Fingering fuddle

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TanninTannin Frets: 5734
edited April 4 in Technique
Sorry for long-winded question, I don't know how to put this any shorter.

I'm messing round with a simple rock/country riff in A. It's a jaunty little thing, not a million miles away from something Steve Miller might play, or Creedence, or Sweet Home Alabama.

The tricky bit is how do I finger it? This is for solo acoustic, so I need the chord tones to keep on ringing while I hit the melody notes. (Unlike what you'd do on an electric.)

No idea what the correct way is to write this down is, so I've used hyphens to indicate the sustained notes. It goes like this:

X02220 an A chord to start
X2---- the B is barely more than a grace note before I .... 
X4---- hammer on to the C# (still sustaining all or at least part of the A chord the meanwhile)
XX2220 third note of the 3 note melody is the E on the 4th string, but play it as an A chord with the E forming the bass
X2---- sustain it and repeat 
X4---- 
XX2220

(The open first string is unimportant, it can be left out if convenient)

But how best to finger it?

PLAN A: Play the A chord cowboy style with three fingers, use index and little for the B and C#.
* BUT: very squeezy and unpleasant, not sure I'd ever get anywhere doing it that way.

PLAN B: Play the A as a barre with the index finger, roll that finger up to get the B on the 5th string, hammer the C# with ring or little.
* BUT Getting that roll up is a bit tricky, and I lose the sustaining chord on the 2 3 and 4 strings doing it.

PLAN C: Play the A as a barre with the index finger, thumb the B, little finger for the C#
* BUT: Although I'm getting pretty decent thumbing notes on the E string, I struggle reaching the A cleanly. And once I do, managing the hammer-on C#  with the little finger from that position .... Can't do it! Certainly bot without muting the 2, 3, & 4 strings. 

PLAN D Play the A as a barre with my MIDDLE finger (!) Use index and little for the B & C#.
* BUT: This actually works (sort of) and I can even bend it back and get the open 1st string to ring out (kinda maybe) but I can feel it doing nasty things to my joints and tendons and don't want to risk injuring myself. 

So the question here is this: I'm happy to work on any of those plans until I have mastered it. This might take months if I have to slowly, slowly, gently, gently work towards a currently-impossible-without-injury stretch (e.g., Plans C and D), but that's fine. If either of those is the best way to do it, I'll put in the work and the payoff won't be this pleasant but unimportant little riff, it will be the ability to play both it and a stack of other things like it. Learning a new technique for one song pays off with so many others!

But I don't want to put in all that work if it isn't going to pay off with a good result! Advice please!
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Comments

  • WeZ84WeZ84 Frets: 168
    You could use a capo at the 2nd fret then play a "G shape" chord to get your A chord:

    So relative to the capo it would be:
    320003 an A chord to start
    X0---- the B is barely more than a grace note before I .... 
    X2---- hammer on to the C# (still sustaining all or at least part of the A chord the meanwhile)
    XX0003 third note of the 3 note melody is the E on the 4th string, but play it as an A chord with the E forming the bass
    X0---- sustain it and repeat 
    X2---- 
    XX0005

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  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    Cheers @WeZ84.

    I should have mentioned that the melody repeats in the 7th and 4th degrees - it's in A mixolydian so that's A major, repeating in G major repeating in D major. It is indeed easy to play in the G shape, but if I start in G then I have to do it in F (which is nasty!) and C (also easy). 

    But in any case, I like the way it sounds in the A shape and aim to learn it in that shape. (The actual key does not matter, just the sound.)

    Meanwhile, I've bumbled across yet another way to do it: 

    PLAN E Play the A chord as a barre with my index finger but instead of rolling the index up to the 5th string for the B, just SQUEEZE harder. If I get my finger in exactly the right place (slightly overhanging the 5th string) I can play the barre and hold it ringing while I squeeze tight to fret the B with that same finger. 
    * BUT: It's very tricky to get right! Any tiny error and it sounds like a mess. This is possibly the most promising approach yet, but Hoolie Doolie it's going to take some practice (if I go that way).

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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 28043
    edited April 4
    The answer is open G tuning  

    (or Open A if you really don't like capos)
    The Assumptions - UAE party band for all your rock & soul desires
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  • everesteverest Frets: 8
    Do you need the low E when you first play the A chord? if not, you could use your middle and ring fingers to fret the G and the B strings and mute the D string - then you have index and little free to fret the bass notes. Obviously a matter of taste but this might also end up less muddy in the bass and give a little more "surprise" when you do hit the E note on the D string.
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    The answer is open G tuning  

    (or Open A if you really don't like capos)
    I only have have seven guitars, well, five guitars and two baritones. I haven't got a spare one to put in open tuning. 

    Err ... OK, so that^ makes no sense at all. :) Maybe I should get into open tunings again! (Apart from a very occasional drop D, I haven't played in open tunings since the days when I used to play a bit of slide. That would be the early 1990s, I guess.)

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  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    everest said:
    Do you need the low E when you first play the A chord? if not, you could use your middle and ring fingers to fret the G and the B strings and mute the D string - then you have index and little free to fret the bass notes. Obviously a matter of taste but this might also end up less muddy in the bass and give a little more "surprise" when you do hit the E note on the D string.
    Now this is interesting thinking! It's getting late here in Oz but in the morning. And no, I'm not using the low E string at all, not until I use it for the G chord later on.
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  • StrumitStrumit Frets: 49
    I got back into playing guitar a short while ago (about a year) after a long break (55 years or so!)!  I could only play at the top of the neck and maybe four or five chords at most (usually very aggressively and as loud as possible!). I'm amazed at myself, that I can follow what is going on in this thread as my Bert Weedon's "Play in a Day", had none of this as I recall!  Keep up the good work.  It's fascinating!  Thank you.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 8890
    edited April 10
    Plan E. 
    1. Use index finger to parts bar x0222x. Damp the low E with your thumb. What you do with the top E depends on your index finger shape. Some people can bend it so that the string rings clear. Mine is too long for that, and I mute the string
    2. Hammer 2nd finger onto fret 2 of the A string, giving x2222x.
    3. Hammer little finger onto fret 4, giving x4222x
    4. Then xx222x. Options for muting the A string include thumb, any finger, right hand palm, or some combination of these.
    Tree recycler, and guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    Cheers @Strumit, good for you! I played, mostly as a singer-songwriter, for 20-something years. (Singing more my focus than guitar playing.) Then, like you, I had a few decades off. I returned to the fold about 5 years ago and have come on by leaps and bounds since then. One thing which has made a big difference is that, for the time being, I'm not singing, just concentrating on mastering the instrument. Another 50 years and I'll be pretty good at it!
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  • droflufdrofluf Frets: 3983
    Tannin said:
    The answer is open G tuning  

    (or Open A if you really don't like capos)
    I only have have seven guitars, well, five guitars and two baritones. I haven't got a spare one to put in open tuning. 

    If you really don’t the solution to that problem then you should question whether you really fit in here  =)
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    Hi @Roland. That's my Plan D. :) 

    Nevertheless, I reckon you've nailed it. Over the week or so since I started the thread, I've been working on several different plans, a little of this, a little of that. Rather to my surprise, fretting the B with my thumb seems to offer promise - but I'm going very gently with that as I have learned the hard way not to over-stress my thumb. Mostly though, your middle finger barre seems like the answer. It is doing nasty things to my joints but slowly, slowly I'll get used to it. 

    BTW, I don't need to mute anything with my left hand because I play fingerstyle. 
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