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Good technique's for better "finger" tone

shaggs

Member
Messages
43
Im looking for some techniques (other than just practice...practice...practice...) to improve my tone with my fingers. Such as certain types of scales or fretboard/finger exercises and different techniques to work on to improve my tone.
 

fuzz_factor

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,121
Sing. It will help your sense of pitch and phrasing.

Work on your vibrato. Try it fast, slow, wide, narrow, classical style...

Work on damping unused strings and playing as cleanly as possible.

Try fingerpicking, hybrid picking (pick w/middle & ring fingers) or use a thumb-pick. Lot's of cool possibilities when you use all of your right hand, regardless of the style of music you play.

If you want to get 'fast,' pick up some stuff from Paul Gilbert. He's a shredder who also sounds good. I haven't watched any of his videos, but the stuff he's been doing with Guitar World lately is entertaining and educational.

Learning all you can about diatonic harmony (chords, scales, chord scale, modes, harmony, counterpoint, etc.) can't hurt. Same with the C-A-G-E-D method and chord construction (triads, etc).. The more you know, the more confident you'll be, the quicker the music will flow out of you and good "finger" tone will follow.

Most of all: Have fun!

BTW - This is all stuff that I'm working on myself.

Edit: Working with a metronome can't hurt either. You can have the greatest "tone" in the world, but if you can't keep time, it will sound lame.
 
M

Member 995

Im looking for some techniques (other than just practice...practice...practice...) to improve my tone with my fingers. Such as certain types of scales or fretboard/finger exercises and different techniques to work on to improve my tone.
Tone is mainly in the picking hand, not the fretting hand. Focus your time there. Attack angle, attack strength, rest strokes vs. free strokes, type/thickness of pick, shape of finger nail, where on the string you pick, control over string muting/damping, etc.

Bryan
 

TopDog

"jumping the valence"
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,054
Tone is mainly in the picking hand, not the fretting hand. Focus your time there. Attack angle, attack strength, rest strokes vs. free strokes, type/thickness of pick, shape of finger nail, where on the string you pick, control over string muting/damping, etc.

Bryan
I disagree. It's the combination of the pick hand and fretting hand.
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
Tone is mainly in the picking hand, not the fretting hand. Focus your time there. Attack angle, attack strength, rest strokes vs. free strokes, type/thickness of pick, shape of finger nail, where on the string you pick, control over string muting/damping, etc.

Bryan
the fretting hand is frequencies, notes, chords, voicing, muting, bends, vibrato, and their character, hammer ons, sustain, staccatto,vibrato is changing the frequency, does not have anything to do with tone, though most of the tone is really in the amp :eek:
 
M

Member 995

the fretting hand is frequencies, notes, chords, voicing, muting, bends, vibrato, and their character, hammer ons, sustain, staccatto,vibrato is changing the frequency, does not have anything to do with tone, though most of the tone is really in the amp :eek:
I was assuming that the original poster meant 'tone' as in 'timbre,' not as in 'pitch.' Frequencies, notes, chords, voicing, bends, vibrato all relate to pitch and not really to timbre. Hammer-ons, pull-offs, sustain, and staccato are all left-hand things that do relate to timbre. I maintain that timbre mainly lies in the picking hand (as I said in my original reply) and that that is where a lot of attention should be placed. Learning new scales, chord voicings, etc., is great, but it really isn't the original poster was asking about, at least as I understood it.

I play an awful lot of acoustic guitar, so I'm not that concerned with tone being in the amp. My palette of tones comes from my right hand.

Bryan
 

Elektrik_SIxx

Member
Messages
457
Any scale or finger exercise should get you where you want to go. Just make sure to make every note as full and majestic sounding as you can. Start by backing down on your picking force.
 

shaggs

Member
Messages
43
I agree that tone comes from the amp...guitar...pedals....but ultimately your fingers with good clean notes and muting, thats where it all starts, IMO....this is the area where i really want to make my focus of playing right now, after years of being self taught, and where i feel i have a board that is just what i want, i really need to focus on the "fingers" to get the crispiest, cleanest, possible note i can make...

If anyone has a particular exercise that they use or an actual technique would be great to know, whats your secret.......
 

TopDog

"jumping the valence"
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,054
the fretting hand is frequencies, notes, chords, voicing, muting, bends, vibrato, and their character, hammer ons, sustain, staccatto,vibrato is changing the frequency, does not have anything to do with tone, though most of the tone is really in the amp :eek:
Yes and how they are interpreted (phrased) in combination is that what gives a player his "individual" tone. Amp tone is different. Each player has a unique tone he or she produces when playing the instrument that is dependent on their physiology.
 

spencerbk

Member
Messages
531
OK, care to elaborate? Perhaps some fretting hand exercises to work on to improve tone . . .
Well, I don't know about "improving" tone, but you can certainly change and influence tone with the fretting hand for more options.

If your left hand muting is really good you can play more aggressively with the right hand.

If you press really hard or if you press just enough with the left hand it is going to make a difference how it sounds going from one note to the next, especially on hammers and pulls.

If you press really softly you can create a bit of pseudo fret buzz that changes the tone.

As notes sustain due to left hand vibrato the tone of the note changes.

And, of course, if picking changes the tone then so does hammer-on and pull off technique.
 

Mandoboy

Member
Messages
1,768
Keep your left hand fingers down as you go up a string, instead of lifting each finger after playing (More details here).

The right hand of course is crucial, but lots of folks overlook this left hand thing which is really important for legato, coordination, and overall sound (not to mention speed).
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
I was assuming that the original poster meant 'tone' as in 'timbre,' not as in 'pitch.' Frequencies, notes, chords, voicing, bends, vibrato all relate to pitch and not really to timbre. Hammer-ons, pull-offs, sustain, and staccato are all left-hand things that do relate to timbre. I maintain that timbre mainly lies in the picking hand (as I said in my original reply) and that that is where a lot of attention should be placed. Learning new scales, chord voicings, etc., is great, but it really isn't the original poster was asking about, at least as I understood it.

I play an awful lot of acoustic guitar, so I'm not that concerned with tone being in the amp. My palette of tones comes from my right hand.

Bryan

Bryan, here is how I see the distinctions

I play synths, for me timbre are those aspects that differentiate a horn from a violin from a drum, hammer ons, slides excetra are legato, or how the notes are connected.

my joke about the amp was my joke about the amp.
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
left hand excercises, speed mechanics for lead guitar by troy stetina has lots of exercises, hammer-ons pull offs, increasing hand strength finger independence, may not be applicible to tone, but is a book worth getting IMO.

http://www.stetina.com/
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
personally prefer glass or metal, but if you want to use a finger as a slide, go right a head, not sure that its going to sound that great.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,522
I play an awful lot of acoustic guitar, so I'm not that concerned with tone being in the amp. My palette of tones comes from my right hand.

Bryan
+ 1
I think that playing acoustic is probably the best the thing you can do to develop your sound.

While I completely agree that the lions share of tone production is right hand, the left hand figures in as well.
Try this: Play some scalewise line like b c# d e up and down one string using all four fingers, 1st finger b, 2nd finger c# etc.
Now try the same line using just your first finger.

It sounds different. . .

So, for some stuff, however careful you are with your right hand in terms of tone matching from note to note or string to string, you'll still get different, usually better results in terms of tone matching using fewer than all four fingers.
Each of your left hand fingers will have a slightly different sound.
Sometimes just getting the left hand fingering optimized for a certain lick can make a big difference.
But yeah, it's mostly a right hand thing.

peace
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
I was assuming that the original poster meant 'tone' as in 'timbre,' not as in 'pitch.' Frequencies, notes, chords, voicing, bends, vibrato all relate to pitch and not really to timbre. Hammer-ons, pull-offs, sustain, and staccato are all left-hand things that do relate to timbre. I maintain that timbre mainly lies in the picking hand (as I said in my original reply) and that that is where a lot of attention should be placed. Learning new scales, chord voicings, etc., is great, but it really isn't the original poster was asking about, at least as I understood it.

I play an awful lot of acoustic guitar, so I'm not that concerned with tone being in the amp. My palette of tones comes from my right hand.

Bryan

I play acoustic as well, have a beautifully dynamic larrivee florentine cutaway, It is so resonsive and fingerpicking is my natural style since I am left handed playing righty, I stopped playing acoustics though, gave my everyday acoustic to a friends son when he went to college and i found that my strat is pretty loud unplugged and I can play it standing up easily, sitting down I noticed is totally different, things worked up sitting down, not necessary there when I stand up, kind of weird but that is music.
 
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Voodoo Blues

Member
Messages
1,483
The best way to get "tone" out of your fingers is to cope an attitude and play it like you mean it. How so you expect to make a song sound good if you're not into it?
 

Guinness Lad

Senior Member
Messages
15,860
The biggest thing you can do to effect your tone is to listen to the relationship of where you pick vs. where your fretting hand is. As you move around on the neck there are places where things start to sound fuller or more interesting, sometimes just by moving the right hand a little further or closer to the bridge you can change everything.

120 Guilanni exercises is a great place to start.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
This might be a bit off track but I think it applies. The most toneful note in the universe will sound foul if it's not in tune. It's more apparent with chords but also applies to solo type stuff. It's very easy to pull a note sour or fret too hard resulting in an out of key note or passage. Same for bends...they sound aweful if you fall flat or pull it sharp. I practice with a tuner sometimes just to "train my brain" to be aware of this.
 




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