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Universal Grips

The following is what I consider the basic grips for playing a twelve string universal guitar. I use three finger picks and a thumb pick. When you read the following tab learn to see:

Right hand moves..

  • 3 is the third finger.
  • 2 is the second finger.
  • 1 is the first finger.
  • T is the Thumb.

Learn each grip across the strings. Your right hand should be free to move where its needed.

This first grip is number (1.0.1). The first number is how many strings between the thumb and first finger. The second number is how many strings between the first and second finger. The third number is the number of strings between the second and third fingers.

The right hand must learn to move this grip across the strings as is written above. We have to ba able to make these moves to play chords. Grips are chords and the steel guitar. By controlling them we can play more complex movements which creates more complex licks.

This is grip (1.1.0) and I use it all the time. Actually, all of these basic grips on this page are automatic to my hands. I can move from one to the other and at the same time be changing my hand position. Your hand position is the string your thumb is on. If your thumb is on the tenth string then you are in the tenth position.

Grip (0.1.1) is seen here played across the strings. This shows the right hand position moving up. You should be able to move it back down. The only way to learn to do that is by working it out slow. I practice movements in all of my sessions. Learning a song is fun but a new move may bring me the lick that I've been searching for. The key for me is to already know I can make the move. Its just a matter of execution.

This would be grip (1.1.1). You play every other string. Notice that I played all of these grips up to the 3rd string. You can play them in all of their positions but the 6th side of the tuning uses them from string 2 through 12.

This is all four grips played in positions 12 and 11. You should be able to mix and match these grips at will. That's what you are doing when you are playing live. I get my hands ready for the moves. The better shape my hands are in, the better I can play. Some of the background vamping done in a small band takes a lot of physical dexterity and stamina. Drills keep my hands in shape ready to play at all times. Well, almost all the time. :-)

Know these grips in this order and you'll be playing inversions. I practice this exact move here with all four picks. Look how the hand skips string 7. If you want to play an arpeggio based on the major triad intervals, you will have to know these grips. I think of it as opening and closing my hands.