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Old 01-23-2022, 07:18 AM
RJack RJack is offline
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Default Give me your best pro tip for learning fingerstyle

I've been more intentional about practicing finger style done the correct way. I'm talking John Prine style and blues, playing a melody while maintaining a steady bass. This is brutal. I keep reading things like, once it clicks, you got it. Well, for me it clicks, then it doesn't, then it does then it doesn't. I think I have some old bad habits that's hindering my progress.

Please share with me some encouraging tips. Best way to practice? a mental approach that helps you? I'm not using a thumb pick.

Thank you all
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:25 AM
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warfrat73 warfrat73 is offline
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Practice with a metronome to help lock in the bass/rhythm.
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:31 AM
Bob from Brooklyn Bob from Brooklyn is offline
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Travis picking is all about the thumb. Get it working like a metronome and then start filling in the blanks with the other fingers.
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:38 AM
jdrnd jdrnd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJack View Post
I've been more intentional about practicing finger style done the correct way. I'm talking John Prine style and blues, playing a melody while maintaining a steady bass. This is brutal. I keep reading things like, once it clicks, you got it. Well, for me it clicks, then it doesn't, then it does then it doesn't. I think I have some old bad habits that's hindering my progress.

Please share with me some encouraging tips. Best way to practice? a mental approach that helps you? I'm not using a thumb pick.

Thank you all

I too have trouble moving the fingers of my right hand independent of my thumb.

Which is not really a tip, but I hope to learn from others who post on this thread
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:39 AM
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I would recommend a good room, with good acoustics, and a guitar that’s flexible enough to deliver bass and treble clearly.

IMO, the basis to learning is the feedback loop for your ears to your brain to your fingers. The more you can optimize this, the better. You need to be able to hear the bass and the melody clearly before you can process them. And in my case, I benefit from watching a view of the teacher’s fretting hand on a big screen (or in person).

I’ll also add, a slow downer of some sort, because so much of our playing ability comes from our rhythm ability. You may miss a beat or miss a note, and no one will really notice. But lose you rhythm and a grimace will appear on everyone’s face.

Most of all, have fun with it. Play some material that you really enjoy and that makes you want to bounce. And oh, there’s always practice, but you knew that, right?

Best,

Rick
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:43 AM
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Take it slow. Muscle memory the basics even if it’s just the thumb. Stick to it. Don’t try to do too much. Always prioritize Rhythm. It WILL click and payoff!
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:43 AM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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Work on using only your thumb and index, after a while it can result in a very strong style for blues. Your thumb mainly plays string 6, 5, 4 while index plays 3,2,1...... (Lightnin Hopkins, Gary Davis etc - perhaps watch Lightnin play Baby Please Dont Go video to see his right index in action).

Plus you can do lead runs like using a pick, but with your thumb for down strokes and index for up strokes.

You can easily add your other fingers later if you need to.


BluesKing777.

Last edited by BluesKing777; 01-23-2022 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:50 AM
Ryan Alexander Ryan Alexander is online now
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Slow down! Play everything as slow as needed to get it clean and consistent and build up from there. Also break the piece down into smaller sections and drill them until they are consistent and committed to memory. You will drive the people around you crazy so you might need to step it up in others areas of your life to compensate
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:57 AM
TheGITM TheGITM is offline
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My best advice is something that wasn't around when I was learning... and it's super obvious (I know)...

YouTube.

It is an incredible resource for learning songs and improving techniques. Find songs that you enjoy and that you find challenging... and practice, practice, practice!
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:01 AM
Lillis Lillis is offline
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Timely thread for me. I just bought a Guild M20 with the intention of focus on fingerstyle. I’m really just starting but I am enjoying the lessons by Active Melody on you tube. I enjoy his other lessons as well. Good luck to both of us
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:16 AM
buddyhu buddyhu is offline
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Take lessons!!!

There are lots of world class players giving lessons via Zoom. IMO, getting lessons from a good (or great) teacher is much more effective than trying to pick videos that you think will give you what you need. making your own curriculum cant work very well, because you don’t really know what you need to learn, and you don’t know what is the best order for your learning. A good teacher will watch and listen to what you are doing, and make the right suggestion at the right time. AND, there are some tricks and secrets that the top players/teachers know, but that they don’t give away for free, or for the price of a video. They offer them when they know you, know your playing, and know you are ready to make use of a particular bit of input.

A good teacher will teach you how to practice well, will show you how to use a metronome in a way that works (just turning on a metronome and trying to play along with it is a recipe for discouragement), will help you with right hand technique and left hand technique, will help you to use your eyes to enhance your learning and playing, will help you to listen to your own playing more precisely….all this and more.

I am taking lessons from Richard Gilewitz, and I recommend him highly. I have also taken workshops from Toby Walker, and recommend him highly. My first teacher, Jim Steinke, isn’t teaching anymore, but he was very good.

Find someone who plays what you want to play, (and who communicates/teaches in a way that works for you), and take a year’s worth of individual lessons! You won’t regret it.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:21 AM
mawmow mawmow is offline
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Take a few months of weekly private lessons to master the basics.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:51 AM
sinistral sinistral is offline
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I love the story Doyle Dykes tells of “Barry the sailor” teaching him fingerstyle guitar for the first time:



I still leaning fingerstyle late in life so have no pro tips, but if you’re looking for online instruction, I like David Hamburger’s lessons on TrueFire and Paul David’s fingerstyle lessons, but there’s a lot out there. One thing I’ve leaned is that one needs to start with—and master—basic picking patterns and build up from there. Trying to figure out Last Freight Train or Classical Gas is just going to lead to frustration. Ask me how I know.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:56 AM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
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Honestly, it just takes an awful lot of practice and it should become second nature. I have been gigging a fair bit recently and people often ask me "how did you learn to play that style". When I tell them I've been playing for nearly 60 years they are often disappointed, but there really is no secret formula, just keep at it and it will come eventually.
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Old 01-23-2022, 09:02 AM
pickinray pickinray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooklyn Bob View Post
Travis picking is all about the thumb. Get it working like a metronome and then start filling in the blanks with the other fingers.
This is excellent advice. When I started Travis picking, I found that keeping my thumb going was the key. This video was helpful to me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6b371mNkCw

Good luck!
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