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Note: This section is still under construction, and may be lacking content (or some inaccuracies); It may be better to check back at a later date. Thank you.

Finger-Picking

Fingerpicking is when you pick the notes of a chord at different times rather than just strumming. You will usually use your fingers with your "picking hand" rather than a plectrum. An example simple fingerpicking is by simply playing a chord and picking the notes one after another such as the example below:

    (A Major)

[1]---------------------
[2]-----------2---------
[3]--------2-----2------
[4]-----2-----------2---
[5]--0------------------
[6]---------------------
     T  I  M  R  M  I

If you noticed the letters T, I, M & R you are probably wondering what they mean. Well, they denote which finger you should use to pluck each note:

Letter Finger/Meaning
TThumb
IIndex/first finger
MMiddle/middle finger
RRing/third finger
PPinkie/little finger

It is not often that you will see these but I will include them here to help you use the correct fingers, until you can use them naturally. You may have noticed that there is also another letter in there (P). This is fairly uncommon, but you may occasionaly come across it.

A slightly harder exercise is written below:

    (A Major)

[1]-----0--------------------0--------------
[2]--------2--------------------2-----------
[3]--------------2--------------------2-----
[4]-----------2--------------------2--------
[5]--0--------------------0-----------------
[6]-----------------------------------------
     T  R  M  I  M        T  R  M  I  M

To include your little finger in this exercise try it like this:

    (A Major)

[1]-----0--------------------0--------------
[2]--------2--------------------2-----------
[3]--------------2--------------------2-----
[4]-----------2--------------------2--------
[5]--0--------------------0-----------------
[6]-----------------------------------------
     T  P  R  I  M          T  P  R  I  M

Try these exercises with different chords, and also try changing chords using different chord sequences. Once you can do these fluently and make up your own sequences you can think about trying some harder styles.

Advanced Techniques

There are various ways of finger picking that involve keep a bass line moving with your thumb whilst also playing a melody or rhythm with your other fingers. First hold down an E Major and pluck the 6th-string (or the forth for an octave) followed by the 5th-string, and keep this pattern going:

[1]---------------------
[2]----------------------
[3]---------------------
[4]---------------------
[5]-------2---------2---
[6]--0---------0--------
     T    T    T    T

These notes can be counted as 1 2 3 4. Now we can add a rhythm to this using our first finger:

        I     I     I
[1]-----------------------
[2]-----------------------
[3]-----1-----1-----1-----
[4]-----------------------
[5]--------2-----------2--
[6]--0-----------0--------
     T     T     T     T

These notes fall in between the bass notes and are counted by saying and or &. So the whole thing would be counted as 1 & 2 & 3 & 4. With the bass notes being the numbers and the treble being counted as &.

This can be taken a step further by changing some of the treble to play a string up (in pitch that is):

        I     M     I
[1]------------------------
[2]-----------0-----------
[3]-----1-----------1------
[4]------------------------
[5]--------2-----------2--
[6]--0-----------0--------
     T     T     T     T

So all you are doing is the last example but the second rhythm note is moved down a string and is played with your middle finger. Now we could add another finger in to the equation and play a note on the thin E string at the same time as the first bass note. We will then delay the first rhythm note in the example above and miss out the last one. Bit tricky to explain so look below:

     R       I     M
[1]--0-------------------
[2]----------------0-----
[3]----------1-----------
[4]----------------------
[5]-------2-----------2--
[6]--0----------0--------
     T    T     T     T

You can keep adding in extra notes until you can add no more. Just try different patterns and Chord Sequences until you are comfortable with this style. Try changing the bass note pattern as well. You can try something like:

[1]---------------------
[2]---------------------
[3]---------------------
[4]-------0---------0---
[5]------------2--------
[6]--0------------------
     T    T    T    T

Just keep playing around and trying new patterns until you find your style.


All tutorials and content written by Rick Bull unless otherwise stated
Page's last update: Friday, 15th January 2010; 12:52:26 GMT +0000
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