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  • Guitar Glossary


Fingerstyle

A style of guitar picking using the thumb, index finger, middle finger and ring finger. This is commonly used in folk and classical music, and allows guitarists to create a more complex, layered sound with just one instrument. Finger-style players can usually support a bass line and a melody simultaneously.

Lessons for: Fingerstyle

1: Country-Blues Fingerstyle Introduction

  • Focus: Style Tutorial
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In this tutorial I'm gonna introduce you to a really cool style of guitar playing, "country-blues fingerstyle". It's mainly played on solo acoustic guitar, nylon or steel string and is also referred to as "ragtime guitar". You can think of it as the guitar version of stride or honky-tonk piano It takes a lot of practice getting comfortable with this style, because there's so much going on in both your left and your right hand. But this style is absolutely worth the work, because it ultimately enables you to accompany yourself with chords and rhythm while playing a melody...

2: Joy to the World: Fingerstyle Melody

  • Focus: Song
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In this segment, we'll take a closer look at how to play the fingerstyle melody solo arrangement for the song, Joy to the World. We'll take a look at the chords, and the fingering moves used in the video. Notice how the chords follow along the exact same way as they did in the vocal version of the song. You may need to make slight alterations (add or subtract a note) to a chord here and there to accommodate the melody. Still, it is important to hold down as much of the chord as you can while playing the melody solo. This adds to the subtle harmonies and overtones ...

3: O Come Ye Faithful: Fingerstyle Melody

  • Focus: Song
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In this segment, we'll take a closer look at how to play the fingerstyle melody solo arrangement for the song, O Come All Ye Faithful. We'll take a look at the chords, and the fingering moves used in the video. Notice how the chords follow along the exact same way as they did in the vocal version of the song. You may need to make slight alterations (add or subtract a note) to a chord here and there to accommodate the melody. Still, it is important to hold down as much of the chord as you can while playing the melody solo. This adds to the subtle harmonies and overto...

4: What Child: Fingerstyle Melody

  • Focus: Song
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In this segment, we'll take a closer look at how to play the fingerstyle melody solo arrangement for the song, What Child is This? We'll take a look at the chords, and the fingering moves used in the video. Notice how the chords follow along the exact same way as they did in the vocal version of the song. You may need to make slight alterations (add or subtract a note) to a chord here and there to accommodate the melody. Still, it is important to hold down as much of the chord as you can while playing the melody solo. This adds to the subtle harmonies and overtones...

5: Fingerstyle: Open E Tuning & Intro

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In this first lesson we'll get into the open E tuning and then I'll show you how to play the intro. The open E tuning is E-B-E-G#-B-E (low to high), so the open strings form the classic E major chord from the open position. Then your IV chord will be in the 5th fret and your V chord in the 7th and will sound like the barre chords with the root on the 6th string. If you play along with the record you'll notice the their E is slightly off pitch, so you'll have to tune to them if you wanna do that.

6: Country-Blues Fingerstyle Conclusion

  • Focus: Style Tutorial
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I hope this tutorial has shown you what a cool style of guitar playing this is. And if you get good at it, you can play concerts all by yourself without having to sing or anything- and there's is literally no limit to how far you can take this style! Check out guitar players like Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel and Merle Travis to see what I mean...





7: Fingerstyle Fiesta

  • Focus: Song
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In this lesson, we'll learn the patterns and riffs that comprise the fingerstyle version of this song. There is a small handful of riffs to learn, but once you've learned them, you'll see those same exact riffs again and again throughout the song. The fingerstyle version is played with capo on the second fret.





8: We Three Kings: Fingerstyle Instrumental

  • Focus: Song
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This version combines the melody and the chords with fingerstyle technique to create an instrumental solo of the tune.





9: Town of Bethlehem: Fingerstyle Instrumental

  • Focus: Song
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In this lesson, we'll combine the chords and the melody to create an instrumental version of the song, played fingerstyle.





10: 12-String Guitar, Fingerstyle

  • Focus: Technique
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In this lesson we'll take a look at how you can apply standard fingerstyle guitar technique to a 12-string guitar. Lessons on the songs demonstrated on the 12-string guitar in this lesson can be found here: SCARBOROUGH FAIR JOHN RILEY ******************** If you wish to learn more about fingerstyle technique, you can find a full series of tutorials here:



11: Right Hand Fingerstyle Technique

  • Focus: Style Tutorial
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In order to play all the independent and simultaneous parts required of the classical guitar style, you have to develop and use a right hand fingerstyle technique extensively and virtually exclusively. Much of developing proper classical playing style is focused on this fingerstyle technique.





12: God Rest Ye Merry: Fingerstyle Melody

  • Focus: Song
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Here is an example of how you can use a portion of a song's melody, played fingerstyle, to create an arrangement for performing the song. In this rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, I use a simple two-measure melody line to function as an intro, and as a spacer in between the sung verses. I use another portion of the melody to serve as an Outro to the song. You'll see both of these melody riffs notated in the tablature below, at the beginning and at the end of the sheet music version. As you work on the melody riff, listen for the quality and duration of ea...

13: Silent Night: Fingerstyle Melody

  • Focus: Song
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In this segment, we'll take a closer look at how to play the fingerstyle melody solo arrangement for the song, Silent Night. We'll take a look at the chords, and the fingering moves used in the video. Notice how the chords follow along the exact same way as they did in the vocal version of the song. You may need to make slight alterations (add or subtract a note) to a chord here and there to accommodate the melody. Still, it is important to hold down as much of the chord as you can while playing the melody solo. This adds to the subtle harmonies and overtones that the...

14: Times Were Lean: Fingerstyle Intro

  • Focus: Song
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The intro is broken into 2 parts, there is kind of a pre-intro that sets the tone for the song. Often, in recording sessions, bands will play a little bit of the song before actually starting to help get into the groove. This could be one of those moments. We're going to put capo on the 5th fret and play a C-shape chord. We alternate the bass notes between the 5th string and the 6th string and play the melody notes on the high three strings. We then outline the chords in the F shape and G shape.

15: A Thousand Miles: Fingerstyle Verse

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Once the vocals start, we pretty much play the what we've already played in the intro only with some slight variations.





16: Basic Right-Hand Techniques - Fingerstyle

  • Focus: Exercises
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This lesson is all about getting your right hand used to doing something other than just strumming. The main object of these excercises is to get your right hand thumb to habitually play the bottom note of any chord.By bottom note I mean root note which could be found on any of the bottom three strings depending on the chord - e.g. the root of open D is the 4th string open - the root of open Em is the 6th string open. The root note is always the same as the name of the chord - i.e. chord = A minor - Root note = A. The right hand indications on the tab follow th...

17: Fingerstyle Rhythm

  • Focus: Style Tutorial
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John Mayer's newer acoustic guitar compositions demonstrate a more traditional finger-style technique. His use of interesting chord voicings along with a defined rhythmic finger-style technique account for a good demonstration of both the modern and traditional. This example in E major provides a finger style example that utilizes both a strong rhythm in the bass notes along with a moving melody on the upper strings. Integrating more finger-style techniques into your playing can be used to spice up a rhythm guitar part along with adding variety to your chord progressions...

18: Learn the Fingerpicking Pattern

  • Focus: Style Tutorial
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This set of lessons will take you step by step through the process of learning to play some fingerstyle blues in the key of E. We'll start with the basic pattern, and then add fun new elements one by one. By the time you've finished this set of lessons, you should be able to play through the 12 bar blues cycle three times over, making each one different as you use an array of variations on the basic moves. Let's start with the picking pattern. This pattern will be the backdrop to the entire piece, so it's important to get really comfortable with it.

19: Star Spangled Banner Classical

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In this tutorial we will learn a solo classical, fingerstyle arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner". This tune was originally a British drinking song written by John Stafford Smith in the 1760s. In 1814 Francis Scott Key wrote the poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" to be sung to this tune. Key's poem and Smith's tune were officially designated as the national anthem of the United States in 1931.



20: We 3 Kings: Secrets of the Solo

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In this lesson, we'll look at the underlying sensibilities that inform the solo. Specifically, we'll look at the idea of using PATTERN, plus CHORDS, plus MELODY to make up a fingerstyle solo for We Three Kings.





21: We 3 Kings, 2 Ways: The Big Picture

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In this set of lessons, we'll learn to play We Three Kings, in two different ways. FIrst, we'll do a fingerstyle instrumental melody solo. Then, we'll look at how to play the song with a repetitive 3/4 time fingerpicking pattern, providing a good backdrop against which to sing. Both versions go together perfectly. Learn them both, and make a whole piece out of it!



22: Stranger in Cork: The Big Picture

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Welcome to this set of lessons on how to play the traditional Celtic tune 'A Stranger in Cork', fingerstyle. In this first lesson, we'll take an overview of the tune, and listen to it so you can get it in your head. Then we'll do a session on Tips and Tricks that will help you to learn to play it more easily. After that, we'll play it together, slowed down. And finally, we'll play it together up to speed, with a Celtic session-style backup band!

23: Little Red Lark: The Big Picture

  • Focus: Song
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Welcome to this set of lessons on how to play the traditional Celtic tune 'Little Red Lark', fingerstyle. In this first lesson, we'll take an overview of the tune, and listen to it so you can get it in your head. Then we'll do a session on Tips and Tricks that will help you to learn to play it more easily. After that, we'll play it together, slowed down. And finally, we'll play it together up to speed, with a Celtic session-style backup band! This tune is a jig, which means it is played in 6/8 time. Each measure of the music gets a count of six beats. Someone once de...

24: Chet Atkins Style: Part 13

  • Focus: Artist
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Let's try a few higher chord voicings with the three finger roll that uses four fingers. You'll learn some great new voicings for chords that you already know and they will sound great with the combination of open strings that allow the chord to sustain between chord changes. This is a Chet Atkins trademark. Now that we've wrapped up this study, I hope you've learned some new chord voicings and fingerstyle techniques. No one can play like Atkis without learning these basics of his style. With these tools in your toolbox you will be able to break down some of th...

25: Oh Danny Boy 1: The Big Picture

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In this set of lessons, we'll learn to play a fingerstyle instrumental version of the beautiful traditional Irish song, Oh Danny Boy. We will go through the tune line-by-line and note-by-note, so that you will have a crystal clear strategy for learning to play it. Not only that, we will look at the THEORY and PRACTICE PRINCIPLES behind the specific suggestions I make as to how you should go about learning this tune. This will not only help you to learn this tune, but also teaches a method for approaching the 'Practice of Practice", which you can translate to all of...

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