Finger Per Fret System

Greetings Guitarists,

Today we are going to talk about a simple yet very important system that we use on the guitar. It is called the Finger Per Fret System. One of the most difficult things about reading tablature is deciding what finger to play each fret with. This is the most basic solution that we used as beginning guitarists and as advanced guitarists.

Place your 1st finger on the 5th fret of the 1st string on the guitar. Make sure your hand position is good. If you are not sure what good Left Hand Position is, then check out the post on Fundamental Technique. If our first finger is on the 5th fret, then what is the most logical finger to use for the 6th fret? ……………

Of course, the answer is the 2nd finger. Similarly we will use the 3rd finger for the 7th fret and the 4th finger for the 8th fret. Now this all seems very simple, but soon you will run into a few issues where this system does not not seem to hold up. For example, when 2 consecutive notes are on the same fret but different strings. (i.e. you have to play a 5 on the 2nd string and then a 5 on the 1st string) Instead of picking up the finger and placing it on the new note, just let your finger lay down on both string when it comes time for the second note. The second most common issue is when a piece of music calls for a fret that is not included in your current position like fret 4 or fret 9. There are many ways to accommodate this, but for now lets just use your 1st finger to reach back for fret 4 and your pinky to reach forward for fret 9.


Hope this helps you feel a little more solid with your left hand fingerings!


All for now,