i and m are a great team, and they provide the basic right hand alternation for many people. Nothing, however, is perfect and one size does not always fit all. So let’s have a look at one alternative.

I and m can sometimes make a scratchy sound when playing the basses, especially if they are new.  The thumb strikes the basses at a different angle and doesn’t make the same scratchy sounds. When combined with the index finger, we get an interesting and useful combination. One that gives a very clean attack on the basses.

If you would like to use the free scale book to accompany this lesson, please feel free to Download Your Daily Scales Now


The pi combination  is very clear and articulated but it can also sound a little staccato on the treble strings due to the opposing direction of the thumb and finger. One solution to this is to use a combination of p i and i m. P i for the basses, and i m for the trebles.  Personally I find this combination of fingers  incredibly useful. It balances the hand, it is accurate, and fast.
One issue that might arise is the natural tendency of the thumb to be louder than the finger, giving the notes played with the thumb a bit of an accent.  To combat this, try practicing some scales with accents on the index finger, with  goal of obtaining an equal volume and sound quality for each digit and a smooth transition between i m and p i. Accenting individual digits will also help you practice any sting crossing issues that come up.
Of course, if p i isn’t your cup of tea you can try p m, or p a. It really depends on what works best for you, because in the end, we are all individuals.  (If you are up for a challenge try p i m.)
If you have your own combination that you would like to share please leave a comment and let us know!