“The less you lift your fingers off the neck, the better off you’ll be” is an adage that one of my former teachers relayed to me when I first started to study the guitar - of course being a young student I did not realize how true it was until some years later. The reason I mention it is that it clearly relates to this month’s topic of guide-fingers.
If you are unfamiliar with guide fingers they are those fingers which stay on the same string, but move to a different fret - this month I’ll explore how they relate to chord changes. Keep in mind that not every chord change will incorporate guide-fingers, however knowing when and where to use them can enhance one’s playing. Moreover, I’ll be discussing how to use them in relation to the three finger chords talked about last month – A, D and E.
Looking at the A and D chords the guide finger (the only finger on the same string) is the 3rd.
In order to transition from the A to D chord using the guide finger keep the 3rd finger down and: (1) Lift the 1st and 2nd fingers. (2) Slide the 3rd finger up a fret (3) Place the 1st and 2nd fingers in their proper position in the D chord.
Now looking at the D and E chords the guide finger (the only finger on the same string) is the 1st.
Then in order to transition from the D to E chord using the guide finger keep the 1st finger down and: (1) Lift the 2nd and 3rd fingers. (2) Slide the 1st finger down a fret (3) Place the 2nd and 3rd fingers in their proper position in the E chord.
Keep in mind that not all chord changes will include guide fingers, but being aware of when they occur and pointing them out to students will help to make shifting between chords a bit smoother for them.