Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

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soltirefa
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Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by soltirefa » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:49 pm

I just learned that that the little finger is C, for chico ... as in PIMA and C.

There are some jazz arrangements I play where occasionally there is a 5-note chord, some with the lowest note two or three strings away from the rest of the strings in the chord. So I have been experimenting how to play these chords with my right hand. I tried P P I M A, and P I M A I. With all these permutations I roll the chord and the melody note on top fails to be on the beat. I can never make it sound acceptable to my ear.

Well today I tried using my pinky so I can play all 5 notes of the chord simultaneously. Boom, that's the solution for me. I was amazed my little finger sounded as good as it does.

Anybody else use your little finger to pluck?

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Christopher Langley
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by Christopher Langley » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:46 am

I just tried it.. and why not? I'm a little surprised at how well it works too.. given that I've never used it very much.

:merci:
Last edited by Christopher Langley on Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Scott Phillips
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by Scott Phillips » Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:00 am

Yeah I use El Chico too. I came from steel string and electric where nobody told me I couldn’t🤭. But only on five note chords for the most part. I am mostly self taught, and that was one of the things that I started doing right away when I started to learn to finger pick.

hectoring
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by hectoring » Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:45 am

There are a few really interesting threads I found on here about the use of "c". You can find them if you google them, they're pretty old though. If you want to delve further into the use of "c" there is a book by Postlewate on it, and I believe several etudes as well.

I myself recently started trying to use the c finger and recorded Brouwer Etude 6 using it (can't post here as still under copyright, but it's on my YT channel). It's not as even as I'd like due to years of underuse but I think the tone is acceptable.

As I grew up playing the piano it seems such a waste to leave a whole finger unused! I've read that it depends on your individual anatomy though, my c finger is not that short compared to my other fingers (all are pretty stubby :/) whereas someone with much shorter c fingers may struggle or have to change their hand position drastically.

soltirefa
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by soltirefa » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:20 pm

There are a few really interesting threads I found on here about the use of "c". You can find them if you google them, they're pretty old though.
I found the threads you refer to by Googling "classical guitar 5-note chords."

One post in one of the threads said, "I have heard David Tanenbaum suggest either involving c (or x according to your nomenclature) or playing pimaa as a block chord if the top note needs to be brought out. "

I really like playing pimaa. One might think that playing 'a' two times in a row wouldn't work, but it's actually quite doable and you end up with a nice smooth rolled chord with the top note being heard well.

I don't mind playing a 5-note chord with 'c,' but it kind of throws off my playing of everything else around it. It just requires rewiring my brain.

hectoring
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by hectoring » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:30 pm

Hmm, I'll have to try that. Some chords you might not want to always bring out the top note though.

I was more thinking of general use of the little finger, like here:
viewtopic.php?t=35856

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segobreawill
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by segobreawill » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:27 pm

hectoring wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:45 am
If you want to delve further into the use of "c" there is a book by Postlewate on it, and I believe several etudes as well.
Have you used Charles Postlewate's book btw and if so, can you give me/us your impressions of it, please? Thanks. :)

hectoring
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by hectoring » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:47 pm

His book is a very interesting read. It's full of many useful exercises - chords, melody lines, right hand harmonics, tremolo patterns, etc.

Sadly I've not got the energy or patience to make the most out of exercises, I always prefer to practice techniques using etudes or simple pieces that have some musical content. The book does contain 5 illustrative examples of famous pieces where he refingers some passages to fully utilize all fingers.

The most striking thing (and which I haven't worked up to myself) is that the little finger isn't just meant to supplement the other fingers in 5 note chords and complex passages - even in simpler pieces, he advocates the use of c over a to play the melody line, as it should be a stronger finger if you develop it properly.

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segobreawill
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by segobreawill » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:59 pm

hectoring wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:47 pm
His book is a very interesting read. It's full of many useful exercises - chords, melody lines, right hand harmonics, tremolo patterns, etc.

Sadly I've not got the energy or patience to make the most out of exercises, I always prefer to practice techniques using etudes or simple pieces that have some musical content. The book does contain 5 illustrative examples of famous pieces where he refingers some passages to fully utilize all fingers.

The most striking thing (and which I haven't worked up to myself) is that the little finger isn't just meant to supplement the other fingers in 5 note chords and complex passages - even in simpler pieces, he advocates the use of c over a to play the melody line, as it should be a stronger finger if you develop it properly.
Okay thanks. :)

Yes, it would take an enormous amount of patience and conditioning to add the 'c' workout as a regular staple to the practice schedule. If I were younger, I'd definitely go for it as I feel there is merit to it. Perhaps in the future, guitar technique will automaticvally include it?

hectoring
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by hectoring » Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:06 pm

Indeed! To quote the book:

"Sor's instruction book, Methode pour la Guitare uses a diagram to show that the ring finger is geometrically unsuited for proper hand position. He states "If I wished to bring in the fourth (ring) finger, it would always be at the expense of the two (index and middle), which would place my hand in a constrained position. I therefore establist as a rule of my fingering for the right hand to commonly employ only the three fingers..."

...

In the near future, guitarists will find it difficult to imagine not using the right hand little finger in the same manner that guitarists today would find it difficult to imagine a technique that excludes the ring finger..."

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segobreawill
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by segobreawill » Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:29 pm

hectoring wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:06 pm
Indeed! To quote the book:

"Sor's instruction book, Methode pour la Guitare uses a diagram to show that the ring finger is geometrically unsuited for proper hand position. He states "If I wished to bring in the fourth (ring) finger, it would always be at the expense of the two (index and middle), which would place my hand in a constrained position. I therefore establist as a rule of my fingering for the right hand to commonly employ only the three fingers..."

...

In the near future, guitarists will find it difficult to imagine not using the right hand little finger in the same manner that guitarists today would find it difficult to imagine a technique that excludes the ring finger..."
Besides, I won't change my "Segovian" RH position to one that is more "Breamian", in order to accommodate the use of the 'c'. Again, not at this stage in my playing!

It will probably be one of those things that will be the norm at some future point - just like all guitars will probably be 7 strings (or 8?).

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kakicg
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by kakicg » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:34 am

I have been playing classical guitar with my little finger for 40 years. I use my little finger at every passage, not limited to chords. Especially 12 Etudes of Villa-Lobos can not be played without little finger. I heard that Villa-Lobos himself was using the little finger.

2lost2find
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by 2lost2find » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:36 pm

I never have understood how a technique evolved that did not use the entire right hand in the first place. I taught myself to fingerpick as a teenager using all five fingers, and when somebody got around to telling me that wasn't the thing to do I thought it was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard in my life.

a.charman
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by a.charman » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:37 am

Hadn't heard of the use of "c" for little finger though I recall seeing "x" used. Most of the sheet music I've had avoids the little finger. I have frequently used my little finger in chordal work or for percussive effect but haven't used it for melodic work. Certainly worth looking at strengthening it so that it can be used more regularly.

ronjazz
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Re: Using the right hand little finger - C = chico

Post by ronjazz » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:32 pm

Well, I'm really quite old and have been playing for over 50, professionally, but I have added the Chico finger to my techniques, both for flamenco rasqueados and for classical chords and arpeggios. The Bach C Major Prelude from the WTC sounds awesome with all 5 RH digits employed. Changing one's hand position is, by the way, a GOOD thing to do, most of us should have more than one anyway. Practicing with the pinky also rebalances the hand in a cool way. In the jazz world, players using a pick develop a "hybrid" technique using the pick and the m,a and c fingers for chords and arpeggios. As far as strengthening goes, it's a actually stronger than the a finger and more mobile, having its very own tendon set instead of having to share with m, as a does. Anyway, it's available, and as an engineer, Postlewaite knows that using 100% of a device is generally a little better than using 80%. Should we abandon the little finger on the left hand?
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