#1
hi everyone, ive been practising guitar by myself for a few years now and i would like to start finger picking in the style of mark knopfler, chet atkins etc. Any ideas where i should start from? Maybe some beginner videos, excersices etc??
#2
you could start by playing dire straits and chet atkins songs

people always think a technique needs to be broken down into pretty little lessons. just take music that utilizes it, slow it down, figure it out, and you'll be better for it
#3
Both Knopfler and Atkins are quite advanced musicians, they recorded a number of things together. Atkins could play just about anything.....
You can obtain specific instruction books for both; thorough examinations of their techniques. Quite a lot of published work from Atkins, in fact.
Lots of YouTube stuff as well.

If you are starting from scratch, I'd recommend starting with the very basics; learning simple "pattern picking" or "Travis picking"... Just to get your fingers moving independently and getting the notion of a solid, alternating bass line down.
Again, plenty on YouTube on the basics. You can start with simple tunes like Dylan's "Dont Think Twice" and "Dust in the Wind" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide".... All typical of this sort of playing.
#4
Quote by Hail
you could start by playing dire straits and chet atkins songs

people always think a technique needs to be broken down into pretty little lessons. just take music that utilizes it, slow it down, figure it out, and you'll be better for it

I'd say both approaches are very useful. I would read/watch/whatever the lessons AND play the music.
#5
I suggest that you practice some beginner classical guitar arpeggio exercises ( I'm sure there's a ton out there). In the beginning you just want to get used to playing the bass notes with your thumb and hitting the g, b and e strings with your index, middle finger and ring finger ( in that order). Once you get a basic handle on that start learning some of their easier tunes. The main focus for their styles and approach is to concentrate on the thumb, index and middle fingers to play.
#6
I learned to fingerpick just playing songs I like! For me it was Metallica: "Call of Ktulu," "Fade to Black," and "To Live is To Die." I also learned, "Musical Death" by Testament (great instrumental, by the way!!)

That was me. But find something you can play. I suggest "Blackbird" by the Beatles. Fairly easy song, and pretty impressive-sounding, too. Played well it can hold its own on stage...

As others have suggested just slow it down, figure it out. Exercises are great if you are motivated and possess that type of self-discipline. You'll get much more at the beginning, though, from taking advantage of the "immediate gratification" factor of playing a really cool song in, maybe, 20-30 minutes.

Then when you are trying to tackle something more difficult, maybe Chet Atkins, then you might run through some classical exercises to help you achieve that.

Just my opinion! I'm a terrible student, so I have to "cheat" a little and reward myself with "fun" stuff to stay motivated.
#7
Mark Hansen's books are a really great introduction to fingerpicking. Particularly The Art of Contemporary Travis Picking and The Art of Solo Fingerstyle.
#8
Quote by HotspurJr
Mark Hansen's books are a really great introduction to fingerpicking. Particularly The Art of Contemporary Travis Picking and The Art of Solo Fingerstyle.


Bingo - Both are great resource books, but especially the first one. If you can't learn and follow from these, then consider doing something else besides finger picking, because there's no better resource out there.

Best,

Sean
#9
I played classical for quite a few years. If you learn to play in a classical style you will have no problem picking acoustic, nylon or electric and any guitar style (other than plectrum). You can find beginner classical exercises online to introduce you to developing fundamental classical picking. 4-6 wks of minor practice and you will have the basics. One of the first tips is to keep your fingers and hand relaxed using natural finger movement/strokes with p, i, m, a (thumb, index, middle, ring). You can use nails or fingertip pads for plucking an electric or acoustic.

Last edited by cool09 at Aug 26, 2014,
#10
Start with the famous Travis Picking pattern this ise used by all the great finger pickers including Atkins, Knopler and many many more.
#11
I gained a lot from learning the song Sultans of Swing fingerstyle. It took me a while, but just like the song gradually builds in intensity, the lead guitar part starts off simple enough, but it's blazing by the time it gets to the first solo. There's stuff you can learn from that song at any difficulty level.

Take a look at Knopfler's picking hand though. He's got a weird technique which is a part of his style, I think. He sticks his thumb out parallel to the strings and his 2 fingers perpendicular.
Last edited by Declan87 at Aug 28, 2014,
#12
Quote by Hail


people always think a technique needs to be broken down into pretty little lessons. just take music that utilizes it, slow it down, figure it out, and you'll be better for it


My approach exactly. Just keep in mind that not everyone has the skill-level to break down what they hear.
#13
First thing you should is to learn a basic fingerpick. Not the usual 1 beat to the bar but 4 beats. There are a lot of alternating bass videos on youtube that should help. Learn a couple of patterns and practice until you become automatic with the syncopation of the bass notes and the melody notes. Mind you this style is very hard for some people but once you cross the threshold its automatic.

Next thing is ragtime and folk picking which was also Knopfler's path of learning as I gathered from interviews. Ragtime is extremely fun thing to learn, I recommend Blind Blake's stuff but you should be comfortable with the alternating bass by now. While simple alternating bass style will make your thumb and fingers independent, ragtime will challenge you more when melody notes are concerned.

Delta blues fingerpicking is also a style that you should go through. Again there are numerous youtube videos about it.

When you eventually decide to fingerpick an electric and play electric blues, rock...you should simply watch some Dire Straits videos. You will see how Knopfler imitates the flatpicking technique with his thumb and finger. What you do with a pick in alternate picking, he does with a thumb and finger, hitting the string with the thumb then immediately plucking it with index finger. To make things more interesting he sometimes hits the strings with his two fingers (a downstroke with a plectrum), this is mostly used for rhythm.

The rest is just practice playing Dire Straits and Knopfler songs. And remember that he doesn't play by the rules, his thumbs sometimes goes to the first three strings (necessary to imitate the flatpicking if you are not a classical guitarist) and his index and middle fingers sometimes wander around the bass notes.

I wish you much luck on your musical journey which I guarantee you will be very rewarding (especially ragtime).