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Intro to Acoustic Fingerpicking

 
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Description

This four-step fingerpicking pattern is a powerful building block for fingerstyle guitar. Master this pattern, then check out the variations in subsequent lessons.


For this pattern, play the BASS NOTE of the chord (the lowest sounding note that is included in the chord) with a downward pluck of your thumb. Next, pluck upwards on the first string (high E string) with your middle finger. Next, pluck downwards on the third string (G string) with your thumb. Lastly, pluck upwards on the second string (B string) with your index finger.


Repeat over and over, trying to maintain a consistent rhythm, and gradually building up your speed.


A NOTE ON BASS NOTES: This lesson makes reference to “Bass Notes”, as they relate to whatever chord you are playing. If you are unclear on what that means or want more information, see my lesson on Bass Notes, at the link below:


WHAT is a BASS NOTE?
http://www.guitartricks.com/lesson.php?input=11364


COMMONLY ASKED FINGERPICKING QUESTIONS:


Q: I see you are using only your thumb, index, and middle fingers? I’ve seen some players use three fingers, plus the thumb. Which is correct?

A: There is no absolute right or wrong to this. You’ll hear opinions on both sides of the aisle. My personal preference is based on the tradition called “Travis Picking” named for Merle Travis.


Q: What is TRAVIS PICKING?

A: The signature "Travis" move is that alternating thumb beat - the fact that your thumb does double-duty, alternating between the bass note, and the third string (or a variation of that) of the guitar. That provides a steady rhythm against which you can then add ornamentations, syncopation, melody, etc. Some students ask why they can't do these same patterns using three fingers, and the thumb on the bass note only. Technically you may be able to, but in so doing you compromise that steady "thump thump" of the Travis-style thumb beats.

Lesson Info
Instructor Lisa McCormick
Styles:
Difficulty:
Published