Saturday, October 29, 2011

How To Develop Your Fingerstyle Technique

The right hand doesn't need to play the strings with the pick. You can also use your fingers. By assigning each of your fingers to a string, you can play in ways that a pick just doesn't offer.

Usually, the thumb is assigned to the bass notes. This consists of the 6th , 5th and sometimes the 4th string. The fingers handle the job of plucking the 1st , 2nd , 3rd and sometimes the 4th string.

With each finger and thumb assigned to their own jobs, a very efficient and effective playing style is developed.


Keep your thumb parallel with the 6th string. This is very important for accuracy and consistent tone. The striking surface is on the side located at the first joint above the nail.

Practice playing smooth strokes on the 6th and 5th strings until you can produce a clear tone and even volume.

The thumb is most often indicated by the letter, “P” or the “+” symbol in standard notation and tablature.

This is the beginning of your fingerstyle adventure!


Your fingers should be relaxed and allow to naturally arch slightly upward. Assign your 1st finger to the 3rd string, 2nd finger to the 2nd string, and your 3rd finger to the 1st string. Your 4th finger is also used however, you won't need it for these examples.

Practice plucking the 3rd string with your 1st finger by bringing your finger upward into your palm. Don't move your wrist – just your finger. Play this string a few times and then repeat this motion using your other fingers on their respective strings.

Once you are able to play a smooth stroke with your fingers, try playing them in succession. With practice, you'll achieve consistent volume and tone among all 3 strings.

Remember to only move your finger to strike the strings. You want minimal movement for optimal accuracy and endurance.

The below exercises are all based on E minor so you can focus on your fingerstyle technique.


E |---------0------------3------------7------------10----------12---
B |-------0-----------0------------0------------0------------0-------
G |----0-----------0------------0------------0-------------0---------
D |-------------------------------------------------------------------
A |-------------------------------------------------------------------
E |--0-----------0------------0------------0-------------0----------


E |--12-----------10------------7----------3-------7----------------
B |------0---0--------0----0------0---0------0-------0-------------
G |--------0-------------0-----------0----------0-------0-----------
D |-------------------------------------------------------------------
A |------------------------------------------------------------------
E |--0------------0--------------0----------0-----------------------


E |--12-----------------10----7------------------3------------------
B |------0---0--------0----------0----0--------0--------------------
G |--------0--------0---------------0---------0---------------------
D |------------------------------------------------------------------
A |------------------------------------------------------------------
E |--0------------0------------0------------0-----------------------
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