Systematic approach to left and right hand fingering when reading/playing tabs

ro_sims

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Hi, when reading/playing tabs (fingerpicking) i have no idea where to put which finger on the strings. This applies to right hand fingers and left hand fingers. Is there a systematic approach to where to put left hand and right hand fingers (chord shapes, loose notes etc). I'm hoping to get answers from people with a classical guitar background who have sufficient knowledge about this matter for example classical guitar teachers or people who had years of intensive classical guitar training. I know i have to look for a guitar teacher but it would be nice if i can help myself a bit. Many thanks
 

Brad Bordessa

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The right hand can be approached in many ways. There is no one "right" approach, though "PIMA" is probably what you want to Google if you're set on a classical guitar style.

The left hand is usually fretted with fingers 1 2 3 4 playing on frets 1 2 3 4. When you need to play higher, you either shift to a new position starting with your index finger and use fingers 1 2 3 4 on a new four fret window OR, if you aren't moving for many notes, you could reach up for the note.

But, as with everything: IT DEPENDS! Different situations call for different implementation.

I explore this in painstaking detail in my upcoming course.
 

mikelz777

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This is an excellent question and I've been wondering the same thing. I've tried to sort out tabs on my own and it seems nearly impossible to me. I'd give up long before I was able to figure it out. What I'd probably need are chord like shapes for the left hand so I could give more attention to the right hand. (Or maybe this is a level of playing I'll never achieve. )
 

merlin666

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This is an excellent question and I've been wondering the same thing. I've tried to sort out tabs on my own and it seems nearly impossible to me. I'd give up long before I was able to figure it out. What I'd probably need are chord like shapes for the left hand so I could give more attention to the right hand. (Or maybe this is a level of playing I'll never achieve. )
Indeed good tabs usually include the chords to be used. Otherwise the fun part of learning a new piece is exactly that - to figure out the fingering. Just try different approaches when in doubt and make it your own.
 

Festussian

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There are common fingering patterns for the common chords, which is where I would start. Some people (I know Cynthia Lin does) put a diagram of the chord on their tab sheet with a number in the dot corresponding to which finger should play that note. I think Cynthia is good about suggesting alternate fingerings if a transition is particularly hard or awkward. Check her out on YouTube. She also uses a numbering system for the right hand.

As in life, it helps to look where you are *going* to see how to get there.
 

badhabits

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Some dude named Brad 😉 wrote some e-books on right- and left-hand techniques and chord shapes...you might check em out.
 

ro_sims

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Indeed good tabs usually include the chords to be used. Otherwise the fun part of learning a new piece is exactly that - to figure out the fingering. Just try different approaches when in doubt and make it your own.
When i see guitarists of different countries playing the same tune their left and right fingering is the same. So they
There are common fingering patterns for the common chords, which is where I would start. Some people (I know Cynthia Lin does) put a diagram of the chord on their tab sheet with a number in the dot corresponding to which finger should play that note. I think Cynthia is good about suggesting alternate fingerings if a transition is particularly hard or awkward. Check her out on YouTube. She also uses a numbering system for the right hand.

As in life, it helps to look where you are *going* to see how to get there.
Ok thanks, i'll check
 

ripock

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What most of us do is gravitate toward a system such a PIMA (thumb and first 3 fingers) or IMAC (no thumb and all four fingers) and practice that system and then modify as the need arises. For example, I currently use PPIM (thumb for both base strings, index for E string and ring finger for A string). OOPS. I am using the soprano names for the strings but you get the idea. Once you master one system, moving to another system is easy. These things build on one another.
 

ro_sims

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What most of us do is gravitate toward a system such a PIMA (thumb and first 3 fingers) or IMAC (no thumb and all four fingers) and practice that system and then modify as the need arises. For example, I currently use PPIM (thumb for both base strings, index for E string and ring finger for A string). OOPS. I am using the soprano names for the strings but you get the idea. Once you master one system, moving to another system is easy. These things build on one another.
Thank you, great information