Fingerstyle 00 - Introduction

This first section presumes no prior knowledge of fingerstyle. We cover all the basics such as optimum playing position, finger names, chord/ scale relations and an easy finger picking pattern to get your fingers working.

We will also cover music theory concepts such as keys, diatonic chords, the major scale and arpeggios. These are all essential to being able to play melodies at the same time as a bass line or chords for solo fingerstyle guitar. They can be used as a refresher or if you are learning these ideas for the first time.

In my opinion, there are two main methods to playing fingerstyle guitar. Understanding and using these methods from this early stage will give you the skills that you can use going forward.

Orthodox method

This is by far the most common method. Fingers 1, 2 and 3 on the picking hand are assigned to strings 1, 2 and 3 and only ever play the string they are assigned to. The thumb can play any of the thicker 3 strings, i.e. strings 4, 5 and 6, but never the thinner strings.

Claw hand method

With the claw hand method, any finger can play any string. The thumb tends to begin on the thicker strings, but it can also play any string. This is less common and can be very complex when all fingers are in use so is generally not recommended, but is used for certain songs. In this course, we’ll use theClaw Hand method in lesson 2: C major scale with fingerstyle and lesson 10: Banjo Rolls!But remember, all rules are made to be broken. Different styles and songs will call for variations on these methods. This course will show you the exercises, songs and patterns I learned to make massive leaps forward in my fingerstyle playing and the playing of many others I have taught since.

A word of caution...

As you have purchased this book, I imagine you have followed many of my videos, but are still perhaps very new to fingerstyle guitar. This being the case, you need to know that fingerstyle is a finely tuned technical skill. Anybody can learn it. However, it can require more training and repetition of proper technique than you may have needed to do in the past.

Keep drilling the exercises and songs in this course, (especially the ‘Inside Out’ patterns that occur from lesson 6) and over time you will be rewarded. You will gain the ability to play any fingerstyle you want if you drill these exercises and songs over the coming weeks and months!