Changing Fretting Finger

Anyone else sometimes have to change fretting finger mid note to better prepare themselves for upcoming notes? Is this common?

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I’ve actually seen this in a tab where initially the fretting was done with the second finger but changed to the first after one bar to enable a swap from the 3rd to the 7th fret

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I do this sometimes for some riffs. Can’t tell you if this is ok to do or if it is a bad habit to get rid of.

When I am doing it, I always feel like “Whoops, I did it again” and think that I probably should get rid of that habit. I am not even sure when I do it, if it can be heard. If yes, I should definitely get rid of it, if not: probably it is ok? :woozy_face:

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So I don’t know if it’s an issue? I find myself doing that a lot. Is it bad? I don’t really know. I figure if it sounds right I can accept it. I’m good with it on account I got 3xl hands and getting them to do anything is good. Plus I’m really lazy.

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When I am learning a song, after getting the main line down, I will go through and figure out if there are any ‘better’ finger positions for transitions so they sound smoother. I may even make notes on the score until I start doing it on auto pilot.

The more you play, the more auto pilot knows what to do before you do it, but that comes with the all powerful “P word” - Practice.

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I find the more I practise a song the more I will be aware of this and try to eliminate it from my playing. It doesn’t seem right I know, but then again it doesn’t sound wrong either.

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Nope, I just keep on playing. As long as I am positioned to hit the root note on 1, I do my best on the rest. Practice works out the kinks.

A drum beat helps a lot. Having to hit the downbeat really drives efficiency. Imo

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For me, it depends on where the notes are. My finger reach is not good, so if I have to go like from 5th to 7th, I’ll change, but if it’s like 3rd to 2nd, I won’t.

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Yes, there was a site I was on for a few months that had great fingering exercises, and one whole exercise was dedicated to how to switch fretting fingers while playing uninterrupted.
I often switch from pinky (which I am fretting with), to my ring or index finger all the time.
It takes a little practice, but once you get it down, it is like 2nd nature.

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I do this exact same thing as well. What I’m playing doesn’t seem to suffer so I use it when I need to until I get comfortable enough with a particular song. It’s something I can live with I suppose yet with more practice would be something I’d like to exclude from my playing in the long run.

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I do whatever results in the smoothest playing with the least amount of effort. I do have a couple of songs i play where switching fingers like that works best.

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This is a standard technique taught as “finger substitution” in organ playing. Because of my background playing the organ, I found I did it pretty much naturally when I took up the bass. I wondered whether I should worry about doing it. Then I thought, “Nah, the notes are sounding properly, and life is too short to spend any time with it.” Besides, it’s kind of a fun challenge to give myself.

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Another vote here for “I do this all the time”.

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I find this question a little confusing.
As in why does your pointer finger always have to be on the route note ?
People truly accept this as proper technique ?
As my friend Colonel Potter once said “ Mule Muffins!’ .

In the study of classical Spanish guitar you use your little finger a lot for fretting. Doing so does not lock your hand in one place
In other words changing finger position to play the notes of the song is proper technique.
Why?
As I said it does not lock up your hand.

Most of our instruments on the planet are linear
and the only ones that fingers do not change position are wind instruments. Linear strings all do. .

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SometimesI finish a bar on my index finger. then I play that note 4-8 times, but when I need my index finger again, it is several to many frets down the neck (up towards the headstock), so when riding those notes, I find it easy to slide from one finger to the next until I am on the pinky, which is ideal for my index finger when moving to the next riff. I tend to slide thru my fingers, index to ring, to ring to pinky.

I don’t live by any type of steadfast rule that certain notes must be played by certain fingers, but I do what is best for the song, ad what makes it easier to continue the song in the following bar or two where I need my index finger free (as in not fretting where my pinky is now fretting) so that I can start the next part with my index on the G on E string for instance. It is not so easy to move my index finger from the 7th fret on the A string if I am holding fast with my index finger on that note. But given proper time, I can easily move my index finger off the 7th fret on A, and quickly get my pinky finger on the 7th fret on A. This will allow for a smooth and quick transfer to G on E with my Index finger without being off-time, or sounding poorly in general.
Does that make more sense?

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Clearly not, when I am doing a walking blues scale (and I hope I get these right) I put my middle finger on the root, index on the second, and ring/pinky on the fourth

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This is not exactly the same thing being discussed here but I have smaller hands and a bit older too. I’ve just started playing (learning) a few weeks ago and VERY slowly progressing. What I’m finding VERY difficult is stretching between frets that are spaced further apart. I know @JoshFossgreen stated in one of the lessons that we can do micro shifts to compensate but I’m wondering if I TRY stretching / reaching, will my fretting hand eventually get those frets spaced further apart?? Example: The first line that you have on your PDF of “Major Pentatonics For Bass” Josh. Just starting on that first line - I can JUST barely get the second to fourth fingering never mind the first to fourth. Also, @JoshFossgreen while we’re on the C Major Pentatonic scale, I can see that it starts on C and and ends on the octave but the PENTatonic (5 note) scale has six notes if you count the C twice. That is very confusing to this beginner; just say’in. :blush:

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You might not get to that far of a stretch for a long time.
You might not ever get there.
It’s ok, you are not the only one.
No one technique is right, and don’t get hung up on 1 per fret, its not important.
However you can sound the notes properly is the proper way.
Folks who use the Smandl technique never do 4 fingers across 4 frets.

My $0.02

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Beautiful, thanks @John_E :+1:t3:

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Josh is 6’5", he has the advantage on me.

I’m never going to cover 4 frets, so I don’t worry too much though on occasion the constant "your hands will stretch " get to me, so I post here and get set straight. And go back to playing within my limitations

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