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Fingerstyle patterns and Chord melody arrangements

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 Chib
(@chib)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Hi All,

I recently bought a classical/nylon string guitar and I 'm currently practising using fingerstyle and a few different patterns. I would like to start making my arrangements of really simple of easy songs like Happy Birthday and twinkle ...etc.

I 'm a little confused on a few things and they are as follows

1) For a given song does the right hand always play the same finger pattern from start of the song to the end which leads to my second question

2) so if the right hand is always playing the same pattern does this mean we have to find a required note on what ever string that is being plucked at a given time and chord fretted by the left hand

3) Does the left hand always have to play chords regardless of the melody . I have noticed the left hand always forms chords ? Is this necessary or does it make it easier for one to remember

4) What is the right way of strumming on a nylon string finger. My index finger and thumb nails keep getting caught in the strings.

5)I think all my questions might be basic and could someone recommend me a good beginner's finger style book for chord & melody arrangements

Apologies for my long post but thanks in adv
Chib


   
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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241
 

as quick replies (I may expand later, feeling a bit rough right now, sorry)....

1) No, but they often will.

(a) That said, you can keep the same 'fingering pattern' (I'm using this term solely to refer to which order the fingers pick in - e.g. thumb, index, middle, thumb, index, middle, thumb, index,) but change which strings you hit each time (thumb hitting the 6th string, index hitting 3rd, middle hitting 2nd string, thumb hitting 5th string, index hitting 3rd, middle hitting 2nd). The second example would still be considered as "one pattern" for academic purposes.

(b) If you can read tab and/or standard notation, you will often find that tunes will consist of repeated figures, and there may be 3-4 different repeated patterns which make up an acoustic tune (or more, that's just an example). Anji by Davey Graham is a tune which has 5-6 "sections" to it, and 4 of those are repeated patterns. In the same way that a pop song might have 3 verses and 4 choruses (making 2-4 "sections" in total, some of which get repeated), you'll find most acoustic tunes structured in sections.

2) If you want to keep repeating the R.H. pattern, then yes. But this can be difficult or impossible, hence one reason to change the R.H. pattern. You don't have to repeat the R.H. pattern though, so feel free to deviate from it if that works better you.

3) the left hand will often fret chords because you'll find that the main notes in a melody are often notes included in the chord being fretted. the great upside of fretting the chord is this - should you hit the wrong string, it wont sound as terrible if you're fretting the whole chord than if you hit the wrong string while only fretting the note you wanted to play. another great "trick" about fretting chords when playing a melody is that you'll usually find good notes within 1-2 frets of any note fretted in the chord. but you often wont play all the notes in the chord, and you will also play some notes not included in the chord. Again, it is a case of "often, but you don't have to". the key factor is one you pointed to in your post when you said "regardless of the melody." if it works do it, if it seems to get in the way of the melody, don't do it.

4) what was 4 again? ah....strumiming on a nylon string using your fingers. I'll say that this would be infinitely easier for me to communicate if I had a picture or somesuch to show you, but I don't. I'll leave this one to one of GN's teachers to answer. But I will say not to worry too much about getting your fingernails caught in the strings - this can be just a case of patience and practice leading to better results. You might find that shaping the nail (emery boards are a key component of my practice space lol) also helps. You want the edges to be rounded off a little, not squared off, and not too long ("too long" being akin to the question about length of a piece of string).

5) The reviews at Amazon disagree with me here, and I certainly wouldn't recommend this book as the only one to work from, but I can't recommend Eric Roche's Acoustic Guitar Bible highly enough, even for a beginner. I think you'd get more mileage in the short term from other books, this one isn't easily organised for a total novice and doesn't include enough full study pieces, so it would need supplementing. But I have found it to be an exhaustive text, covering matters like nail length and care, hand positioning, different tunings, choosing guitars, theory, and techniques. It is well written and does include a handful of repertoire pieces of varying standards. Eric Roche was an awesome player, and the book comes with two CDs of audio for all TAB/notation examples given in the book, played by Roche (and so of a very high standard). This is one of those books that you can buy now, learn some from, but also find useful ten years from now, so a real investment. Some Amazon reviewers think it not worth getting if you're a beginner, but I reckon it's a worthy reference text to have from day one.

Unfortunately, I can't really recommend any books other than that. My pops taught me fingerstyle, and there aren't any other books that I've tried that I would recommend as well as that one. I do think it definitely needs supplementing, though. Maybe a Mel Bay songbook or something like that would be appropriate?

Hope this is of some use, you'll no doubt get more replies soon. And welcome to GN!!

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@lue42)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 356
 

I have and would recommend this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Contemporary-Travis-Picking-Fingerpicking/dp/0936799005

It is strictly Travis picking, which is very chord/single pattern based.

I am currently working my way through this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Fingerstyle-Blues-Guitar-Audio/dp/0825625564/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249259605&sr=1-1

And so far would recommend it if blues is up your alley.

If you want to see of an example of fingerstyle that doesn't stay within a strict repeating pattern, check out this guys site:
http://jaw.iinet.net.au/stuff/tab.html

I would recommend giving "Here comes the sun" a shot... step into it very slowly... play a few notes, and once you are comfortable, play a few more... do not attempt more than one bar at a time... you will get overwhelmed. Most of the song (or the beginning at least) can be played in a general D and G chord shape. Form a D chord and move or lift only the fingers that need to move/lift.
If you are Pink Floyd fan, "Breathe" is an easier one too.
BUT... all this stuff on Jaw's site is pretty advanced... if you read his comments, he says that it takes him months to practice and learn each of the songs before he is comfortable enough to record it for YouTube - and... he is very good.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:
http://fsguitar.wordpress.com

My Guitars
Ibanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NT
Schecter S-1 30th Anniversary Edition
Ovation CS257
LaPatrie Etude
Washburn Rover RO10


   
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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241
 

I should also point out that the Easy Songs For Beginners section of Guitarnoise has a wealth of song that will help you hone your chops.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2415
 

The same pattern in fingerpicking is definately not used in most arrangements it's varied vastly.

As far as making your own arrangements, I don't know, it's more trial and error for me, but there was a great article on chord melody arrangements in Acoustic Guitar Magazine either this month or last month that helped me out alot.

I also don't subscribe to the way most people fingerpick. I used mainly my thumb and index and middle, and rarely use my pinky or ring finger, nor do I anchor any of them to the body of the guitar.

I don't believe there is one right way to do it, it's just a matter of finding out what's comfortable for you to play and working with that.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241
 

The same pattern in fingerpicking is definately not used in most arrangements it's varied vastly.

As far as making your own arrangements, I don't know, it's more trial and error for me, but there was a great article on chord melody arrangements in Acoustic Guitar Magazine either this month or last month that helped me out alot.

I also don't subscribe to the way most people fingerpick. I used mainly my thumb and index and middle, and rarely use my pinky or ring finger, nor do I anchor any of them to the body of the guitar.

I don't believe there is one right way to do it, it's just a matter of finding out what's comfortable for you to play and working with that.

Joe, I agree that patterns vary vastly from song to song, but within any given song there tends to be one (or several) pattern(s) which repeat throughout the song, which I thought was what the OP was asking about.

I'm another who tends to leave the ring and pinky fingers out of playing fingerstyle, although I'm trying to correct that (some pieces I want to play need the extra fingers). Few people use the pinky of the picking hand, but one who does is Stepan Rak, and some of his pieces are impossible to play otherwise (not that I'm anywhere near good enough to be attempting his music yet lol). I'm also hoping incorporating the 'spare' fingers will make it easier to fingerpick different time signatures, but that's OT. I reckon if you're comfortable with it, and it works for what you want to do, stick with it!

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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