Fingerstyle Guitar Secrets: Learn the Tricks and Tips that Make You Sound Like a Pro
Learn and Master Fingerstyle Guitar Free Download
Fingerstyle guitar is a beautiful and versatile way of playing the guitar that can enrich your musical repertoire and expression. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, you can always learn new skills and techniques to improve your fingerstyle guitar playing. In this article, we will explore what fingerstyle guitar is, how to learn it, how to master it, and where to find free resources and courses to help you along the way.
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What is Fingerstyle Guitar?
Fingerstyle guitar is a technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to using a single pick or plectrum. This allows the guitarist to play multiple musical elements simultaneously, such as melody, harmony, bass, and percussion. Fingerstyle guitar can be used in various genres and styles of music, from classical to folk, blues to jazz, rock to pop, and more.
Definition and History
The term "fingerstyle" is sometimes used interchangeably with "fingerpicking", but they are not exactly the same. Fingerpicking is a specific tradition of folk, blues, and country guitar playing that originated in the US in the early 20th century. Fingerstyle, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses any style of plucking the strings with the fingers. Fingerstyle guitar has a long and rich history that can be traced back to ancient times and different cultures around the world. Some of the earliest examples of fingerstyle guitar are found in Spanish flamenco, African kora, Hawaiian slack-key, Indian sitar, and Chinese pipa.
Benefits and Challenges
Playing fingerstyle guitar has many benefits for both the guitarist and the listener. Some of the benefits are:
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It allows more control over the tone, dynamics, and articulation of each note.
It enables more complex and varied musical arrangements that can sound like a full band or orchestra.
It enhances musical creativity and expression by allowing the guitarist to improvise and experiment with different patterns, techniques, and effects.
It improves musical ear and theory by exposing the guitarist to different chords, scales, modes, and harmonies.
It develops finger strength, coordination, independence, and dexterity.
However, playing fingerstyle guitar also has some challenges that require patience and practice to overcome. Some of the challenges are:
It requires more concentration and attention to detail than playing with a pick.
It demands more maintenance and care for the fingernails or picks used to pluck the strings.
It involves learning new skills and techniques that may not be familiar or comfortable at first.
It poses more difficulty in playing fast or loud passages than playing with a pick.
It may cause more fatigue or injury to the fingers if not done properly or excessively.
Examples of Famous Fingerstyle Guitarists
There are many famous fingerstyle guitarists who have inspired generations of musicians with their amazing skills and styles. Some of them are:
Andrés Segovia: The father of modern classical guitar who popularized the instrument in the 20th century with his virtuosic performances and recordings of classical repertoire.
Chet Atkins: The master of country fingerpicking who influenced countless guitarists with his smooth and sophisticated style that blended country, jazz, blues, pop, and rock.
Tommy Emmanuel: The Australian guitar legend who dazzles audiences worldwide with his energetic and expressive style that incorporates various genres of music, from classical to rock, folk to pop, and more.
Antoine Dufour: The Canadian fingerstyle guitarist who won the 2006 Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championship and has released several acclaimed albums. His style is characterized by complex harmonies, percussive effects, and melodic hooks.
Sungha Jung: The South Korean prodigy who started uploading his fingerstyle covers and originals on YouTube at the age of nine. He has since gained millions of fans and collaborated with artists like Jason Mraz, 2NE1, and Tommy Emmanuel.
Andy McKee: The American fingerstyle guitarist who rose to fame with his viral video of "Drifting", a song that showcases his innovative use of tapping, slapping, and altered tunings. He has also composed music for video games, movies, and TV shows.
Luca Stricagnoli: The Italian fingerstyle guitarist who is known for his creative arrangements of popular songs using multiple guitars, capos, and custom-made instruments. He has also invented a new technique called "reverse slide guitar".
How to Learn Fingerstyle Guitar?
If you are interested in learning fingerstyle guitar, you may wonder where to start and what to do. There is no one right way to learn fingerstyle guitar, but there are some basic skills and techniques that you should master before moving on to more advanced levels. Here are some steps that can help you learn fingerstyle guitar:
Basic Skills and Techniques
The first step to learning fingerstyle guitar is to get familiar with the basic skills and techniques that are essential for playing with your fingers. These include:
Finger Positioning: You should position your fingers on the strings in a way that allows you to pluck them cleanly and comfortably. A common method is to assign your thumb to the bass strings (E, A, D) and your index, middle, and ring fingers to the treble strings (G, B, E). You can also use your pinky finger for extra notes or effects.
Finger Independence: You should be able to move your fingers independently of each other, so that you can play different musical elements at the same time. A good way to practice this is to play simple patterns or exercises that involve alternating or combining your fingers on different strings.
Finger Coordination: You should be able to coordinate your fingers with your left hand, so that you can play chords, melodies, and harmonies in sync. A good way to practice this is to play songs or pieces that require both hands to work together.
Finger Strength: You should be able to pluck the strings with enough force and accuracy, so that you can produce clear and consistent sounds. A good way to practice this is to play scales or arpeggios with different dynamics and articulations.
Finger Nails: You should decide whether you want to use your fingernails or not for playing fingerstyle guitar. Some guitarists prefer to use their fingernails because they can produce louder and brighter sounds. Others prefer to use their fingertips because they can produce softer and warmer sounds. If you choose to use your fingernails, you should keep them trimmed and shaped properly, so that they don't interfere with your playing or damage your strings.
Tips and Tricks
The second step to learning fingerstyle guitar is to apply some tips and tricks that can enhance your playing and make it more interesting and enjoyable. These include:
Use a Metronome: You should use a metronome or a drum machine to keep a steady tempo and rhythm while playing fingerstyle guitar. This will help you develop your timing and accuracy, as well as your groove and feel.
Use a Capo: You should use a capo or a device that clamps on the fretboard of your guitar to change the pitch of the strings. This will allow you to play in different keys without changing your fingerings or tuning. It will also open up new possibilities for chords, melodies, and harmonies.
Use Alternate Tunings: You should experiment with alternate tunings or different ways of tuning your guitar strings. This will create new sounds and textures for your fingerstyle guitar playing. It will also challenge your creativity and ear training.
Use Percussive Effects: You should add some percussive effects or sounds that are produced by hitting or tapping the body or the strings of your guitar. Th