Hello - just asking for help on alternate picking in Queen of the Burlesque. In the first measure, there are two triplets and I am finding the fingering difficult on the second one.  The section I am finding difficult starts on the seventh note:  F and then the triplet starts E on the first string, C on the second string then open G on the third string.  I'm guessing that the correct fingering would be index, middle, index, thumb.  However, my finger naturally wants to hit that F with my middle finger (ii) and it keeps doing it!  So it would be middle, index, thumb, index.  Is that okay or should I train my finger to use the first method.

Thanks!

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Hmmm. Starting with the middle finger causes you to cross over the thumb with the index to reach the lowest note. That is almost always awkward. Starting with the index removes that issue. Sometimes it is the only way to get there...but in this case, I would suggest training it out.

Then again, I'm at work and miles from a banjo. I am trying to suss this out in my head!

Thanks Marc - yes, it would involve following with the thumb on the second string (I wouldn't play it with the middle as this is too awkward).  Perhaps I should 'train it out' like you suggest and start with index.  I just don't want to get into bad habits - I know the thing to do is NOT play middle-index-index! 

From the seventh note F :  

What I do is to play the 1st string F note (fretted with the 4th finger of the left hand), then snap the 4th finger off to sound the E. The C and the open G of the triplet are the same as they are in the first triplet.

You may find snapping with your little finger awkward, but it can be very useful and effective :-)

I must add this is only one idea... Others may have a better way!!!!

Of course, it is the tune that is king. Many, many people have successfully recorded techniques ranging from merely awkward to totally crazy. As long as the tune is coming out properly...

Still, I think it best to avoid awkward moves if at all possible. Miz Diane always knows when I'm having to do re-training as I tend to focus and play that section about a million times...which evidently gets annoying after the first 50,000. ;-)

Hi Ian - I just tried that on the banjo and it was a lot easier than trying to use the index.  Thanks for the tip!

The first three notes of the measure are a long G, a short F, and E at the start of the triplet. If you play the G with the thumb and then  the F on the first string it is natural to want to play the F with the middle because the middle is closer to that string. And it is habitual for a bluegrass player to use the middle for the first string.  However if you play the G with thumb , the F with the index and the E with the middle what do you have?  You have a three note forward roll. Good ol' TIM. Once the middle finger strikes the E completing the triplet with index and thumb happens almost automatically. What do we have now?  A "forward/reverse roll"..    TIMIT    Easy Peasy.   So by thinking of the moves in a different way, the E with the index is less of a problem.

IF this self-hypnosis approach doesn't work all is not lost.  You can play the the F with the middle and then play the E with the index and then drag the index to sound the C on string two in the same stroke as the E, and then play G with the thumb.

If that doesn't work you can play the F with the middle and then the E with the middle again. This is not a very fast tune so it's not so hard to get it to sound good that way.  But I would do it only as a last resort.

Thanks Jody - thinking of it as a forward/reverse roll may help me get over the 'index-first string' block.

I've always liked this tune - it has a kind of lovely lilting flow to it when played well.  Hopefully I will be able to get it under my fingers!

Thinking in new ways helps me solve problems.  Sometimes that approach works for other people.  : -)

carrie horgan said:

Thanks Jody - thinking of it as a forward/reverse roll may help me get over the 'index-first string' block.

I've always liked this tune - it has a kind of lovely lilting flow to it when played well.  Hopefully I will be able to get it under my fingers!

Hey Carrie, it looks like Eric Stefanelli uses a snap but I can't really see it clearly. What do you think? I tried Jody's reverse roll and that works fine when you get used to it too!

That's a good video - I like the fact they are playing at a moderate pace.  It's hard to tell whether a snap is used but I think a snap works well.  Jody's tip about thinking of the hand motion as a forward roll is also helpful.  I imagine the harmonic section is tricky in terms of landing at the right fret!  I thought it might sound nice on my new zither banjo but it might be a challenge as it has a profusion of inlays and no side-dots so difficult to immediately locate positions up-the-neck! 

I tried it last night...I prefer the snaps (which are my generic default anyway, seeing as how I play a lot of clawhammer and stroke style too).

Don't forget the G harmonic on the 5th string, 17th fret? It sounds out very clearly.

He's definitely using the middle finger on the first string and then doing the snap to the next note before using the index on string 2.  If you click on the little gear icon in the lower right corner of a youtube screen you can slow down a video. At quarter speed you can see the right hand movements slow enough to decipher. So that's what I did. No stroke on E and you can see the left hand fingers doing the  snap from F to E.  I've tried it that way now and I think it sounds better than the forward reverse approach.

I think I have worked out why using the index for F is uncomfortable.  The left hand fingers are going from right to left (fret 3 to fret 2) and the  right hand fingers are going from left to right (index to middle). It hurts the brain a bit.



thereallyniceman said:

Hey Carrie, it looks like Eric Stefanelli uses a snap but I can't really see it clearly. What do you think? I tried Jody's reverse roll and that works fine when you get used to it too!

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