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View Poll Results: How many/what fingers do you play fingerstyle with?
I'm a classically trained, standard player with perfect technique - I use 4 13 7.93%
I generally use the 4 I'm supposed to on the strings I'm supposed to, but I vary a little 86 52.44%
I only use 3 - thumb, middle, ring, like the OP 15 9.15%
I only use 3 - but a different 3 than the OP 25 15.24%
I'm a rebel - I use all 5 anytime and anywhere I want 18 10.98%
What's fingerstyle again? 7 4.27%
Voters: 164. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 10-15-2014, 04:15 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Default Fingerstyle players: How many fingers?

I switched to playing only with my fingers (and thumb) over a year ago. I just never bonded with the guitar pick and believe me, I tried for a LONG time. It's the best thing I've ever done and has taken my playing to the next level - somewhere just north of crappy and a little south of good. But I'm quite happy with it.

I did not do any formal training or lessons on how to do this. I just threw away my picks and started playing. I know that 'standard' fingerstyle playing has you use your thumb for the top three strings and then your index, middle and ring for the bottom three. As I progressed I did not focus on this but rather just let things progress naturally on what felt right.

So now here I am a year later and I was watching my fingers play the other day and was startled to find that I'm only using three fingers almost exclusively - the thumb, middle and ring. I almost never use the index. I don't know why. You would think that finger would naturally be used more than the middle or especially the ring. I will hit a string once in a while but generally speaking it get's used about as much as the pinky, which is never. This does not bother me in any and I have no plans to try to force myself to change. Hey, Django only played with three, right?

So that led me to wonder what others out there that have progressed in a natural 'feel' sort of way, what fingers are you using? Then I thought it would make for a fun poll, so here goes...
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:18 PM
harmonics101 harmonics101 is offline
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Three fingers plus thumb,

H
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:19 PM
Gypsyblue Gypsyblue is offline
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I use my thumb and the first three most of the time.

Can't do a thing with the little finger of my picking hand.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:21 PM
billgennaro billgennaro is offline
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Is the thumb a finger? If so, four fingers. If not, thumb and three fingers.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:23 PM
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Omitting the index is quite odd. Personally thumb and three is family with pinky being an occasional guest.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:27 PM
Earwitness Earwitness is offline
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Thumb and three.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:31 PM
FrankS FrankS is offline
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There are certain styles of music that contribute to the number of fingers. While three and a thumb are probably the most common across all styles, it is not what you might see in Flamenco for example. All fingers are used in nearly all pieces when playing that style.

Frank Sanns
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:38 PM
BluesyRob BluesyRob is offline
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I usually use thumb, index, middle, and ring, but sometimes I leave out the ring.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:47 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I use thumb, index and middle mostly. When I was learning, I diligently used three fingers plus the thumb. But my right ring finger has been broken more than once. The last joint has limited mobility, and I got to the point where it could not keep up with the others at full speed. Ultimately I re-learned my whole instrumental repertoire using thumb plus index and middle. I can still play fixed patterns with three fingers, but mostly play solos with two fingers. Obviously, I am not classically trained.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:50 PM
kirtley2013 kirtley2013 is offline
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Just thumb and index for me
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:56 PM
JohnnyDes JohnnyDes is offline
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I use Alaska Piks - I suppose I'd have to run out and get one for the pinky if the situation arose, but it hasn't happened yet.

Thumbpick for the thumb.

JD
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:58 PM
gotgas gotgas is offline
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On slower pieces, I tend to use only the thumb and index. If the tempo picks up, I will rely on the middle also. My ring finger has tried to get in the mix, but it just gets in the way!
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:58 PM
Phelonious Ponk Phelonious Ponk is offline
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None of the above. Flatpick, middle and ring fingers.

P
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:00 PM
gotgas gotgas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phelonious Ponk View Post
None of the above. Flatpick, middle and ring fingers.

P
Is this the way Tony Rice played Shenandoah? For those that have never seen this video on YouTube, it is sure worth a watch!
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:03 PM
Wasper Wasper is offline
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I use four fingers. I'm not perfect, but the person who taught me was a concert classical musician, classical trained. She was not very strict about it though.. I told her "Look, I just want to play for myself for enjoyment, not perform on stage". She took it in stride and let me find my way with gentle prodding. But, I found that once I learned to use four fingers, I was able to increase speed and play more complex patterns. I still consider myself a beginner and have a long road ahead, but I'm enjoying myself
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