Home Reply Reply To: Triad chord fingering: 1 3 5 vs 1 2 4

Home Version Four Forums Basic Theory Triad chord fingering: 1 3 5 vs 1 2 4 Reply To: Triad chord fingering: 1 3 5 vs 1 2 4

Matt Jenson

Morgan! Yes you are the VERY FIRST one to submit a post here. THANKS!

Sorry for the late reply but this week is the penultimate week at Berklee and I’m pretty slammed.

I get this question all the time and my answer comes with a few different angles. I am well aware of the ‘proper’ fingerings that come from the well worn classical world, that for the most part are in fact the best fingerings. If you have worked with the famous Hanon book, this is a go to for developing good technique, which includes good fingering (http://csokabeata.hu/Kottak/Gyakorlatok/Hanon%20-%20The%20Virtuoso%20Pianist.pdf). So, yes, the ‘proper’ way to finger triads is 1 3 5 (right hand) BUT….I find myself using 1 2 4 more often for two reasons: 1) I”m 6’4″ and have a fairly large hand so it fits more comfortably, 2) to play the standard, what I call the “Blues 101” lick that is a foundation for a lot of improvisation (see attached), it’s much easier to use 1 2 4. I see that you find 1 2 4 to be more comfortable as well.

So, my attitude about it is more open minded, as it is with most of my teaching. Of course there are some things that ARE super important, like getting all 12 major scales with perfect fingering. But with other things there are different fingerings that are just as efficient and effective and when that is different than what’s considered ‘proper,’ I have no problem throwing all that ‘properness’ to the wind! I mean….if you’re into jazz, look at Thelonius Monk’s technique….HORRIBLE by the standards of European classical standard. Also watch some of the blues piano players like Otis Spann: same story and man, them dudes played with SOUL!

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