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#2178049 - 11/06/13 03:01 PM Chord fingerings
rmcphee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/06/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Essex
Hello,

Basically I’ve played piano several times over the last few years on and off, ive had lessons in the past - But the only teachers that ive had experience with will only teach me classical, rather than what id like to learn 'Blues/Boogie woogie' - I understand that classical is a great base to start from, and grasp the basics and MUCH MUCH more..... But i struggle to keep motivated when playing it, as it's not the main cause for wanting to play piano.

So, as im know 'attempting' to teach myself some basic Blues, from various places scattered all over the internet, i keep running into the same issue, which way to finger chords....

I understand that there are certain situations where certain versions of a chord are better for moving to the next, BUT I don’t feel like I’m at any level to worry too much about this yet(probably being naive).

For instance i am learning a basic C F G - 12 bar blues arpeggio on my left and accompanying it with the same chords on my right. I have seen many videos on how to do this, but they all seem to differ on which way to finger the chord, for example the main two versions of a C i keep seeing are 1 - 3 - 5 or 1 - 2 - 4 - Any advice or definitive answer would be much appreciated.

A couple of side notes - I am right in thinking to individualise left from right when playing, is just practice practice practice? And try to get my brain to automatically play the rhythm on the left so i can improvise on the right.

Last thing - Has anyone got any good suggestions on a boogie woogie book?

All and Any advice much appreciated.

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#2178058 - 11/06/13 03:10 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: rmcphee]
Dr_Cogitatio Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Sweden
I would personally use 1-3-5, but use the one you are most comfortable with smile
_________________________
Guy Wood - My one and only love

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#2178071 - 11/06/13 03:40 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: rmcphee]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
If you're not motivated by classical music, then I don't think there's any point in forcing yourself to study it when it's ultimately not the style you wish to play. Find a good non-classical teacher and study with them.

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#2178103 - 11/06/13 05:13 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: rmcphee]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2434
Loc: UK
Good question. I'd like to know the answer too. Blues - C to F and G and back, and F to G then C. All made simpler using inversions. Then there's the 7th's. Does the answer, I wonder, depend on whether inversions are used? Maybe I'm over-thinking it. I just go with what's comfortable when practising transformations via inversions around the circle of 5ths.

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#2178260 - 11/07/13 12:19 AM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: spanishbuddha]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1495
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Tim Richards' "Improvising Blues Piano" has _complete fingerings_ for everything. And it's very carefully progressive, and good for self-study.

If you want to do blues/ boogie-woogie, that's an excellent place to start.

. Charles

PS -- it's _not_ classical fingering, but it's quite logical.

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#2178502 - 11/07/13 01:52 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: Charles Cohen]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
Tim Richards' "Improvising Blues Piano" has _complete fingerings_ for everything. And it's very carefully progressive, and good for self-study.

An excellent book! I was going to recommend the same.
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#2178564 - 11/07/13 04:37 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: rmcphee]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7715
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: rmcphee
...for example the main two versions of a C i keep seeing are 1 - 3 - 5 or 1 - 2 - 4 - Any advice or definitive answer would be much appreciated..

It all depends on the context. I can think of instances which would necessitate any one of 7 different fingerings.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2178575 - 11/07/13 05:14 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: rmcphee]
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 121
Hi rmcphee!

That's great that you're interested in blues/boogie etc. playing. For what it's worth, I'll be glad to help you here any way I can.

I'd agree with polyphonist that it chord fingering can depend on context. Here's what I'd say about your situation:

If you're playing *all* root-position triads in your RH (and I'm guessing that you are) then it would probably be best to aim for consistency for now, and use what I believe most people would consider the "default" fingering for a root-position triad, which is 1-3-5. So, as you play these chords:

C-E-G
F-A-C
G-B-D

...you'd use RH 1-3-5 the whole time.

If you're using inversions, however, you *might* prefer 1-2-4 for the C chord. For example, if you play these chords:

C-E-G
C-F-A
B-D-G

...then you might want to use:

1-2-4
1-3-5
1-2-5

Still, there are others who would use:

1-3-5
1-3-5
1-2-5

Again, I'm thinking you're just using root-position chords, but if you were using inversions as in the above, I'd say either of these two fingerings would be okay, and you could choose from whatever is most comfortable.

Also, regarding your comment here:

"A couple of side notes - I am right in thinking to individualise left from right when playing, is just practice practice practice? And try to get my brain to automatically play the rhythm on the left so i can improvise on the right."

I'd say yes, practice is the big thing. However, I'd add that there are ways to sort of systematically work towards this, by starting with a very simple, controlled way of playing, and then working step-by-step to more complex rhythms. Let me know if you'd interested in hearing any more about that.


Best of luck!

James
_________________________
Facebook groups: Jazz Piano Chat Blues Piano Chat Pop Piano Chat
Download my free book, The BetterPiano Blueprint.

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#2178582 - 11/07/13 05:18 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: JamesPlaysPiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7715
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: JamesPlaysPiano
...what I believe most people would consider the "default" fingering for a root-position triad, which is 1-3-5.

This fingering is cramped and uncomfortable. All else being equal, 1-2-4 is far better.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2178586 - 11/07/13 05:21 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: spanishbuddha]
JamesPlaysPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: spanishbuddha
Good question. I'd like to know the answer too. Blues - C to F and G and back, and F to G then C. All made simpler using inversions. Then there's the 7th's. Does the answer, I wonder, depend on whether inversions are used? Maybe I'm over-thinking it. I just go with what's comfortable when practising transformations via inversions around the circle of 5ths.


Hey spanishbuddha,

Inversions can make quite a difference in simplifying movement of the fingers. There are a number of neat ways of doing this, some simple and some complex.

On that note, here's a neat trick you can try: use *only* 3rds and 7ths, for the chords, and go to whatever is nearest. This works if you're playing chords in the RH and bass in the LH, or if you have a bass player/backing track and you're playing chords in the LH + improv in the RH. Here's what you'd play:

For C7, play only E and Bb.
For F7, play only Eb and A.
For G7, play only F and B.

This gives a really nice, "legit" sound that is used by many players.

James
_________________________
Facebook groups: Jazz Piano Chat Blues Piano Chat Pop Piano Chat
Download my free book, The BetterPiano Blueprint.

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#2178608 - 11/07/13 05:54 PM Re: Chord fingerings [Re: rmcphee]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2437
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
For Blues/Rock I would typically use:

I: (C-E-G) 1-2-4
VI: (C-E-A) 1-2-5
IV: (C-F-A) 1-3-5
V7: (D-F-G-B) 1-2-3-5

or

I: (C-E-G-C) 1-2-3-5
VI: (C-E-A) 1-2-4
IV: (C-F-A) 1-2-4
V7: (D-F-G-B) 1-2-3-5


I tend to use the same fingering/inversions for all keys and just alter the black/white keys and the same with the other chords for that key, using the best fit inversion from the current chord using the minimum movement principle.

I play a typically a simple bass in LH to pick out the main rhythm.
_________________________
Richard

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