Guitar (applies to `Ukulele also) Fingering and Creativity
This is a guest lesson/article by internationally renowned jazz guitarist and educator Chuck Anderson
Normally, we think of fingering as a technical subject. Using a good and efficient fingering makes sense. It should make anything that you play easier and more dependable. It has value to the reading guitarist because the guitar fingerboard is a treacherous trap of options. The same notes are in too many places. The same C note is on string two, fret one and string three, fret five and string four, fret ten and string five, fret fifteen. Unlike the piano which has one location for each note, the guitar compounds the problem with too many options and then throws in open strings to further confuse the issue. When reading is positional and stays within a four fret region, it’s much easier to read. However, writers and arrangers don’t attempt to stay within a four fret region of the guitar. They typically do not know or care about the guitar’s fingering option issues.
Fingering is organized by a series of motion principles that allow you to connect notes all over the instrument. These principles are: Basic – a four fret span with one finger per fret. Slide – the same finger used twice in a row on the same string at different frets. Pass – a reset of four fret span generally along the same string. It’s possible to use the reset principle as you change strings as well. Stretch – the lengthening of the four fret span resulting in a shift into a new four fret span. The stretch can also remain in the original four fret span. Contraction – the opposite of stretch. A contraction shortens the four fret span resulting in a new four fret span. Leap – the repositioning of the four fret span after using an open string. The leap can also be a non connected shift of position.
With an awareness of these principles, you can “work out” a good fingering for any reading situation. This is particularly helpful in reading Bebop heads which were not written with guitar fingering in mind. Although it’s a tedious process in the beginning, it does gradually become reflexive.
All these comments and principles apply to improvisation as well. A good guitarist moves smoothly all over the neck. The sound is connective and flowing. Without the application of the six fingering principles, solos are often limited because they suffer from the “box” restriction. Learn the notes on the neck and don’t rely on tablature to get you through the maze.
Reprinted by permission from Chuck Anderson • www.ChuckAndersonJazzGuitar.com
End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!
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Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Arpeggio Plus One Worksheet Example
Arpeggio fingering chart exploring different pathways through a 1 2 3 5 major arpeggios. This is the Trial Plus One lessons series.
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Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Arpeggio Worksheet
Arpeggio fingering chart worksheet for exploring multiple and alternate pathways through an arpeggio.
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Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Interval Worksheet
Scale interval fingering chart worksheet for exploring multiple and alternate pathways through scale intervals.
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Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Scale Worksheet
Scale fingering chart worksheet for exploring multiple and alternate pathways through a scale.
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Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Scale Worksheet Example
Scale fingering chart worksheet for exploring multiple and alternate pathways through a C Major scale.
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Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Sequence Worksheet
Scale sequence fingering chart worksheet for exploring multiple and alternate pathways through a scale sequence.
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Related Lesson Books
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Six Essential Ukulele Scales
The Six Essential Ukulele Scales series is based on the fingering principles from my series of books in the QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingerings series.
The six essential scales are: Blues, Major Pentatonic, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, and Ionian. These six can get you through a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music.
A scale is simply collection of pitches or notes, not really “this is a Jazz scale”, “this is a Blues” or “this is a Rock scale”. It’s how a scale is used that really matters.
Most music starts with a scale. The melody, chords, licks and riffs all can be related back to a particular scale or scales.
Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard
If there's one thing that has the biggest return on your time and investment to learn it's really, really knowing the names of the note of the ukulele fingerboard. This series takes a step-by-step approach to finally learning the fingerboard.
QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingering Series
QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingering Series are a concise, well organized series of books and lessons ideal for any ukulele, guitar or fretted string player beginning to explore scales and arpeggios. Unlike so many other instruction books on the market, QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingering Series keeps a sharp focus on the six critical scales, their fingerings and their related chords. All material is covered in every key.
Ukulele Fingering Gymnastics - Basic
This series of lessons develops your finger independence, strength and motor skills to a high level. You don't want to have technique as a limiting factor for play a song or performing anything on the ukulele.
Ukulele Fingering Gymnastics - Developing Technique
An introduction to proper hand placement for left hand technique on ukulele and a wide variety of finger drills to develop your technique.
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