Advice on fingerpicking style

Discussion in 'Acoustic BGU Questions and Comments' started by Tom_D, Nov 9, 2021.

  1. dvs

    dvs Green Mountain Blues

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    @Tom_D, to your original question - These days it seems I do mostly finger-style playing. I use almost exclusively my thumb, index finger and ring finger and I rarely use the other two at all. I've never paid attention to not playing the same string twice consecutively with the same finger. As far as I can tell in some quick tests, it doesn't seem to happen very often. When it does, it usually makes sense rhythmically and it feels quite natural. It's getting a little late for me to do much about it, but I can see that being a useful general recommendation for someone learning.

    In my bass guitar lessons, alternating fingers and what to do with them when moving from one string to another is given a lot of weight. I am finding it worth my while to pay more rigorous attention to that than I did with my 6-string.
     
    #21 dvs, Nov 11, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
  2. Elwood

    Elwood Blues

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    Doug, that is a fine response!!! You got me thinking about what I usually do. Like you I am usually Thumb and first two. I am not as disciplined as you, and many of the finger players here, so my fingers just sort of fend for themselves finding notes. I don't have a formal array of picking patterns (yet). I am finding that my third finger is joining in on the fun more often lately. Grabbing chords and some loose roll kinda moves. It doesn't seem offensive so I will probably let it go and see if it turns into something useful more often.

    I totally agree that striking the same string with the same finger consecutively may happen, or may not. More driven by the needs of the tune and my ability to get through it. I understand how that could be expressed as verboten, especially in a teacher/student situation. Just like alternate picking I guess, folks get all dogmatic sometimes. I'm so happy if something I do sounds good I don't care what got co-mingled.

    One thing that may make my views a bit less valuable to most of you, is that I have been trying to adjust to using a thumbpick, lots. This makes for some strange picking if you have my "free range" approach to picking. That is coming along. On a good day I can run my normal (xxx-ronome) drills using the thumbpick. Taking a dose of my "force adaptation" medicine. So far, I like how it is going, and the dogs love the back scratches. Along with all that I have been engaged in a lengthy struggle for independence, of my right thumb, that too is a work in progress.

    Playing bass, I just wore down the two long fingers, the thumb or any sort of plectrum was due to medical necessity (fingers shot and gotta play).

    Sometimes I find myself trying the two finger bass "stutter" (a short burst of whatever short notes fit) over one of the skinny strings, like the "B". I think if I can target the string accurately (practice) and kill all collateral noise (maybe some left hand muting) it could work and be interesting. Think of how some of those classical guitar lines go, I know - worlds apart - still a very cool sound if you could tame it.
     
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  3. Tom_D

    Tom_D Blues Newbie

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    Thank you, and Elwood, for the fine responses! This makes a ton of sense. I think what I'm going to do is practice the exercises that are specifically about thumb/finger independence as rote as I can, using different pairs of fingers, just to get my fingers loosened up and in the habit of moving around the strings. Then when I play the more melodic stuff and songs I won't think about it, I will just let them do whatever they want and I won't get mad at them.
     
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  4. LarryMolter

    LarryMolter Blues Newbie

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    I was going to post a new thread about the finger picking styles in this course, but then I found this thread. I have BGU, but I was interested in the ABGU course because, as Griff and others have said, sometimes you don't want to lug all of that equipment around just to play. Anyway, I was wondering (before finding this thread) if the "thumb-bass" technique was akin to Travis picking? I can pick with this style, but I have not been able to incorporate any melody with the remaining fingers -- all I can do is hold down the chord and arpeggio the with the upper strings. Is it a deal-breaker that I can't seem to pick out melody while the thumb is doing its business on 5 and 6?
     
  5. Paleo

    Paleo One Count At A Time

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    No, you'll learn how to do it in the course. :)

    And there's way more to the course beyond that. :sneaky:
     
    #25 Paleo, Nov 12, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
  6. LarryMolter

    LarryMolter Blues Newbie

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    Yeah, I grabbed a month of All Access Pass and took a look at ABGU and a few others. I just finished paying off BGU so maybe I'll wait till there's a sale. And it's probably better that I finish BGU before tackling something else; however, there have been times I where I wished I could just whip out the acoustic instead. Anyway...
     
  7. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    There are many schools of finger style guitar. Each is a bit different from the other. Just to discuss my background and experience in this matter:

    I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old, December 1952. I became familiar with Guy Mitchel, from his television program. He used his thumb a great deal.

    I got involved with classical guitar and had instructors from the classical world including Fred Stockton, Rey de La Torre, and Andres Segovia. In the flamenco world some of my instructors were Carlos Montoya, Sabicas, Mariano Cordoba, and Juan Serrano. My interest in guitar included Blues, and country style, and I had some good friends who helped me out with those styles.

    Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, and Tommy Emmanuel have something similar and yet different guitar styles. I use a bit from each of them. I had a Masters Class from Tommy, and he is a great teacher and person.

    What I found was that there were two basic schools of thought: “Do it my way or the hiway”, and “do what works for you”. When you get to the point where you become your own teacher, you will know what is best for you.

    With many instructors, and publications to choose from, I found what is best for me depends upon what piece of music I am playing. So what I have done for many years is to create my own arrangement of whatever piece of music I want to play. Before we had computers, I used pencil and paper. I still have arrangements I made more than 60 years ago.

    Pulgar, Indice, Medio, Anular, and Menique are the names of the fingers in Spanish, which is how I learned to play guitar. It is abbreviated P, I, M, A, m. My arrangements indicate which fingers to use. You can create your own arrangements, based upon what works for you. Use whatever resources are available, and then select what you like.

    One thing I do frequently, is to use I, M on a single string, when speed is necessary. The concept of I on the third string, M, on the second string, and A on the first string, is sometimes necessary, but not always. Again, it is up to you do understand what works best for you for any specific piece of music.

    Within a specific piece of music, you may well change the rules, as required to obtain the desired result.

    I used the Gibson “Learn and Master” series, as well as "Griff's ABGU", Joseph Alexander's "Fingerstyle Blues Guitar" and many others. Each has it's good points, but I must say that I enjoyed Griff's approach the most. It is up to you to find "what is best"! Pay your dues and make that determination. If you like the music literature you are using then stick with it and do not bother discovering what other approaches there are. Have fun! :):cool:

    Tom
     
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