Looking for Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons?
Aspiring folk, country or blues players need high-quality fingerstyle guitar lessons to master their chosen genre. Fingerstyle (or fingerpicking) is simply a style of playing in which the strings are plucked using the fingers rather than with a single flat-pick (plectrum). This opens up the possibility of playing multiple parts simultaneously, and creating more detailed and interesting compositions. You can also use the style to craft original versions of non-fingerstyle songs, which is great for playing unique covers with only one guitar.
Websites and DVD-based courses are rapidly gaining popularity because they offer a cheap, convenient method of learning the instrument. Why pay high hourly rates for face-to-face instruction, when you can now learn on your own time from the comfort of your own home. If you’re considering learning fingerstyle guitar, you should learn about the different courses available.
We’ve reviewed and compared the top courses covering fingerstyle guitar lessons. Use the comparison chart below to quickly find the best course for you.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
Fingerstyle guitar is fairly unique in that it’s primarily concerned with the picking hand. Any series of fingerstyle guitar lessons should start with the basics. First, you need to get to grips with how your fingers and thumb are used. The lessons will ordinarily start with this and then move on to teaching you some basic patterns. These will use basic open chords, so it’s good to have an understanding of them before you start learning fingerstyle. Many online subscription services will include a chord chart, which can be used as reference throughout your playing career.
One of the most challenging aspects of fingerstyle is the requirement for the thumb to operate pretty much independently of the fingers. The thumb’s role is to hold a steady bass-line, and it has to operate with the autonomy and accuracy of a metronome whilst your other fingers are picking the melody. Better fingerstyle guitar lessons will cover thumb independence in detail, because it is integral to the style. Check out the courses and find out which offers most content on thumb independence. It should be covered by lessons on the basics, but not in sufficient detail.
There are many different styles incorporated into fingerstyle guitar. The main ones are “Travis picking,” “Carter family picking” and “clawhammer,” the first two of which named after famous fingerstyle players and the latter comes from a banjo technique. Any series of lessons you choose should contain instruction on these major picking styles, preferably with at least a lesson on each. Remember to check for lessons which say “Merle Travis Style” or “Carter Family Style,” because these will also include the relevant information.
The most rewarding aspect of learning the fingerstyle guitar is the options it opens up when you want to play your own version of a song. Fingerstyle arrangements keep the tonal qualities of the original, but break chords up into constituent parts to make them sound more interesting. Lessons should teach you several different songs arranged in fingerstyle (good for general practice, too) and discuss how you can arrange other songs for fingerstlye.
Things You Need to Know
Realistically, to play good fingerstyle guitar, you need to be at either intermediate or advanced level. You should have a detailed knowledge of the different chords, and be comfortable changing between them and adding in additional notes to spice up the sound. You should also be comfortable with basic legato techniques such as hammer-ons and pull-offs. If you’re an absolute beginner, choosing a course which covers these basics is vital to learning fingerstyle.
The final point to consider is the video quality. Almost all online and DVD-based courses use videos as the primary teaching method, so it has to be good quality. Preferably, the video will make use of multiple camera angles, close-ups and split-screens so you can see what the instructor is doing with both hands. You should be able to find sample lessons or at least some screenshots in order to determine the video quality.
Fingerstyle Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
Out of the options for fingerstyle guitar lessons, JamPlay comes out on top. It offers 99 lessons on fingerstyle, split over five different series. All of the key topics are covered in ample detail, and the course is taught by professionals. The video quality is superb, and they use close-ups and split screens to ensure you can always see what’s happening. On top of all this, there is a mammoth chord library (with over 950,000 chords) which will give you fingerstyle material for a long time to come.