I’m often asked the question, “Why should I learn fingerstyle?” or “What are the benefits of fingerstyle?” To answer this question, I first want to talk about what fingerstyle is and what it isn’t.
Fingerstyle is a way of playing the guitar that uses your fingers to pluck the strings rather than a pick. It’s also referred to as classical guitar style.
The list of benefits of learning fingerstyle is endless, but in this article I want to focus on three: musicality, expression and technique.
It’s one of the most expressive and beautiful ways of playing any instrument.
If you want to be able to play your favorite songs, create your own music and sounds, and come up with new ideas, fingerstyle is for you.
It’s a style of playing that combines melody, harmony, bass notes, chords and percussion into one single guitar part.
Imagine having all those elements happening at once in the context of a song; it’s like having an orchestra play on your guitar while you sing. It’s really powerful and addicting!
In this article I’ll give you some awesome tips to set you up for success in learning fingerstyle guitar.
Let’s get started.
Fingerstyle Guitar is one of the most interesting, versatile and beautiful sounding styles of guitar playing. It offers the ability to play melodies, harmonies, bass and percussive all at the same time. Not only that but it’s also a great way to practice technique and overall musicianship.
Here are some reasons why you should learn fingerstyle guitar:
You can play more than one part at a time
You can play melodies and harmonies at the same time
You can play solo without backing tracks
You can be a one man band!
It’s a great way to build finger strength for both hands
It’s fun to learn!
Fingerstyle Guitar is Lesson 1 in my Complete Fingerstyle Course – Learn Fingerstyle from Scratch. You can enroll here. Here are some samples of the course (also available on Youtube).
Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the guitar, where your fingers play the melody, bass line, and rhythm all at once. Usually played with a pick, strumming, or picking patterns. But in fingerstyle guitar, each finger plucks separate strings to create a solo performance. Fingerstyle is often confused with classical guitar playing, but they are two different techniques. However, you can use many of the classical techniques in fingerstyle guitar.
Why Learn Fingerstyle Guitar?
There are countless reasons to learn fingerstyle guitar. It is a very versatile technique that allows you to play basically any style of music on your own. You can use it in classical and jazz genres but also in rock and pop songs as well. Fingerstyle guitar has been used by countless musicians and bands throughout history including: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and many more!
Learning fingerpicking patterns will allow you to play some of the most beautiful and intricate songs ever written for example “Blackbird” by The Beatles or “Scarborough Fair” by Simon & Garfunkel. Not only does it sound beautiful on its own, but it also sounds amazing when combined with other instruments such as drums or even multiple guitars playing different
I’m excited to let you know about a new project I’ve been working on. Learn Fingerstyle Guitar is an online course that teaches you how to play fingerstyle guitar using the most effective practice methods and learning techniques.
In this course you will:
Learn how to play 5 killer fingerstyle arrangements of songs by The Beatles, Feist, and more!
Discover the secrets of playing powerful bass lines and walking bass lines in fingerstyle guitar.
Build your right hand technique using warm-up exercises, picking patterns, and tremolo exercises.
Learn the most effective practice methods for mastering fingerstyle guitar technique.
Improve your left hand technique with exercises that build strength and control.
Practice fingerpicking patterns like Travis Picking and Alternating Bass that you can use in any song.
There is no single definition of fingerstyle. In fact, it is most often defined by what it isn’t. Fingerstyle is not strumming, which is common in folk and rock music. It is not flatpicking, as you hear in bluegrass or country. And it is not classical or flamenco guitar, where the plectrum (pick) is used to pick one note at a time.
So what do we mean when we say “fingerstyle”? Well, the best way to understand it is to see it in action. Here are some examples of fingerstyle guitar:
The term “fingerstyle” can be confusing because there are so many styles that fall under the label. For example, Merle Travis was a pioneer of fingerstyle technique and his style can be heard in a number of songs. But his thumb-picked guitar style doesn’t sound like Chet Atkins’ or Tommy Emmanuel’s fingerpicking styles, even though they are all considered fingerstyle guitarists. The good news is that once you get started with fingerstyle guitar, you will begin to recognize different styles and develop your own favorites.
We can think of fingerstyle as an umbrella term for various techniques
Fingerstyle Guitar is a style where the strings are plucked with fingers instead of a guitar pick. Fingerstyle guitarists’ use their thumb (p) and first three fingers (i, m – for index, middle and ring fingers) to produce melody, bass lines and chords simultaneously.
Fingerstyle guitarists generally use acoustic guitars. Although some fingerstyle players such as Tommy Emmanuel have been known to play electric guitars.
The technique is popular because it allows the musician to play more than one note at the same time. Essentially using the guitar as a “one man band”. The technique also means you can play a lot of different instruments on your guitar by mimicking the sound of drums, harmonica, piano and more on just six strings!
The beauty of fingerstyle guitar is that anyone can do it with a little practice. Most people find it easier when they have already learnt some basic chords. But it’s not essential to be a chord wizard before you can start learning fingerstyle guitar. Find out more about fingerpicking patterns here!