What is fingerstyle guitar ?
Fingerstyle acoustic guitar is a versatile and popular style of playing that offers a range of benefits for guitarists of all skill levels. By using your fingers to pluck the strings of the guitar, you can create complex and intricate arrangements without the need for additional instruments. This technique allows for a wide range of sounds and dynamics, making it a popular and versatile style of playing.
One of the main advantages of fingerstyle playing is the ability to create a full and rich sound without the need for additional instruments. With just your fingers and a guitar, you can create a wide range of sounds that can stand alone or be combined with other instruments to create a full band sound. This flexibility makes fingerstyle playing a valuable skill for any guitarist, whether you play solo or in a band.
In addition, fingerstyle playing allows for a greater degree of control over the sound of the guitar. By using multiple fingers to pluck the strings, you can create a variety of tones and dynamics, from soft and delicate to loud and powerful. This flexibility allows for a wide range of musical styles, from delicate fingerpicking patterns in folk music to intricate melodies in classical music.
Moreover, fingerstyle playing enables you to play multiple parts simultaneously. By using your thumb to play a bass line while your fingers play melody and harmony lines, you can create a rich and full sound that can rival that of a full band. This technique is often used in genres such as blues and jazz, where the guitar is used as both a rhythm and lead instrument.
In addition to its musical benefits, fingerstyle playing can also be a relaxing and enjoyable hobby. The repetitive motion of plucking the strings can be meditative, and the process of learning and mastering new techniques can be rewarding and fulfilling. Furthermore, playing guitar can be a great way to connect with others and share your love of music with friends and family.
Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an experienced guitarist looking to expand your skills, fingerstyle playing offers a wide range of challenges and rewards. With the guidance of an experienced instructor, anyone can learn to play fingerstyle acoustic guitar and unlock the full potential of this versatile and enjoyable style of playing.
If you’re just starting out, fingerstyle guitar lessons can help you develop a solid foundation of techniques and skills. These lessons will typically cover basic fingerpicking patterns, chord progressions, and right-hand technique. You’ll also learn about the different parts of the guitar and how to read music notation.
As you progress, you’ll begin to explore more advanced techniques and styles of playing. You may learn to play Travis picking, clawhammer, or flamenco rasgueado, which are all popular fingerpicking techniques used in different musical genres. You’ll also learn about advanced chord progressions, including how to use modal interchange, chord substitutions, and harmonic analysis.
Beyond technique, you’ll also learn about different styles of fingerstyle playing. You may study jazz, blues, and world music, exploring different fingerstyle playing techniques and developing your improvisational skills. You’ll also learn about song arrangement and composition, developing the skills to create original arrangements and compositions, and exploring different approaches to songwriting.
Moreover, you’ll delve deeper into music theory, exploring advanced concepts such as modal interchange, chord substitutions, and harmonic analysis. You’ll also learn to play more complex fingerstyle arrangements, developing a wider repertoire of songs.
Alongside the technical and musical skills, you’ll also develop your performance skills by learning how to engage with your audience, use stage lighting and sound, and create a professional stage presence. You’ll also learn about recording and production, developing the skills to record and produce your own music using digital audio workstations, microphones, and other recording equipment.
Finally, you’ll develop collaborative musicianship skills by learning how to play with other musicians in a band or ensemble setting. This involves learning how to listen and communicate with other musicians, and how to work together to create a cohesive sound.
For example, in a band setting, you’ll need to learn how to lock in with the rhythm section (bass and drums) and how to complement the other instruments in the group. You’ll also need to be able to adjust your playing to fit the overall sound of the band, and to be able to adapt to changes in tempo, dynamics, and other musical elements.
Developing collaborative musicianship skills also involves learning how to improvise and play off of other musicians in real-time. This requires a certain level of musical intuition and the ability to think on your feet, as you’ll need to be able to anticipate what other musicians are going to play and how to respond in a way that adds to the overall sound of the group.
Ultimately, developing collaborative musicianship skills is a valuable part of learning fingerstyle acoustic guitar, as it allows you to expand your musical horizons and connect with other musicians on a deeper level. Whether you’re playing in a band or just jamming with friends, learning how to collaborate effectively can help you create a more enjoyable and fulfilling musical experience for everyone involved.
Here are some renowned fingerstyle guitarists that can serve as a source of inspiration and learning for you:
Tommy Emmanuel is an Australian fingerstyle guitarist who is known for his lightning-fast playing and energetic live performances. Emmanuel has been playing professionally since the 1970s, but gained a new generation of fans through his YouTube channel, where he posts videos of his performances, tutorials, and interviews. There so much we can learn from Tommy Emmanuel’s impressive technical skills, as well as his ability to engage and entertain audiences with his charismatic stage presence.
Andy McKee is a fingerstyle guitarist from Kansas, USA, who has gained a huge following on YouTube for his virtuosic playing style and intricate compositions. McKee got his start by posting videos of his playing online, which eventually led to a recording contract and a successful touring career. We can all learn from McKee’s innovative approach to fingerstyle guitar, as well as his use of alternate tunings and percussive techniques.
Sungha Jung is a South Korean fingerstyle guitarist who gained fame on YouTube as a teenager, thanks to his impressive covers of popular songs and his virtuosic playing style. Jung has since released several albums and toured internationally, and continues to post videos of his playing on YouTube. We can learn from Jung’s ability to adapt popular songs to the fingerstyle guitar format, as well as his precise and intricate playing style.
Gabriella Quevedo is a Swedish fingerstyle guitarist who gained fame on YouTube for her covers of popular songs, as well as her own original compositions. Quevedo got her start by posting videos of her playing on YouTube, and has since released several albums and toured internationally. We can learn from Quevedo’s sensitive and emotive playing style, as well as her ability to create arrangements that highlight the melody and emotional content of a song.
Luca Stricagnoli is an Italian fingerstyle guitarist who gained fame on YouTube for his creative arrangements and use of unusual playing techniques, such as playing the guitar behind his back or tapping on the body of the guitar. Stricagnoli has released several albums and toured internationally, and continues to post videos of his playing on YouTube. We can learn from Stricagnoli’s innovative approach to fingerstyle guitar, as well as his use of unconventional techniques to create unique sounds and textures.
Kelly Valleau is a Canadian fingerstyle guitarist who gained popularity on YouTube by posting fingerstyle guitar covers of popular songs. His channel has over 1 million subscribers and features a mix of covers and original compositions, as well as tutorials and lessons.
English guitarist Jon Gomm is known for his unique percussive fingerstyle playing, which involves tapping and slapping the guitar body to create rhythms and melodies. He gained widespread attention with his song “Passionflower,” which has over 20 million views on YouTube.
Iranian-Canadian guitarist Maneli Jamal has gained a following for his expressive and technically impressive fingerstyle playing. He has released several albums and often collaborates with other musicians. On his YouTube channel, he shares performances, lessons, and behind-the-scenes footage.
American guitarist Adam Rafferty is known for his funky and soulful fingerstyle playing. He gained popularity on YouTube by posting fingerstyle guitar covers of popular songs, and has since released several albums and taught at guitar workshops around the world.
is a German gypsy jazz guitarist who is known for his virtuosic fingerstyle playing. He started playing the guitar at the age of six and was heavily influenced by Django Reinhardt. He has released several albums and has collaborated with numerous musicians in the gypsy jazz community. Joscho’s playing style combines traditional gypsy jazz techniques with modern influences, making him a unique and innovative player in the genre. His ability to play fast and intricate lines with precision and clarity is a hallmark of his playing style.
Lucas Brar is a Canadian fingerstyle guitarist who gained fame on YouTube for his fingerstyle covers of popular songs. He started playing guitar at the age of six and later studied jazz guitar at the University of British Columbia. His YouTube channel features covers of songs by artists such as Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, and Justin Bieber, as well as original compositions. His playing style incorporates percussive techniques and looping, creating a full sound that is both melodic and rhythmic. He has been praised for his technical skill and innovative approach to fingerstyle guitar playing.