Lesson: Using the 4th finger in first position


This video lesson covers the question: Should beginner classical guitar students learn to play D and G in the first position (top strings) with the 4th finger or the 3rd finger? My answer is to use the 4th finger because you will eventually have to for repertoire anyway. However, it’s also important to train beginners to play with the one finger per fret concept in their technique sessions. Find more articles at the Lesson Archive Page. For free lessons, sheet music, and pro videos join the Email Newsletter. You can help create more and sustain the site by supporting or donating.

YouTube Link / Source: https://youtu.be/-WCQ9vxNvl8


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  1. Good video. Just a couple of thoughts.

    1. For kids maybe the pinky is pretty coordinated. For some of us older folks, it takes a lot of work to develop good coordination in the pinky.

    2. What about the 2nd to 3rd finger stretch. IME, this is really hard in the 1st position (especially on the 1st and 2nd strings and/or if all your other fingers are planted.) Wouldn’t using the 3rd finger help to develop this.

    • As I said, practice one-finger-pre-fret idea when working on technique but for practicality use 4th. Also, keep in mind that this is a tip for beginners at the method book level, not someone developing pre-existing skill sets.

      • Thanks as always your lessons and comments are always very insightful and helpful.
        Any thoughts on the best way to work on stretch/independence between the 2nd and 3rd fingers? Maybe for another lesson.

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