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Blog - Finger Picking

Following on from December's 'Comping' technique we can focus on another picking hand technique, Finger Picking.

Regardless of style or genre finger picking can add texture and dynamics to your playing so it's always worth spending time developing this technique. There have been many permutations of finger picking throughout the years such as Classical, Flamenco, Hybrid Picking and Travis Picking each with their own benefits.

Let's begin with the position and posture of the picking hand:

- Classical and Flamenco finger picking styles focus on resting the picking hand arm on the edge of the guitar allowing the hand (wrist) to hover of the sound hole to pluck the strings, this allows for maximum control.

- Contemporary finger picking (which can associated with electric guitars) allows the picking hand to sit on the bridge of the guitar, this limits a greater control but allows you to incorporate picking hand dampening, hybrid picking and other picking hand techniques.

Finger Picking Systems

When reading finger picking tabs you may have seen the following letters p i ma c this relates to each one of your fingers on your picking hand. Each letter comes from the Latin name of that finger,

thumb = p = pulgar, 1st finger = i = índice, 2nd finger = m = mayor, 3rd finger = a = anular, 4th finger = c = chiquito

Personally I have always found reading T 1 2 3 4 (thumb, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th finger) easier so it's worth being aware of both systems.

In theory the thumb should pluck the bass strings E A D

1st finger plucks G

2nd finger plucks B

3rd finger plucks E

This system can be changed to incorporate your 4th (little) finger to play the high E string, thus allowing you to execute finger rolls and hybrid picking.

Allow yourself to play around with this technique and see what will work best for you!

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