Getting Your Fingers In On The Action
Once you are able to strum with your fingers, you can begin fingerpicking!
The first task is to learn your hand position and to learn which fingers are
used on which strings. For simplicity, I am assuming that you are right-handed,
so left-handed people should reverse these instructions.
- Place the heel of your right hand on the bridge of the guitar.
- Your fingers should extend almost to the soundhole (if you have an acoustic
- Your hand should be in a very relaxed position, with your fingers softly
touching the strings. Your hand should not feel
- Form a normal C chord with your left hand.
- Place your fingers on the appropriate strings as follows:
- Thumb on the 5th string
- Index finger on the 4th string
- Middle finger on the 3rd string
- Ring finger on the 2nd string
- Now, practice picking with each finger.
- For the thumb, pick downwards using the inside
edge of your thumb.
- For all other fingers, pick upwards using the fingertip. You can use the
flesh of your fingertip or your fingernail; whichever you prefer.
- Practice each finger for a minute or two, never allowing the finger to
leave its associated string mentioned above.
- Keep your hand planted on the bridge throughout this exercise. It should not
be uncomfortable while picking.
- Eventually you will want to change your hand
position so you are not muffling the bridge.
- By resting your hand on the bridge it deadens the
sound, so you will want to move your hand off of the guitar top.
- To do this simply keep your pinkie sitting on the guitar top below the
strings and pick like you normally do. Your pinkie will brace your hand
to allow you to pick.
- This may be uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it.
If you find it difficult, you can always continue using the first method.
- You don't need to change your hand position immediately; just change it when
you feel comfortable changing it.
only after you feel comfortable picking with each finger.
Move on to the third lesson!
Go back to the first lesson
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© 1997 Daniel E. Smith.