Finger Notation – How to Read!

notationFinger notation is important because you can use it to express fingering and understand methods players use to hit complicated patterns.

Use numbers 1 to 4 to express Index, Middle, Ring and Pinky fingers for the left hand, and use numbers 1 to 4 in brackets to express the same fingers, on the right hand. So for instance if you see “(1)” – that means “tap this note with your right hand index finger”. If you see “1234” – that means fret the notes in sequence with your left hand. Sometimes, fret notation, e.g. GRYBO is used instead of numbers. In addition, square brackets are used [like this] when referring to an anchored note.

Example Pattern 1 – A Red/Green Trill

The finger notation for this could be expressed as: (1)121(1)121(1)121(1)121

Broken down; i) start the sequence by tapping the first Red note with your right hand index finger. ii) release to green and then play the next Red note with your left hand. iii) Repeat!


triplet trill example

Example Pattern 2 – Descending Triplets and an Orange-Green Trill

The finger notation for this could be expressed as: (21)1 321 (21)1 321 (1)141

Broken down; i) Start the sequence alternating tapping with right hand and playing the next triplet with left hand. ii) tap the first orange note using your right hand, keeping green anchored. iii) fret the following orange note after tapping, pulling off to hit the final green note (still anchored).

Advanced Tapping Tutorial

Dark Caves of lolno WTF Sweeps – courtesy of AbyssionQC (expert GH player!)

“…for some patterns, it is easier to understand by using GRYBO for notation (e.g. the fret colors).”

Example – WTF Sweeps, sliding method

Finger notation can be expressed as: 1(12)234(123)11232(121)23211(321)432(21). “1” at the start implying to anchor green, 11 implying a slide to red, 3211 sliding back to green etc.

Fret notation could be expressed as: [G](RY)RYB(RYB)[R]YBY(BOB)YBYR[G](BYR)BYR(YR).

In this example, by using Fret Notation it is much easier to read and understand the actual pattern. Finger notation is more descriptive of the method used.


More notes from AbyssionQC:

“…saying (OBYB) is a lot more confusing than (3211) when referring to the sliding method while (OBY)RYR[G](RYR)YBOBY(RYR)RYR(YBO) is much easier to understand when breaking down sweeps into a pattern. GYG, RBR and YOY zigs for the ending of Volcano Solo C in Destruction Armageddon is easier to understand than finger notation. Etc etc etc. Both methods are relevant, it just depend of the pattern (and your preference).”