Cross String Puzzles

Sometimes it is obvious which right hand finger should pluck a string, but sometimes you need to look ahead a little...

The right hand does not sit at right angles to the strings, not the way I play anyway. This means that your fingers feel perfectly natural resting on the strings we gave them when we started to study freestrokes. Let's call them the 'home strings'.

We tend not to repeatedly pluck a string with the same finger. It is much faster to alternate between two fingers rather than hopping on one finger. This is fine, it is perfectly acceptable to move your index finger up, or bring your middle finger down to play repeatedly on the same string. However, problems can occur when you have to move to a different string.

Let us assume we are playing some open string notes, G,G,G,G,B. It seems natural to play them i,m,i,m,i. However, you will find it rather uncomfortable to use your index finger on the B string, having just played the G string with your middle finger. This is because your hand is no longer sitting naturally, your index finger must stretch and your hand must move out of position to play this note... not good.

Now play the same notes again but this time start with your middle finger, m,i,m,i,m. Now your fingers play the string change more comfortably, using the 'correct' fingers for the notes, no stretching or twisting.

So a little thought into how you use your right hand can help you play more comfortably, and therefore faster. It is always worth checking your fingering if you are struggling with a piece of music.

Further Reading

Don't Press To Hard!

This book is ideal for training your right hand how to behave. You can play any piece from page 3, 4 or 5. Some pieces require 'walking' fingers. Some require the fingers and thumb to keep to their home strings. Some pieces require a mix between the two. Take care to follow the tips on which fingers to use.