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  #16  
Old 06-06-2012, 11:21 PM
Landru Landru is offline
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Take classical guitar lessons.
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  #17  
Old 06-07-2012, 02:36 AM
Fatfingerjohn Fatfingerjohn is offline
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Having strummed along for a few years (or base note pick and strum as well) I now play 90% fingerstyle. Yes, you can hear the bum notes more, but that helps you improve. What I didn't realize until much later on in fingerstyle was that, having been brought up on chords, you don't have to play the full chord on many occasions, which makes life easier for quick changes, run downs etc; you can create time for yourself this way.

e.g. I will often play G major for fingerstyle just fretting the 6th string G and picking strings 2,3,and 4. Similarly, the dreaded Bm (where I struggle with the bar chord) sounds fine fingerstyle on some songs just playing fret 2 on strings 1,3 and 5. And, of course, on Em you don't need to fret anything.There are many other examples of this way of omitting strings that helps the fingerstylist become more fluent (and accurate). Additionally some of the fiddlier bits (5ths, 9ths etc) sound much more pleasurable in fingerstyle (to me).
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  #18  
Old 06-07-2012, 04:08 AM
geordie geordie is offline
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"The Art of Fingerstyle Guitar"
Go to the source, Flamenco is the high art of guitar (playing).

Find a friendly flamenco guitarist who is prepared to 'show' you how they play and take it from there.
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  #19  
Old 06-07-2012, 04:40 AM
darkvalley1 darkvalley1 is offline
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I learnt to strum first when I was in my late teens, and after about 10 years gave up playing for near on 15 years. Came back to it about 5 years ago and started fingerpicking.
I think I'm glad I strummed first, as difficult as it was to learn to finger pick I think the strumming was harder to learn and more of a racket!! A racket I could suffer as a teenager, but not so sure my older groucher self could put up with.
Larry Patis's advice is good, as I'm only trying to do that now, and it is making a big difference to the sound I'm getting. Dynamics of playing is almost as important as rhytym and notes.
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  #20  
Old 06-07-2012, 07:56 AM
PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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A couple of other folks have mentioned it, but if you can get a guitar that is more geared towards fingerstyle, it might behoove you to invest.

I was a dred lover for years, and I never understood the appeal a smaller guitar with a wider nut. Now that I have a Taylor GC8, I soooo get it. I still have my Takamine dred (EF341SC) that I adore and it's a dream to strum and play live. With that said, I love my Taylor GC8. I can sit with it for an hour or two in comfort. Here's what my GC8 has as compared with my Takamine:

1. A wider nut: Seems sort of crazy at first that one would want wider string spacing, but believe me, it's much more comfortable when going after individual notes as opposed just strumming. I really enjoy the 1 3/4 nut width now. The 1 11/16 feels narrow to me now.

2. Short(er) scale: I'm not going to look up the numbers, but a shorter-scale guitar is where it's at. I went to a music store and picked up a Taylor GC to see what the fuss was about. When I was able to fingerpick a barre chord and hear every note clear as a bell, I just about broke down. I no longer fear picking barre chords on that guitar.

3. Smaller body: A smaller-bodied guitar will not have the same "boom" that a dred or a jumbo will, but the comfort of a smaller-bodied guitar helps in longer practice times, and especially during long-ish recording sessions. I can't say enough about comfort in a smaller-bodied guitar. You just got to try one.

Guitars that I would try out are a Taylor GC; Martin OM, OO, OOO; and/or anything parlor-sized or concert-sized. If you are going to concentrate on fingerstyle, the biggest thing I'd ever play would be a grand auditorium.

Just my $.02.
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  #21  
Old 06-07-2012, 08:22 AM
slinco slinco is offline
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..............

Last edited by slinco; 08-03-2012 at 12:07 PM.
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  #22  
Old 06-07-2012, 08:56 AM
Joe Da Strummer Joe Da Strummer is offline
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Echoing what fatfingerjohn said, I'll say that looking at chord voicings is important, because it's good to be aware of how much of the chord you want/need to put underneath the melody note. No need to duplicate chord tones if it costs you in terms of buzzing/muting.

I'll add that playing in an alternate tuning can free up some fingers and also let you easily do some variations on your melody that can make the playing sound more organic and less rote. Heh-- or less written!
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  #23  
Old 06-07-2012, 09:11 AM
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Toby Walker Toby Walker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slinco View Post
Of course there is a fingerstyle style that's more forgiving - country blues. There's a certain raw unpolished quality to good country blues. Polishing it up too much loses it. As an example, an unintentional mutted note from a finger on top of a fret can often sound wonderful, in an unexpected way. Especially if you are improvising and can dwell on it for a while, and draw it into the groove.

I'm not saying you should be intentionally sloppy when playing blues, but a high level of polish and precision isn't necessary and in fact often takes something away from the feel and emotion of the blues. IMHO of course.
Sorry, but I couldn't disagree with you more with you about that. All the great country blues musicians played very cleanly... from Charley Patton, Blind Lemon, Robert Johnson to the contemporaries like Mary Flower and Steve James.

However, this is the subject of a completely different thread.

Getting back to the OP's subject... the advice from Larry J and Landru is well worth noting. Playing some basic right hand patterns while playing various chords will help you clean up your playing. Taking classical lessons would also help... I know they helped me.
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  #24  
Old 06-07-2012, 09:46 AM
frankhond frankhond is offline
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I play fingerstyle. Started strumming and darn it's hard, I hit the wrong strings, pick is noisy, I lose pick into soundhole etc.

Each style is hard...
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  #25  
Old 06-07-2012, 11:22 AM
slinco slinco is offline
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................

Last edited by slinco; 08-03-2012 at 12:08 PM.
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  #26  
Old 06-07-2012, 11:48 AM
Fichtezc Fichtezc is offline
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I've been teaching myself how to play fingerstyle for about 4 years now. I agree, it's quite unforgiving. But you do reach a point when it's fairly natural. I've found now if I know the chords to a song (usually pop songs) I can pluck out the melody with it and play a quick arrangement almost flawlessly on the spot. This has taken years of dedicated practice, however, and the arrangements center around CAGED shapes so it's not incredibly impressive.

I tried to start picking and strumming a little while ago... It's still pretty difficult. I wouldn't say fingerstyle is elevated about picking/strumming much if at all.
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  #27  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:26 PM
Tuba Mike Tuba Mike is offline
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Hey Kats45:

You've gotten some excellent advice here. You can't go wrong with lessons (that 2nd ear, especially a trained one is invaluable) and recording yourself is also great. The recording doesn't lie. I started playing guitar 5 years ago but have been playing music much longer. With a masters in music performance, I have been using study guides such as etudes, scale and arpeggio studies, etc for over 40 years. When I first started on guitar, I plucked and strummed ditties and such for a couple of years and then decided I wanted to get more serious. I knew I would need some guitar books to help me grow and develop. A way to measure my progress and keep me focused. Otherwise, I would still be plucking and strumming ditties. The following books have helped my a great deal. Check them out and see if they are for you.

"Fingerstyle Guitar from Scratch" by Bruce Emery (Tab only).

"Travis-Style Guitar from Scratch" by Bruce Emery (if you into Travis picking) (also Tab only).

I love the Emery books. They are laid out in a way where you learn new right hand techniques on the same chords and songs so the left hand does not always have to be learning something new at the same time. Then, after your right hand has gotten the hang of it, he changes the left up a bit or introduces new chords and songs. The pieces progress nicely and new techniques are introduced at a good pace. And he is incredibly funny! That's just icing on the cake. Like all the books I use, I take them at my own pace (since I don't have to play for the school of music anymore!). They can be found at www.skepticalguitarist.com or your local music store (?)

"Right-Hand Arpeggio Studies for Acoustic Guitar" by Richard Matteson, Jr.
This one has been invaluable. The exercises are laid out well, starting simple and getting more complex. I take it at my own pace and only progress forward when I have mastered most of the current assignments. Sometimes I struggle with an exercise so I move on, finding the next few pages easier. When I return to the difficult exercises later, I find they are not as hard as when I first encountered them. Anyway, I highly recommend this one. It is in notation and tab. Published by Mel Bay, catalog # MB98547.

"Classic Guitar Technique, Volume I" by Aaron Shearer. This is one I recently picked up and have not delved into yet. It looks promising though. The third edition is published through Alfred publishing.

It looks like you have excellent guitars for fingerstyle playing and the desire to play. Hope this helps and have fun on your journey.

Mike
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Last edited by Tuba Mike; 06-07-2012 at 12:43 PM. Reason: corrections in grammar and added website info
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  #28  
Old 06-07-2012, 02:00 PM
kats45 kats45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
A couple of other folks have mentioned it, but if you can get a guitar that is more geared towards fingerstyle, it might behoove you to invest.

I was a dred lover for years, and I never understood the appeal a smaller guitar with a wider nut. Now that I have a Taylor GC8, I soooo get it. I still have my Takamine dred (EF341SC) that I adore and it's a dream to strum and play live. With that said, I love my Taylor GC8. I can sit with it for an hour or two in comfort. Here's what my GC8 has as compared with my Takamine:

1. A wider nut: Seems sort of crazy at first that one would want wider string spacing, but believe me, it's much more comfortable when going after individual notes as opposed just strumming. I really enjoy the 1 3/4 nut width now. The 1 11/16 feels narrow to me now.

2. Short(er) scale: I'm not going to look up the numbers, but a shorter-scale guitar is where it's at. I went to a music store and picked up a Taylor GC to see what the fuss was about. When I was able to fingerpick a barre chord and hear every note clear as a bell, I just about broke down. I no longer fear picking barre chords on that guitar.

3. Smaller body: A smaller-bodied guitar will not have the same "boom" that a dred or a jumbo will, but the comfort of a smaller-bodied guitar helps in longer practice times, and especially during long-ish recording sessions. I can't say enough about comfort in a smaller-bodied guitar. You just got to try one.

Guitars that I would try out are a Taylor GC; Martin OM, OO, OOO; and/or anything parlor-sized or concert-sized. If you are going to concentrate on fingerstyle, the biggest thing I'd ever play would be a grand auditorium.

Just my $.02.
I only play smaller body guitars b/c of neck and shoulder problems. I have 2 with 1 3/4" nut width and two with 1 11/16" nut width.
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  #29  
Old 06-07-2012, 02:02 PM
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Toby Walker Toby Walker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slinco View Post
Well I figured there'd be some disagreement with what I said, which is why I was clear that it was just my opinion. I'm talking about a HIGH LEVEL of polish, which maybe didn't come across in my previous post. I've got a lot of respect for you Toby, and we can agree to disagree on this one.
I can just say that after 35 years of following the blues I've found that the more polished up a blues players technique is the less I like it. As I said, sloppyness is a whole 'nother thing (not good), but a HIGH LEVEL of polish doesn't work for me either. Maybe I'm just weird...
I think I know where you're coming from Steve... I once saw Isaac Perlman play the blues and, well, it didn't really do it for me... certainly not in the way Papa John Creach would've handled it.

Anyway... discussion for another thread for sure.
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  #30  
Old 06-07-2012, 02:04 PM
kats45 kats45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Da Strummer View Post
Echoing what fatfingerjohn said, I'll say that looking at chord voicings is important, because it's good to be aware of how much of the chord you want/need to put underneath the melody note. No need to duplicate chord tones if it costs you in terms of buzzing/muting.

I'll add that playing in an alternate tuning can free up some fingers and also let you easily do some variations on your melody that can make the playing sound more organic and less rote. Heh-- or less written!
I've noticed that in the songs I'm working on that the whole chord is not played. It's hard to get used to playing less, but it sure helps.
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Kanile'a Concert Uke
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