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Thread: Need help with "rolling" fingers

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    58

    Need help with "rolling" fingers

    I've been analyzing my playing lately and I am having problems "rolling" my fret hand fingers across the strings. The rolling I am refering to is the same as doing a roll with sweep picking a major chord starting on the 5th string. I don't use sweep picking because I don't like the sound and prefer just to alt. pick arpeggios instead(in the style of Steve Morse). I have been working on my inside/outside picking a lot lately but am still being held back by the rolling motion in certain licks(up and down all the strings). I have looked on the internet and here for information on this topic but am coming up empty. Any help in the right direction would be greatly appriciated y'all.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    195
    A while ago there were a couple of really great posts on this topic on another forum. Here they are (just to make it clear: I didn't write these).

    Finger rolling depends to some extent on the type of your fingers. Some people have fingers where the last joint is able to flex backwards. Mine can do this very esasily. Some people have fingers which can only go straight. From what I've seen, most people can do it to some degree and about 20% of people can't do it at all.

    If you can't flex your last knuckle you will need to find ways around it like arm movement or not doing it and using right hand palm muting.

    If you can do it, for a roll upwards towards the 1st string, the action involves starting more on the tip and "rolling" in such a way that the 1st finger joint straightens out towards that flexed state. By doing this the string you started on is no longer fretted (tip lifts away from the string) and the target string which originally wasn't fretted, is now fretted by the flexed joint further away from the tip - possibly by the knuckle joint itself.

    Rolling down would involve starting on the knuckle or pad of first digit in the (flexed state) and rolling towards the tip.

    There is no major difference between 2-string rolling and 3-string rolling. Generally most people can achieve a 3-string roll with the last digit of a finger. A 3-string roll just uses the extremes more: ie. Starting closer to the tip and rolling closer to the 1st knuckle (or even using the knuckle joint for the 3rd string). Once again, starting with a curved finger near the tip, then straightening out to almost flat for the 2nd string, then flexing beckwards for the 3rd string. (all of this works in reverse too)

    One slight difference that some players use is to actually slightly reduce fretboard pressure for the middle string in a 3 string roll. This is to reduce chance of fretting 2 strings at once and damaging the seperation of the notes.

    This is a technique that should be practised very slowly with great attention to the exact positioning of the string along the pad of the finger. You will need to find your ideal position which centers the 3 strings along the first digit, with the last string being close, if not on, the knuckle joint.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    58
    appriciate the help man

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    195
    No problem. That post really helped back about a year ago when I was doing a lot of work on my rolling technique.

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