle and ring so it vary's, I guess what I'm trying to say is I do both, closed and open.....
  4. it does indeed reduce the flexibility of the middle finger.

    the middle, ring and pink are sort of connected..
    normally you cannot close your pink and/or ringfinger completely without eachother, and bending your middlefinger.

    trial and error, the only way...
  5. Hmmm...

    Thanks for the input, guys.
    I guess it's about time I started practicing with my plucking hand open. :)
  6. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Sheehan plays with three fingers. I always get the willies when I watch him because that RH position doesn't look remotely comfortable to me. Whatever works, I guess.
  7. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    i still wonder why Cliff Burton Pinky was so afraid to touch the strings!

    i mean it was almost always up and appart from the other fingers (even the ring)
  8. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I used to play with my ring and pinky fingers open, but after I switched to the floating thumb technique I noticed my ring and pinky fingers are loosely closed. I even use them to mute strings sometimes. I wouldn't worry about it too much though. Just do whatever is most comfortable.
  9. He does? When I saw him both times it looked like only 2 to me.

    Oh well, what do I know, those were my first and only 2 concerts to date. :p

    With any luck, though, I'll be able to get tickets to the Mingus tribute big band for this Saturday. :)
  10. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
  11. Bryan_G


    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    I feel like a freak. All of my fingers are usualy always touching the strings. I use the pinky just for muting, but on occasion I will do a triplet and use my ring finger. I don't realy float my thumb. It stays pretty much on the E string(unless im playing it), however it doesn't kill me to move it. I would imagine if i was playing a 6 string or something it would float. All this varies from time to time but this is the way most songs go down.
  12. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    on my 7, i got the Cliff Burton deasease... my pinky is in the air, but i mostly play with 2 fingers, sometimes 3
  13. MatW


    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    I play 3 finger style and my little finger always copies what the ring finger is doing. Luckily it never gets in the way, and the motion is very natual just like drumming your fingers.

    I've saw a Jaco tape, and I thought that his ring and pinky helped mute the strings he wasn't playing at the time. Very cool technique.
  14. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    right then - can some one clarify this for me...

    floating thumb is where the thumb rests against the bottom strings that aren't being played (to reduce string noise) and the forefinger and middlefinger pluck in front of the thumb?

    Is that right?

    I play with two fingers - some times three.

    My ring and pinky are usually flailing about... at home anyway, I usually put on some clothes before I go outside!


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