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Old 10-19-2019, 10:09 AM
JAMKC JAMKC is offline
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Default Stuck on Fingerstyle Progress

Ok, here goes. Been trying to pick up fingerpicking, primarily Travis style, for nearly two years. I can play a simple, repeating 6/3/4/2 or 5/3/4/2 across a lot of chords. Can do a fair 6/2/4/3 as well. However, as soon as a pattern changes it all comes crashing down. Really have worked on some books but just cannot develop any fluidity when it is a non-repeating pattern. Really coming to the point where,I think it is the late start at 63 combined with reduced mental acuity... just cannot link up the right hand, left hand, and the eyes in looking at a tab. Have ground away on Freight Train and Ol Susanna without ever getting them down.

So, trying to decide whether I throw in the towel and just strum away. Thinking some basic flat picking might add some color to what I play and might be easier as you are dealing more with a single string/pick rather than several strings and fingers nearly simultaneously.

All thoughts welcome, advice on a video series I might try before surrendering, etc.? I have down a few online Skype lessons and just did not gain much in trying to watch real time what the instructor was doing and replicating it.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:14 AM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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You're on track. My original goal was to alternate and I learned it well enough in a fairly short period of time. But the world does not live on that pattern alone. I began mixing things up for the sake of variety and development of dynamics about three years in, IIRC. I will say that I dedicated myself to it, though. My idea of dedication back then (1974) was 3-4 hours daily and probably most of the waking hours on weekends. I figure I dedicated 2000+ hours to teaching myself that year, and a lesser but driven amount the following. Not many can regimen their time to that but I was single and living alone. Your time training your ears and hands over two years probably did not have that same kind of dedication so expect another year to really cover technique to where your skill has achieved a measure of satisfaction. That's if you apply yourself and dodge the gauntlet of frustration.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:56 PM
JAMKC JAMKC is offline
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And the gauntlet is currently quite sharp and threatening! Thanks Pitar!
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:04 PM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Please donít throw in the towel now! I am about your age and started fingerpicking just over 2 1/2 years ago. Itís only in the last few months that I feel like maybe this is going to work out someday And I am still capable of flubbing freight train at times. I would also recommend getting yourself a real live teacher. Thereís nothing like having someone point out what you doing wrong while sitting next to you. Stick with it!
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:36 PM
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Forget the patterns. Don't think in patterns. I don't "know" a single pattern, yet I play finger style. (Tunes in my signature).

Just play the notes/tab positions and concentrate on the flow of the music. Its ok to go in slow motion (like paint drying slow) to learn something. Going too fast, too soon, is the big no-no.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:21 PM
JAMKC JAMKC is offline
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TBman, I hear ya but I just do not have my ear developed. Iím trying to pick tab notes but not yet able to do in time/tempo. So there is no flow or musicality to it at all. My nature IS Togo fast and ďwant it all nowĒ which Iíve fought to overcome.

Thinking my last hope may be to find a piece of music where the tempo is slow, the notes are pretty simple but they change every few bars. Maybe Iíve tried to take on too hard of material?
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:23 PM
JAMKC JAMKC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reeve21 View Post
Please donít throw in the towel now! I am about your age and started fingerpicking just over 2 1/2 years ago. Itís only in the last few months that I feel like maybe this is going to work out someday And I am still capable of flubbing freight train at times. I would also recommend getting yourself a real live teacher. Thereís nothing like having someone point out what you doing wrong while sitting next to you. Stick with it!


Thanks for the encouragement! Have a good local teacher who I like a lot but finger picking is not his main strength.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:15 PM
sloar sloar is offline
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I'm the opposite, I picked up fingerstyle but have a hard time strumming patterns. My first song was Dust in the Wind, pretty simple Travis style. After getting that one down the rest started to become easier.
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Old 10-20-2019, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMKC View Post
TBman, I hear ya but I just do not have my ear developed. Iím trying to pick tab notes but not yet able to do in time/tempo. So there is no flow or musicality to it at all. My nature IS Togo fast and ďwant it all nowĒ which Iíve fought to overcome.

Thinking my last hope may be to find a piece of music where the tempo is slow, the notes are pretty simple but they change every few bars. Maybe Iíve tried to take on too hard of material?
Get this book by Mark Hanson. Many of us learned how to play finger style from his two Travis picking books.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:18 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMKC View Post
I think it is the late start at 63 combined with reduced mental acuity...
I think this is your problem. It doesn't mean you can't do it. It just means you need to spend a lot longer practising things than a younger person would. And probably so long (with some pieces) that you get bored and frustrated too quickly.

I.e. the problem may not be mental, but is certainly physical: training those old fingers - that have got set in their ways - to learn new tricks. I see this all the time with my older students (I teach adults of all ages, as well as teenagers). You simply can't do it as quickly and easily as a teenager will, or someone in their 20s. I've even seen people in their 30s struggling. Manual habits get ingrained quite early. You're doing well at over 60 to get as far as you've got!

Fingers can always be trained. There is no limit, it just takes longer the older you are.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:35 PM
pvfederico pvfederico is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Forget the patterns. Don't think in patterns. I don't "know" a single pattern, yet I play finger style. (Tunes in my signature).

Just play the notes/tab positions and concentrate on the flow of the music. Its ok to go in slow motion (like paint drying slow) to learn something. Going too fast, too soon, is the big no-no.
I'm so happy to hear you say this. I'm self taught, very isolated from others who play acoustic guitars with steel strings, started VERY late, and after seven years I finger pick everything by ear. My ex Mexican girl friend (who had played guitar for more than 30 years) wanted me to explain my style and I couldn't -- because my ear and hands work faster than my brain. She finally made a video of me playing a simple song, and then slowed it down. In fact, when I stop in the middle of a piece, I have a hard time picking up where I left off -- because I can't think it through. It just flows if I don't stop. And it is always changing as I hear something pleasing and want to repeat it.

I will see something on YouTube that a guitarist is doing with his left hand. If I can master that, the finger picking just comes -- with the alternating base supplying the rhythm, and my fingers and ears searching for the melody in the same time.

By far and away my great limitation is my left hand work on the neck. Is that common with most guitarists?
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:36 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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I wouldn't give up. But sometimes accepting your limitations and enjoying the journey is more important than accomplishing goals that may be unrealistic. By unrealistic, I mean getting good/better fast. That has never worked for me (been playing nearly 40 years).

Have fun.
Keep playing.
You will get better.
Have fun.
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:46 PM
M Hayden M Hayden is offline
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Maybe try some melodies instead. I have a friend who had the same issues - about your age, too - and I had him go back to basics, like playing ďMary Had a little LambĒ and finding the melody while playing an alternating bass, and working from there.

It sounds silly but he developed facility with finding melodies over alternating-bass, and his grandkids were only too happy to help him with the melodies....
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:25 PM
JAMKC JAMKC is offline
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Originally Posted by M Hayden View Post
Maybe try some melodies instead. I have a friend who had the same issues - about your age, too - and I had him go back to basics, like playing ďMary Had a little LambĒ and finding the melody while playing an alternating bass, and working from there.



It sounds silly but he developed facility with finding melodies over alternating-bass, and his grandkids were only too happy to help him with the melodies....


Like this thought!
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:53 PM
JAMKC JAMKC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
Get this book by Mark Hanson. Many of us learned how to play finger style from his two Travis picking books.


Oh I have it. Itís well done but just canít get any fluidity. Can pick the lesson patterns fairly well but when I go to the songs to play, 🤯.
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