View post (Thumb or fingers for practicing scales)

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ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,409
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,409
05/11/2020 4:40 pm

Hey & welcome to GT!

Originally Posted by: theMolster

I can play the open chords, barre chords (just about), some basic fingerpicking, some songs etc. and I'm working on improving the basics due to bad habits so am going through guitar fundamentals 2 at the mo.[/quote][p]Thanks for the background info.

[quote=theMolster]I'm working my way through the major scale stuff in fundamentals 2 and I would like to know, when playing and practicing scales, should I use my thumb on my right hand to pluck (pick) all 6 strings, or as with the fingerpicking I learnt so far, use 'assigned' fingers for the top 3 strings. I find it easier with my thumb and like the sound more but don't want to get used to playing the wrong way.

A lot of fingerpicking material is based on a classical guitar approach but modified to do what ever is the most efficient or convenient based on the material. With that in mind you should use assigned fingers. So you can start with this as a default setting:

1. Use your thumb for bass notes (lower register strings, E, A & D).

2. Use your fingers for treble notes (upper register strings G, B & E).

But you are going to encounter situations that are exceptions to this default setting. Deal with them as you find them.

For example, in some situations you might find it more efficient to play a scale pattern that covers 3 strings using your thumb on the lowest string, for example starting on the G string. That's okay to do because it can help you maintain a consistent way to play a scale pattern.

Or you might find it more efficient to start a scale pattern on the low E string with your thumb, but then use your assigned fingers to play the scale notes on the A & D strings.

So, it's better to look at moving your picking hand fingers around together to sets of strings, than just sticking to assigned strings. You want to adjust to the demands of music.

Another reason for not just using your thumb is that you need to get all your fingers into the act as soon as possible & playing any scale or single note melody with just one finger (or thumb!) is going to be inefficient & slow you down in the long run.

Also, if you ever want to eventually be able to play music or songs that require using a pick, then you should start practicing with one as soon as possible.

Hope that helps! Best of success!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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