Picking with fingers

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by wideawake, Dec 23, 2009.


  1. wideawake

    wideawake Member

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    I really like trying to play lead lines and the like with my fingers, has a distinct sound/pop to it. I am horrible at it though. Any suggestions? Other than the practice like crazy line that I already know. I have been trying to use my thumb and first two fingers. I am talking about something along the lines of Lindsy Buckingham.

    Thoughts/suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  2. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Get a beginner's classical guitar book (or a few) and work through the pieces in there, i.e. practice!

    Good luck!

    Dave
     
  3. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    It is fun to do and has it's own sound. For scale type runs I use i-m alternate. But for arpeggios or to do a sweep style lick I'd use different combinations.
    Check out Mark Knopfler and Keith Urban. and Jeff Beck.

    A great easy lick to practice is the end of Sultans of Swing arpeggio lick.

    13-p-10---10---------------------------

    --------10----------------------------

    -----------------------------------------

    ------------------------------------------

    --------------------------------------------

    ----------------------------------------
     
  4. NyteOwl

    NyteOwl Member

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    ^^^^^
    Sultans is a great tune to start working on. Most of the fills are short phrases that aren't all that difficult once you've played them a few times.
     
  5. GregoryL

    GregoryL Supporting Member

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    I'm almost exclusively a thumbpick and fingers player - a few suggestions...

    Practice with a metronome ... get your fingers picking in time.

    Start incorporating your ring finger now ... it's much more intuitive if you generally play one finger per string (i.e. index on g string, middle on b, ring on e) and then use the thumb for the lower strings.

    In addition to the classical suggestion above, travis picking and rockabilly stuff will help a lot with finger independence.
     
  6. markwough

    markwough Member

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    If you bend your wrist a little, you will find your hand in the best position to start finger picking. That time you can see that the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers fall naturally onto the strings. This may feel a little uncomfortable for a while but will soon become a habit and it is a good habit. Playing repetitive patterns is the only way of learning finger picking, but what you are after eventually is to be able to play anything at all at any time.
     
  7. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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  8. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Member

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    I started as a classical player so I'm very comfortable finger picking Classical or Flamenco. I think that you've got to use a modified technique for electric or Blues though as classical has the hand fairly vertical across the strings (at a right angle) with the palm elevated.

    I've largely jettisoned the pick on my electric guitars lately and I'm trying to see if fingers only is feasible.

    A combination of both would be great, but I don't know where/how to effectively hide the pick ;-)
     
  9. Swain

    Swain Member

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    For Single Note Lines, I often use Alternating THumb/Index Fingers on Single Strings.
    Also, I'd work a lot on learning to play Basslines with your Thumb. Really solid, well formed Basslines, with great Time.
     
  10. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Great advice so far.

    From a classical player's perspective:

    Picking hand fingers are PIMA - Thumb (P) Index, Middle, and Annular (Ring).

    Classical Arpeggio studies are full of different patterns to practice for "rolls" and arps.

    --------------
    -----------1--
    --------0-----
    -----2--------
    --3----------
    --------------

    Would be played p-i-m-a

    Some standard patterns to work on are

    p-i-m-a
    p-m-i-a
    p-a-m-i

    you can also do three finger four note versions with alternating bass

    p-i-p-m, but like:
    ----------------------
    ---------------1(m)-
    -----0(i)-------------
    ---------2(p)---------
    --3(p)---------------

    This is THE classic picking pattern for most "folk"-based picking you hear in pop music, and is what Travis Picking is based on as well.

    There are more elaborate patterns than these of course, but these are basics.

    For single note lines, classical guitarists use two strokes - appoyando and tirando which are "applied" or "rest" strokes and "free" strokes. In rest strokes, when you pick a string, your finger "comes to rest" on the next adjacent string (down for your thumb, up for your other fingers). In free strokes, your fingers touch any string only as it is picked.

    Players use rest strokes for more power, and to bring out melody lines in complex textures. They even use a combination of free and rest in patterns where an upper melody note is played above an arpeggiated texture or bass line.

    So most scale studies use both strokes for playing scales, and every finger combination of i-m, i-a, p-i, m-i, i-m-a, etc. for playing scales. The idea being not to overwork any single technique, and be able to do any of them when the music calls for it.

    So I think you'd do yourself a lot of good by looking into classical technique and applying it to modern guitar - and of course modern fingerstyle has developed in its own right, so yes, practice, practice, practice.

    Best,
    Steve
     
  11. cochese

    cochese Member

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    I just recently posted a video of me playing one of my songs with my fingers here. http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=648379 I normally play with a pick but also use my fingers quite a bit. All of the advice given here are great ideas. For myself I just found that by gradually using my fingers with a pick I was able to get more proficient at the technique. Also playing both acoustic steel string and nylon string helps.

    The only thing is that the string spacing on the electric is more narrow which make is a bit harder.

    Lindsey Buckingham is a great player and quite unique but I really think he is an acoustic player first who had to figure out how to apply that technique and make it work on electric whereas Jeff Beck and Knopfler seem to come at it from the other direction.
     
  12. wideawake

    wideawake Member

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    thats for all the responses. some nice pointers and practice tips.

    side tangent, it is hard for me to comprehend how Buckingham plays "Big Love" off The Dance album, even though I have seen it with my own eyes. With the thumb working fully independent of the other fingers. But I can see that it is possible, so that is something.

    it is always a daunting task when you see where you want to go and you fully realize where you are starting out at.
     

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