Fingering of the Left Hand:
We can make the following combinations with those fingers:
1 For playing one note at a time and slides up and down the fretboard.
1 and 2
1 and 3
1 and 4 Use these fingeringcombinations for playing any two notes up and down the fretboard.
2 and 3
2 and 4
3 and 4
1, 2 and 3
1, 2 and 4 These fingers can be used to play for any three notes at a time.
1, 3 and 4
Last option is a combination of all the options mentioned above [1,2,3 and 4] used for 4 notes at a time.
Most people will use most of these options but not all, make sure you explore them ALL, by doing so you will find out for yourself which fingers feel good for whatever function you are using them.
A lot of people will ignore finger 4, start using it RIGHT NOW, as it will speed up your playing, it will also make your playing more accurate and smooth.
Visualisation Fretboard: Natural Notes on ONE string
One of the complexities of the guitar lies in the fact that notes on the guitar are playable in a linear fashion [playing on one string] and accross the fretboard [known as Postion Playing] Playing over one string on the guitar feels like playing the keys on a keyboard: The notes get higher as you move up along the string.
It is the playing on one string we are interested in for now.
Natural Notes On One String
Natural notes are all the white keys on a keyboard, for example
Notice that between C and D there is a dash, this it to indicate that we call the distance between C and D a whole tone. A whole tone on the guitar is the distance of two frets.
Notice that between E and F and B and C there is NO dash, this is to indicate that the distance between E and F is one fret. The distance of one fret is called a half tone.
Why are half- and whole tones important? To understand the framework of chords and scales [ but I will discuss those more in detail in futureblogs, first things first for now!!]
Here are all the natural notes placed on the high E string:
E F G A B C D E
Notice the shorter spaces between the half notes.
Playing Natural Notes with Suggested Fingering Left Hand
Play now over one string [High E for example] first with one finger all the natural notes, starting with the open E string up to the 12th fret E. Play then all the combinations you can make with two fingers, use then the three finger combinations ect. Keep playing natural notes for now, paying attention to where the half notes are.
Once you feel comfortable with the natural notes on the High E string move on to the B string. Before you start playing, please find yourself the E on the B string [ 5th fret] and move up to the 17th fret. In this way you play the same combination of notes [EF G A BC D E] as you did on the High E string. Play up and down B string using suggested fingerings, and again observe where the half notes appear. Continue this process untill you have covered all your strings!
Tips and Ideas
# First play natural notes up and down one string, then start making riffs and short melodies using [just for now] only natural notes.
# Play your favourite riffs, the ones you already know, over one string, ask yourself which notes your are playing, transpose your riffs so you can play them using only natural notes [You will now play in the key of C major or A minor!!]
What Do You Learn When You Apply the Above??
!! You will start playing with FOUR fingers, including your pink, very helpful indeed!!
!! You will notice how your melodies and riffs move up and down the fretboard according to the music you play.
!! You will start to notice where half-and whole notes are, this will help you when it comes to chord-and scaleconstruction [Probably one of the biggest areas of study for any serious,improvising musician]
For next blog I will give you plenty of simple melodies and riffs which you can play over one string.
Do you think I need way too many words to explain all of this, and do you live locally? Please do not hesitate to contact me for any guitarlessons or an informal session with tips, ideas and feedback on your guitarplaying.
Have fun and see you next time,