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How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar

Are interested in learning how to play fingerstyle guitar? There are many styles of fingerstyle from Travis Picking, as popularized by Chet Atkins and later Tommy Emmanuel, to classical and flamenco styles, to ragtime and even blues fingerstyle. The one common theme of fingerstyle guitar is that it creates the illusion of multiple guitars being played at once. This is done through a method of playing bass lines, chords and melody all at once - think of it like using the guitar to sound more like the full sound of a piano.

For those of you that are newcomers to learning fingerstyle guitar playing you'll enjoy Martin's 'Introduction to Fingerstyle Guitar' video lesson above. Pat Metheney calls Martin "one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument," and for good reason! In this sample lesson from the Online Fingerstyle Guitar School with Martin Taylor, he introduces you the concept of playing fingerstyle guitar and you'll get a better sense of what it's all about.

As you'll also see in the above lesson, Martin begins to explore an important technique for playing fingerstyle guitar - right hand technique. Typically the thumb is used to play the bass notes, and the index, middle and ring fingers play the G, B and E strings respectively.

When it comes to the higher bass guitar strings, there is a cross over point that can be different for each player.  Some may want to pluck the D string with their index finger, others with their thumb.

The main thing to remember is that there is no rigid rules to fingering with the right hand. Try to be consistent with your fingering, no matter what method feels most comfortable.


Get Free Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons

If you're beginning fingerstyle guitar and coming from strumming or picking, simply begin to play the individual strings in sequence using different fingers for each string.  When that becomes consistent, then try alternating the strings you pick in a pattern.  Any pattern will do.  Then when you are comfortable with picking in alternating patterns, start changing chords and repeat the process.

When you are starting out, the important thing is to get comfortable and consistent with using a different finger with each string.  As you learn fingerstyle songs, each will have it’s own pattern, and having a consistent and comfortable approach to fingering the strings will make executing the different patterns much easier.

There are several other free guitar lessons at the ArtistWorks Fingerstyle Guitar School with Martin Taylo which you can get by filling out the form.  You can also click here to learn more about Martin's fingerstyle guitar lessons at his online school

There are lots of "how to play fingerstyle guitar" lesson books and DVDs out there but Martin's online school is the only fingerstyle guitar resource that allows you to send in a video of your playing and personalized video feedback. You can also watch the lesson from multiple angles, with video looping and slow motion too! When you do submit a video, Martin will assess your playing and give you specific advice on what you should do to improve your playing. It's the most effective way to learn how to play fingerstyle guitar, guaranteed!

Be sure to check out the other free sample fingerstyle guitar lessons here.

Get online guitar lessons with personalized feedback from Martin Taylor

Related Fingerstyle Guitar Blogs:

How to play fingerstyle guitar


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