FIN­GER­PICK­ING PAT­TERNS 10 Es­sen­tial Ap­proaches

Fin­ger­pick­ing is a vi­tal tech­nique for to­day’s gui­tarist, whether elec­tric or acous­tic. Tris­tan Seume re­veals 10 top pat­terns with some great play­ing ideas too.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Tris­tan Seume aims to arm you with a wealth of finger­style pat­terns to im­prove your play­ing across a range of gen­res, from blues to jazz.

The world of finger­style gui­tar can seem over­whelm­ing. So rich is it in stylis­tic roots, from Brazil­ian bossa nova, to American singer-song­writ­ers and the folk songs of Bri­tain.

So this fea­ture’s aim is to arm you with a wealth of finger­style es­sen­tials that cover 10 dif­fer­ent play­ing styles in­clud­ing blues, jazz, folk, coun­try and lush-sound­ing Latin. Even if you al­ready play finger­style, I’ll bet you’ll find some­thing new and in­ter­est­ing here.

I have grouped the pat­terns roughly into ‘fam­i­lies’ of ap­proaches to make sense of the learn­ing process. For ex­am­ple, for those new to finger­style it is im­por­tant to be­gin with a solid foun­da­tion – crisp note pro­duc­tion and solid tim­ing. The first two pat­terns will serve you well here as they fo­cus pre­dom­i­nantly on play­ing sin­gle notes at a time, look­ing at arpeg­gios with­out any trou­bling syn­co­pa­tion.

For the more ex­pe­ri­enced player we move onto thumb in­de­pen­dence, in­tro­duc­ing the idea of ‘pinch­ing’ two notes to­gether to create har­mony. We ex­plore this through a few styles in­clud­ing folk, coun­try and blues.

Pat­terns three, four and five in this spe­cial fin­ger­pick­ing fea­ture are in­dica­tive of the clas­sic play­ing of great American pick­ers, such as Paul Si­mon and James Tay­lor who would have shared licks and tricks with their 60s and 70s transat­lantic coun­ter­parts, Martin Carthy, Bert Jan­sch and Ralph McTell, as they played the folk clubs of Lon­don as well as New York.

A vi­tal fin­ger­picker’s tech­nique is the abil­ity to play self-ac­com­pa­ny­ing blues grooves in the vein of the great orig­i­nal blues­men, Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Wa­ters or Robert John­son. Pat­tern seven should set you on your way here: it is es­sen­tial to be able to de­velop an independent thumb to free your cre­ativ­ity in em­bel­lish­ing the mono­phonic bassline with Pen­ta­tonic phrases in the way that the afore­men­tioned masters did.

Thumb in­de­pen­dence was sec­ond na­ture to coun­try and west­ern pick­ers like Merle Travis and Chet Atkins, whose light-hearted sound and con­sum­mate mas­tery saw them ap­pear­ing on pop­u­lar TV and ra­dio shows. The fifth and sixth pat­terns will get you on the right road to Travis pick­ing mas­tery.

Fi­nally, there are three pat­terns that fol­low a more chordal ap­proach, with syn­co­pated rhythms: pat­tern nine takes a bossa nova rhythm and off­sets it with a steady bass, in the style of Brazil­ian leg­ends João Gil­berto or Car­los An­tônio Jo­bim; and the fi­nal pat­tern mar­ries chords to a walk­ing bassline, as per­formed such great jazzers as Martin Tay­lor, Tuck An­dress and Joe Pass.

With pa­tience and prac­tise you might find the foun­da­tional ex­er­cises al­low you to be­come a more ver­sa­tile and di­verse player, or even a spe­cial­ist in which­ever par­tic­u­lar style in­spires you most!

This FEa­TurE’s aim is To arm you wiTh a wEalTh oF FingEr­sTylE Es­sEn­Tials ThaT covEr 10 diF­FEr­EnT play­ing sTylEs in­clud­ing bluEs, jazz, Folk, coun­Try and laTin

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