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2011 Single


Practical Intervals in Guitar Improvisation
165 fingering positions you should know for guitar improvisation

by Salim Ghazi Saeedi, Feb 2011

When a musician improvises, all of his/her actions should converge toward playing what he hears in his inner ear, or what he composes in real time, receives via intuition, etc. This way it is important to find structures for the techniques required for improvising. During years I have used some rules for doing so.

The most important result of such an approach is to eliminate the effect of "fingering habits" on developing improvisational ideas. For example when you practice specific fingerings repetitively, your fingers may become comfortable in those positions and hence acquire them as habits. So next time you decide to improvise, you may merely improvise by your fingers (i.e. affected by their habits) instead of improvising by your "inner ear" or intuition or anything you prefer to call it.

So I have devised a set of fingering rules to be able to devote my improvisation energy on creation itself. Of course in devising such rules, I had to sacrifice a little of technique's simplicity. However that anyone can easily master these techniques by practice, the benefit is they can eliminate player's thought process to the minimum in favor of improvisation... These rules have a few concepts behind them:

Regardless of the current finger’s position, the player should,

  1. always have at least one “possible” fingering for the next note; with no need to change the current finger.

  2. always have at least one “preferable” fingering for the next note among possible fingerings.

  3. never have to pre-think a preferred structure for the upcoming improvisational idea.

Here I start to describe fingering details of different variations for every interval on different string positions, provided with video examples, tablature/standard notation sheets and Guitar Pro files.


1. All intervals here are presented in ascending order.

2. In each interval section some comments are repeated for reference convenience.

3. The variations are in order of preference. So - usually and where applicable - var#1 is preferable to ver#2 

Table of Contents

Interval Fingerings:      
0 semitone (Perfect Unison)   1 semitone (Minor 2nd) 2 semitones (Major 2nd) 3 semitones (Minor 3rd)
4 semitones (Major 3rd) 5 semitones (Perfect 4th) 6 semitones (Aug 4th/Dim 5th) 7 semitones (Perfect 5th)
8 semitone (Minor 6th) 9 semitones (Major 6th) 10 semitones (Minor 7th) 11 semitones (Major 7th)
12 semitones (Octave)      
Beyond 12 semitones      
Using Repetitive notes      
Same String Jumps      
Across String Long Jumps      
Fundamental scale fingerings      











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