So now that we that we have some experience with finger style and combinations of thumb (see part 1), index and middle, here are some great tips and exercises for you to practice.
In this video I introduced four important concepts that can improve your technique drastically. The first three are the ones I call Components of Guitar Technique:
Make sure that your picking hand is relaxed, with an angle between your forearm and the body of the guitar, so it feels natural and comfortable. Your thumb should be positioned closer to the frets than the other fingers. Also, the wrist is lightly curved, so can naturally support the position of the fingers.
2. Amount of pressure
For now, make sure that you pick the strings lightly so your hand doesn’t bounce after plucking the string. After you pick a string, your finger should end close to the next string.
Your thumb should pluck the strings towards the floor, while your index and middle should move towards your palm.
The fourth concept is the most important of all, awareness. It means that every time that you sit down to practice with your guitar, you shouldn’t just play, but you should play with a purpose, which is maintaining and improving the three components of technique.
Through my musical career I have run into many different approaches on what is the proper scientific way of positioning your hands, how much pressure and which exact angle you should use, and my truth is that there are not scientific set rules for any of them. You can find classically trained musicians, and street musicians that became proficient using different approaches, but what they have in common is that they committed to a specific position, amount of pressure and direction, and tried to improve it every time they played.
It is true that there are some general indications on technique that tend to be more common and effective, like the ones I’m describing above, but is quite normal to find exceptions to the rule that might make you consider things twice.
In the end, everything comes down to understanding the language of music and being able to channel your voice, and your feelings through the guitar.
After playing the two Malaguenas in these articles, did you notice what the two of them have in common? They are based on great melodies played on the lower strings, and followed by one or two open strings.
Here’s a great exercise for you, use the concept of Malaguena and create your own compositions with your own voice. Play different melodies on the lower strings followed by open strings and put your heart and soul in them like the people who created these two did.