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Home : Theory and Patterns : 2 Finger Per String Scale Fingerings
Using 2 Finger Per String Fingering Patterns To Play Scales and Melodic Patterns More Quickly and Easily:


When determining fingerings for scale patterns and melodies, there is a specific and limited set of fingering patterns that can occur on any string.

All of the modes of the major scale can be played using a fixed combination of 3 note per string patterns below.  "+" represents a fretted note.  "|" represents an empty fret (no note is played there).

______
||||||
||||||          +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
++||||          +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||++||          +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
++++++  =  Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||          +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
++++++          +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||++                 
||||||                
______


Traditionally, these fingerings have been taught using left hand fingerings as follows:

index, middle, pinky  (for the streches on the 6th and 5th strings)
index, middle, pinky  (for the 4th and 3rd strings)
index, ring,   pinky  (for the 3rd and 2nd strings)

In the diagram and tab below, "i"=index (pointer) finger, "m"=middle finger, "p"=pinky:

______
||||||
||||||          +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
ii||||          +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||ii||          +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
mmmmii  =  Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||          +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
pppprr          +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||pp       
||||||             i m p i m p i m p i m p i r p i r p
______


Because the pinky is weak, many players replace the pinky with the ring finger, and the ring finger with the middle finger.  That creates some facility because the ring finger is stronger than the pinky, and keeps a consistent fingering pattern on each string.  It causes problems with awkward streches, cramped left hand positioning, and joint alignment.  The stretches on the 5th and 6th strings are very difficult for most players to perform.

______
||||||
||||||          +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
ii||||          +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||ii||          +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
mmmmii  =  Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||          +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
rrrrmm          +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||rr       
||||||             i m r i m r i m r i m r i m r i m r
______


The less common alternative to three note per string fingerings is rarely used or discussed, but it can be much more effective, much faster and much more comfortable to perform.  The alternative is to use two fingers for each 3 note per sting pattern, with a slide connecting two of the notes.  

To determine which fingers to use and which note to slide, follow this simple guideline:  

1)  When ascending through 3 notes on a single string, always slide the 2nd note up to the 3rd note.  When descending, always slide the 2nd note down to the 3rd note.   
2)  If the first two notes on any string are one fret apart, play those notes with the index and middle fingers.  If the first two notes are two frets apart, play them with the index and ring fingers.  That provides the following fingerings:

______  ______
||||||  ||||||
||||||  ||||||          +---------------------------------------+
ii||||  ii||||          +---------------------------------------+
||||||  ||||||          +---------------------------------------+
rr||||  ii||||  =  Tab: +---------------------------------------+
||||||  ||||||          +--------3-5-7-----7-5-3----------------+
rr||||  rr||||          +--3-5-7-----------------7-5-3----------+
||||||  ||||||                
||||||  ||||||             i r-r i r-r     r i-i r i-i
______  ______             (ascending)     (descending)

______  ______
||||||  ||||||
||||||  ||||||          +---------------------------------------+
||||||  ||||||          +---------------------------------------+
||ii||  ||ii||          +--------4-5-7-----7-5-3----------------+
||mm||  ||ii||  =  Tab: +--4-5-7-----------------7-5-3----------+
||||||  ||||||          +---------------------------------------+
||mm||  ||rr||          +---------------------------------------+
||||||  ||||||                
||||||  ||||||             i m-m i m-m     r i-i r i-i
______  ______             (ascending)     (descending)

______  ______
||||||  ||||||
||||||  ||||||          +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
||||||  ||||||          +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||||||  ||||||          +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
||||ii  ||||||  =  Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||  ||||||          +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
||||rr  ||||||          +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||rr  ||||||                
||||||  ||||||             i m p i m p i m p i m p i r p i r p
______  ______























When fingering scale patterns and melodies, there is a specific and limited set of fingering patterns that can happen on any string.  Determining which fingers to use in:

All of the modes of the major scale can be played using a set combination of the 3 note per string patterns below.  "+" represents a fretted note.  "|" represents an empty fret (no note is played there).
______
||||||
||||||               +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
++||||               +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||++||               +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
++++++  =  This Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||               +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
++++++               +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||++                 
||||||                
______


Traditionally, these fingerings have been taught using left hand fingerings as follows:

index, middle, pinky  (for the streches on the 6th and 5th strings)
index, middle, pinky  (for the 4th and 3rd strings)
index, ring,   pinky  (for the 3rd and 2nd strings)

In the diagrams and tab below, "i"=index (pointer) finger, "m"=middle finger, "p"=pinky:

______
||||||
||||||               +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
ii||||               +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||ii||               +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
mmmmii  =  This Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||               +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
pppprr               +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||pp                  
||||||                  i m p i m p i m p i m p i r p i r p
______







When fingering scale patterns and melodies, there is a specific and limited set of fingering patterns that can happen on any string.  Determining which fingers to use in:

All of the modes of the major scale can be played using a set combination of the 3 note per string patterns below.  "+" represents a fretted note.  "|" represents an empty fret (no note is played there).
______
||||||
||||||               +--------------------------------5-7-8--+
++||||               +--------------------------5-7-8--------+
||++||               +--------------------4-5-7--------------+
++++++  =  This Tab: +--------------4-5-7--------------------+
||||||               +--------3-5-7--------------------------+
++++++               +--3-5-7--------------------------------+
||||++                 
||||||                
______


Traditionally, these fingerings have been tau





 number of finger combinations that can be played on

Any melodic pattern can be played on the guitar within a 5 fret span.  More specifically, all every mode of every major, minor, blues, synthetic and other types of scales can be played using a combination of 3 note per string fingerings
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FFEF
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Copyright 2004-2013 Nick Antonaccio, all rights reserved.