Question about playing guitar with one finger

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fredfish
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Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by fredfish » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:07 am

An odd question here - really just looking for some other perspectives.

I am going to be running a music workshop at a local group for people with acquired brain injury in a months time and there are, obviously, a number of issues to address.

In the main I am familiar with the issues that I am going to come up against (and I have already had a meeting with the group to find out what they want). But one thing I need peoples thoughts on is that one of the guys at the group used to play guitar - not to a professional standard, but used to do a bit of busking, apparently playing a lot of Scottish inspired tunes and was a strummer more than anything else. In addition to his brain injury he has also lost 2 of the fingers on his fretting hand, he has tried playing lefty but cant adapt to it.

The fingers he has left are the index and pinky.

BTW I have introduced him to the music of Django Rhindhart to try to show him all is not lost!

My thoughts are along the lines of re-tuning one of my guitars to open G tuning and trying encourage him to play by barring up and down the keyboard to access chords. I realise this will mean that he can only play songs in major keys, not being able to access minors etc.

Anybody got any other suggestions?

Tanks

John

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trevlyns
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by trevlyns » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:31 am

Admiration and respect for the work you are doing John.

Open G sounds good and using a glass (or other) slide may be another slant to this.
Keep on trackin'

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gypsy101
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by gypsy101 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:41 am

there's open D too which is pretty popular-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_D_tuning

D A D F♯ A D

Vibrant Audio
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by Vibrant Audio » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:43 am

I am a guitar teacher and I have to say, all is not lost! Open tunings make it easier to play chords with only two fingers. Also, I think one key will be to play fingerstyle, rather than trying to use a lot of strumming.

You can play minor chords (and plenty of other chord types) in open G or any open tuning.
In open G, A minor=X2221X - this can be played with index and pinky only and is a moveable shape.

Look up some open G or open D chord charts. Remember that you don't always have to play every note. You can play or imply a chord with just 3 notes.

Some examples:
Here's a tab for a Laura Marling song in open D that only uses 2 fingers.

In this version of the song "Oceans" by Hillsong, the acoustic guitar only frets the top and bottom strings and only 3 strings are used (1,2 and 6) - and it's in standard tuning!
*Vibrant Audio*

Tiasdad
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by Tiasdad » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:12 am

All is NEVER lost ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QjuYb_g2_o

Great work John :)
Gary
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Mark Bliss
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by Mark Bliss » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:03 am

All good advise. If its too basic, some simple fingerstyle would go a long way. Throw a capo on there maybe.

Another suggestion if that doesn't work for him, might be some sort of Diatonic strummer. Again, add a capo and play in modes.

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/group/dulciworld

I have a three stringed cigar box guitar tuned GDg, and you can play simple I IV V songs in G (G,C,D) or C (C.F.G) by barring with one finger. Again, style can be improved by finger technique with the right hand.
Stay in tune, Mark

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fredfish
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by fredfish » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:42 pm

trevlyns wrote: Open G sounds good and using a glass (or other) slide may be another slant to this.
Thanks for the suggestion Trevor - I have a glass slide and will try that with him - in fact it was because I had a go at "In my time of dying" which is a slide piece in open G that made me think of open G.

Gypsy
there's open D too which is pretty popular-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_D_tuning

D A D F♯ A D

Thanks for the suggestion - I realised there were other open tunings - the link was helpful. Thank You

Vibrant Audio
Thanks for the links - I am very much a player, not a guitar teacher (although I do work with people using a variety of instruments - this is more about having the experience than actual "teaching" ) - you are, of course, right that by introducing the pinky he will be able to play variations on the major chords. I am not sure about the idea of fingerstyle at this juncture, though perhaps in the future it will be an option. We really are at the early stages.

Tiasdad
Great video!! Thanks.

Mbliss
Thanks for the suggestion of a Cigarbox guitar - I actually bought a cigar box of ebay about a year ago with a view to making a cigarbox guitar but never got round to it - Perhaps this will make me got on an make one! Interestingly the guy has told me that he has had a little bit of success with a uke... so a 3 string guitar (A-La Seasick Steve) might be the way.

Thanks to all for the suggestions.... They are all gratefully received.

Cheers

John

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aquataur
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by aquataur » Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:46 pm

Have you ever thought about steel guitar playing style? If your client insists on a regular guitar, you can raise the nut or whatever and play Hawaiian style and play with a steel bar.

There is one world class player (forgot his name) that has only half of his fingers on his left hand.

There is no reason for not sounding like a guitar. Dave Gilmour played one on the Pink Floyd tracks unbeknownst to the world.

-helmut

carllackey
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by carllackey » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:54 am

dadgad tuning is also good for two fingers. it opens up a whole world of sonic possibilities! also, it will make you think differently of the position of certain chord voicings. it has served jimmy page well for years!

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FlyingsCool
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Re: Question about playing guitar with one finger

Post by FlyingsCool » Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:04 am

Yeah, I was going to suggest tuning the B up 1 (or tune the others flat 1), then, if Open G tuning is
x2221x for A minor, it changes to 2222 for A minor, and 2223 is the A major chord, and 2224 is Asus4. Stuff like that.....

My girlfriend uses all kinds of crazy tunings for her music. Just turns the knobs till she finds chords she likes and writes from there.... (she tends to write with a lot of 9 and 11s)

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