Topic: finger picking lessons

ok all of you.  i just finished up the rhythm style book with my instructor.  took about 9 months.  now he is having me start work out of a finger picking instruction book.  just want to hear all the do's and don'ts...pointers/tips and any other general thoughts from the more experienced pickers out there.  anything you did that really helped your playing?  things to avoid(even when the instructor says to do it..wink, wink, nod, nod) hurdles to expect and how to work thru them.  basically i am open to whatever you alll have to throw out.  thanks.


Re: finger picking lessons

Keep your hand anchored to the guitar.Either your pinky and fourth finger or palm. And please,don`t wear one of those hats like Esteban

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Re: finger picking lessons

Hi bdfresh and welcome too the site,I would mainly do what your instructor says. I fingerpick most the time and unlike jjj I keep my hand above the strings most the time. Did he or she have you grow your nails or are you using a pick? I do not use a pick.

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4 (edited by billyfresh 2012-04-29 01:44:47)

Re: finger picking lessons

i refuse to grow my nails out.  GAG!  i will use finger tips and also working with some alaska picks to see if i like them.  also, i anchor with my pinky. can't play with my hand hovering.  oh yeah, i also have 2 registration names.  bdfresh and billyfresh.  lost my password for a bit so i reregistered

Re: finger picking lessons

The best advice I would give to a beginner is learn more than one picking pattern early.  Mix it up, otherwise the sound gets too boring.

As far as anchor vs. no, I say don't anchor (learn to hover).  It allows you to move up and down the strings to get different tones.  Besides, you're still "anchoring", it's just with your forearm instead of your finger.

And +1 on the comment about the Esteban hat.

"Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid." - Despair, Inc.

Re: finger picking lessons

I'm in the middle of my first finger-style book, so these are nooby observations:

I tried planting my pinky, but it didn't feel right, so now I hover.
When I started, my finger-eye coordination wasn't too good. It took me a long time to learn patterns. It helped to say the string number aloud, like, "5, 3, 4, 2."
It was hard to keep a good picking pattern going when I moved from one chord to another. It took at least a couple of weeks before it started to work, even though I had no problem doing this when I strummed. So expect that some of things you could do easily before may not be easy now.
Don't feel like you have to play a pattern fast. Make it as slow as you need to in order to prevent getting lost and then gradually make it faster.
Practicing with a metronome was really helpful to me.
You may find that chord shapes that sound pretty good when you strum sound mutted, buzzy, or otherwise icky when you pick. May have to go back to the drawing board and work on proper fretting technique.

Well, that's all.

Re: finger picking lessons

Finger picking, or any other kind of picking (including lead playing) for that matter, I always anchor my hand as I find it gives greater control. However, as I need all fingers for picking, I will not waste one for an anchor but I have the heel/wrist of my hand pressed against the bridge.


"Do, or do not; there is no try"

Re: finger picking lessons

ok.  thanks for the responses. i will try to hover while at home practising.  instructor likes an anchor.  he won't care which way i go if it works.  also, esteban hat is now in the trash but man i am keeping the sun glasses.  slow seems to be the magic word right now.  funny, you go from feeling pretty froggy strumming and jamming out after a few months of lessons back to "Crap!...Dammit!...wait, try that again...ok, 6-3-1-2...5-3-1-2...   i will get there.  thanks..bill

Re: finger picking lessons

I never anchor my hand, i find it easier not to. Have tried it but it didn't work for me, but you will have to try and see what your comfortable with.

Re: finger picking lessons

I have long arms, and anchor my elbow/forearm on the top of the guitar, but let my picking hand hover over the strings. It sounds awkward, but really isn't. At least, it works for me.

Hank's prosepctive gutiar player said: "Mr Williams, I'm not sure I can play for you, the onliest chords I know are C D & G"
Hank repleis, after a short pause: "Well, what else is there?"

Re: finger picking lessons

1.  Pinch.  Experiment with multiple treble strings simultaneously for different sounds.

2.  Keep the bass going NO MATTER WHAT. 

- Zurf

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