announcement

Share photos of famous musicians or enlist your favorite songs.

How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar Songs

How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar Songs

To play fingerstyle guitar songs, you basically need to be familiar with the plucking techniques for the same. Here we tell you how to play fingerstyle guitar music...
Stephen Rampur
If you are a music enthusiast and have learned some basic techniques of playing the guitar, you would certainly want to advance in the skill. A very unique style that you can look forward to is the fingerstyle guitaring. Playing songs using this technique is fun and also pretty innovative, as it gives you new creative ideas to learn more advanced skills.

What is the Fingerstyle Guitar Technique?

As the name suggests, fingerstyle guitaring relates to using fingers of the strumming hand for plucking strings. This can be done in any way such as using fingertips, nails, or even finger picks. This style of playing the guitar includes major elements of individual fingerpicking patterns. However, you need to take in mind that creativity is the key in this style. It can include playing two notes at the same time, the thumb picking the bass notes while the other fingers filling in notes with the high strings, and going up and down in plucking strings individually.

Advanced techniques include producing bass, melody, rhythm, and harmonic tones all at the same time. So, the musician can get the bass out of plucking the last two strings, melody by plucking the rest four, rhythm by the rate at which he plucks strings in a beat, and so on. You can say that it is a very versatile skill. Traditionally, fingerstyle guitaring has to be done on a classical guitar with nylon strings. However, musicians use it on an electric guitar as well, to create new tones.

How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar Songs

To start out with playing fingerstyle guitar songs, you first have to select the right kind of song. If you have just begun learning, it is better to choose a song that has basic chord combinations. Think of a song that includes three alternate chords such as G-C-D. If not a song, just consider a music arrangement that includes similar chords. Hold a G Major chord which goes...

'G' Major Chord

e------3-----------------------
B-----0-----------------------
G-----0-----------------------
D-----0-----------------------
A-----2-----------------------
E-----3------------------------

Now that you have held the G chord with your fretting hand, you can start plucking. Since in an open G chord, both first and last strings would produce the G sound; you can pluck the first with the pinky and the last with the thumb. As the third string would also sound an open G, you can pluck it with the middle or the ring finger. In a bar, you can even play other notes, such as the open B string. Practice this till you get a hang of it, and then shift to the next chord which is C Major...

'C' Major Chord

e-----0-----------------------
B----1-----------------------
G----0-----------------------
D----2-----------------------
A----3-----------------------
E----X-----------------------

After you have changed to the C Major chord, you need to change your plucking pattern a bit. Here, in the open C chord, both second B and fifth A strings give the C sound. You need to pluck these strings in the same way you did for the G chord. Play the fifth string using the thumb, and the second using the ring finger. Since G note comes in the C scale, you can pluck the third G string that is open. After playing a few bars, go on to the D Major chord...

'D' Major Chord

e-----2-----------------------
B----3-----------------------
G----2-----------------------
D----0-----------------------
A----X-----------------------
E----X-----------------------

The D Major chord has to be played in the same manner as the earlier ones. Just see to it that all notes are in scale and tune. In this chord, you can pluck the fourth and second strings that produce the D sound. Use the thumb for the fourth, and the ring finger for the second string. You can even hit the notes of the first and third strings in between, as they come in the D scale. Pluck the strings of the D chord as said and then complete the bar by fretting the G chord again.

You can even use other chord combinations for fingerstyle guitaring. But see to it that every individual note you play is in the scale of that specific chord. When you are using fingerstyle for a song, hit exact melody tunes by plucking individual notes in a chord. You will come across a number of easy songs that can be played with simple chord combinations. The basics of playing is quite simple if you are aware of plucking strings with fingertips. As you keep practicing, you will understand more about other techniques used in fingerstyle guitaring.