Left Hand Permutations Part 1

Following, are some thoughts about the left hand. In practicing scales, one only practices a relatively small number of L.H. combinations, so practicing all 24 possible combinations over a regular period makes sense.  This is what I’m looking for with any of the patterns:
  • fingers 2 and 3 on their tips and in the centre of the pad, perpendicular to the frets; fingers 1 and 4 as close to perpendicular as the hand allows (both to the side of the pad):

Fingers 2 and 3 perpendicular to the frets

  • fingers curved in a ‘press’ position from the knuckle joint – in other words, the knuckle joint is active, this is the strongest joint in the hand (and the basis of a firm ‘grip’)

Fingers curved in 'press' position

  • press and release; finger 2 below is pressing, finger 1 is not, although it remains in a relaxed position on the string

Press and release - finger 2 is pressing, finger one is not, although it still remains in place

  • keep released fingers near to the strings (Finger 1 is pressing in the illustration below)


All 24 possible permutations can be downloaded from this attachment: 24 permutations of the left hand

Notes on the attachment 

The 24 permutations have been divided into random sets of 4.  It is advisable to print these and cut them out, perhaps onto card, then to use each card for a week or two, practicing the patterns in different positions. Practice should focus on one permutation at a time.  Speeds should be increased slowly using a metronome.  Different combinations of R.H. fingers should be used.


In subsequent posts more suggestions will be made for developing practice routines using the permutations.


© Donald Bousted 2015