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Fingerpicking: AT what point should

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Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  

one start learning this. After learning a certain amount of chords? Learning scales?

Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 973

one start learning this. After learning a certain amount of chords? Learning scales?

If fingerpicking is a style/ technique that attracts you enough to study and practise it, then, start as soon as you like - The sooner, the better. There's no need to wait for anything to be learned beforehand - well except maybe which way up to hold the guitar :lol:

If you have no personal interest in fingerpicking, then start NEVER. It's not an essential part of guitar playing. (I'd highly recommend it though).

Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5381

True that.

I fingerpick almost exclusively. I'm not interested in playing lead.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348

absolutely, follow that urge.
of course you need to know some of the basic chords. depending on what kind of music you want to play, 'generally', there are at least three chords needed to play a song. be it folk, bluegrass, or anything you can come up with on your own some scale structure is implied...or there are good notes or bad notes to hit. that structure is found in the notes of a chord.
dont feel you need to restrict yourself.

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2736

I wouldn't exist in this world without fingerstyle :wink:

To be more practical, first learn the basic open chords and changes where you are having some level of fluency.And then, you can try anything.( including fingerpicking )

Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 228's what I do. That's been my main direction since starting this journey about a year ago...and it's been a blast. Same as Nick, I'm not in the least bit interested in playing lead.

I may grow old, but I'll never grow up.

Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 539

Once you can form a few basic chords happily, then get those fingers a-pickin'!

Like anything else to do with playing the guitar, the more practice you do, the better you get. So start practicing as soon as you feel comfortable


ETD - Formerly "10141748 - Reincarnate"

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5349

Golden rule of guitar: never use the word 'should' and 'guitar' in one sentence. If you like the sound of fingerpicking, go do it right now. Enjoy! :)

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 239

I would say try it sooner than later, just play a simple T I M R using ¼ notes where:

T = thumb pluck on root note of chord
I, M, R = index, middle, ring finger pick on G, B, E string respectively.

I found it made me clean up my fretting of open chords as sometimes a poorly fretted note was obscured in the combination of notes in a strum. Also hitting that bass note first made me lead with all fretting fingers together rather than planting the index first like I tended to do on a C chord.

Give it a whirl. It is very cool.

Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 557

of course there is not a rule: if you're interested in fingerpicking go ahead with it.
I guess it is better to have a good grasp of main chords and rhythms before learning fingerpicking because this way you will be sure that you fingepick with steady timing since the beginning, but of course you could also learn to play in time while you learn to fingerpick!
Since the beginning my big obsession has always been being able to play with a good timing so for the first year or so I just tried to learn to play steadily as many strummin patterns as I could. It's not so much since I've started with fingerpicking but I have to say it is very useful for several reasons. Since I started to learn some basic fingerpicking patterns, I noticed that:

a) i improved my general playing because fingepicking is a good test for left hand: if you're able to play clear notes with fingerpicking you can be sure that your sound will be good also when you strum;
b) I've also found out that, at least for me, it is easier to play scales and single notes with fingers than with pick (i.e. for me it is easier to play moving bass-lines like the one suggested by david hodge in Happy Xmas or in Sitting on the dock of the bay or also the shuffle blues with fingers than with pick)
c) it is nice to re-arrange a strummed song with fingerpicking: i.e. try to play U2's One or Imagine with fingerpicking instead of simply strumming the chords

So even if my fingepicking it is still basic (i know just some eight notes patterns for 3/4,4/4, 6/8 time signature), i like to spend awith it t least a quarter of hour a day (I've also quite learned how to play triplets with fingerpicking!)


Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 21

Hope i'm not too late for this one, but everyone has very good advice on fingerpicking. I started fingerpicking b/c i wanted to learn to skip strings with a pick and got frustrated and started using my fingers. I started out with the typical F I M A deal where you pluck bass with thumb and use the ohter 3 fingers for the high strings. After watching a Townes Van Zandt DVD I saw that he only used his index and middle fingers. I began doing that and found it much easier as my ring finger just seemed to get in the way. a little awkward at first but I have learned to adapt.

Keep pickin,