#1
This is a real beginner question:

Is the left hand supposed to play melodies with the same technique as when playing chords? Specifically, should you get into the habit of pressing only the string you need with your fingertip (avoiding adjacent strings) even though with the melody, touching other strings won't affect how it sounds? I was learning how to play melodies first and now that I'm practicing chords I realize how angled my fingertips were because they were mashing the other strings.

Or do some players use different left hand techniques depending whether they're playing melodies or chords?
#2
Yeah, playing meldoies with the fingertip is what some would consider the "proper" technique, but I'd say you need to be able to do both, depending on what you are playing.
When I play melodies on the acoustic/classical guitar, I usually want my notes to ring out for as long as they can and that means playing with my fingertip. When playing the electric with a lot of distortion, you want to actually cut any unwanted ringing and touching the strings next to the one you are playing can actually help with that.

Also, when playing chords, you'll also sometimes need to mute some strings by flattening a finger you are using to play an note.
#3
Thank you, that's very helpful. I am learning on both acoustic and electric so I will have to try those different techniques out. I appreciate the suggestions!
#4
yeah for electric anyway you probably don't want to be right on your fingertips for melodies/lead as Djaydjay said because of the muting thing. Also vibrato and bends are a lot easier if your fingers are angled a bit as well, it's hard to be in control (and you want to be in control) if you're on your fingertips.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#5
Dave_Mc

The Buckethead Signature Les Paul carries a calibrated pair of Gibson's contemporary-voiced Ceramic series humbucking pickups, featuring a 496R in the neck (rhythm) position, and a hot 500T in the bridge (lead) position. Both are specially made with double-white bobbins to match the look of the guitar, and the bridge pickup is split via a push/pull switch on the Tone knob to achieve a single-coil tone.

He actually has a point. Those double-white bobbins make a HUGE difference in tone and overall playing versatility.
#6
^ lol
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#7
Really depends on what you're playing for chords. There are a lot of situations where you need to mute an open string while playing a chord, so one of your fingers will lay kinda flat. There are other times when you might be doing chords and melody at the same time, and it's just a matter of compromise because you're muting and barring and playing melodies all at once. And sometimes a chord requires such a huge stretch that it's just not possible to get ideal fingertip contact on all of the notes.

And the same applies to melodies in a lot situations, as well. The idea is to use the best techniques that actually work. If playing perfectly on your fingertips means leaving open strings ringing, noisy position shifts, and sloppy string changes, then you have to find a compromise that takes care of those other problems at the same time.

Overall, technique isn't just a prescribed way of moving your fingers, it's the result of solving problems on the fretboard.
Last edited by cdgraves at Oct 11, 2016,
#8
^ yep agreed. good point about the muted strings in some chords as well.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#9
I'm finding this discussion interesting and revealing, because I never have been able to develop decent fretting technique on electric guitar - it all ends up as sonic mush. This thread has made my realise it is all about fretting-hand string damping, which is something I have never learned to do on acoustic. OTOH, my mate TK is a very good pub band guitarist. He has got big hands and fingers, and he lays his fingers almost flat on the strings; it seems to be about developing the right touch.
#10
^ yep definitely. that's why the "this is correct technique, ALWAYS" brigade annoys me. Because technique is a means to an end, not the end itself, and also a lot of the people (often but not always classical players) have probably never even held an electric guitar, much less used one through a 5150 or similar. Yet apparently we electric players would be arrogant to argue with them, because y'know, classical has all the history. Never mind that (a) classical guitar actually isn't anywhere near as old as most other orchestral instruments and (b) that's kind of irrelevant when you have all the different (and modern) gear that electric guitar entails.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#11
Dave_Mc

I think that is one of Segovia's legacies of extreme formalism. He was great pioneer of the guitar as a concert instrument, but he had no time for any ideas except his own.
#12
^ Maybe, I dunno. If so, though, that's very annoying.
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#13
Dave_Mc

He is reputed to have called the electric guitar "an abomination". He was also known for insisting in his masterclasses that his students use the same fingering as him.
#14
I could think of a fingering to use to him...
Quote by crownegamers
I saw in a couple of pictures that on Bucketheads Les Paul (only some pictures) that his neck pickup is painted in white. Can anyone explain to me why he would do this, and if there are any pros and cons.

Quote by dspellman
The guy wears a KFC Bucket and a white mask during performances, and you're interested in the color of his pickup covers?

#15
Playing classical guitar will do plenty good for your chops, but not through rote imitation of the technique. The thing with classical technique is that you're going for a very specific sound, so you have to spend a lot of time working stuff out. Nobody cares if you flub a note when you're improvising, but if you had a month to learn a piece of music, there's no excuse.

The skill of technique is mostly in the patience and willingness to do something difficult. Rigor, in short. You have to spend time working out challenging music to get there. Nobody develops good technique before they learn any music. How could you? That's like learning to drive without ever getting on a road. Getting the right "touch" is the goal, not the starting point.