Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

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Sebastian
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Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Sebastian » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:46 pm

Right hand for Free Strokes (not rest strokes): I've always noted that my ring -and middle- fingers are stronger than my index finger, specifically, when playing on the first string (for instance, for playing the sixth string with thumb and at the same time attack the first string with either index or ring. And that's even though I excercise a lot more the index-medium combination with several drills and study concepts. I'm not sure if this is just my anatomy or the overall.
This does not happens with rest strokes, as there all fingers have more or less the same strength.
Some professors stated that the ring finger sometimes is stronger than the other ones, and if I recall correctly it was Sagreras or some other author who called it the "singer finger" (translated from Spanish "el dedo que canta").
I would like to know if this happens to anyone else too (or to how much people), as many times I prefer to play some melodies with ring and middle alternation, even when index and middle is possible; although I try to use index as possible to "calibrate" this "defect".
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by ronjazz » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:55 am

Working on volume control may help, I find that any of my fingers can be louder or softer than the others.
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Tonit » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:42 am

So it's been said but is my case.
The strongest out of mines is middle.
The most beautifully sounding is index.
The most controllable is also index.
So my ring is quite auxilary, and I am hesitant to employ.
I don't know if it helps, but I also play and learning flamenco, where i and m are more important, especially for fast single lines, which is called picado (and excluding lasgueos where all five fingers are involved).
It may help if you get down on some picado workouts.
BTW the most useful in picking nose is pinky, with extra nail length for lasgueos :).

Jokes aside I also noticed that the above difference is not so much audible to the others when I play. It is highly likely that the difference is based more on player's own awareness.

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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Sebastian » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:53 am

ronjazz wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:55 am
Working on volume control may help, I find that any of my fingers can be louder or softer than the others.
What I meant was, despite training all fingers and even focusing on the right hand index finger on paramethers of accuracy and strength, to name some, it still always seemed to me that my ring finger is naturally stronger.
This is specially more visible for me when playing on the first string.
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by oski79 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:37 am

I'm one of those weirdos who really likes using my ring finger on the 1st string. Or even the second if called for. I feel like I get a really strong stroke, rest or free, and nice tone from it.
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:06 pm

I just would point that I think "stronger" is the wrong world. It might have better nail, better angle according to size and hand position etc. But good sound is not a matter of brute force. Being stronger is not the point. Maybe you should work hand positioning, but this is just a weak guess.

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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Justfun » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:10 pm

oski79 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:37 am
I'm one of those weirdos who really likes using my ring finger on the 1st string. Or even the second if called for. I feel like I get a really strong stroke, rest or free, and nice tone from it.
Funny thing I like to use my a finger and the sound is as good as IM.

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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Steve » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:45 am

I also find my ring finger to be “strong” and frequently use it. I always attributed this strength to my many years of trumpet playing which required strength and dexterity with i, m, and a fingers.

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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by robert e » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:58 pm

If it's especially perceptible when playing simultaneously with the thumb, then maybe we're talking about simple mechanical (or anatomical) advantage, or its consequences. The index finger is both closer to the thumb and moves less oppositionally to the thumb than the ring finger. In other words, the ring finger and thumb are better positioned to help each other when flexing simultaneously. Just opening and closing one's hand should illustrate this. I can see how this could be perceived as "stronger" in the context of plucking guitar strings.

A related consequence is that, in typical playing posture, the index fingernail takes a more oblique (less perpendicular) path across the string than does the ring finger's, and this slightly gentler interaction (compared to the ring finger) would tend to produce a softer, less defined tone. (Being further from the bridge may also contribute to this effect.) Perhaps that's what the OP meant?

Another thing: On my smallish hand, just being further from the thumb gives the ring finger a kind of advantage when I want to play first and sixth strings at the same time. And generally, in typical arpeggio posture, the ring finger is comfortably "at home" on the first string, while the index has to reach for it, which has to compromise its action somewhat.

On the other hand, when I play rest strokes or tremolo, I tend to bend my wrist slightly so that the knuckles line up more parallel to the strings, which lessens these mechanical differences between fingers. It does seem to lessen the differences in tone as well.

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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by ronjazz » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:54 pm

Luis makes a good point: there are no muscles in the fingers, so it's probably a combination of angles and nail length, etc.
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Rognvald » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:03 pm

oski79 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:37 am
I'm one of those weirdos who really likes using my ring finger on the 1st string. Or even the second if called for. I feel like I get a really strong stroke, rest or free, and nice tone from it.
Not really weird at all, Oski. When I play adagio passages in Romantic Music, I frequently use M/A for more volume and clarity. Perhaps it's the angle of attack as some have noted or just a personal thing. Who cares what finger you use(up to a point)? It's all about the effect. Playing again . . . Rognvald
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Sebastian » Thu May 30, 2019 8:36 pm

robert e wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:58 pm
If it's especially perceptible when playing simultaneously with the thumb, then maybe we're talking about simple mechanical (or anatomical) advantage, or its consequences. The index finger is both closer to the thumb and moves less oppositionally to the thumb than the ring finger. In other words, the ring finger and thumb are better positioned to help each other when flexing simultaneously. Just opening and closing one's hand should illustrate this. I can see how this could be perceived as "stronger" in the context of plucking guitar strings.

A related consequence is that, in typical playing posture, the index fingernail takes a more oblique (less perpendicular) path across the string than does the ring finger's, and this slightly gentler interaction (compared to the ring finger) would tend to produce a softer, less defined tone. (Being further from the bridge may also contribute to this effect.) Perhaps that's what the OP meant?


This makes more sense. The ring finger is just closer to the 1st string in the hand's "default position" (i.e. Carlevaro's 2nd book first right hand arpeggios).
It's just that many times I prefer to play with ring-med finger combination some melodies of some specific passages in music pieces, and often wondered if this was wrong or right. I mostly now try force myself to use index-medium combination just to develop it, but still ring-med seems more natural (stronger and with stronger tone).
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by robert e » Fri May 31, 2019 7:34 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:36 pm
robert e wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:58 pm
If it's especially perceptible when playing simultaneously with the thumb, then maybe we're talking about simple mechanical (or anatomical) advantage, or its consequences. The index finger is both closer to the thumb and moves less oppositionally to the thumb than the ring finger. In other words, the ring finger and thumb are better positioned to help each other when flexing simultaneously. Just opening and closing one's hand should illustrate this. I can see how this could be perceived as "stronger" in the context of plucking guitar strings.

A related consequence is that, in typical playing posture, the index fingernail takes a more oblique (less perpendicular) path across the string than does the ring finger's, and this slightly gentler interaction (compared to the ring finger) would tend to produce a softer, less defined tone. (Being further from the bridge may also contribute to this effect.) Perhaps that's what the OP meant?


This makes more sense. The ring finger is just closer to the 1st string in the hand's "default position" (i.e. Carlevaro's 2nd book first right hand arpeggios).
It's just that many times I prefer to play with ring-med finger combination some melodies of some specific passages in music pieces, and often wondered if this was wrong or right. I mostly now try force myself to use index-medium combination just to develop it, but still ring-med seems more natural (stronger and with stronger tone).
I wouldn't say wrong at all. And I see nothing wrong with developing i-m either. The fact that m and a move more like each other compared to the index finger might confer benefits in some passages. Aside from "stronger", I'm curious if you find either combination smoother than the other, or more even in sound, or quicker.

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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by Sebastian » Fri May 31, 2019 9:50 pm

robert e wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 7:34 pm
Sebastian wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:36 pm
robert e wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:58 pm
If it's especially perceptible when playing simultaneously with the thumb, then maybe we're talking about simple mechanical (or anatomical) advantage, or its consequences. The index finger is both closer to the thumb and moves less oppositionally to the thumb than the ring finger. In other words, the ring finger and thumb are better positioned to help each other when flexing simultaneously. Just opening and closing one's hand should illustrate this. I can see how this could be perceived as "stronger" in the context of plucking guitar strings.

A related consequence is that, in typical playing posture, the index fingernail takes a more oblique (less perpendicular) path across the string than does the ring finger's, and this slightly gentler interaction (compared to the ring finger) would tend to produce a softer, less defined tone. (Being further from the bridge may also contribute to this effect.) Perhaps that's what the OP meant?


This makes more sense. The ring finger is just closer to the 1st string in the hand's "default position" (i.e. Carlevaro's 2nd book first right hand arpeggios).
It's just that many times I prefer to play with ring-med finger combination some melodies of some specific passages in music pieces, and often wondered if this was wrong or right. I mostly now try force myself to use index-medium combination just to develop it, but still ring-med seems more natural (stronger and with stronger tone).
I wouldn't say wrong at all. And I see nothing wrong with developing i-m either. The fact that m and a move more like each other compared to the index finger might confer benefits in some passages. Aside from "stronger", I'm curious if you find either combination smoother than the other, or more even in sound, or quicker.
ring-middle combination is just stronger, and has more "power" than m-i. Specially the ring finger. Sometimes I prefer using it for, say, the first note of a melody (which is naturally accentuated by rhythm). But by no means ring-middle is faster than middle-index.
I just noticed many times I avoided using middle-index finger because one professor many years ago told me to "also play with ring-middle as it is <harder>". Apparently I exaggerated what he told me (then I changed to other professors and thus lost touch with his instruction) and continued using ring-middle almost exclusively when possible.
So about June 2017 I decided to focus a lot more on index-middle.

I asked, because I wondered if the ring finger (being "stronger" than the other fingers) was either because one of my anatomic traits, or beacuse I developed it more than index finger, or if it was stronger generally in all humans.. or if it is a sum of all or most of these factors.
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Re: Ring finger stronger than index? For free strokes

Post by robert e » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:46 am

Sebastian wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 9:50 pm

ring-middle combination is just stronger, and has more "power" than m-i. Specially the ring finger. Sometimes I prefer using it for, say, the first note of a melody (which is naturally accentuated by rhythm). But by no means ring-middle is faster than middle-index.
I just noticed many times I avoided using middle-index finger because one professor many years ago told me to "also play with ring-middle as it is <harder>". Apparently I exaggerated what he told me (then I changed to other professors and thus lost touch with his instruction) and continued using ring-middle almost exclusively when possible.
So about June 2017 I decided to focus a lot more on index-middle.

I asked, because I wondered if the ring finger (being "stronger" than the other fingers) was either because one of my anatomic traits, or beacuse I developed it more than index finger, or if it was stronger generally in all humans.. or if it is a sum of all or most of these factors.
I see. Yes, I would think long-term preference in guitar practice would build up not only strength but also efficiency and ease. It may be a natural physical difference as well. My own m and a seem stronger (if less agile) than the index when I grip things. Admittedly my RH is damaged so it's hard to tell, but this seems to be the case in the LH as well. Believe it or not, my preferred alternation is i-a; not for reasons of volume or tone, but because of ease and smoothness--anything involving m gets messy.

[Edited to correct spelling.]
Last edited by robert e on Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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