Pepepicks - Fretting with fingers 3-4

Sorry to bump this infamous thread, but I was out in the desert for a few days lol. I came up with a different fingering than the one @bradejensen posted; I was having trouble with the alternating ring / pinky motions of the 5th / 6th groupings of 4. Maybe @Tom_Gilroy could explain why, all I know is I’ve torn the lumbrical between those two fingers, so maybe a scar tissue thing. Also popped the tendon of the ring finger, who knows. As far as crosspicking difficulty goes, it should be the same / similar (shapes of string changes are the same amount of 3 string arps / 2 string combos, just flipped… hope that made sense).

I was going for the fun parallel-ish tone that @carranoj25 @Fossegrim @Andjoy were talking about, definitely a cool alternative to how I usually run. If the signal is a bit too hot, it’s because I made my own IR and didn’t totally level match beforehand, sorry.


That would certainly do it. Is this a recent injury? I remember you naturally gravitated toward combinations of 3 and 4.

Left lumbrical I believe early 2019 and the tendon mid 2019? I’ve noticed that area more after doing high rep reverse grip bench and high rep squats, I’m not totally sure why.

I think I still gravitate to 3-4 fingerings on the same string, but going from the G string pinky to B string ring (or D to G, can’t remember) feels stiff?

Okay. I’m sure your lumbrical issue adds to the difficulty of this, but this a pretty universal problem.

Because of the difference in lengths between the 3rd & 4th fingers, it can be difficult to find a posture which accommodates using both. In many postures, the 3rd finger needs to be very flexed while the 4th is extended. Fingers simply aren’t independent. When the 3rd finger is flexed, flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) must engage as it’s the sole flexor of the distal interphalangeal joints (DIPs). However, FDP is a mass action muscle and acts on all fingers at the same time, meaning that in lifting one of the fingers while the other frets, the extensors (extensor communis and extensor digiti minimi) must pull against FDP. This feels slow and stiff because antagonists are cocontracted. To make matters worse, the extensor tendons of the 3rd and 4th finger are joined together (sometimes almost completely fused).

This issue can be offset to some degree by adopting a canted fretting posture (like you often use). However, when the 4th finger is on the lower string moving to the 3rd finger on the higher string, this problem is exacerbated, requiring even greater extension in the 4th and greater flexion in the 3rd.

If you could show me a short clip of you trying the combination which feels difficult, and a 3-4 combination on a single string, I would be interested to see it.


I could do that! I’ll try for today at some point.

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@Tom_Gilroy I was having a hard time deciding what to play, so didn’t get something recorded yesterday. I’ll try again today. Here’s a 3-4 fingering that feels good:

I’m thinking it’s because on a single line I can rest my ring finger more and not have to lift it as fast when the pinky is fretting the same string, whereas a different string, the ring has to be fully independent. Hope that makes sense, lol.

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Very nice example, thank you for providing that. Anything involving 3 & 4 which is less comfortable would make an excellent comparison.

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@Tom_Gilroy I just settled on the original Anton fingerings as a demo, specifically the last 3 shapes. I feel a general tightness in the area between my 3-4 lumbrical, stretching into the A2 pulley of my ring finger (which took some damage when I had that tendon thing… yay climbing).


Some pretty clear differences here. Your thumb is lower and drawn into opposition, your posture is much less canted ( fingers more parallel to the frets) and the neck is running more parallel to your knuckle line than diagonally across the palm.

It could very well be just that this pattern requires a different posture than what you’re familiar with and that you haven’t yet found the posture which would accommodate it.

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I’ll be making a lot of rough videos over the next week, I’ll make a not of this and see if I can put some pointers together to help you find something comfortable.

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Something I’ll experiment with next time I play is bringing my elbow tighter to my side; I feel like that should make supination feel a little easier.

Hey all, I thought this deserved its own thread (and the 3-4 question is always interesting to a lot of players, myself included!)


An update!

Been meaning to work on this more, but I’ve been doing more production stuff as opposed to playing. I figure I’d try trailing edge again, since it’s feeling more “natural” at the moment (maybe since I’m using it for bass all the time).

I don’t know why, but this fingering feels way better now. I’m not sure if I’m holding the guitar differently, or the fact that I’ve been doing some lumbrical rehab / strengthening for climbing. Whatever it is, it’s in a much better place.

I’m “brute forcing” the picking and sync at this speed, so I’m definitely off beat a good amount, but there are some good syncs in there (I hope):