#1
Hello, I am pretty new at guitar, but have reached a medium between beginner and intermediate. I can play some of easier intermediate songs like moon light sonata, but only with a lot of practice.

My question is, I pretty much learned finger picking from just experimenting, so since I have had no real good lessons or directions, I am worried that I may be beginning bad habits. I do know not to use the thumb for fretting and not to use the pinky for picking.

Is there any bad habits that are common for finger picking?

I do not even know my chords or scales, so when I read tabs that are based on them I have to look them up individually Does anyone know a good guide on learning the chords/scales quickly? I am looking for one that just has the straightforward chords and scales, along with good methods to quickly learn them.

Thanks
#2
Learn chords, learn scales. Chords first. You mostly pick up chords as you use them. No point really studying a massive amount when you only use 20 of them regularly. I find practice to be the best way of learning chords.

As far as fingerpicking goes, it helps to learn how to do the picking where you just kinda squeeze your fingers shut and release and have them go back, not having to use muscles to put them back after a pick. I have a friend who has this really active way where she kinda reaches out and picks them. I guess it works but it looks like it would cause a lot of strain.
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#3
heya
i was in almost exactly the same situation as you. u see, i never had a guitar so i played on my sister's Yamaha classical. I had no cooking clue of what chords and tabs and such stuff are (still don't completely grasp tabs. lol) so i just looked up random chord sheets on google and started dinkin' around with them. At first, i didn't know what i was doing and would just (literally) put my fingers on the strings one by one and hope it would sound like something musical. Then, slowly i begun to throw some of the standard chords together and make up my own "songs" (though they were hardly songs, just random jingles). i also just looked up chords to my favourite songs on UG and played them. My only aim was to enjoy myself.
This might sound pretty simple and stupid, but this really did help me develop my speed, and made me realise that you don't have to "think" about fixing something to actually fix it. I mean, i had no cooking clue what i was doing, but one day my sister (who plays some good classical guitar) came up to me and said, "Hey, you've caught on quickly" and started blabbeing on about my "perfect execution of pantatonic scales" and "guitarist fingers" and "genuine guitarist posture" and other things i never even realised i was doing.
So, what i'm actually trying to say is, just relax, take you time, do your thing, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. After a while, you'll start to feel if something isn't right, and fix it yourself.
Bruce Lee once said, (yes, i am quoting BL, lol) "you can the best teacher, the best coach, the best eqpuipment and facilities. But, if you do not find out what you need to do yourself, you won't be able to perform when your coach, teahcer and equipment aren't there...also, if you do not enjoy yourelf, then everything you do is in vain"
Hope my 'lil bit of experience and Bruce Lee quoting (lol) helped a bit. But, just in case it didn't, here are a few general tips you could use for classical guitar playing (compliments of my brilliant sister)

1. Don't "anchor" your right hand on the guitar. in other words, don't lean it against the guitar's body. Anchoring makes you lose sound, and since classical guitar is all about producing your own sound, anchoring won't do you any good.
2. (left hand, or your hand on the fretboard) Make sure your middle finger is aligned with your thumb wherever possible. This might sound dumb, but it forces you to keep your hand "rounded" and upright so that it doesn't accidently mute your strings when you strum. Try playing a bar chord whilst your thumb is in line with your middle finger, and then play the same chord whilst your thumb is "being lazy" (lying on some random spot on your guitar's neck, usually horizontally). You should be able to feel the difference.
3. Don't crane your neck or bend your back a lot to see what strings your playing. Instead, hold your guitar more firmly by making sure its pressed snuggly against your stomach and look at what string you're playing from that angle.
4. When youv'e mastered all the chords, get Guitar Pro software. You can download it at http://www.4shared.com . Just search for guitar pro and download the "exe" version. Guitar pro is great, because you canget the sheet music to all of yor favourite songs and listen to it. So even i you cant read the music, you can still listen to it and figure it out yourself. Its informal, yet great and more fun than learning it any other way. You also learn lots of oher random stuff on guitar pro (i never knew what reverb was until i got guitar pro. lol.)

So, just to wrap things up, experiment, do your thing, and ENJOY!
Hope this 'lil bit of info helped a bit.
Good luck!
#4
Hey Chaos, thanks for recommending chords before scales.

To WatUWant, thank you very much for your detailed experience and recommendations I think I will do as you said, and just try to start messing with chords until I get the hang of it.

Thanks a lot guys
#5
As far as chords go, I used to use Justin Guitar a ton when I first started. I'm self taught, so I used lots of online resources too.
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/CH-001-BasicOpen.php

Mostly though, I use the chords that come up in a lot of the songs I play. That means the basic open chords, and other ones. It depends, you find a lot kinda seem the same like some of the chords in Wonderwall. Allow me to excerpt from http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/o/oasis/wonderwall_crd.htm
***
F#m7 - 022033
A - 320033
Esus4 - xx0233
B7sus4 - x02033
Dadd9 - x32033
***
Those are some crazy chords. You will find they actually show up quite a bit though. Mostly the Dadd9 and A and F#m7. For me, I just ended up memorizing them from using them.
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#7
Quote by Chaos Nil

Mostly though, I use the chords that come up in a lot of the songs I play. That means the basic open chords, and other ones. It depends, you find a lot kinda seem the same like some of the chords in Wonderwall. Allow me to excerpt from http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/tabs/o/oasis/wonderwall_crd.htm
***
Em7 - 022033
G- 320033
Dsus4 - xx0233
B7sus4 - x02033
Cadd9 - x32033
***
Those are some crazy chords. You will find they actually show up quite a bit though. Mostly the Dadd9 and A and F#m7. For me, I just ended up memorizing them from using them.


I'm pretty sure those are the right chords, not sure sure about the B7sus7.
#9
One bad habit that i always do is i keep bouncing my hand.

You should keep your fingers planted on the strings and then pluck and go back to it
#10
Quote by Leggett10
I'm pretty sure those are the right chords, not sure sure about the B7sus7.

Your right, it looks like a Dadd9sus4 I think?
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#12
Quote by SomeMuppet
its an A7sus4

Yep, your right, its a different voicing than I'm used to. From now on I'll stick to Guitar Pro showing me instead of the other reverse chord finder thing -_-'
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#13
Quote by bobthebum16
One bad habit that i always do is i keep bouncing my hand.

You should keep your fingers planted on the strings and then pluck and go back to it



What if you want to let the strings ring?


Great advice on the not anchoring and the thumb behind the middle finger.
#14
It's best to keep the hand floating, though anchoring with the pinky is actually acceptable in fingerpicking. You probably think I'm crazy, but many legendary fingerpickers anchor and some actually recommend it. I like my hand to be floating, though.


And there are certain songs you will not be able to play without thumbing over. Save that knowledge for the advanced stages, though. Walking basslines with your thumb are going to seem extremely difficult as a beginner.

Also, never mute the strings unless you're intending to do so. Whoever said to keep your fingers on the strings is very, very wrong. Resting position should look like you're holding a tennis ball with your thumb sticking off to the side. Train your fingers to snap back to that position in the air over their respective strings when not being used.

And one of the biggest mistakes beginners make is picking from the second knuckle. The force should be applied from the knuckle closest to the palm, and the rest of the finger will naturally curl. Picking from the second knuckle lifts the finger up and completely ruins your attack.

Also, for extra speed with the thumb, try getting used to a thumbpick and see if you like it (it's all preference, though. you might hate it). Fred Kelly Slick Picks are great picks to try. A lot of people use Dunlops, but I personally have to boil them and reshape them for them to fit right on my thumb. Your mileage may vary, of course.
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