Taking fingerstyle guitar lessonsWant to learn how to play fingerstyle guitar? Fingerpicking is a great skill to have when playing a number of genres including classical and folk guitar.

We have rated, reviewed and compared the top guitar courses that offer fingerstyle guitar lessons and put them in an easy-to-read comparison table below. Take a look and see which one is right for you:

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Rating: 98.2%
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20 DVDs, 5 CDs,
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6,000+ Lessons
1,172 Hours
40 Lessons
20-30 Hours

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80 Teachers 1 Teacher
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$19.95/month $149 + S&H

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$0.03 / Lesson $4.06 / Lesson
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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons

Fingerstyle guitar is the technique of playing the instrument by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flatpicking which requires the guitarist to pick the string(s) with a single plectrum called a flatpick.

Fingerstyle, also referred to as finger picking, is a desired technique that musicians use to get a certain sound from the guitar. You can play the same riff on the same guitar, but the sound will be different depending on whether you flat pick or finger pick. Thus, the decision to fingerstyle is sometimes an aesthetic choice and other times a practical selection.

In addition to the fingerstyle or finger picking technique, fingerpicking may also refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues, and country guitar playing in the United States.

History of Fingerstyle Guitar

Fingerpicking is a term that is used to describe both a playing style and genre of music, which originates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Music historians claim that fingerstyle was originally inspired by ragtime piano. Legendary ragtime guitarist Blind Blake was one of the first musicians to really take advantage of the technique. Later, in the 1960s, a new generation of guitarists returned to these roots and began to transcribe piano tunes for solo guitar.

Other innovators of the style include The Carter Family (namely, Maybelle Carter) and Merle Travis.

Why Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons?

If you like to listen to folk, country and/or blues, or, if you favor the acoustic guitar over electric guitar finger picking is something that you should learn to develop.

Fingerstyle is commonly used in the above genres as well as extremely popular on the acoustic guitar. Playing fingerstyle is also dependent on the correct equipment, which means that you should consider investing in the classical or nylon string guitar, a type of guitar where finger picking is much more natural than on steel string guitars.

Fingerstyle Technique

When you play fingerstyle, the thumb maintains a steady rhythm, usually playing “alternating bass” patterns on the lower three strings while the index, or index and middle fingers pick out melody and fill-in notes on the high strings.

Consequently, the fingerstyle technique allows the guitarist the opportunity to perform several musical elements, unlike flat picking, simultaneously.

In order to play fingerstyle correctly:

  • Guitarists need to maintain the proper fingernail length
  • Have an intermediate to advanced understanding of playing guitar
  • Have a good “feel” for rhythm, since you’ll likely be playing several musical elements simultaneously

Fingerstyle is great for playing polyphonically, arpeggios, and a wide variety of strumming patterns and strokes.

Famous Fingerstyle Guitarists

For professional examples of fingerstyle guitar played by famous musicians, listen to the work of Chet Atkins, Michael Hedges and Mississippi John Hurt.

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons

Fingerstyle is a well respected technique (as well as genre) within the music community. Learning to finger pick is an exceptional trait that will broaden your musical spectrum and appreciation for music.

Fingerstyle guitar lessons are available in a number of different formats. The World Wide Web has a variety of different resources on finger picking, some available for free and others available through a subscription.