So far in this series on four-finger picking, we have explored the clawhammer technique using the thumb, index and middle fingers. Now, we are going to introduce the ring finger to complete the four-finger style we are aiming for.
Use the following exercise to get used to the motion of four-finger picking. Use the order thumb, index, middle, ring to pick the strings and try to accent the first note in every group with the thumb.
Extension: Try playing to a metronome to ensure you are creating a consistent rhythm.
Funky C Minor Riff
We can apply this technique to a cool riff to see how it can be used in context. It mainly uses the notes of the C minor scale, although it contains an accidental Db in bar four.
Developing Muscle Memory And Coordination
To get quick at this technique, you need to practise it over and over by repeating different phrases. The chromatic scale is perfect for this because it can be played easily using four notes per string.
Learning a whole scale in one go can sometimes seem daunting, in which case you may find it easier to break it down into fragments and play them in isolation.
When learning a new scale, it is equally important to be able to play it descending as ascending, as you won’t always be travelling up the fretboard.
Note: When practising descending scales, don’t go up the scale first otherwise you will come to associate them both together.