For example, when your ring finger is on D note on A string, where should I put my middle finger? c, c# or somewhere in the middle?

Are there even requirements for those?


2 Answers 2


The position of your unused fingers over the strings will change somewhat depending on what scale you are currently playing in.

Beginners are often encouraged to let the unused fingers touch the strings in position to help the hand muscles learn the relative positions of the notes. The D Major scale is often the first scale learned, so the second and third fingers will be next to each other to play the half step (semitone) between C# and D, and F# and G notes.

As you learn to relax your hand while playing and switch to only touching the strings with the finger in use, the other relaxed fingers will still hover over the location of the notes being used in the scale. As you practice the different scales, your muscle memory will direct where the fingers should be prepared to land on the strings.

Depending on what scale you are playing in, your second (middle) finger will either be closer to the third (ring) finger (as when playing a C# in D Major scale), or closer to the first (as when playing a C natural when in G Major scale).

Hovering over the note location allows you to drop your finger on to the note without having to move it down or up the string first. This allows quicker fingering and less tension in the hand.

  • This is the description that I was long been waiting for! And the first time to learn that it is fundamental to play with "only touching the strings with the finger in use". I think Ive become pretty good at using my 4 fingers to play A# to E scale, on A string and of course the other strings(GDE) as well. Should I practice using one finger at a time from now on? Anyways, I dont know how could I thank you for this valuable description! Feb 2, 2018 at 20:11
  • Usually it is good to start one finger per note when your intonation is good and you begin practicing vibrato. Feb 3, 2018 at 0:27

Of course you are a newby. You don't press your "index, middle finger and index finger" on the same string because (discounting that you call two of your fingers the same) having a row of fingers down precludes you from doing vibrato or smooth position changes. Fingers tend to stay close to where they might find use, however, so they'll typically find some in-scale place to hover around in case you do a fast downward scale. But you wouldn't go to any effort moving or keeping them there unless you actually had such a scale coming up.

  • Newbies are encouraged to keep all three fingers on the string. Only when the intonation is well established should they start playing with one finger at a time. In my experience, this often happens naturally. Since beginners don't play shifts or vibrato, this shouldn't be an issue. Jan 21, 2018 at 14:17
  • Wait. You normally only put one finger on a string for every note you play? Didn`t know that! Thanks for that notification. Feb 2, 2018 at 19:24

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