When playing the guitar, fingerpicking adds a lot of variety to your guitar playing. It enables you to create a sound that you simply cannot get with a flat pick. Learning to play finger-picking patterns on your guitar properly is a great skill to have.
It can be difficult learning to fingerpick; especially in the beginning. Most people play with too much tension especially if they are self-taught. Here are 5 tips to help you start out right with learning to play in a finger-picking style on your guitar.
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Tip #1: Keeping Your Right Hand Relaxed
Your right hand is the one that controls the string plucking which ultimately creates the music. However, more focus is often placed on the left hand when you start to learn the guitar. This is because the left hand is in charge of fretting the strings to create the notes. It is just as important to focus on your right hand as it is with your left. You should relax both of your hands. Play with a relaxed follow-through motion.
Tip #2: Keeping the Nails Short
Another handy tip that will help with fingerpicking is to keep your nails on the short side… Some professionals recommend that you use 400-600 G sandpaper to polish the ends of your nails. If your fingernails are quite long you will notice that they will tend to get caught in the strings. This makes the playing sound jerky. It will also make playing the guitar quite difficult as well as frustrating! Shorter nails glide off the strings much easier. If you’re not that into having long fingernails, you can try using Fingerpicks.
Tip #3: Practice at a Slow and Accurate Tempo
When you are learning the fingerpicking techniques, it is important to do it as slowly and accurately as you can. There is no rush and learning at a slow pace will really help you to master the technique.
It is recommended that before you even start to fingerpick the guitar, that you practice smooth chord changes. That way you will notice much more of a difference when you do start fingerpicking.
Tip #4: Use a Metronome
If you find that you struggle to keep your rhythm even, a metronome can help. The metronome is designed to help you practice your timing. It clicks on each beat to help you stay in a good rhythm. The great thing about the metronome is that it can be adjusted to go slower or faster as you learn. We have a full article about practicing with a metronome, with some great tips to get you started in no time.
Tip #5: Don’t Give Up!
Potentially the most important tip of all is to never give up. Learning to play the guitar at the best of times can be frustrating. Fingerpicking is a skill that will help you to enhance your guitar playing experience and it will take time to learn. Just go at your own pace and follow the above tips to help you progress. If you continue to learn at a relaxed pace you will soon start to see the benefits!