Walking Fingers and String Crossing

Walking Fingers

We try not to use the same finger twice in a row when plucking. You can play much faster if you alternate (or walk) your fingers, even though this means moving them offtheir home strings.

You will not be able to return your fingers to their home strings after they have played. This is not a problem your thumb will be resting on the D string, providing stability. You can also prepare by putting the next finger down. This is known as planting, a topic we will return to.

You can now play I'm Walking and The Toad's Warts on page four of Don't Press Too Hard. Notice that you are asked to play G,G in the first bar of I'm walking with your index and then middle fingers. You are expected to do the same in bars three and six. We will play all the Ds with our thumb, even though they are in pairs.

We use the same i,m walking technique in bars three and seven of The Toad's Warts. Make sure your index finger is resting on the G before plucking the D with your thumb or you will have no fingers in contact with the stings. This makes it harder to use the propper plucking technique and harder to find your place again without looking at your hard.

String Crossing

Occasionally it does not matter if you start your finger walking with i or m. It doesn't matter for I'm Walking or The Toad's Wartz. However, this is usually very important.

Let's try and experiment. Play the second line of The Station Clock using the correct fingers. Now we will do something naughty. Play it again, but this time reverse yor fingers so your index finger is playing B and your middle finger is playing G... I expect you found that rather uncomfortable!

The fingers do not feel natural this way round but there is always a danger that you will be forced to do it after walking your fingers if you have not started with a suitable finger. If you are lucky, the editor will have marked which fingers you should use to avoid an awkward string crossing.

You can now play The Icecream Van. The editor has pointed out that you must start with your index finger; can you work out why? Look at what happens at the end of the first bar...

You can also play The Cookhouse Clock. There are no surprises in the first line but you must be careful when playing bars five and six. You must start bar five with your index finger, otherwise you will have an awkward string crossing at the start of bar six!

A quick reminder:

Fingering is not to be used as an easy way to read the music. A good editor only adds fingering if he feels the most suitable fingering is not obvious. Always read the notes!