Mudcat Café message #4017606 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166887   Message #4017606
Posted By: Raedwulf
06-Nov-19 - 07:20 PM
Thread Name: Fingerpicking help, please!
Subject: RE: Fingerpicking help, please!
Not entirely sure I can help you directly, as I'm not a folk guitarist. I'm a creature of NWOBHM (if you recognise that acronym; you're old enough to do so! ;-) ); I'm both a rock & classical guitarist. Ergo, I know something of finger-picking, but I might not be talking the right style, if you see what I mean.

The basic classical technique revolves around pima. The p is pulgar (or something close to that); it's your thumb. I forget what the a is (this is all Italian, naturally!), but the ima is index, middle, ring fingers. And thus, if you ever see fully notated classical guitar script, you will see p i m a telling you which finger to use. Classical music, of any description, is not to everyone's taste, but classical technique for every instrument has evolved over decades & centuries to be the most efficient way of playing, in order that you can get the most out of your weapon of choice! ;-)

So it's worth considering how classical technique works on your instrument, I think. As a very general & simplistic thing in classical guitar, one finger, one string & don't bother with the a if you can help it (incidentally, no-one tries to use the pinkie - it's too short & weak to be useful as a 'pick'). Ergo, what you often get on classical guitar is the thumb picking out the melody, whilst the fingers fill out the harmony in whatever way the composer sees fit.

In any finger-picking there are, basically, two rules. 1) Never ask the finger to pick twice; it's much easier to i m i m than it is to i i i i. 2) Keep the same finger on the same string if you can; the thumb moves more easily & more accurately than the fingers do (trust me on this; it's true!). In very many short pieces, "studies" i.e. teaching aides / technique practice pieces, you will find that your ima is on strings 3-2-1 or that it's only i & m on two adjacent strings.

Etcetera. You know your guitar, LS. You've been playing the bloody thing for long enough! ;-) There's no great mystery, nor any right answer, to the question of finger-picking. It doesn't matter whether you're trying to cover someone else's work, or whether you're creating your own. Bear in mind rules 1 & 2 above & find the most efficient picking pattern that works for YOU. And nuts to what any 'expert' (like me ;-) ) might say about it.

The only thing that really counts about music is that you enjoy what you create. If other people enjoy it too, that's a bonus! ;-)