Performing music using fingerstyle guitar technique is one of the most beautiful methods of playing the guitar that we have available to us. It offers us the ability to perform arpeggiated chord phrases with both ease and accuracy. This lesson works to explain the first stages of how to enter the world of performing fingerstyle guitar.
FINGERSTYLE GUITAR PRIMER:
In order to play fingerstyle guitar at a competent level of skill, it is important to develop good plucking-hand posture along with accurate finger coordination.
These two areas of plucking-hand skill are best practiced using a “Classical” (also referred to as “Nylon String”), guitar. This type of acoustic guitar offers greater string spacing, thus allowing for easier time during the early stages of finger-plucking training on the instrument.
NOTE: The “Classical” guitar is approx. “5 cm” across in string width, while a steel-string acoustic and the electric guitars are only approx. “4.2 cm.” The extra space in string width, allows for the fingerstyle student to have greater ease of accuracy in the early days of learning to develop finger-picking skill.
In order to achieve higher skill levels for Fingerstyle, a guitar student needs to begin by first learning how to establish good plucking hand posture (how the pluck-hand is being held above the strings).
Along with accurate plucking-hand posture above the strings, the other area to master is the application of, “p-i-m-a” (thumb, middle, ring-finger and small finger), pluck technique.
ESTABLISHING PLUCK-HAND POSTURE:
When plucking the guitar guitar strings fingerstyle, the plucking hand must float freely above the guitar strings.
NOTE: When playing guitar finger-picked style, the player must never anchor the hand or fingers to any part of the guitar’s bridge or or to the guitar’s soundboard.
When playing notes or chords, the plucking hand must also maintain a distance off of the strings that is close enough to the strings so that each finger is able to track the pluck attack of each string accurately.
To achieve this, it will require that the finger-style student dedicate a great deal of time toward the accurate practice of proper plucking-hand technique.
THE “P.I.M.A.” TECHNIQUE:
The “p-i-m-a” technique refers to the method that fingerstyle guitarists will use to pluck the strings with the playing hand.
To learn accurate finger placement for the “p-i-m-a” technique, start with a simple exercise of playing one string while maintaining the, “X-Shape,” (discussed in the video lesson).
After developing some initial skill with the “p-i-m-a” fingering/plucking technique, move on to the first set of chord plucking exercises, (found in the PDF handout you can download below and covered in the video lesson).
When you feel ready, start practicing the songs that are shown in the handout and covered in the video lesson, (tab and notation are included in the PDF handout).
NOTE: It is also important to listen to the original recordings that are mentioned throughout the PDF handout.
- Click the button below to download the handout
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