Tips on Improving Fingering Technique?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Lockjawpony, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Lockjawpony

    Lockjawpony Member

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    So I've been playing guitar for 12 years, I have a really good background with jazz and music theory from playing trombone in high school and college, so I know what I'm supposed to be playing and have decent improvisational skills, but I keep running into difficulties in execution.

    My main difficulty is with either picking too many strings or not muting the stings I don't want to hear well enough.

    I always end up hearing unwanted strings ring or I don't hear the strings I want to because I'm accidentally muting them with my fat fingers. This is especially true when I play the B and high E strings.

    I find it difficult to play on the high E string especially I think because I run out of room on the width of the fretboard, so I try to avoid playing it by playing lower strings higher on the neck.

    And before anyone says the key is practice, I just remember what my jazz instructor used to tell us, which is, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." Which means practicing something the wrong way makes you really good at playing it the wrong way.

    Being self taught I'm always trying to find the right way to practice.

    Any tips will be most appreciated.
     
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Patient scale and arpeggio work can iron that out. Don't go for speed. Go for control.
     
  3. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Hey Mr. Lockjaw, the question is how to keep strings quiet. It's an activity of both hands.

    The picking hand's lower palm/heel is responsible for muting the bottom three strings and the fretting hand is responsible for muting the top three strings., more or less.
    The posture, how you hold your picking hand is the key. Classical technique asks for you to have your fingers perpendicular to the fretboard. This technique does not work all that well on the slimmer electric neck. It's pretty hard to mute with fingers perpendicular. The better way to mute properly on an electric or steel string acoustic is to angle your fingers. A good way to find what feels good for you is to put all your fingers on the first string;

    1. place fingers on the 3,4,5,6 frets on the first string.
    2. place the outer side of the proximal phalanx, this is the innermost joint of the index, the one next to the palm, on the side of the fretboard. This will angle the hand, it's the most important part of this exercise.
    3. be free with your thumb, let it do what it wants to do.

    The idea is to curl the index while having the index inner joint touching the fretboard. That means there would be two contact points on the index, one on the side of the inner joint on the side of the neck, and the other would be the fingertip on the fret. To do this hand posture the index will end up curled or bent, the middle is curled a little less, the ring is less curled, and the pinky is hyperextended and almost straight if not totally straight reaching for the 6th fret.. In this posture your fingers should more or less be pointing towards the upper neck, the neck settles into the webbing or pocket between the thumb and index, the neck rests snugly in this pocket. The thumb should be pointing down the neck towards the tuners. In other guitar postures the thumb might be reaching over the neck enough to fret the sixth string with it. But when lining your fingers on one string to get the proper angle you should hold your thumb towards the tuners.

    With this slanted or angled posture, muting on the top tree strings is easy and pretty natural and automatic. Also the wrist will be straight, bent wrists screw everything up.

    I do hope this is not too complicated or confusing, it's the way to mute on the guitar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  4. Lockjawpony

    Lockjawpony Member

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    Sounds complicated, but I'll try it out. And I'll get to work on those scales and arpeggios. Good tips.
     

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