Practice Challenge 3

Right and left hand fingerings

This week’s practice challenge will help you get experience finding solid left and right hand fingerings so that you can successfully train your hands to execute each note or chord effectively and efficiently!

Fingerings are important, they allow us to get around the neck in a logical manner. However great fingerings are not all about convenience. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing which fingers to use in any given passage is that we must maintain beautiful tone and accurate rhythm. The music comes first.

Also keep in mind that because there are many ways to play most songs on the guitar. When deciding on fingerings for a piece, we’re looking to find a great fit, there is no “correct” answer.  

Here’s what you’ll need to know for challenge 3:

Finger numbers: The left hand fingers are numbered 1 to 4 starting with the index finger. For the right hand we’ll borrow the classical method for identifying fingers: p (thumb), i (index), m (middle), a (ring).

Position numbers: On guitar, bass, and most other fretted instrument fretboard positions are marked with Roman numerals. Each position on the guitar covers four frets and is numbered by the fret under the first finger.

String names and numbers: By now you should know the names and numbers of the stings on your instrument so here’s a test:

List the numbers and note names for all your instrument’s strings:

Practice challenge:

  1. For this week’s practice challenge pick any song that you’ve already done a note map for and mastered the rhythm on (see practice challenges weeks 1 & 2).
  2. Write in left hand fingerings for the entire piece. No need to repeat a fingering if there are consecutive repeated notes in a given passage. Use Roman numerals to designate your position if needed.
  3. Write in picking direction if playing down and up strokes in your piece.
  4. Bass players, write in the right hand fingerings for your piece.  

Good luck!