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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Please forgive this absolute brand newbie. Normally I'd lurk for a while to catch the tone of the place before posting but this is a bit critical and frustrating for me. Let me note first that I've played piano (and assorted keyboards) for 50 years, several of which back in my late teens / early 20's (30-35 years ago) were professional at a local / low level, i.e. I never quite had the chops or talent to be a full-out studio session guy, and now electric bass for 4+ years. I say that to ascertain that I'm well aware of the kind of practice level it takes to be good (or even proficient at all) and that with practice, things that may have seemed impossible become 2nd nature. Also, to note that I already have major strength and dexterity / accuracy in my fingers and pretty thorough knowledge of theory as regards chord construction, derivation of modal scales, and chord progressions & cadence (building tension versus coming to resolution, etc.) For me it is mostly a matter of "adapting" it all to guitar. In that regard, four years on electric bass have been amazingly productive. But then again, on bass, I don't have to worry much about chords (well, how they're constructed yes, but not PLAYING them). Also, with the majority of frets up to the 12th nearly equal, equal, or greater than, the width of a piano key, and the spacing between strings being what it is, the adaptation process of "getting the chops up" was pretty straightforward. As far as the degree of finger strength needed to properly fret the heavy bass strings, 50 years of piano playing made that a non-issue other than building callouses, but that came quickly as well.

Now however, with guitar, and facing chords again, I come upon something that I worry seems a near physical impossibility. And remember that my experience is such that I'm not likely to easily chaulk off something as impossible without due consideration of what sufficient practice can achieve.

What I'm talking about is, fretting one string while leaving both adjacent strings open. Though I may not have the REALLY skinny fingers I've seen on some virtuoso players, I DEFINITELY don't have really stout fingers either, and I've seen MANY excellent guitar players with far thicker fingers than mine. So I believe there is hope and that it's probably just a matter of technique that I'm not properly aware of or practiceing correctly.

Though I CAN do it, (fret a single string and still get both the adjacent strings to properly ring without muffling them), it is SO ridiculously laborious and requires such deliberate "nudge by nudge" trial & error after the finger is already down on the fret it currently seems like no amount of practice will ever make it sufficiently automatic.

I'm wondering if maybe all those years of piano playing have rendered the tips of my fingers into a shape that makes this especially difficult. In playing piano, you tend to develop a "flat spot on the forward part of the "pad" of the first digit. This in turn causes the width from top (nail) to bottom (pad) of the finger to get especially thick at a point that is roughly half way between the outermost tip and the "line" of the first digit. This was never a problem with bass for the already mentioned reasons, but now with guitar, I feel like a lifelong piano player trying to adapt to the WAY thinner keys of an accordian, only times 10!!

Any ideas or helpful suggestions for me? Things to train myself in practice? Particular positional things to note that maybe I'm not doing right? Taping up the finger pads to make them thinner? I'm open to anything, and I'll try anything.

Thanks, and sorry for the oprning post as a short novel, LOL

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