#1
is there a complete list or flow chart you can look at to always know which finger to use?


i need to start practicing finger picking. i read all the lessons on this site, but it doesnt seem exhaustive explaining when to use each finger. theyre not clear when to use the pinky, none of the lessons covered how to play consecutive notes on the same string, and some of the exercises didnt make sense to me, like:

E A D G B G D E

P I M A A M I P


isnt it inefficient to pick the G and B string consecutively using the ring finger on both strings?
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#2
I don't know if it's classical guitar you're getting into or not, but there are some good DVD's and books out there for fingerstyle playing in the classical style.

I found Scott Tennant's "Pumping Nylon" to be pretty comprehensive in that area. Myself personally, I play mostly classical, but having a knowledge of the classical approach also helps me a lot with just your regular folky, steel string finger style playing.

Hope that helps
#3
I use my thumb for the E A and D strings and then a finger assigned to each of the other strings. I've heard people use their pinkies for finger picking but i don't think it's practical if i'm honest. Your pinky will just get in the way.

Sometimes if the pattern doesn't use all the strings then I'll alter where my fingers are to make it more comfortable.
#4
Quote by CricketBat
I use my thumb for the E A and D strings and then a finger assigned to each of the other strings. I've heard people use their pinkies for finger picking but i don't think it's practical if i'm honest. Your pinky will just get in the way.

Sometimes if the pattern doesn't use all the strings then I'll alter where my fingers are to make it more comfortable.


I do this also.

Thumb for E, A and D and the other 3 for the remaining strings.

As for the pinky.. I've been fingerpicking for almost 4 years now and i still don't use it EXCEPT for rasgueado strumming which is a completely different technique in itself.

I stick quite strictly to which finger goes on which string.. I rarely mix it up. One of my old guitar teachers first taught me how to fingerpick and the first thing he told me about it i still think is the most important.. Assign each finger a string and don't change it. For finger-picking you don't want to be focusing on your strumming hand. If you stick to those "guidelines" you wont get confused further down the line and you wont need to think about what finger to use for which string.

Once you're very established at finger-picking then i think it's safe to change things up and stray away from those guidelines. As i said I've known the technique for about 4 years now and only the last year or so I've started to mix it up.

I've had a few guitar teachers and one of my teachers was a disgustingly good finger-picker. It blew my mind, and I've still never seen anyone who can play acoustic like him.. He was a ****ing monster and he didn't use his pinky at all.
I guess one of the reasons behind it is because obviously it's weaker (but it can be trained) and the length of your pinky is a lot smaller than your other fingers, so if you're playing in a traditional classical style then it just isn't practical.

As far as I'm aware very few players use their pinky to just pick an individual string except for the more advanced ones. I've seen some very experienced classical guitarists use their pinky but i guess when you're just that good then an additional finger really can matter.
When i think of the best fingerstyle guitarists out there i immediately think - Igor Presnyakov.

Definitely check him out if fingerstyle really interests you;

http://www.youtube.com/user/Iggypres/videos

also keep in mind strumming and picking are different matters entirely.

Anyways i'm gonna stop my little rambling on for now because my friend is bugging me to play dota.

Best of luck to you :P
#5
i play electric guitar. im not really going for any style really. but i do play frenetically sometimes. i want to get good at finger picking so i can go from string to string in any order efficiently.

i dont see how you can just say to always play a specific string with a specific finger. are you saying you would a play a 3 string chord progression using different fingers, if the progression was played on a different set of strings?

what do you do when multiple notes come up consecutively on one string during a finger picking song? say you had to quickly play the strings in this order E A D D D D. what fingers would you use?

what if you simply played strings in this order? E A D G B e? is it P I M A P I? what about going from high e to low e? A M I P I P?

when playing string combos; do you only use the pinky if the chord uses 5 strings?

i really am not sure about any of this, and would like to take the best approach.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#6
Quote by rabbittroopsux
i dont see how you can just say to always play a specific string with a specific finger. are you saying you would a play a 3 string chord progression using different fingers, if the progression was played on a different set of strings?


Seems like you're looking a bit too far forward and being somewhat stubborn also.

Well lets say you're playing the chord progression from Sanitarium by Metallica Which goes like so;

G
D
A
E

First off i wouldn't even finger-pick this, I'd
just alternate pick it with a pick.
But if you were to finger-pick it there's a few ways you could approach it..

Because i have long nails I'd still probably just alternate pick it with my nails.
You could do Thumb, Thumb, Thumb, Index
Thumb, Index, Middle, Ring
OR you could just do Thumb, Thumb, Thumb, Thumb


Quote by rabbittroopsux
what do you do when multiple notes come up consecutively on one string during a finger picking song? say you had to quickly play the strings in this order E A D D D D. what fingers would you use?


Now this for me is a question i could take a long long time to answer but i wont, so I'll try to cut it down.
I'm going to start off talking about picking with the skin of your fingers and the actual nails..
If you're to finger-pick with the skin of your fingers, which most people do, because not everyone is serious enough about finger-style to actually grow their nails out, then picking with your skin gives a a more quiet and dry sort of sound i guess you could say. Picking with your nails gives a brighter more twangy sound. It's essentially like playing with a pick really.
Now picking the D string 4 times consecutively in a fast manner also has several ways of approaching it...
You could apply the technique of Picado or "walking" as i believe they call it on bass, but that takes a lot of practice and Picado i almost want to say you NEED nails. I've tried it with the skin of my fingers and i just can't get it to sound right.
If you have nails you could just alternate pick it with your nails also.

Most likely however, if there's a song where you pick the same string consecutively and fast then it probably isn't finger-picked originally.

Quote by rabbittroopsux
what if you simply played strings in this order? E A D G B e? is it P I M A P I? what about going from high e to low e? A M I P I P?


e| RING
B| MIDDLE
G| INDEX
D| THUMB
A| THUMB
E| THUMB

The fingers you use are exactly the same when you descend and when you ascend the strings. If you're encountering songs where you find it's difficult to apply this rule then I'm going to say 9/10 times the song is too difficult for you and you should maybe hold it aside for the future.

Quote by rabbittroopsux
when playing string combos; do you only use the pinky if the chord uses 5 strings?


Let me put it real simple. Don't use your pinky. You're new to finger-style. Pretend you don't even have a pinky. Just don't use it.

But if you are playing a 5 string chord just strum it. You can strum with finger-style just like you would with a pick. Infact i prefer strumming with my fingers.

Quote by rabbittroopsux
i really am not sure about any of this, and would like to take the best approach.


Finger-style is an entirely different technique in itself. It's almost like learning an entirely new instrument. Don't over-complicate things. Make it easy for yourself and stick to the rule of fingers that almost every beginner does and you'll improve over time just like any other technique.

EDIT:

Also i hope it doesn't come across that as me preaching that having nails is a must do for finger-style guitar. Whilst they can be very handy they can also be a pain in the ass. I can't really play with the skin of my fingers anymore because I'll always accidentally clip the strings with my nails and i like the sound of flesh hitting the strings a lot. They're almost entirely unnecessary unless you start exploring some more intermediate - advanced classical type of music.
Last edited by vayne92 at Jun 24, 2013,
#7
i think the best thing you can do, and what helped me quite a lot, would be to look up some banjo lessons. that style of playing is designed on economical fingerpicking. learn some basic rolls to practice on guitar over a particular barre chord and just experiment with the tones you get
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#8
A good starting point is what people have already mentioned:
thumb (P) for the bottom three strings - E A D,
index (I) for third string - G,
middle (M) for second string - B,
ring (A) for first string - E.

That's just a good starting point. There are tons of songs you can fingerpick with that set-up, folk, rock, and classical. The pinky just isn't really used for fingerpicking except for a handful of players who have a five-finger right hand technique.

I'd recommend coming up with a bunch of patterns to practice that follow these guidelines:
-the pattern should be between 3-8 notes long
-the pattern should start with the thumb
-the rest of the fingers used in the pattern can be selected at random

Come up with a new pattern every time you practice, and your right hand will become pretty versatile. First, work on the pattern with just open strings until your right hand "gets it". Then, try the same pattern while holding an open chord with your left hand. Then try switching between open chords. At that point it should already start to sound like a song.

As far as what to do when you have a repeated string...

To be honest, you just don't see that all that often. I've only seen that in classical pieces going for a sort of tremolo effect. But to do it, you just roll through your fingers on that one string in this order: p a m i. If your thumb is already busy on another string, start the repeated string with the ring finger: a m i.

Hope that helps!