#1
Hi, just a fast question to gather some opinions on the matter.

I've been practicing fingerpicking for only the last year or so after years of using a plectrum only, and while I'm very comfy playing arpeggios and such I'm still very much a beginner in faster fingerpicking, for example something you'd find in classical guitar or bluegrass or the like. I've taken lessons and studied in an academy, but we never covered fingerpicking as I was strictly a flatpicker back then.

The question is simple. How to angle my fingers and in which direction should I pick for optimal efficiency? I've seen three approaches:

1. Arching your fingers under the strings and picking "upwards", towards your palm. Seems to be what most classical guitarists do if I'm not horribly mistaken. To me, this approach is the most awkward and I feel like my fingers stick to the strings, but it's probably my lack of experience.

2. Keeping a pretty relaxed, open hand and picking perpendicular to the strings. This is what I've been doing for the most part. Feels more fluid than #1, and I feel I'm more accurate with this style.

3. Straight fingers, picking downwards towards the pickups. Like a bass guitar is usually played you know. I've seen very few people do it, and I feel like it translates pretty poorly to the guitar, but I included it anyway just in case.

Any thoughts? I know each has their own uses, of course I'm going to use #1 if I want a popping sound etc. but let's say I need to play a simple lick with moderate speed, what is the best way to do it in your experience? I tend to use four fingers, my thumb, index, middle and ring. Sometimes pinky in special cases. I don't really play any genre in particular, and I play both electric and acoustic. Just gathering some thoughts on the subject.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#2
Actually I mostly use both 1 and 2 depending on what I'm trying to do. As with plectrums, there are many ways to fingerpick to get different tonal qualities and for dynamics. I often even use combination picking using a plectrum and three fingers on occassion. I suspect as you progress in your fingerpicking you'll find you have a use for many different techniques and styles.
#3
I play fingerstyle jazz, and use what is essentially classical guitar technique. It's a natural hand position, stress free, and very efficient.
I can't offhand think of a better description of what should be going on than that written up by Tuck Andress, no mean player himself:
http://mythbustersresults.com/episode34

He has a book as well, "Fingerstyle Mastery".
#4
Quote by Bikewer
I play fingerstyle jazz, and use what is essentially classical guitar technique. It's a natural hand position, stress free, and very efficient.
I can't offhand think of a better description of what should be going on than that written up by Tuck Andress, no mean player himself:
http://mythbustersresults.com/episode34

He has a book as well, "Fingerstyle Mastery".


Is the link to the "MythBusters explained" site intentional?

Thanks for the input, both of you. Stress free and natural are certainly adjectives I'm after.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#5
Perhaps you're over thinking it? Your hand should just feel utterly relaxed when in position (while not playing). For most people this will mean a slight curve to each finger. This is really important. Close your eyes if you must, but sit there for a little bit and concentrate - make sure to release any tension you feel in your fingers. Once they are utterly relaxed, then you've found the optimum position. Any other nuance, such as popping the string, only happens when you play. Between notes the fingers should be in the same position as if resting.
#6
That is what I'm doing for the most part, I made this thread because I've seen many guitarists, and very good guitarists at that, keeping their hand closed, almost as a fist. So I was wondering if I'm doing it wrong. But it's all the better if I'm not, so I'll carry on doing what I do.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#8
Quote by Kevätuhri
That is what I'm doing for the most part, I made this thread because I've seen many guitarists, and very good guitarists at that, keeping their hand closed, almost as a fist. So I was wondering if I'm doing it wrong. But it's all the better if I'm not, so I'll carry on doing what I do.


I think sometimes it just looks that way from the camera angle. If you record yourself playing you might find that your hand looks more close fisted than it does from your playing POV. Curling your fingers beyond the point of relaxation doesn't make much sense as it creates unnecessary tension.