Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – 5 Easy Ways To Sound Amazing

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – Thumb And First Finger – Exercise 2

The second exercise we’re going to do has some string skipping in it, this is a unique technique and can add a cool texture to chords.

This style of finger picking is great as it can often make your basic chords sound completely different!

This time we’re going to skip out the middle string.

The string pattern will go like this.

  • E string: thumb, D string: first finger.
  • A string: thumb, G string: first finger.
  • D string: thumb, B string: first finger.
  • G string: thumb, E string: first finger.

Then to follow that pattern you simply go back up the pattern:

(Remember we’re still just holding that E chord!)

fingerstyle guitar lessons

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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – Thumb And First Finger – Exercise 3

This exercise uses the first finger differently.

We’re actually going to use our first finger as a pick, whilst our thumb changes bass notes. Again, this is another classic piece of fingerstyle technique.

When we use our first finger, we’re going to use our nail to strum the rest of the strings. This works best with a downward strum towards the floor.

Our pattern will go like this:

  • E string: thumb, first finger: strum top three strings.
  • A string: thumb, first finger: strum top three strings.

Here’s the tab:

fingerstyle guitar lessons

Do you want to experiment with more than just an E chord? Here are a 6 different chords which sound amazing on acoustic guitar: 6 Amazing Chords For Acoustic Guitarists

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons #4 – Using Your Thumb, First Finger And Second Finger

Now we’ve gotten used to the idea of using your thumb and first finger together, let’s add in our second finger.

This is a big step. Take your time. Be content to just play using your thumb and first finger for a while, adding your second finger as a ‘bonus’ every now and then.

Adding in an extra finger adds all sorts of possibilities and can create a LOT of interesting patterns. We’re going to look at three different exercises to get your finger picking chops up to scratch.

Now we’re getting into pro-sounding fingerstyle technique. So cool!

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons -Thumb, First Finger And Second Finger – Exercise 1

The first exercise we’re going to learn is really great for chord comping. This is often heard in acoustic music, mainly by solo singers as it adds an extra bass part:

Our pattern is going to like this.

  • Low E string: thumb, G string (first finger) and B string (second finger) plucked at the same time.
  • A string: thumb, G string (first finger) and B string (second finger) plucked at the same time.
  • D string: thumb, G string (first finger) and B string (second finger) plucked at the same time.

fingerstyle guitar lessons

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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – Thumb, First Finger And Second Finger – Exercise 2

The second exercise we’re going to look at is really simple. We’re going to be alternating our first and second finger between the B and high E string, whilst our thumb changes the bass note.

Again, this is heard frequently in folk and country music and sounds fantastic.

It’s also a great exercise to keep the first and second fingers warmed up.

Our pattern goes like this.

  • E string: thumb, B string:first finger, E string: second finger.
  • A string: thumb, B string:first finger, E string: second finger.
  • D string: thumb, B string:first finger, E string: second finger.

fingerstyle guitar lessons

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Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – Thumb, First Finger And Second Finger – Exercise 3

This last exercise is a bit of a finger twister, so make sure you go slow when attempting this!

We are going to be finger picking each string and descending down each string as we go.

So our pattern will be something like this.

  • E string: thumb, D string:first finger and G string: second finger.
  • A string: thumb, G string:first finger and B string: second finger.
  • D string: thumb, B string:first finger and E string:second finger.

fingerstyle guitar lessons

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Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons #4 – The Claw and Mute

The final thing we’re going to look at is a technique which I think is often overlooked by many guitar players, however it is used frequently throughout acoustic-based music.

The “claw” uses your thumb, first finger and second finger together to play several notes of the chord at the same time.

Where as the “mute” is used as a percussive technique to stop the chord altogether, this sounds useless on it’s own but can create unique textures when combined with the “claw”.

Now we know what these techniques are, let’s get into some exercises which utilise them.

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – The Claw and Mute – Exercise 1

This first exercise is going to use our thumb, first finger and second finger, whilst we pluck each string at the same time. It’s designed to create unique textures to chords, as opposed to strumming the whole chord. By using certain fingers we can create sounds which would be hard to create using a pick.

To do this we’re going to:

  • Use our thumb on the low E string.
  • Use our first finger on the G string.
  • Use our second finger on the B string.
  • Pluck all strings at the same time!

Here’s a tab:

fingerstyle guitar lessons

It sounds like this:

You don’t have to use these specific strings either, you can experiment with using different combinations of strings.

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – The Claw and Mute – Exercise 3

In this exercise we’re going to specifically look at muting the strings after we’ve played them.

  • Firstly, strum your E chord.
  • Place your hand on the strings after you’ve played the chord.

You should be muting with the lower palm of your hand.

This will stop the sound of your strings almost instantly, as well as creating a cool percussive sound to your guitar playing.

Even though it’s a simple technique, it’s used frequently in fingerstyle playing and helps to cool and interesting sounds.

Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons – The Claw and Mute – Exercise 3

The final exercise we’re going to look is a combination of the two.

This time we’re going to add some rhythm to our playing, as well using this cool technique.

With your picking hand put your:

  • Thumb on the low E string.
  •  First finger on the G string.
  • Second finger on the B string.
  • Pluck the strings at the same time!

This time we’re going to add some rhythm to our chord, as well as muting it after.

Here’s what it looks like on the tab.

fingerstyle guitar lessons

Here’s a video showing this in action:

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