#1
I want to get more into writing songs geared towards a single player like John Mayer, Matt Nathanson, or Jack Johnson just about anyone else who writes soloist acoustic songs. I have seen artist like these using finger picking techniques or running riffs while singing. Things that are conducive to playing solo.


What can I do to learn thumb/finger plucking patterns?

When you want to learn this stuff do you just pick up your guitar and try to come up with something or do you take an idea thats already a song and make it good for a solo piece?


How do you hold on to a pick while plucking and then use it, like in this song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ov0cDPZy8


He pulls it out very subtly around 2:19 a little before

Any advice on writing music you want to perform by yourself that isn't just strumming chords?

I will also learn more of these
#2
Well... I come from classical guitar... so the advice i'm gonna tell you is to use all your fingers... maybe not the pinky... but if someday you get to use it and it sounds good, great!
and for a better sound when playing melodies with your index, middle, and the other one that is not the thumb or the pinky (sorry, my main language is spanish) always do it resting the finger on the next string... not just throwing the finger in the air like most do. Just like playing a bass, you'll get a much better sound, and way more control over the sound.
For techniques which develop using the fingers and the pick, and alternating them check out some jazz guys... there might some clinic there or vid on youtube... and the rest... just explore... I tend to play a lot without pick... personally i just put it in my lips and start doing, i don't know, arpeggios, slap or just plucking chords with my fingers... obviously it sounds diferent... it depends on what i'm looking in the moment... and for things as latin rhythms, you can't do them with a pick... just be patient, the right hand is tougher to workout than the left but you'll get it.
#3
It was Opeth that got me into fingerpicking. This one song called the Leper Affinity had this part with an Asus2 arpeggiated at eighths and with a few runs I managed to get it right.
The important things to remember are-
1. Do NOT anchor your pinky. There are rare times when your little finger will anchor itself below your strings, and if this develops into a habit it will become really painful. I learned that the hard way.
2. Using your little finger for picking isn't the best of ideas at first. Try doing simple arpeggios on chords with your thumb, index, middle and ring first, and when you've built up strength, try your little finger. I still don't use my little finger though, even though I've built it up over time - it's not quite worth it. It's easier to stretch my ring down instead.
3. As for the pick/fingerpicking combo, that will take a lot longer. Try practicing on a plain E5 with your pick on low E and your index and middle on the A and D strings respectively. It's not that easy, even over time, but if you master it then it's really handy.
4. Lastly, remember that you can shift your right hand around. Your right hand comprises of four 'picks' when fingerpicking (including your thumb) and sometimes that's not enough. If, for example, you're arpeggiating a Cm in the 8th position all the way through, your options are to either play all three bass strings with your thumb and use your index, middle, and ring for the G, B, and E strings (not really recommended at first, though as you build up thumb strength you'll find this easier), or to play low E and A with your thumb, the next three in sequence, and then the last two with your ring. Playing two strings with your ring might seem a little difficult at first but practicing will get you there sooner than you'd think. Remember that if you've got a few complex left hand movements going on, you can use your thumb to keep track of what you're picking. It sounds kinda weird, but just try it.

Again, it's all about practice. Sorry for lapsing into a massive essay but I tried answering most of your questions in detail. Hope this helped. I'd recommend trying some classical songs (Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven is a good one), and maybe Classical Gas by Mason Williams (helped my technique a lot). Or just pull out any old chord progression and fingerpick all the way through
Last edited by Aays at Feb 19, 2012,
#4
oh... and sorry for the double post... but for the strumming chords thing. you an do a lot with that, you might check out other strummings (like gypsy, swing, latins, waltz... etc), or try with tension on the chords or melodies between them that lead to the next chord. But also remember that sometimes you can do a lot with just two simple chords and a lot of heart. Just check out The Moldy Peaches jaja
#5
Quote by SamuraiSeven
I want to get more into writing songs geared towards a single player like John Mayer, Matt Nathanson, or Jack Johnson just about anyone else who writes soloist acoustic songs. I have seen artist like these using finger picking techniques or running riffs while singing. Things that are conducive to playing solo.


What can I do to learn thumb/finger plucking patterns?

When you want to learn this stuff do you just pick up your guitar and try to come up with something or do you take an idea thats already a song and make it good for a solo piece?


How do you hold on to a pick while plucking and then use it, like in this song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ov0cDPZy8


He pulls it out very subtly around 2:19 a little before

Any advice on writing music you want to perform by yourself that isn't just strumming chords?

I will also learn more of these


You can get a great finger picking technique listening to country players, these guys are masters on this, but actually I got into it watching Eric Johnson plays, but he's got some country influence too, if you wanna talk more send a message, cheers.