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Fingerstyle players

This is a group for fingerstyle players of all types, from Hedges disciples to Chet channelers.

Members: 971
Latest Activity: Oct 13

Discussion Forum

Finger-pickin' Nylon! 24 Replies

Started by Rob Darby. Last reply by Steve Widmeyer Mar 28.

Frail nails 17 Replies

Started by Harry Lindahl. Last reply by Randy Lee Hano Feb 28.

Thumb Picks? 12 Replies

Started by Rob Darby. Last reply by Robert Williamson Apr 26, 2014.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Steve Widmeyer on June 16, 2009 at 8:43am
Hey, Donna, you're right, too. What I did worked for me because (a) I'm me, and (b) I had the passion (and free time) of a subteenager to throw myself at learning guitar like a pitcher throws a fastball.
Comment by Donna Zitzelberger on June 16, 2009 at 8:23am
Hey guys, I so don’t agree with you; but we are all entitled to our opinions and as John said those who read can take it or leave it. I’ll just throw in my .02 and same thing – you can take it or leave it.

That plan works for a lot of people, but it also doesn’t work. Had a student who subscribed to that plan for over 10 years and could never play a complete song. In one lesson, I was able to show her where she was struggling and she left playing her first complete song. Like anything else, there are proven ways to learn and learn well.

I, myself, learned the way you describe and I played pretty well for a lot of years. However, I was always frustrated with certain aspects of my playing. Once I started to study with a teacher, and learned the craft well, my playing improved by leaps and bounds. The difference was improvement in my touch, my timing, and my tone. I started lessons in the late spring and continued through the summer while I took a break from the church band I played with. In the Fall after the band started up again, my fellow musicians were astounded with my playing and said – “what HAPPENED TOYOU – YOU SOUND AMAZING!

One of the greatest techniques I learned was to slow things down, detail the rough sections and then start to add measures on either side. Then use a metronome to speed it up. This saved me loads of time in learning pieces, and I was able to learn them well. It is a staple technique in the music world – you can read about it in Troy Stetina’s Rock Guitar books and Scott Tennant's Classical Guitar books. You may want to give it a try and you will see it works.

IMHO – there is nothing wrong with learning the tools of the trade and learning how to use them well. The result is a lot of satisfaction and fun in playing the instrument.

My .02,

Comment by Steve Widmeyer on June 16, 2009 at 5:26am
Way to go, John. That's how I taught myself to play when I was 11 or 12: a Mel Bay chord chart book and a song I could sing but not play. That's also how I learned to fingerpick (I must have listened to "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Peter, Paul and Mary about 200 times in one night, but by dawn I could fingerpick!)
Comment by John Heron on June 15, 2009 at 1:27pm
If you're stumbling over something in a new tune, maybe an umfamiliar chord form or rhythm isolate just that one bit and play it over until it's smooth. Something that I've noticed is that frequently beginning to middling fingerpickers can play it syncopated but they can't play the very same thing straight. Taking a clue from this if I'm having a problem playing some slick syncopation, I try playing it straight just to make sure that I'm not having both a left hand and a right hand problem at the same time.
Comment by Charles Freeborn on June 9, 2009 at 4:55pm
I am a big fan ( & friend) of Woody Mann's teaching methods and materials.
His advice for getting the thumb and fingers working independently and together is to play the tunes very slowly. I mean VERY slowly, without losing the "swing" or "groove". You'd be surprised how funky (good) you can get a tune at a very slow tempo.
He advises to learn the bass line, including variations and play it through alone. Then the melody, including variations/improv and then put the two together, while in your mind keeping them as separate parts.
Comment by Bill Thomas on June 9, 2009 at 4:25pm
This is difficult for me as I have not been playing seriously for many years. however, I have developed a web site for my friends and family of which I consider this group to be. I have put up two classics that I learned as a young man, To me. the guitar gives me solace when I feel down, am fighting with my wife of 39 years, or am just having an exceptionally bad or good day. There is nothing that can replace the feeling of finally hitting that right note. Please visit sight and leave comments, good or bad, I would appreciated it. Thanks
Comment by Mark Stewart on May 31, 2009 at 4:10pm
I've been playing guitar for 2 years now and about 1 year ago I discovered that I love fingerstyle blues. I've made good progress learning on line, with Active Guitar, Truefire, and lots of books with CD's. I'm starting learn music theory. It's slow going, but my biggest hurdle is gettting the timing right. Especially on syncopated blues songs that I love. Any tips on a practice routine that will eventually help my over this?
Comment by Jack on May 27, 2009 at 1:27pm

Just read your post about taking up finger style. I'm a bit older than you and just finished a short course this past winter. I really enjoyed the class; but, I have a caution for you. Stretch your hands and fingers and warm up well before playing this style. I ended my class with a nasty tendonitis in my left wrist and I wasn't able to play for two months. I think our old muscles and tendons aren't quite as limber as we like to think they are. I'd give it a try if I were you. Just do a good warm up first.
Comment by GuitGeezer on May 17, 2009 at 8:51am
Hi Don

I don't think there is any particular order to what you want to learn. If you are drawn to do some fingerstyle playing then you should just do it. Start with some simple patterns, maybe find a few easy solo pieces, and let your hands gain some comfort and muscle memory and then develop new techniques and pieces as you feel comfortable. There is a wealth of good material available, quite a bit right on the AG website. Good luck and remember to have some fun with it.
Comment by Donald Pittman on May 17, 2009 at 8:14am
Hi I am an older guy taking up the guitar and doing ok for 62, I play some rhythm and can flat pick some tunes. I can read some . The question is , is it to soon to try and take on fingerstyle ?

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