Hi there, I was hoping someone could explain to me how to practice the type of thing in this song -> clementine by elliott smith, or many of his other songs like angeles and plenty of others where when tabbed out people say "play it sloppy" and it will work.

its like a travis picking type thing but much quicker, if you youtube either of those 2 songs and wait till the song picks up you can watch him do it, its like he uses his thumb for the top notes and strums quietly the bottom notes with his index and middle, and i can NEVER get it to work

i also have some problems with right hand muting or chunking or whatever, if you youtube elliott smith - whatever, i have an issue with that type of picking also.

i know that isnt much to go on, but any help would be appreciated. I find myself looking at some of these tabs

E E S S S S S S S S +S S S S E E S S S S +S S S S S S S S

and i know what hes doing in the song but i cant pay it msyelf
Quote by blunderwonder
and i know what hes doing in the song but i cant pay it msyelf

Explain to us what you think he's doing.
hes playing with more than one finger... when i look at something that seems like it should be strummed, i usually intend on using my thumb, or the rare case where i feel like using a pick, i could use a pick. however... in many songs like elliotts, he strums with his thumb and other fingers, so that its like fingerstyle picking but strumming at the same time. Ill post some links where someone seems to demonstrate


fast foward to 1:40 in that one and watch his right hand, this is not something i expect to be able to accomplish in my lifetime but id like to try, this is the least of my worries though

heres another example


fast foward to 0:55

this is from the tab i listed, it seems pretty clear this song is meant to be strummed by the index and thumb, but i have difficulty getting the proper sound, maybe i need to trim my fingernails or brush more lightly or loosen my wrist i dont know, but id like to at least know for sure that its ok for me to use my index as well as my thumb when strumming, and how best to position my hand if that is the case.

heres another problem i have:


the single notes i can play, i have trouble getting the sort of muted "chunking" rhythm part and plucking notes at the same time, though I am slowly getting that song, but i have problems doing that chunking thing i dont know why though it never seems to work for me without using a pick

i realize this is a broad question and i only expect a broad answer, hopefully more than just "practice", my issue is that its difficult for me to practice something when i dont know exactly what theyre doing, and when i try to slow it down, it almost makes it more difficult because its harder to tell whats going on with the changes and its not perfect quality video and sound.

keep in mind im almost 2 years to the day into guitar, so im not like a guitar hero, i will have to work at this but id like some general guidelines on this type of "travis/carter" picking or whatever it is. ive played lots of fingerstyle pieces and im sure some of them are the travis variety, but these songs dont seem and arnt supposed to sound like classical fingerstyle picked songs i dont think.
A lot of that is just basic strumming with an open hand, keeping the thumb playing the bass notes. I think you're over complicating it a bit.


Play this over and over again, hitting the bottom string with your thumb and brushing the top three strings with the BACK of your fingers, think of that as a downstroke (nails will help with this).

Once you have that comfortable, try this:


Again, play the bottom string with your thumb, then brush the top three strings with a downstroke like you did with the last example, and then brush those three strings again with an upstroke, using your fingers. That's essentially what the guy's doing here.

You'll only get better with more practice so don't worry about not getting it straight away. The "clunking" thing you're on about is using essentially the same technique as i've talked about, with very light brushing of the strings, listen to "I will follow you into the dark" by Death Cab For Cutie, that uses that technique and it took me ages to get it right myself, stick with it!