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Author Topic: Fingering The 'E'  (Read 3696 times)

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GbH

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Fingering The 'E'
« on: June 16, 2009, 06:04:27 PM »

A couple of weeks back, I was asked if I could play "The Girl I Left Behind Me" in G.  "That shouldn't be too hard", I thought, and quickly figured out what notes needed presssing.  When I came to play it, though, I hit a problem that keeps coming back to haunt me - what to do about the fingering when there's an 'E' that needs to be played on the D row (yes, this is a D/G box, lower octave).  As usual, I sat down and, by trial and error, figured out a way of fingering it that seems to work.  Fine, but I can't help thinking that I'm missing something obvious and that I shouldn't need to go through this period of confusion everytime a basic GMaj tune has an 'E' note.  Is there not some common way of approaching it so that it always/generally works out without having to re-invent the wheel for each tune?  It seems weird that I can cross-row naturally on the top octave without giving it much thought, yet this E problem on the lower octave still confuses me.

Guy
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Bill the Farmer

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 06:38:28 PM »

It's one of the first stumbling blocks when you're learning, as a large proportion of tunes have that low E in them. There are various tricks, depending on the tune. You can play the low D on the same button, if there's a following DEF run up, but you must remember to use your second finger, otherwise it doesn't work. Another trick is to slide your finger off the F button on to the E, if you've got a FED run down. If there's two low Ds in succession, you can swap fingers ready for the next bit. Or even play two Ds instead of one. That's all I can think of, there must be more. Some of this, especially swapping fingers, is in the John Kirkpatrick videos/DVD. That's my two pennyworth, others may differ.  :||:
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GbH

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2009, 06:55:42 PM »

Thanks, Bill, I'll give your suggestions some experimentation.

Guy
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george garside

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2009, 07:01:11 PM »

It's one of the first stumbling blocks when you're learning, as a large proportion of tunes have that low E in them. There are various tricks, depending on the tune. You can play the low D on the same button, if there's a following DEF run up, but you must remember to use your second finger, otherwise it doesn't work. Another trick is to slide your finger off the F button on to the E, if you've got a FED run down. If there's two low Ds in succession, you can swap fingers ready for the next bit. Or even play two Ds instead of one. That's all I can think of, there must be more. Some of this, especially swapping fingers, is in the John Kirkpatrick videos/DVD. That's my two pennyworth, others may differ.  :||:


there ae at least 4 different ways of fingring the low E  and the one to ue depends on the particular tune or part thereof i.e. you may use a differnt method of playing the E dpending on where you are coming from & where you are going!  The method I favour as a catch all  is to bring the fingrs down to rest on buttons 2345 on the G row (if they are not already there) and to keep fingrs 134 resiting lightly on buttons 245 so thaat finger 2 can move from button 3 on G row to 3 on D row for the low E & then returned to its place on button 3 on G row.  This way you can use it to play both the low E & the D on the backside of it if necessary. Again if necessary according to the dictates of the tune the whole hand can be lsid up one so fingers are resting on buttons 3456 on the G row if this is best for the next bit of the tune -etc etc.  It is well worth slowly working out the 4 methods  so you can use whichever fits the occasion best.

george
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2009, 10:07:59 PM »

Another technique that I use for Tom Tully's Hornpipe, if you've got a run up or down to or from the low D, and the bass falls on the pull notes on the G row, is to play most of it on the D row. It sounds better, IMHO, because the bass is more consistent.  ;D  This was cribbed from Dazbo here.
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2009, 10:28:34 PM »

Thanks again, both of you.  I'm sat here in front of the screen, box in hand, trying things out.  Hadn't really considered using the D-row D in that way before.  I can see straight away how that could be useful and more straightforward.   (:)
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2009, 04:30:08 PM »

As others have said, the method one uses depends on the notes before and after the E. I use most of the methods that have already been mentioned, but one of the times when it can be most tricky to get that E note is when it is preceded by a G, which is usually played on the push. This problem tends to evaporate if you play the G on the pull on the D row instead.
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2009, 09:56:18 AM »

A good tune for practising at least three different ways of fingering the E, including swapping fingers, is Off to California.  :||:
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Theo

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2009, 10:21:05 AM »

... and another is Spootiskerry.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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george garside

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2009, 10:31:58 AM »

 if anybody wants a slow tune 3/4 to practice  the low E  try the black velvet band. The E can be followed by the D on the backside of the same button .

george
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2009, 01:01:09 PM »

Thanks for the suggested tunes, guys. I've had a go at all three, now.  The waltz is straightforward enough, whilst the other two require rather more thought and attention, particularly Off To California.  That one seems to be demaning a fingler slide, something that feels a bit like it ought to be 'bad technique'.  Also, I still struggle a bit when there's a lot of direction changes, something those tunes seem to require a lot more of. 
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Stiamh

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2009, 03:21:24 PM »

You can of course play Off to California entirely on the D row...
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2009, 05:50:39 PM »

You can of course play Off to California entirely on the D row...
That makes my brain hurt  ???  I can't fit a finger slide in though, on either row.
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2009, 06:18:12 PM »

You can of course play Off to California entirely on the D row...
That makes my brain hurt  ???  I can't fit a finger slide in though, on either row.

Come to think of it Spootiskerry can be played entirely on the D row too. We C#/D-ers have to play all G tunes mainly on the D row - your brain would soon get used to it, although I suppose it would play havoc with your basses.
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Theo

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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2009, 07:46:18 PM »

Steve, its probably a very valuable exercise for D/A players to play G tunes on the D row, and A tunes too for that matter, but its all too easy to just learn to play along the home row.  Its not uncommon in England to find some D/G players who almost exclusively play in G and D major, and even playing the easy minor modes is seen is being a bit adventurous!

Getting back to the original question here is another easy exercise to develop across the rows dexterity.  Play as much as possible of a major scale on one bellows direction:
On pull - all notes of G major and D major available except D.
On push - G major - all notes available except E and C
On push - D major - all notes available except E and C#

Practising those scales gives you a really good insight into where all the row crossing opportunities are, and develops fingering patterns that will help with getting the low E in G tunes, and lots of other alternative cross-row fingerings.
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Re: Fingering The 'E'
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2009, 08:02:51 PM »

I think it's 'orses for courses. Off to California bounces along very nicely when played conventionally mainly on the G row. You can of course play parts of it across the rows, but it loses the bounce unless you put a lot of effort into putting it back. On the other hand Parson's Farewell goes very well played mainly across the rows, you can keep the minor chords going.  :||:
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