#1
I keep messing around with new songs. Some of the most recent songs would be Van Halen's "You really got me" and Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch." Albeit I can get the tabs for these, and I use TuxGuitar to use Power Tab and GuitarPro sheets, I still can't figure out where I should be placing my fingers. Sure, I can assume where to position them, remember the tabs, and then learn the song that way.

However, I have the feeling that isn't the best way to go about playing the song. I also feel awkward learning a new song, because the finger placements always seem chaotic and uncomfortable. That's why I'm thinking there must be a systematic way to place the fingers on certain strings, and I assume there's a way to keep multiple fingers on multiple strings. The only thing I don't know is how.

Another thing that has been bothering me is going to new frets with different strings. I have a feeling there is more efficient way to do all of this, but I don't know the way. Sometimes I feel as though I have stupid fingers, and my positioning gets all screwed up.

So, is there suppose to be some type of order in this chaos?
Is the trick to simply learn the chords and where fingers should be placed?
Or is there a certain way a person is suppose to read tab sheets and know how to place the fingers on certain strings?
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum."
#2
Generally, it's pretty intuitive where to place your fingers on chords, but it can be somewhat of a challenge. I guess the best way is the way that gives you the least resistance/tension. Whatever feels most comfortable. If it helps, try playing the chords out of the context of the song, get used to them, then go back and apply them to the song. That aside, try searching for the chord on UG or google or <insert guitar site here> for more info.

It's just one of those things in guitar that takes practice to get used to
#3
Well... I could reccomend you learning the major and minor scales. Then you'd be able to see the different notes in each chord as different notes in a scale (i.e. a major chord would have the first, fifth, eight, third, fifth, eight in that order) rather than just random stuff that accidentally sounds good. This might also help you see some of the patterns/theory behind the songs that you play (i.e. playing a song you see, aha, this riff uses tones from A minor etc.).

About finger placement, there's no definite answer. There are often weird things to play, and there are usually several solutions. I'd say you ought to get a teacher and show him/her the fingerings you're having problems with. But I'll give you some advice - try to look for when to change positions. If you're playing a riff that's using the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th frets to start with, you put your index finger on the 6th and one finger on each fret downwards. If there's suddenly a 5 popping in, look for whether there's still a 9 or if there's no 9s near the 5, if you know what I mean. Then you can safely slide your index down to the fifth fret and play on from there. Then if there's suddenly a 10, see if there's any fives or sixes in the vicinity, if there's not, you can slide your index up to the 7th fret, etc. Be flexible. I'll give you an example, a short part from an Opeth solo:

E|---------------------------|
B|-7-9-7-----7---------------|
G|-------7-6---6-4-6-7-6~~~4-|
   1 3 1 2 1 2 1s1 3 4 3   1


The numbers underneath show the finger used (1 = index, 2 = middle, 3 = ring, 4 = pinky). The problem was when I was supposed to play the 7th fret on the B string, then the G. One way was, of course, fretting both strings with the index finger. When we're only talking of two strings, that's no big challenge, but I also saw that there was a 6th fret note coming in afterwards, so I'd need to switch positions. So instead I used my ring finger to fret the G string, so that afterwards I could fret the 6th fret with my index finger (though I still had to slide down to the 4th fret afterwards). This is just one of many ideas, and certainly not the only solution.

I suggest you tell us what part of what songs you'd like to have some help with, and we can take it from there. Examples are often the best way of learning.
I'm a communist. Really.
#4
Quote by Raziel2p
About finger placement, there's no definite answer. There are often weird things to play, and there are usually several solutions. I'd say you ought to get a teacher and show him/her the fingerings you're having problems with. But I'll give you some advice - try to look for when to change positions. If you're playing a riff that's using the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th frets to start with, you put your index finger on the 6th and one finger on each fret downwards. If there's suddenly a 5 popping in, look for whether there's still a 9 or if there's no 9s near the 5, if you know what I mean. Then you can safely slide your index down to the fifth fret and play on from there.


So, what I should be doing is imagining the spacing between my fingers, how far each one can stretch, and how flexible my hands are before I start going forward with each song? So, this is more of a "know thy self" kind of deal?

I assume I could do this. However, this still makes me feel as though it's not systematic. It makes me feel as though I am memorizing how exactly I should switch frets with my hands based on their flexibility instead of some kind of memorized way, such as 1 finger here and 3 finger there.

I understand your tabs, and it seems systematic in some ways, though.

I brought chords into the discussion of this thread, because I fingered there was a correct way to position the fingers on the guitar to play each chord.
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum."
Last edited by Agent-X at Oct 11, 2007,
#6
Quote by Agent-X
So, what I should be doing is imagining the spacing between my fingers, how far each one can stretch, and how flexible my hands are before I start going forward with each song? So, this is more of a "know thy self" kind of deal?

I assume I could do this. However, this still makes me feel as though it's not systematic. It makes me feel as though I am memorizing how exactly I should switch frets with my hands based on their flexibility instead of some kind of memorized way, such as 1 finger here and 3 finger there.

I understand your tabs, and it seems systematic in some ways, though.

I brought chords into the discussion of this thread, because I fingered there was a correct way to position the fingers on the guitar to play each chord.

there is no ''correct'' way to play a chord but on most sites it will suggest ways to do it and most people will tell you how to play it but in the end its about whats more compfortable for you
Quote by SkyValley
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#7
Quote by punk_metal2007
there is no ''correct'' way to play a chord but on most sites it will suggest ways to do it and most people will tell you how to play it but in the end its about whats more compfortable for you


Bingo. There are suggested ways, preffered ways, and ackward ways to play chords, but ultimately it comes down to you. Whatever gives you those notes in that arrangment and feels fluid is the only "right" way. Ditch the notion of 'right' and 'wrong' in regards to guitar, it all boils down to what you find comfortable and gives you the notes you want. Technique is just a means to an end (the actual sound), not the other way around.
#8
Quote by Agent-X
So, what I should be doing is imagining the spacing between my fingers, how far each one can stretch, and how flexible my hands are before I start going forward with each song? So, this is more of a "know thy self" kind of deal?

I assume I could do this. However, this still makes me feel as though it's not systematic. It makes me feel as though I am memorizing how exactly I should switch frets with my hands based on their flexibility instead of some kind of memorized way, such as 1 finger here and 3 finger there.

First of all, the way you memorize it is up to you. You can learn a song by remembering where the index finger should be at all times, or by memorizing where you're supposed to put this finger there and this finger there... etc. It's up to you, and you've got to find the structure in the song yourself, because every person memorizes differently.

To answer your question: Yes, more or less. You HAVE to settle on one specific way to finger a solo/riff, though - so try and experiment a lot, find the one that feels the best, and then stick to it. I've known the Crazy Train riff for a long time, but one day I found out I could alternate pick it all the way through if I fingered it this other way instead... I ended up spending several days re-learning a riff simply because of 3 or 4 finger changes. When you learn to play something on the guitar, you learn them to your fingers so that you're able to do it with a minimum amount of directions from your brain - because when the fingers can think on their own, the brain can take care of the hardest stuff. Don't think of it as memorizing where to put your fingers. You play a song by putting your fingers at specific places, and after a while, that's just how it is for you. You don't really have to memorize it, but if you don't stick to one specific way of playing the song, you'll never learn it.

I brought chords into the discussion of this thread, because I fingered there was a correct way to position the fingers on the guitar to play each chord.

Regarding chords: Yet again, no correct way - but on most easy chords, you can follow some simple directions... For example, you'll usually want to put your index finger on the fret(s) that are the closest to the headstock, and the pinky for the higher frets. Also you'll find it comfortable to put your fingers in a position so that the index finger is covering the thickest strings while the pinky covers the light ones. There are exceptions and overlaps all the time though, and in the end it's simply about finding ways to finger chords that suit YOU the best. If you have problems with specific chords, you ought to ask a teacher or another guitar player about it - or post them on this forum.
I'm a communist. Really.