Tom C. asked this at a recent office hours session.

  • It depends on the context of the tune or piece.
  • If you’re playing something fast which is mostly on the D string, it would make sense to play D4 instead of A0. For example, it was be easier to play D4-3-2-4-3-2-1-3 at fast tempo as opposed to A0-3-2-0-3-2-1-3.
  • In other cases, it would be more logical to use 4th finger instead of the open string above that. Like in this bit of Hobart’s transformation: E0-3-3-4-3-L2 | E0-A3-E0-1-L2-1-L2-1. Because you are coming from the open E string, it would be awkward to play it: E0-3-3-4-3-L2 | A4-A3-4-1-L2-1-L2-1.
  • Of course, this is just a suggestion. You can always experiment and see which way you prefer.
  • A reason you might choose 4th finger is that it has a rich, warm tone. If you’re playing on a slow tune, you might prefer the warm sound of the 4th finger.
  • Also, if you can play vibrato, then it’s another reason you might want to use 4th finger.
  • By the way, classical players favor using the 4th finger.

Further learning

This micro-lesson is an excerpt from an office hours webinar I gave on September 16, 2020. View the entire live-stream with indexed questions here.

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