How to consolidate with two fingers

June 30th, 2019

Years ago, I read an article by George Clinton in Guitar magazine about how Paco de Lucia’s scales seem to be based on the nervous twitch.

I did not understand what it meant until recently.

According to Google, the definition of twitch is “short, sudden jerking or convulsive movement.”

This describes the basic principle on how to consolidate a series of quick actions into one.

If you have to play a series of ‘i m i m’ movements, play them in one quick motion (almost like a twitch) instead of in four movements.

Here’s a short exercise to develop this action.

Start with ‘m i.’

Play ‘m i’ on one string (I recommend the B string) in one motion. To do this, bring the two fingers to the string together, but don’t play them together. Let the ‘m’ finger hit the string first and then the ‘i’ finger.

So you’re going to hear a rather uneven ‘blam, blam, blam’ sequence of notes.

Practice this until it becomes easy and natural.

Next, add the ‘i’ to the mix. (Yes I know the ‘i’ finger is already in the mix, but we’re adding it to the beginning.)

Now you’re playing ‘i m i.’

The instant you play the first ‘i’, play the ‘m i’ that you had practiced before in that quick one motion.

In other words, you’re playing three notes in one motion now.

There’s no sense of control. Everything has to happen like a quick twitching motion.

Now, we’ll add another ‘m’ to the figure.

We’re going to play ‘i m i m’ on one string.

The instant you play the first ‘i’ play the ‘m i’ and then the ‘m’.

All in one quick motion, in one uncontrollable action, again like a twitch.

Practice this over and over until you can get it to happen on cue.

One motion that produces four actions.

This is the key to consolidation with two fingers.

There is one additional component to all this, which is the direction of your rest-strokes.

To do this efficiently, your strokes must be horizontal to the strings, meaning you must go ‘across’ the strings rather than ‘into’ the strings.

The ability to consolidate your finger movements is the first step to developing an efficient two-finger rest-stroke technique. I’ll be describing the other factors in an upcoming book on playing two-finger scales.

Leave a Reply