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Style Guide: Left-Hand Techniques

Style Guide: Left-Hand Techniques

Now that we’ve explored finger independence, let’s look at an example of a guitarist who has clearly mastered this, British fusion legend, Allan Holdsworth. Check out the video below for an example of his staggering chordal work and look at how effortlessly he switches between difficult chord shapes.

Now, don’t feel bad, he has huge hands, and can stretch them farther than most, but if you study the video (with the sound off if jazz isn’t your thing), you’ll see that Allan is exceptionally fluid and in complete control of his left hand. There’s no tension between chord switches and his fingers just glide to the next note. That’s the goal here, fluidity and control.

Here’s another example of fast moving chords and finger independence, this time from the classical guitar literature. Check out the playing in this clip:

This is an example etude (Opus 31, no. 20) by Fernando Sor, a guitarist/composer who lived from 1778-1839. He was a monster player and wrote great exercises. This one is specifically to work on changing chords rapidly. I’ll pull out a few chords for Fig. 7 so you have some real music to chew on.

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