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Guitar Fingerpicking Fun

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John Hardly 24 Oct 00 - 03:54 PM
mousethief 24 Oct 00 - 03:58 PM
Mark Clark 24 Oct 00 - 05:30 PM
Jed at Work 24 Oct 00 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Joerg 24 Oct 00 - 09:22 PM
MichaelAnthony 25 Oct 00 - 12:31 AM
GUEST,Jeremy J Woodland 25 Oct 00 - 12:32 AM
GUEST,CraigS 25 Oct 00 - 02:00 AM
zonahobo 25 Oct 00 - 04:21 AM
John Hardly 25 Oct 00 - 02:18 PM
Jed at Work 25 Oct 00 - 04:45 PM
Jed at Work 25 Oct 00 - 04:45 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Oct 00 - 06:20 PM
John Hardly 25 Oct 00 - 06:54 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Oct 00 - 07:48 PM
JamesJim 26 Oct 00 - 12:18 AM
kimmers 26 Oct 00 - 01:18 AM
John Hardly 26 Oct 00 - 07:10 AM
Grab 26 Oct 00 - 07:57 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Oct 00 - 12:18 PM
JamesJim 26 Oct 00 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,Joerg 26 Oct 00 - 09:17 PM
Grab 27 Oct 00 - 08:32 AM
JamesJim 27 Oct 00 - 02:53 PM
JamesJim 27 Oct 00 - 02:58 PM
Peter T. 27 Oct 00 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Pixie 28 Oct 00 - 08:45 AM
MK 28 Oct 00 - 11:07 AM
John Hardly 28 Oct 00 - 02:24 PM
MK 28 Oct 00 - 02:39 PM
MK 28 Oct 00 - 02:40 PM
Mark Clark 02 Dec 00 - 01:43 PM
Amos 31 Mar 01 - 01:14 PM
wdyat12 31 Mar 01 - 02:29 PM
wdyat12 31 Mar 01 - 03:55 PM
John Hardly 01 Apr 01 - 10:52 AM
Amos 01 Apr 01 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 16 Feb 13 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 16 Feb 13 - 06:34 PM
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Subject: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: John Hardly
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 03:54 PM

A Question for all you guitar players out there,

If guitar is only a passing fancy with you I can save you the tedium of reading further.

You can play "Boxer" type fingerpicking--th,i,th,i,th,i,etc. You can also play it th,i,th,m,th,i,th,m,etc.

You can play "Freight Train" or "Don't Think Twice"--(th/m),th,i,th,m,th,(th/m),th,i,th,m,th,etc.

You can almost endlessly vary the above by; 1.changing the order of the alternating fingers, 2. not always pinching th/m (use just "th" sometimes). 3.adding hammer-ons and other frills.

When I was a kid my brother watched me play "Don't Think Twice" in the above mentioned way and suggested that I add interest to it by playing it; (th/m),i,m,th,m,i,(th/m),i,m,th,m,i,(th/m),i,m,th,m,i,etc.

1. Do any of you use that pattern?

2. Where and when did you learn it?

3. What song(s) do you use it with?

4. Have you noticed that it is a particularly good pattern to play as accompaniment to a song that is usually done "bluegrass style" such as "John Hardy" or "Always On A Mountain".

5. Can you do it with fingerpicks on or do you have to go bare-fingered (as I do)

John Hardly


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 03:58 PM

Don't use that pattern. Those up-one-way down-the-other patterns always confuse me.

Don't Think Twice is in fact part of my repertoire. Except I pick the melody and fill in notes below it, not a "background" or "fill" type pattern.

Interesting question, though.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Mark Clark
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 05:30 PM

Art Thieme once gave me a typewritten list of all possible picking patterns many pages long. I think I still have it somewhere. If Art doesn't have a copy for posting, I'll look around to see if I can find mine, assuming that's okay with Art.

John, I don't use the pattern you suggested. In fact, I really don't use any patterns at all any more. I just start an alternating bass then play the notes. I use a thumb pick cut down to a short nubbin but leave my fingers bare. Most of my fingerpicking employs only my index finger but I'll throw the middle finger in once in a while when there is no other way to achieve the timeing I want.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Jed at Work
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 05:42 PM

I may have started out learning patterns, but I've long since forgotten. I pick mostly with thumb, middle and little finger, planting my ring finger on the pick guard. (my index nail is so frequently worn donw from flat pickin' I've just given up, and have learned to use my middle instead). I pick most bass and melody notes with the thumb, but occasionally 'kick' either with a down stroke of the middle - for percussive effect. The pattern I try to achieve is the low to high arpegio sort, with bass/melody intertwined - but brushing some during the accompaniment usually adds some color to the guitar work, so I frequently use it, but sparingly within any given song.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 24 Oct 00 - 09:22 PM

John -

Thank you for telling me what 'Boxer' type, 'Freight Train' type and 'Don't think twice' type picking is in your eyes. Going to check out what you mean as soon as I can get some time. I did all those songs ago, but I did it 'my way' for the simple reason that I am a very bad listener and never can figure out how something is played. So I always have to find or not find my own way to do a song. Sometimes it just doesn't work but sometimes it also works some way that makes me being disappointed by the original when I hear it again. And some people also told me the same when they had heard a song by me first - these are things that really encourage me.

From that point of view, let me tell you, that aside of what you already pointed out there are still many more ways of doing it, some examples:

- Try to alternate between two different pickings. Some songs love that, especially those which need a stress on the first beat of every second ... err ... measure (is that correct?)

- Try using all three fingers for one beat, and then 'break' that chord by not playing these three tones exactly at once (don't know how to express it better, sorry). There are many ways to do this and each one sounds different. Then combine that with hammering an pulling off ...

- Look at what the banjo player are doing (i.e. not doing) with their thumb. I recently learned that the secret of the famous three finger style is NOT using the thumb on the first beat. Didn't find some way of doing this myself on the guitar yet.

What you'll get in the end is your personal guitar style. You'll be recognized by listening. Good or bad? Good.

But knowing all this - I never found a way to do a fast polka rhythm by fingerpicking. You know: Boom chick boom chick boom chick boom chick (no 'chicka')... Easy to do with 'classical' four fingers: th (i/m/r) th (i/m/r)... Some songs need that, e.g. 'Down By The Liffeyside'. Any hints?

Regarding picks: Hard to learn and when you're done it will sound different. Both for the same reason: If you play with your fingers you can sense the string before picking it. You'll do that because it makes everything much easier. This will damp the string with some significant effect to the rhythm. If you use picks you can still sense the string THROUGH the pick (you'll have to learn that), but only AS you pick it, not before. There is no way to damp the string with a pick, it will buzz. You have to keep the pick away from the string and then perform some exact curve with its tip to get the tone you want. Difficult but possible. And simply different. To me it sounds great sometimes, although I have not yet learned again how to do all the things I did without picks before. But I learned some additional things.

Hope that helps a little although it's hardly an answer to your questions.

Simply keep going on. (And also listen to what Jed says; I just learned that he's an excellent guitar player ;-)

Joerg


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: MichaelAnthony
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 12:31 AM

Alternating bass all the time, here.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,Jeremy J Woodland
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 12:32 AM

John, interesting question. I like to use finger picks when a tune suits it, I only use them on i, m and thumb. Its also important not to totally discount the use of your "a" finger. Probably the most effective and natural motion your left hand could make is thumb, a,m,i. Its just like closing your hand!!!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 02:00 AM

I've noticed that good pickers fall into two camps. One camp started out by learning picking patterns, and then finding melodies within the patterns, then developed from there. Others started out from a simple scratch (p i) and found melodies, then developed sort of "natural" uses for the other fingers which formed their own patterns, which is a more "organic " approach.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: zonahobo
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 04:21 AM

Being kind of an indecisive kind of guy, I like to hold a flat pick between thumb and index finger (duhh) and alternate with middle and nameless finger. My pinky is kind of an anchor on the flat top that seems to help keep the hand in position during picking. It's double jointed and tends to lock up so it is good to keep it out of the way anyway. Then I can strum and flat pick when the mood hits too. Can't say it has propelled my capbility much beyond 'mediocre drive my family crazy' but it lets me ride the fence fairly well between flat pick and fingerpicking and I don't have to grow funny fingernails.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 02:18 PM

Thanks for the participation guys. I just wrote a long response and lost it in space. Now lunch is over and I gotta go back to work.

What I was asking in the lost post was whether those of you who are now playing the melody with the alternating thumb rhythm are playing instrumentals/breaks or are accompanying your vocals. If you are accompanying your vocals are you playing a melody line or a harmony line with your fingers?

John


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Jed at Work
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 04:45 PM

Definately both, John. Generally speaking there is no reason to play the melody you are singing, but occasoinally paralleling the sung melody line, with a picked harmony line gives a nice accent. Also, picking bass runs while changing chords, can have a niec effect. Normally though, for me, picking the melody is reserved for instrumental breaks.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Jed at Work
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 04:45 PM

Definately both, John. Generally speaking there is no reason to play the melody you are singing, but occasoinally paralleling the sung melody line, with a picked harmony line gives a nice accent. Also, picking bass runs while changing chords, can have a nice effect. Normally though, for me, picking the melody is reserved for instrumental breaks.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 06:20 PM

Jed explains it all and nicely, and he does know what he's talking about (seems to me you have some samples of your playing at a website somewhere, Jed, could you post the link to it?) I would add that many of us moved from the "Boxer" and "Don't Think Twice" which is really a very distinctively "Folkie" sound, to a Merle Travis kind of thing that works for a wider variety of styles and allows a lot of room for soloing and solo instrumentals--


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 06:54 PM

"I would add that many of us moved from the "Boxer" and "Don't Think Twice" which is really a very distinctively "Folkie" sound, to a Merle Travis kind of thing that works for a wider variety of styles and allows a lot of room for soloing and solo instrumentals-- "

M.Ted,
It would be very instructive if you would take the time to share what you mean as the difference between the two (Especially as many instruction books refer to the "Don't Think Twice" pattern as "travis style").

Thanks,

John


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Oct 00 - 07:48 PM

Basically, the Don't Think Twice and such things use a fixed finger picking patern based on double thumbing that lasts about four counts (You could call it two counts, but I have like to count each bass note as a beat)--the high note is a chord note, and acts like a fixed reference--In the Travis picking, the higher notes move around, often with the melody or with ornaments and fills, and, though the bass notes keep pounding away, they can alternate, stay fixed on one note, or walk, depending--Travis picking can have damped bass notes, and often has a much more syncopated or blues/Jazz feel--Nother difference, the first often uses thumb and two fingers, Travis uses only thumb and index, though the index can brush a either up or down--and one may, with practice, do as Jed does, and use the index fingernail like a pick--


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: JamesJim
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 12:18 AM

I'm envious of you folks who can pick out the melody. I can do this a little, but I think my problem is that I concentrate so much on singing, I don't spend much time on progressing on my fingerpicking (playing breaks). I seem to be stuck (I can pick freight train and that's about it). I bought some Homespun tapes on finger picking, but I can't seem to get in the groove. Anyone have any suggestions to get me out of this rut?

Jim


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: kimmers
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 01:18 AM

I fingerpick, but if I ever stopped to figure out what patterns I'm using I'd be unable to do it. Sort of like the centipede trying to figure out which leg to move first... think about it too hard, and you're doomed.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: John Hardly
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 07:10 AM

JamesJim,

How long have you been fingerpicking? Most people with whom I've discussed this say that they just sort of evolved into playing the melody lines. Two things seemed to help; 1. Becoming so second natured about the "pattern" that you are like kimmers and can hardly tell the order in which your fingers play the strings, and 2. learning to be more specific with the chords you use--certain chord inversions will contain the melody's notes in the order in which you need them. A simple example of this that comes up often is learning to play D7 X5453X instead of X00212.

I'm quick to assume that you probably already know all this but--you asked :>)

John


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Grab
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 07:57 AM

Another pattern is the "Don Maclean" style, which I like. He often picks with the thumb on 2 consecutive notes, so for example playing G you'd pick bottom G with the thumb, let it fall through and pick D on the next note, then play the rest of the fingers. Since this gives you two consecutive "purely-thumb" bits, it leaves your fingers free for longer to put melody in, and the 2 low notes give a nice "ripple" effect to the arpeggio. Alternatively, if you play 4 measures with 2 thumb, 1st finger and 2nd finger, this leaves the 3rd finger free to ornament the arpeggio with some melody.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 12:18 PM

Grab. that is "double Thumbing"--

The thing to remember is that the more complex your finger picking pattern, the less room you have for other things, like melody notes--If you want a full picking pattern, you won't have room for a melody line--If you want to have alternating bass, your melody line is going to be kind of mechanical--If you want a bass note on every beat, you have limited options in harmonizing the melody--If you want a flowing melody line, you can only fit bass notes and chord notes in certain places--


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: JamesJim
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 08:05 PM

John Hardly, actually I appreciate your thoughts very much. I am not what you would call a novice, but I'm certainly not far advanced. As I said, I find myself concentrating on singing more than playing - I need some balance.

Thanks,

Jim


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 09:17 PM

JamesJim - if you have to concentrate on singing and you do so - continue with it. It's a good opportunity to learn singing. You will know how to sing when you don't have to concentrate on it any more. You'll get another opportunity to learn playing your guitar once you are able to simply sing without really noticing and then listen to what your guitar is doing. That's how it happened and still happens to me. Don't try to force something, simply go on, GO ON.

And don't think you'll learn faster by clinging to a song until it's perfect, then to the next and so on. Cling to a song until you can do it by heart (i.e. you KNOW it. Knowing songs at all is much more important than doing them good.) And then take the next one. This will keep you from being bored by your own music and your learning will be faster because of your own interest. Your audience? You can outperfom any perfect player by simply knowing two songs more than he does. (The right ones of course *grin* in fact this will take you the effort of learning ten songs more, but what's difficult with it?)

Joerg


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Grab
Date: 27 Oct 00 - 08:32 AM

MTed, didn't realise there was a proper name for it. Still, as the song goes:-

I have to be confessin', I've never had a lesson,
All my notes are a matter of guessin'...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: JamesJim
Date: 27 Oct 00 - 02:53 PM

Guest Joerg, thanks. Actually, I have been playing/singing for 20 years and don't have the problem you described. Most of those years I was a flat picker, or simply played various folk strums when singing. I have sung with a group for most of those 20 years, but also do solo stuff. The fingerpicking thing justs intrigues me. I have become quiet adept at the picking, but really haven't concentrated on fingerpicking the meoldies. In fact, what I find myself doing is actually using the thumb pick to pick out melodies (falling back on my flat picking skills). I think I probably just need to spend some time working on this, alone, but I'm certain I'll get it in time.

Thanks.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: JamesJim
Date: 27 Oct 00 - 02:58 PM

duplicate message deleted by elf


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Oct 00 - 03:16 PM

Double thumbing as I have been learning it actually has 3 thumb strikes before the fingers go to work - thumb, thumb alternative string, thumb back to original string, then index, thumb, middle (4/4) -- then variations.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,Pixie
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 08:45 AM

I use the same pattern (plucking with thumb/middle finger at same time) for those songs to, but vary the rhythm depending on the "mood" of the song (please don't take this as an indication that I know what I'm doing). For some reason, I have not been able to master any kind of picks and even use my fingers to pick out the 3 fiddle tunes I managed to memorize. Can't pick out melody, but have learned a few runs which help.

The pattern you identified is one I used a lot. I learned it when I first started playing at 25 and it just stuck with me and I can't get rid of it.......


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: MK
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 11:07 AM

I employ all manner of various patterns into my playing using combinations of traditional Travis, as well as forward and reverse "banjo roll" styles, crosspicking, and more and more so including single string runs using a two fingered flatpicking style.

For the forward banjo rolls its a pattern that is 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2 (where the thumb is 1; 2 is the index; and 3 is the middle finger.)

For the reverse banjo rolls the pattern is 1-3-2-1-3-2-1-2. (Doc and Chet use a lot of these forward and reverse rolls in their picking.) I like it because you can break up a chord with these patterns, and it makes what you're doing sound a lot more complicated then it really is. Just a matter of practising and finessing them.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 02:24 PM

Michael K.,

When you two-finger "flat-pick" do you use fingerpicks or bare fingered? I've been re-teaching myself some fiddle tunes this way and am finding it to be an interesting option. Blake, Henderson, and Hall all can do it and seem to have no loss of drive, volume or speed.

John


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: MK
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 02:39 PM

John, I find I get the best attach using fingerpicks, but I also do it using just a thumb pick and the nail/skin combination of my index finger. Really depends on whether I want to play soft and quiet, or louder and more aggressive.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: MK
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 02:40 PM

"attach" should be attack.
I gotta spell check these things before hitting SUBMIT.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Dec 00 - 01:43 PM

A recent WebFerret search yielded a link to a site called Funky Junk that catalogs a lot of material about, by and for finger style guitar players. I assume any of the items for sale could be ordered through Sandy but this site looks like a good way to find out what material exists. It isn't listed on the Mudcat links page and I'm not entirely certain it belongs there but I thought some folks might be interested.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Amos
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 01:14 PM

My early training was a disciplined Thumb(1) Thumb(3)Middle(6)Thumb(1)Index(5)Thumb(3)Middle(6) repeated over and over and over. You can memorize the tune this makes in an open Am or full C with added bassG. Then just play it til your ears drop off and your thumb can do it in your sleep.

Since then (forty years ago) I have built out and added variations and different strokes and runs until I can no longer recognize the original pattern -- but it s what made it all possible. And as said above, it has ervolved into my own style, which I guess someone might learn to recognize if they wanted to take the time. :>) Or they could jes' sit around and eat carrots or pick their nose.

A


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: wdyat12
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 02:29 PM

Funny you should ask John. I learned Travers or Cotton picking from Ted Hickey when I was 12 years old. Freight Train was the first finger picking song I ever learned. Boy did I struggle with that (th,m),th,i,th,mth,(th/m),th,i,th,m,th, not always in that order though. Quite a flashback you've given me John. I use that picking style and variations in a lot of my own tunes now. Can't seem to shake it.

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: wdyat12
Date: 31 Mar 01 - 03:55 PM

Now, forty years later, I'm going to learn something new!

Thanks John.

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 10:52 AM

Amos,
I think I mostly use the same pattern as you. I wish I had read your post a little closer though, as I fide byself with a carrot ub by doze ad ab ud-able to extract it.

wydat 12
I was just at a gathering of pickers yesterday and after 35 years, I was reminded anew of how little of the surface I've scratched.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: Amos
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 11:28 AM

LOL, John! This hyar Mudcat is living proof, even in this high-falutin Digital Age, that you sure can pick your friends! And your Martin! And your nose.

But don't try picking your friend's nose!! OR his Martin!! Unless you ask nicely. "Excuse me old pal, but if I promised to take very good care of it, would you mind is I spent a few minutes picking your nose?"

Yuck....

A


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 06:32 PM

If you want to structure your picking approach a bit, it's well worth working your way through something like Mark Hanson's Contemporary Travis Picking. Takes you from "Boxer" picking through to quite flexible pattern picking over six strings.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Fingerpicking Fun
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 06:34 PM

Why, is this thread twelve years old? I do believe it is! Apologies.


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