View Full Version : Hit a finger picking pattern wall

06-18-2016, 07:44 AM
Any finger pickers ever hit a wall with a particular pattern? I have been practicing a pretty straight forward pattern, using the thumb on the 4,3, strings and then first finger for the 1 string, then 4,3, and the two string. So, 4-3-1, 4-3-2. I can get a few rotations but always fall back to a basic Travis pick after that. If I try to change chords it gets even less than that. I know it takes practice, and I do, but it just seems to be one that is giving trouble for whatever reason.

I am trying to work on using the thumb for the bass side, that's why the thumb twice, sort of like a carter picking style.

I am determined to get it, but this one is like tapping your head with one hand and rubbing your stomach with other for me...lol

06-18-2016, 08:51 AM
1. Are you able to play just the bass line (i.e., 4,3 - 4,3 - 4,3) with your thumb while changing chords? If not, work on that part of the pattern, slowly at first, until it becomes automatic. Then add the higher notes.

2. Slow way down and don't speed up until you can play the pattern through chord changes.

06-18-2016, 02:05 PM
I have been focusing a lot on these sort of patterns, where the thumb alternates between the 3rd and 4th strings. I like them when used with low-g tuning as it gives me what I have come to think of as a 'walking bassline' (there's a good chance I'm using that term completely incorrectly :)).

My brain sometimes scrambles when I swap to a different pattern after I've been playing for a while. And sometimes I temporarily 'lose' a pattern - it just goes away and I'm suddenly all fingers and thumbs.

There really doesn't seem to be any substitute for relentless repetition. I agree with gary52 - try practicing just the thumb part until its basically robotic - kind of boring but the sort of thing you can do in front of the TV. Actually, only half-concentrating (whilst also watching television) can really help with the process of fixing something in muscle memory (a tip I learnt from Ukulele Mike, via YouTube).

Croaky Keith
06-18-2016, 09:33 PM
Maybe try using the index & middle along with your thumb.

Thumb has more mobility than fingers, especially sideways movement, meaning that you don't move the hand when picking two strings with it, not so if you try using just your index on two strings. :)

06-18-2016, 09:41 PM
This will help. http://ukeofcarl.com/hanon-for-ukulele-free-ebook/ Just practice 10 minutes a day, I'm sure you will see progress.

06-18-2016, 10:28 PM
What your describing is very similar to what I do however I NEVER use the first finger for the high E string. That would be awkward.

If we use p,i,m,a. p is thumb, i is index, m is middle, a is ring finger.

I use p (thumb) for the 4th and 3rd strings, m for the second string and i for the first string. I don't use the index finger because when I started off I decided to leave the index free incase I went back to 6 string instruments. You can also use p for the 4th and 3rd strings then i for the second string and m for the first if this works for you. Try and stick to this although I occasionally vary this for special circumstances.

The standard travis pattern is, thumb, finger, thumb, finger and on and this is what I do. What your practicing is a little different than Travis picking.