3 Basic Fingerpicking Tips That Will Save You on Years of Practice

Playing the guitar requires skill, effort, and more than just that, it requires the player to put their heart and soul into it. If you can relate to an artist like Kurt Cobain, and feel the need to go quiet for hours, sitting in a comfortable corner, playing the rhythm guitar, while paying no heed to the worries of the world, perhaps you tried plucking. Jimmy Page once quoted, “I believe every guitar player inherently has something unique about their playing. They just have to identify what makes them different and develop it.” But how do you identify your uniqueness? For starters, take a look at these finger styling tips and see if your heart is really into it.

1. Maintain consistent nail length

For perfect fingerpicking, you need to make sure that all your nails are of the same length. Finger styling is tricky. One millimeter here or there and the guitar will suddenly start sounding like a car crash rather than producing a smooth sound. You fingerpicking hand must have smoothly cut nails of consistent length. If you like scratchy sounds, grow your nails longer. If you like softer and subtle sounds, you might want them to line up with the edge of your fingers.

2. Pick a pattern

To make your finger styling technique more versatile, tackle as many patterns as you can with your picking hand. This can be achieved by working on a different pattern each time you practice. Here’s how to create a pattern:

    1. Create a fingerpicking pattern between 3 and 8 notes long.
    2. Start the pattern with the thumb.
    3. Choose the rest of the fingers at random. With this, you’ll be able to come up with a different pattern every time. The key is to master them all.

3. Anchoring and hovering fingers

While fingerpicking, one of the problems you would struggle with is figuring out where to anchor the fingers that are not picking. You can use the guitar’s body to anchor your fingers and maintain good balance. Most guitarists usually place their ring and little fingers on the guitar’s body to maintain a grip. If this feels weird to you, just try hovering your fingers over the strings. This way you can use these two fingers to play extra strings.

These three basic tips should probably help you gain some clarity on how fingerpicking is done. But more than just this, it is of utter importance to figure out your own style and pattern. Nobody became a world-famous guitarist by simply copying other expert guitarists. They formed a style of their own.

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