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Fingerpicking help, please!

GUEST,Longtime Strummer 06 Nov 19 - 05:41 PM
Stanron 06 Nov 19 - 06:25 PM
Raedwulf 06 Nov 19 - 07:20 PM
lefthanded guitar 06 Nov 19 - 07:50 PM
Cool Beans 07 Nov 19 - 01:10 PM
Nick 07 Nov 19 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,OP, LS 07 Nov 19 - 05:16 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Nov 19 - 07:28 PM
meself 07 Nov 19 - 10:49 PM
leeneia 07 Nov 19 - 11:33 PM
The Sandman 08 Nov 19 - 02:17 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 19 - 02:57 AM
matt milton 08 Nov 19 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,u38cg 09 Nov 19 - 04:54 PM
The Sandman 10 Nov 19 - 10:46 PM
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Subject: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: GUEST,Longtime Strummer
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 05:41 PM

Hello!

I've been playing the guitar for about 30 years, and I play without a pick.

I have an idiosyncratic fingerpicking style, one that has served mainly as an alternative to strumming for ballads, etc.

I've tried learning three-finger picking via videos, and I know about the alternating bass-note pattern on the bottom three strings, but I get stuck at how to understand the necessary syncopation of the upper strings, which fingers to use, etc.

Any help in simplifying the process of understanding the system would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: Stanron
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 06:25 PM

There are two types of beat. In 'Simple Time' beats are divided into two. You count;

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

and so on, all evenly spaced. In 'Compound Time' beats are divided into three.
You count;

1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + +

again all evenly spaced.

When strumming (I know you ask about finger picking but stay with me) you strum down on a beat and up on the + or off beats. Simple for Simple time but it gets weird in Compound time.

In Compound time the usual solution is to strum down on the beat, do nothing on the first + and strum up on the second +.

An alternative, used often to accompany jigs, is to alternate down and up strums all the time and over two beats the pattern repeats. This is more used in strumming than in finger picking.

In finger picking the thumb mostly picks on the beat. Fingers can pick both on the beat and in between. Fingers picking between the beats do so at the same time as the up strums described above.

None of this, of course, is syncopation.

Syncopation usually involves playing a bass note one half beat earlier, and in finger picking this works when you play a bass note as the last + of a bar INSTEAD of the first beat of the next bar.

Syncopation gives a liveliness and lift to music but there is a danger in syncopation if you overdo it. You know where you are regarding which bass notes are the beats and which are the syncopation but if you do not establish this clearly for your listener the syncopated notes can be taken for the beat and the music sounds extraordinary leaden instead of lively.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: Raedwulf
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 07:20 PM

Not entirely sure I can help you directly, as I'm not a folk guitarist. I'm a creature of NWOBHM (if you recognise that acronym; you're old enough to do so! ;-) ); I'm both a rock & classical guitarist. Ergo, I know something of finger-picking, but I might not be talking the right style, if you see what I mean.

The basic classical technique revolves around pima. The p is pulgar (or something close to that); it's your thumb. I forget what the a is (this is all Italian, naturally!), but the ima is index, middle, ring fingers. And thus, if you ever see fully notated classical guitar script, you will see p i m a telling you which finger to use. Classical music, of any description, is not to everyone's taste, but classical technique for every instrument has evolved over decades & centuries to be the most efficient way of playing, in order that you can get the most out of your weapon of choice! ;-)

So it's worth considering how classical technique works on your instrument, I think. As a very general & simplistic thing in classical guitar, one finger, one string & don't bother with the a if you can help it (incidentally, no-one tries to use the pinkie - it's too short & weak to be useful as a 'pick'). Ergo, what you often get on classical guitar is the thumb picking out the melody, whilst the fingers fill out the harmony in whatever way the composer sees fit.

In any finger-picking there are, basically, two rules. 1) Never ask the finger to pick twice; it's much easier to i m i m than it is to i i i i. 2) Keep the same finger on the same string if you can; the thumb moves more easily & more accurately than the fingers do (trust me on this; it's true!). In very many short pieces, "studies" i.e. teaching aides / technique practice pieces, you will find that your ima is on strings 3-2-1 or that it's only i & m on two adjacent strings.

Etcetera. You know your guitar, LS. You've been playing the bloody thing for long enough! ;-) There's no great mystery, nor any right answer, to the question of finger-picking. It doesn't matter whether you're trying to cover someone else's work, or whether you're creating your own. Bear in mind rules 1 & 2 above & find the most efficient picking pattern that works for YOU. And nuts to what any 'expert' (like me ;-) ) might say about it.

The only thing that really counts about music is that you enjoy what you create. If other people enjoy it too, that's a bonus! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 06 Nov 19 - 07:50 PM

Hi Strummer :
I would suggest you take a few guitar lessons from a local instructor. I think this kind of thing is difficult to learn without having someone right there who can guide you. I was initially going to suggest tutorials on youtube, but since you tried that, I'd say finding someone who can teach you in person is your best bet. Need not be an extended set of lessons; since you've already evolved your own style, you 'd likely catch on quickly.

I myself would not try to learn how to fingerpicking from written instructions or video - as they say in Missouri : show me.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: Cool Beans
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 01:10 PM

Try this:
Make the "Freight Train" C chord. That's a C chord plus your little finger on the third fret of the first (i.e. treble) string. Hold the chord throughout this exercise.
1. Play the fifth string with your thumb, and the first string with your middle finger at the same time. THIS IS THE ROSETTA STONE OF FINGERPICKING.
2.Play the second string with you index finger.
3. Play the fourth string with your thumb.
4. Play the first (treble) string with your middle finder.
5. Play the fifth string with your thumb.
6. Play the second string with your index finger.
7. Play the fourth string with your thumb.
REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. Good luck. The rest is all variations


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: Nick
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 01:57 PM

Try this place - Truefire courses. They offer thirty days free.

I am nothing to do with them but they structure their courses for any level and the tutors are very good. Videos that you can slow down. Tabs. Examples etc etc

One of the best resources I have come across.

Also depends on what style you are after playing! Do you have an example of what you would like to be able to play?

If you have been playing for thirty years then you know a huge amount already. Play slowly and don't move on before you can do it. There is a huge temptation (I am a culprit) to think 'oh yes I can do that and play it at speed' and move on


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: GUEST,OP, LS
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 05:16 PM

Thanks, sll!

@Cool Beans: that was easy to understand and apropos, since I love that song. Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 07:28 PM

I've always envied rockabilly players..
I was watching a youtube tutorial a couple of nights ago
combining pick and fingers...

one day maybe when I get some time for myself again...


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: meself
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 10:49 PM

I've been working a bit on fingerpicking lately, using what's available on youtube. I've kinda got Freight Train down - not up to speed - and I just "learned" Pallet on Your Floor to the end (I literally just put down the guitar). You've got to find someone who's teaching a simple version, and who will take a lot of time over the syncopated bits - and be prepared to work and struggle over those bits. I find this guy pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDPil35dess&list=PL9nYIzaF1_qZmVFTZqynQLh34xBlsFTtK&index=22&t=451s - although I haven't quite gotten that last syncopated C note right, and he does rush that one ....


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Nov 19 - 11:33 PM

This seems helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWSSS7tJ2wQ

Do you know the names of the strings? If you want to hit the G string, let's say, can you do it? That's good to know.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 19 - 02:17 AM

i found learning carter style finger picking using thumb for melody easiest, i would suggest adapting this and use thumb for melody and to fill out sound with plucking the adjacent string above with index finger with very occasional strum, this works very well using c f g shapes and g c d shapes.
when you have this off learn john hurt style which is opposite fingers pick melody thumb plays alternate strings onbass. if you can get these twp styles you will be fairly advanced


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 19 - 02:57 AM

how about contacting will fly on this forum


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: matt milton
Date: 08 Nov 19 - 04:06 AM

I know you've said you've watched some youTube videos but there are some really good ones out there. Have a look on youTube for Tommy Emmanuel's fingerstyle tuition.

Or search for 'Travis picking' on youtube, or some of the many 'how to play' videos for Mississippi John Hurt songs. I might look some up later... Watching someone explain a John Hurt song is a really good way of learning to balance a steady alternating thumb with syncopated fingers.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: GUEST,u38cg
Date: 09 Nov 19 - 04:54 PM

This book:

Mark Hanson: The Art Of Contemporary Travis Picking Guitar

is a pretty solid introduction to the basic mechanics of this style.


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Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 19 - 10:46 PM

the point about carter style is one has to hammer on and pull off unless you are using a thumb pick or have adapted it to using a plectrum , i learned john hurt style first but i think carter style is easiest to learn it is easiest in g and c


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