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Country Blues => Country Blues Licks and Lessons => Topic started by: tooslow on October 04, 2019, 08:27:25 AM

Title: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: tooslow on October 04, 2019, 08:27:25 AM
Hi all

I'm a long time lurker here. I've played acoustic and electric guitar with a pick for years and years (I'm 43), and now would like to learn fingerstyle playing. ANy good sources out there on how to do that? I've been trying to learn a simple walking bass thumb rhytm pattern while playing just anything on the higher strings, and it feels impossible, like witchcraft or something?!  :o

Thanks!
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: harry on October 04, 2019, 03:53:19 PM
Best book ever.

https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Fingerstyle-Blues-Guitar-Books/dp/0825625564/ref=sr_1_2?crid=AJ1O5WCWFY4N&keywords=fingerstyle+blues+guitar+book&qid=1570229543&sprefix=fingerstyle%2Caps%2C236&sr=8-2 (https://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Fingerstyle-Blues-Guitar-Books/dp/0825625564/ref=sr_1_2?crid=AJ1O5WCWFY4N&keywords=fingerstyle+blues+guitar+book&qid=1570229543&sprefix=fingerstyle%2Caps%2C236&sr=8-2)
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: tooslow on October 04, 2019, 10:30:06 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Pan on October 05, 2019, 03:06:09 PM
Hi tooslow,

I would also recommend listening to a lot to Mississippi John Hurt recordings, to get started with it.
John Miller has some excellent tutorial material on Hurt's playing. Check out his website and Stefan Grossman's site as well.

Cheers,

Pan
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Stuart on October 11, 2019, 09:03:02 AM
I'll second Pan's suggestion regarding listing to Mississippi John Hurt and John Miller's instructional DVD lessons at Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop.

http://www.guitarvideos.com/Artists/john-miller/the-guitar-of-mississippi-john-hurt-vol-1#

http://www.guitarvideos.com/Artists/john-miller/the-guitar-of-mississippi-john-hurt-vol-2#

Although I haven't seen them, I suspect that Stefan Grossman's Level 1/2 fingerpicking lessons would be worth while as well. He's been at it a long time. There's some overlap with John's lessons re: songs covered, but it's always good to see how two (or more) people approach teaching the same material:

http://www.guitarvideos.com/Products/Instructors/stefan-grossman-1/fingerpicking-guitar-techniques-2-dvd-set#

http://www.guitarvideos.com/Products/guitar-workshop-instructional-dvds/fingerpicking-country-blues-guitar#
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: lindy on October 11, 2019, 11:35:43 AM
I'll make this recommendation:

https://www.homespun.com/shop/product/learn-to-fingerpick-with-jim-kweskin/

Jim was an instructor at Port Townsend this year, taught the jug band track (along with Suzy Thompson) and did a series of classes on "how to fingerpick." I didn't take either one, but those who did gave glowing reviews.

Would love to have Jim make a repeat appearance at the workshop, along with Geoff Muldaur.

Lindy
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Stuart on October 11, 2019, 12:31:32 PM
I saw Jim when he was in town a couple of weeks ago with Meredith. If his teaching on the video is anything like he plays in person, I'd say it's a safe bet.
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Johnm on October 11, 2019, 01:06:05 PM
To the original poster, you haven't said where you live.  If there are good fingerstyle teachers in your locale, I'd recommend trying private lessons rather than learning from videos or books.  There are very good books and teaching videos available, but they can't provide feedback on what you're doing, point out inefficiencies in your playing, trouble-shoot problems etc.  Only an interactive learning process can afford that kind of assistance.  Skype or Mac FaceTime lessons with a good instructor are another possibility.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: tooslow on October 21, 2019, 09:49:31 PM
Thanks everybody for all the tips!

I've been practicing now every day, but I must say it's really like trying to learn a whole new language or something (compared to flatpicking), that is, very difficult  :D I hope there is a point when it somehow "clicks".

And I'm all the way from Finland, it seems the few guitar teachers I've come across are more into heavy metal :)
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Nicolas Dussart on October 22, 2019, 06:12:58 AM
I also totally agree to recommend Mississippi John Hurt as a start.

Btw, I attended a Mike Dowling workshop a few years ago in Southern France, I shared my room with a fine fingerpicker from Finland, You're not alone !!
8)

Nicolas.
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Stuart on October 22, 2019, 08:50:02 AM
Keep plugging away at it. Things will fall into place. In the early stages progress is slow and incremental, and this can be frustrating and discouraging. But once you attain a certain level of facility, the rate of progress will pick up. No one was born knowing how to fingerpick, although at times it may seem that way.  ;)

Geographical isolation and separation are challenges with respect to finding the right teacher. Instructional videos and YouTube videos are certainly helpful, but as John points out they are not a substitute for being in the presence of a good teacher who has the understanding, insights and experience that allows him or her to take one look and  immediately know what you will benefit from and how to help.

Attending a workshop or camp will be helpful as you will see first hand how to do things. Plus, it will put you in touch with other people who can be a resource. Again, there are challenges (time, money, etc.), but if you are really serious I think saving up so you can attend a good workshop with the right people is well worth it.

Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: TonyGilroy on October 23, 2019, 12:31:29 AM

First find a crossroads.
Title: Re: How do I teach myself fingerstyle guitar?
Post by: Rivers on October 24, 2019, 06:14:38 PM
Thinking back, an early breakthrough I experienced was this.

I started working on my thumb, at first not hitting any treble strings. Fret first position 'cowboy' chords, and practise just playing alternating- and monotonic bass with your thumb. Try to hit the strings cleanly at first, but also work on brushing two or more bass strings, you need to be able to brush to color your playing.

Develop that thumb until you can do it without thinking about it. Then start introducing some fretted- and unfretted treble strings notes picked with your first finger. Keep the bass going, jump in with a treble note when you feel it. Go from there.

Let us know how you get on, we've all been there.