It might take some time for a guitar player to start doing finger picking on an acoustic guitar. Most often a guitarist develops his or her own of finger picking. Whether it is a developed technique or learned from a guitar lesson, it is always a good practice to know the basic principles behind finger picking guitar styles.
There are numerous finger picking techniques like classical, Travis picking, chord melody and flamenco. A great way to learn this is by watching some of the greatest guitar soloists. There is a DVD called Essential Exercises for Finger Style Guitar(Check this DVD out) developed by three great guitarists, Mark Hanson, Pete Huttlinger and Al Petteway. This is one guitar resource that is full of information and is worthwhile having. Happy Traum also has some tutorials on Homespun Tapes(Click to see). Getting such learning aids can greatly enhance guitar playing techniques.
There is not one finger picking style that can represent what the technique is all about. The beginner guitarist need not know everything but can find one particular style that he or she can be comfortable with and that can produce good sounds. A folk guitar player may be able to play the patterns and scales well but the style he or she is used to may not be able to produce sounds like a classical guitarist. Thus, individual styles play an important role in finger picking.
A plectrum is used by some guitarists but this sometimes discourages other players due to its difficulty. The key to getting the fingers and thumbs working as independent units is slow practice. The slow movement allows the guitarist to feel the chord and the note. The metronome should be on a very low setting. The bass notes of the chords should then be played and only adding an incidental note on the first finger until the guitarist will feel confident.
Novice finger picking guitarists should start playing songs that maybe a little below technical standards and start strumming the chords until there is a feel of playing along with the lyrics. They fact is that there should be a degree of comfort when doing the song.
When the song is already a bit mastered, the guitarist should resort to a finger picking pattern then apply it to the song. Here are some songs that are recommended to start practicing finger picking:
- Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (Click to Get MP3 of this song)
- The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals (Click to Get MP3 of this song)
- More Than Words by Extreme (Click to Get MP3 of this song)
For the more ambitious players, there is The Anonymous Romance or Spanish Romance which can really be a challenging piece.
Learning acoustic finger picking is not as difficult when the guitar player has the motivation and persistence to practice and look for guitar pieces that will match the player’s style.