How To Fingerpick Guitar? 3 Easy Steps You Should Know !!

Modern music used to be just strumming all the way throughout the ending of the song. Just strum your guitar, follow some chord progressions, and sing along.

But now, fingerstyle is becoming mainstream and sometimes, eliminating the need for a vocalist! Now, you might be asking people or google how to fingerpick guitar and find some trouble following this path.

Honestly, this field is harder than the default strumming style, especially if you are aiming to cover a whole song including the melodic parts. Some positions can be tricky and awkward.

The timing can be challenging too since you will surely not be following the default synchronized rhythm. But fear not, the difficulty it presents is worth all the techniques and quality of music you can play!

Notes For First Timers

If this is your first time to study a musical instrument, you’re in for a treat! If you have not learned any techniques yet, then you have nothing to unlearn!

Guitarists, including me, have this tendency to develop unwanted habits especially when no one is guiding you in your endeavor. Be patient, time will do its magic towards getting good with your new hobby!

 You can read more: How To Get Better At Guitar?​

3 Steps To Sound Good At Playing Fingerstyle Guitar

1. Guitar Handling

how to fingerpick guitar like the best

Photo Credit: fretjam.com

I find it more comfortable to hold the guitar similar to how classical guitarists hold their instrument. Cross your legs and put the curve of your guitar over your leg.

This way, you can reach further when you drop your shoulders and elbow. You will find this more comfortable when picking compared to the conventional position.

Have your guitar in positioned slightly angled towards you so leaving a space between the instrument and your belly. Aside from having a better view of the fretboard, you will have longer sustain.

When the body of the guitar is flat in your belly, your belly absorbs some frequencies and dampens the sound. Having it at this position gives you better tone and quality of sound.

2. Left Hand Position

how to fingerpick guitar for beginners

Hold the neck of the guitar as if you are holding an apple. Your palms should not be touching the neck, and your thumb must be aligned with your middle finger on the opposite side. This position is quite difficult at first but you will get the hang of it after a few sessions.

For the non-guitarists, master this technique and you can surely have a better reach across the fretboard. If you have been playing for a while now, you have to unlearn some unwanted habits. This position will let you avoid, if not eliminate buzzes and dead notes.

When playing a note, practice short moves slowly to avoid overly flicking your fingers. You will have to invest a few hours doing this position before you can finally master it.

3. Right Hand Position

Fingerpicking is much different from strumming. It requires you to individually and alternately pick strings while simultaneously changing chords with your left hand. If you want to master how to fingerpick guitar, the right hand will need lots of time to practice plucking techniques.

The ideal position is to plant your thumb on the sixth string, the low E string. The general idea for the thumb is it should be playing the three strings on the upper part of the fretboard. The index finger, middle finger, and the ring finger should be planted on the bottom three strings. This finger position is the ideal default, but you may have to change your finger positions for a few complicated songs.

how to play fingerpicking guitar

At this position, your right hand is ready to attack the four strings or arpeggiate  (pluck strings downwards or upwards in quick succession) and all six strings quickly. You can also use individual fingerpicks to liven up your tone.

Pro tip: Growing your fingernails a bit long and trimmed sideways will give you a remarkably better sound.

Play Style

Fingerpicking is as simple as individually picking each string. If you are really into it, you can mix it up with some tapping on various sides of your guitar.

Tapping over the wound strings gives you a snare like beat while tapping on top near the sound hole provides you with a bass drum-like thump. Having this tapping mixed with the fingerstyle will sound as if you are accompanied by a beatbox.

 You can read more: How To Lower The Action On An ​Acoustic Guitar?

In Summary

Remember to check how you handle your guitar, your left hand, and your right-hand position. Keeping the basic handling can give you a better sound and proper execution of techniques.

No one answer is enough to cover the question of how to fingerpick guitar. When you dive in this genre, you will encounter more difficulties as you progress.

This arena you want to learn will require you more time to practice, and there will be no short-cuts. It can be difficult at times, but as you learn and get better, the music will become better as well.

Fingerstyle is a great technique for solo performances that can surely make your play style stand out among the rest.

Did you enjoy the tutorial? Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions below. I would get back to you as soon as I can!

Samuel T.Cummins

Hi, thanks for visiting our blog. My name's Samuel T.Cummins. I love music so much and I've been playing guitar for 7 years. Blogging is my hobby and I'm happy so much to share my knowledge with everyone.

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How To Fingerpick Guitar? 3 Easy Steps You Should Know !!
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