#1
SO Ive been a self taught guitarist for a long time now. Not proud of it, just my parents never really supported what I wanted to do and never gave me the necessary materials. My first starter guitar kit my dad bought for me didn't even come with a tuner and the lessons he promised me never happened. Anyway, Ive been re-teaching myself the proper techniques lately and really improving, but one thing sticks out to me and I wonder if I should change it or not.

When I play some chords, I get lazy and put one finger over two strings. Mainly with the Am and Em chords. I understand hammer-ons and pull-offs are pretty much impossible with this style, but I was wondering if It's acceptable to just play over with one finger if you're just playing the chord through. This is something I've been wondering for a while. Should I reteach myself the chord shape or just play my own style? I think I already know the answer but after countless google searches I've found nothing and would like some feedback from the UG community.

Thanks, Justin.
Last edited by Danglous at Mar 10, 2014,
#2
You can use one finger to play chords like Em - Am some triads I do it all the time but i do also use two or three fingers for Am depends what i am playing and what sounds right .
#3
I would discourage playing chords with one finger. As you said it makes hammerons/pulloffs impossible, but it also can inhibit your chord switching capability more importantly. If i were in your situation i would definitely reteach myself.
I have been in a somewhat similar situation the last year or so. I used to play your standard G chord with my index, middle and ring finger, but my guitar teacher at the time said i should try and get into the habit of playing with my index, ring and pinky because it makes chord switches easier.
I neglected that advice for a couple years, but in the last year I've really started to take his past advice into account, and now it's second nature for me to play the G chord that way. It seems like such a slight change but i think it has definitely helped.
#4
Do you mean a basic open Em and Am chord like this:
Em Am
0 0
0 1
0 2
2 2
2 0
0 x

I don't know how you would play an Am with one finger. You can play Em with one finger I guess but you'd pretty much be muting the 3 upper strings.

Also what do you mean you can't don hammer-ons or pulloffs? If you're using just your index to fret a chord you have 3 free fingers to do whatever you like with them...

Playing an open A chord you should definitely use only your index to fret the chords. It's awkward as hell to stack up 3 fingers right next to each other if your fretting each fret with seperate fingers. Also changing is a lot faster. Same goes with say D chord played like

x
7
7
7
5
x

You should definately not play it with all fingers, but rather with your index, and then barre the 7th fret with your pinky (or ring, I prefer pinky)

I'm not sure if I'm blabbering about something unrelated because I'm not sure what your asking.
#5
The simple answer is stop playing chords with one finger. It's a terrible habit because it restricts your access to other notes ( open notes, other fretted notes, hammer ons, pull offs etc.).
#6
Quote by AmIEvil?
Do you mean a basic open Em and Am chord like this:
Em Am
0 0
0 1
0 2
2 2
2 0
0 x

I don't know how you would play an Am with one finger. You can play Em with one finger I guess but you'd pretty much be muting the 3 upper strings.

Also what do you mean you can't don hammer-ons or pulloffs? If you're using just your index to fret a chord you have 3 free fingers to do whatever you like with them...

Playing an open A chord you should definitely use only your index to fret the chords. It's awkward as hell to stack up 3 fingers right next to each other if your fretting each fret with seperate fingers. Also changing is a lot faster. Same goes with say D chord played like

x
7
7
7
5
x

You should definately not play it with all fingers, but rather with your index, and then barre the 7th fret with your pinky (or ring, I prefer pinky)

I'm not sure if I'm blabbering about something unrelated because I'm not sure what your asking.


No, Am with two fingers, with the 2nd finger covering two strings. And I dont even play it like a bar chord, I just have fat fingers. H/o P/o is easy with the first finger.

Anyway Ive been catching myself and learning the proper techniques but sometimes its just easier to be lazy
#8
You should be able to do both ideally, as there are going to be times where both are useful.

I would highly recommend learning proper fingering for all the common chords, as it will teach you some useful habits. Also, many songs using basic chords will be easier to play without barring, e.g.


-0-0-
-1-1-
-0-2-
-2-2-
-0-0-
-x-x-


In this example if you were playing the first chord and wanted to hammer on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, you would have to play the chord with three fingers and not bar it. This is a pretty common example of something you'll see in a lot of songs so I think it's pretty important to learn.
#9
There's nothing wrong with being a little lazy every once in a while as long as it doesn't affect the sound of the chord. But you should also make sure that you can play chords comfortably utilizing all of your fingers. Sometimes you can't be lazy. For example, a chord that I discovered a couple day ago:

e|-5-
B|-8-
G|-5-
D|-7-
A|-8-
E|-5-
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.