One of the peculiarities of the fingerstyle guitar technique is that it trains the musician to think polyphonically.

This means that, both by performing a theme, a melody, and during an improvisation, we must think at the same time of the basslines and the melody lines.

In this sense the fingerstyle technique brings the guitar closer to the world of the piano, where this duplicity is the very essence of the movements of the two hands.

One of the basic skills, therefore, to be able to master this technique is to make as independent as possible the thumb of the right hand, compared to the other fingers (always the right hand).

In short we should get to have almost “three hands”, the left, which fingered the positions, the right hand thumb, which will become “the left hand of the pianist”, deputed to the bass lines, and the other fingers of the right hand (index , medium and ring finger) that will take care of the melody.

The technique of alternating bass, which we see in this new video, goes in this direction; unlike the “ostinato bass” (of which we have already spoken), in this case, the “alternate” one becomes freer, not only repeating a constant note (usually the fundamental of the chord), but, as the name implies, alternating the fundamental to the fifth and sometimes also the third. This movement of alternation will make, over time, the thumb totally free to perform some bass lines independents of the melody itself, almost like a counterpoint.

The study that we analyze in this video is in key of G; the bass used are taken from the reference chord positions with different “voicings” on the keyboard.

Usually, given the complexity of the technique, I suggest starting initially to perform only the alternating bass line, playing the complete study only with the thumb of the right hand.

Once the movements have become fluid we can also insert the melody.

In the next lesson we will continue to talk about this technique with other ideas and exercises. Good study !!!


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