# Three Fingers vs Two Fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Quzumm, Oct 22, 2000.

1. ### Quzumm

Sep 25, 2000
Trondheim, Norway
I was thinking last night...
My thinking often results in some kind of stupid theory, far away from reality, and I guess this happend last night.

However, I was practising three finger technique, by playing eights on the same string. Then I did the same thing with two fingers, and I did it much faster. I said to myself ,"My three finger speed will improve with time", but then i started to think:

When playing with two fingers, you play I-M-I-M etc., which means that the middle finger plays each second note.
When playing with three fingers (not triplets), you play I-M-R-M-I-M-R-M etc. which also makes the middle finger play each second note. My point is, or was(?), that the middle finger have to play with the same speed in three fingers' as in two fingers'. Because of this middle finger, three fingers' should not be faster than two fingers'??

I know this is a stupid theory, far away from reality, three fingers' ARE faster then two. But WHAT makes three fingers faster then two? Could someone please tell me why???

...I'll have to stop thinking before my head explodes...

2. ### SapoMember

I think a more efficient three finger pattern is ring finger (R), middle finger (M), index finger (I)--played in this pattern-- R M I R M I etc. Playing in an alternating fashion as you describe seems inefficient and makes your middle finger work twice as much as the other two.

3. ### The_Bass

sapo: isn´t that pattern mostly used playing triplets?

I almost always use 2 fingers... but when I´m playing arpeggios I usually use 3 fingers.. and in that way Quzumm mentioned... it may not be much faster than using 2 fingers but I find it easier to play the notes even using three fingers..

btw: isn´t a = ring m = middle and i = index more used in music.. or is that only in iceland?

4. ### SapoMember

You could be right about the notation for the fingers, I just arbitrarily used those letters.

I use the above pattern most of the time, whether its triplets or eighth notes, sixteenth notes, etc.

I used two fingers for about 14 years but about 6 months ago I decided to alter my technique and add my ring finger.
My initial intent was more speed but another benefit is less work per finger. BTW, I still can't play FASTER with three than I could with two (but I CAN play at the same speed), but I attribute this to my index and middle fingers having a 14 year head start with practice, coordination, and endurance. Eventually my ring finger will get with the program.

5. ### Tarquin

Oct 9, 2000
I don't care much for unnecessary musical terms, but when I play quickly I use R-M-I, but when I'm not I kind of amble along and use them in whatever order I feel like. One of the aspects of 3-finger playing I like the most is just how quickly I can double-pick using the ring then middle finger. However, I'm one of those people whose ring finger is longer than their index finger, so it could be that others do the same thing going from M to I.

6. ### gruffpuppy

Aug 15, 2000
i saw a video with percy jones and he goes R I M, he said he does this because his middle finger is longer and its easier to grab the next string with the long finger, i think he has a very warm and smooth tone which probally comes from this technique

7. ### Erlendur Már

May 24, 2000
I only use three when i´m playing triplets or string crossing (or whatever it´s called)

8. ### Quzumm

Sep 25, 2000
Trondheim, Norway
So my theory was correct!!
Wow!

Thanks for all replies!