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Old 02-19-2013, 08:43 PM   #1
RyanStorm13
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Thumb Position While Finger Picking

I learned finger picking in Jr. High, but didn't like it cause it was hard. But I eventually learned I just had a terrible time learning it, till after I learned bass.


However I noticed today, after watching The Eagles play Hotel California live, all on acoustics, and I realized how fast they were going. I know I am not an expert, but I am nowhere as quick.


So I was trying to figure out where my thumb goes after I pluck it and watched some videos and couldn't find the proper method. But from what I gather most people just put their thumb on the string they pluck.

I might have developed a terrible habit, but I am completely incapable of keeping my thumb on either top two strings especially the A string after I pluck it, while I pluck with my index, FU, and ring finger's on the lower strings right after.

If I hold my thumb on one of the stings I can pluck, but I can't pluck it and put it back down unless I have about a 3 second delay....is this weird or noob stuff.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:36 PM   #2
RyanStorm13
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If this sounds confusing, than just answer, Where does my thumb aka 'P' go while I pluck fingers I, M, and A?

I watched a video of a guy who does a dozen different finger plucking methods and he seemed to keep his thumb stationary even after plucking the P on strings E or A.

I have a packet from Jr. High and High School, but I haven't found info anywhere about where your "non-using" fingers/thumb goes.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:46 PM   #3
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You just need to practice more. The way I play, the thumb plucks the first note I play. Or, if you're playing whole note chords, etc., it plays the root note of the chord. There was a couple good articles in Premier Guitar about fingerpicking.

What you want to try and do is keep your thumb and index finger in an X shape. Imagine holding a pick, then move your thumb to where the knuckle of your thumb overlaps the highest knuckle on your index finger (sorry for vagueness). The easiest way I found to fingerpick is to "roll" your thumb and fingers. ie: t plays low E, i plays A, m plays D, a = ring finger plays G, pinky plays b, and repeat. If you start on the A string, move each finger up a string, or you can start on the low E, skip the A string, and continue up to high e.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:30 AM   #4
RyanStorm13
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I know how to finger pick, I can go fairly quick, I just noticed that I lift my thumb after using it, and it sticks out when finger picking with my I finger.

None of styles ever involved using my pinky, and most involve my P playing the EAD strings, and these fingers assigned to one string: I to G, M to B, and A to e

I know there not super advanced fingerstyles put its how I was first taught. I have just noticed when people do the finger picking, their fingers stay very near the strings like they pinching them. My thumb just does a big sweep and leaves the string much further than my other three picking fingers.


I practiced today, and found that by the time my IMA fingers are done my thumb reverts back to being on a string. I just thought it was weird that IMA fingers stay on its strings, but my thumb is usually not on a string while the others are being used.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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Ryan, typically your fingers will do what you're saying if you are new to guitar. However if you practice sloppy technique over the years this will develop into habit. Check out:
I have many other fingerpicking videos on YouTube as well.
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