Ive started getting into some classical guitar and classical guitar requires finger picking skills but I have none. How does finger picking work? What fingers need to pick what string? Sorry but a complete noob here. I know a lot about guitar but not finger picking any tips would help! Ü
Generally your thumb will pick the bass strings and you use your first three fingers to pick the rest. It depends on the strings you happen to be playing, but whatever feels natural for your fingers should usually work. Try to keep the fingers you use assigned to certain strings, and only move them if you have to. Try practicing arpeggios with fingerpicking to get more practice.
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I'd also suggest starting with as many fingers as possible, don't just use your thumb and index finger or else you can have some serious issues adding more fingers.
fingers you need to use.

p = thumb
i = index
m = middle
a = ring
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Best first song to practise fingerpicking..

Nothing Else Matters.


The intro to this COULD be a good fingerpicking exercise, but the left hand fingering would be seriously difficult for a beginner because of some really weird barre chords combined with hammerons and pulloffs and of course there's a couple harp harmonics in the end.

The clean arpeggios from 0:51 - 2:00 are really great too.
Last edited by vayne92 at Mar 8, 2012,
If you are "getting into" classical guitar I seriously recommend a teacher. Classical guitar is a very specific discipline with a very specific vocabulary of techniques, a language all it's own.
Students start by learning the "embrochure", the proper method of holding the instrument and posture and also the precise techniques of "plucking" the strings, which fingers to use for each note, (Most classical guitar transcriptions come with fingerings indicated) nail care, and all that.

It's not impossible to learn much of this on your own; there are plenty of instruction manuals and such available. Still, it's possible to fall into bad habits and if you progress to the point of playing with other classically-trained musicians they will at least look at you funny...

Or, you could just learn "freight train" and similar folkie fingerpickin' tunes....
Just because it "feels" natural does not mean that it is natural. If we were to take a "natural" approach, then why would we have to adjust our finger placement and hand position, if what came "naturally" was correct?

Get with a classical guitar instructor. Here's a couple of resources to check out:
William Kanengiser's DVD—Effortless Classical Guitar
Online Classical Guitar Lessons from Free Guitar Videos .
I would start here:

Blackbird - The Beatles (easy)
Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton (moderate-easy)
Fade to Black - Metallica (super easy)
To Live is To Die - Metallica (easy, except the intro - skip the intro!)
Call of Ktulu - Metallica (moderate-easy)
Dee - Randy Rhoads (moderate)

Dee is a GREAT introduction to real Classical guitar as opposed to just fingerpicking an electric. Rhoads was classically trained and was VERY meticulous about nail care, etc, and even took lessons on the road.

If you get good at those then you can move on to actual Classical music. Bach runs the spectrum from easy to VERY VERY hard, so you can pick up a decent Bach book and run through it looking for stuff on your level, and probably never stop finding new challenges in it.

"It is Bach and it rocks, it's a rock block of Bach..."