Good fingerpicking book?

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by Gyroman, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. Gyroman

    Gyroman Senior Member

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    Greetings fellow MLPers. :) Can anyone recommend a good book for learning fingerpicking? Ideally I'd like something that focuses more on rock/blues styles than country/folk, but suggestions for anything that gives a good, all-round tutorial would be welcome.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Gyroman

    Gyroman Senior Member

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    Righto, so from a forum of 100,000+ members, not one has bought or borrowed a book on fingerpicking and thought: 'This is good, it's helped me enormously.'? Marvelous. Let's try it from the opposite angle... Has anybody bought a book on fingerpicking and thought 'Well, this is a bag of sh!te, should have saved my money.' and if so, what was it? Maybe by process of elimination I can eventually work out which ones may be any good... :D
     
  3. Midnight Blues

    Midnight Blues Premium Member

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  4. LenPaul

    LenPaul Premium Member

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    I may be able to recommend a few, do you read notation?
     
  5. Gyroman

    Gyroman Senior Member

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    First may I say thanks to Midnight Blues and Len Paul for replying :thumb:

    MB, that book looks cool, and anything that calls itself a Grimoire has to have the edge over a mere book, surely? :laugh2: Hopefully someone who has had the book a bit longer can comment on whether or not it has helped them.

    LP, I can decipher notation given enough time, but nowhere near well enough to be able to sight read, so recommendations for books with tab only or tab and notation would be best suited to my needs. :)

    Thanks again for replying. :cool:
     
  6. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Indeed! Clearly it's written by one of the Ancients, drawing on Secret Wisdom handed down from the Masters of the Universe. The typography alone tells you that!
    :D

    In fact, the Grimoire books are merely a handy way of disposing of all the excess trees infesting our planet. I don't think anyone is expected to actually read them.
    I once looked at a Grimoire scales book in a music shop, and it gave me a good laugh for a couple of minutes, plus some good physical exercise in head-shaking, jaw-dropping and eyebrow-raising. If that counts as "helping". (Call me an old cynic, but it did kind of make my day.)

    As a fingerpicker of some 50 years myself, I feel I ought to be able to offer some assistance here.
    Of course, back then, it was before the internet, the dinosaurs had only just gone extinct, and the printing press had only just been invented. Nobody had even thought of the idea of a "fingerpicking book". They were too busy planning trips to the moon...(the poor fools).

    So I had to teach myself, using laughably ancient, creaking (and expensive) lumps of technology such as a "record player" and a "tape recorder". (I'm sure you can google these terms if you're scratching your head.)

    I'm sensing this is of not much help to you...

    I'd like to say I feel your pain in being so frustrated at only getting two replies (before this) in five whole days after posting. What is the damned internet coming to!!:mad: But maybe Les Paul players are not best known for fingerpicking. They're too busy slamming out heavy rock riffs through Marshall stacks (or should be, dammit).

    While I do own a very old fingerpicking book (by Stefan Grossman), I can't say it was enormously helpful - it was mostly stuff I already knew. My best suggestion is to post on an ACOUSTIC GUITAR FORUM - such as http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=27 (I can guess what they'll recommend, but it's probably better if I let them do it.)
    And it can hardly be surprising there's an even more specialized forum here (although it's not one I've ever visited before): http://acousticfingerstyleguitar.yuku.com/directory#.WMvVWbhFbTo
     
  7. Gyroman

    Gyroman Senior Member

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    Thank you for your reply Jon. I too remember the dark, dark days before the internet. Seventeen of us, spanning three generations, huddled together round a single candle for warmth in our one roomed hovel, taking it in turns to try to warm our meagre bowl of gruel by the guttering flame as Grandfather imperiously sought the World Service on the ancient radiogram; and God have mercy on your pathetic soul if you dared to try to work out how to play "Knees Up Muvver Brahn" (on the guitar you'd paid for by training your pet crow to take the pennies off the eyes of the dead beggars who so freely littered the streets in those days) whilst the shipping forecast was on.

    I was given a few pointers by my aunt who at the time was a classical guitar teacher but she lived 150 miles away, so those lessons were few and far between, plus it was over forty years ago so what little I did learn has kinda got lost in the mists of time. Really what I need is a few exercises and patterns to practice.

    The reason I thought to ask the question in an electric guitar forum is that I believe that at some point in the last century some enterprising souls had thought to apply fingerpicking techniques to solid bodied guitars as well as acoustics. One chap if I remember correctly was rather good at it... You may have heard of him... Geordie fellow, Mike something or other was it? Maybe it was Mark? Yes, that's it... Mark Knobflopper or somesuch. Although I think in later years he was more known for playing a Strat. Maybe I should ask in a Strat forum??? :D
     
  8. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    not all books, but I've tried...

    a Tommy Emmanuel Book, bit too scatty (hard) for my liking!

    Tomi Paldanius fingerstyle PDF/vid lessons ...fingerstyle versions of popular songs, I just wanted to play this.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DctCyO-E3s

    this book... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/192032507794?lpid=122&chn=ps&adgroupid=40176066202&rlsatarget=pla-279594503185&adtype=pla&poi=&googleloc=1007366&device=c&campaignid=738210941&crdt=0

    fingerstyle versions of a few Queen songs by Edgar Cruz, think I bought the TAB

    probably others I've forgot about

    by far the most helpful, and the ones I spent the most time with were
    Pumping Nylon by Scott Tennant (there's a tab version too) and Effortless Classical Guitar by William Kanengiser.....but unless you like classical they might not be so appealing!!
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    radiogram?? You must have been one of those rich families! We were those kids in cardboard shoes outside in the snow with our ears pressed up against your window. Those happy hours we spent waiting for the static to clear long enough to hear a couple of bars of Big Rock Candy Mountain - a glimpse of audio paradise from the magical US of A! And then chiselling our frozen ears off the window pane to run home for our supper of warmed over cornflakes boxes.
    Oh yes. The wonder of Bert Weedon's "Play In A Day", which showed us how to play all those rock'n'roll hits we hungered for, such as - er - "There Is a Tavern in the Town", or "Little Brown Jug".
    (Hey - I always wondered where dead dad's pennies went!...)

    My first guitar (cost my parents a week's wages at £6) was strung with cheese wire, and needed a bench vice to get strings down to the frets. At least it was an improvement on the ones I'd been trying to build out of old cupboards and fuse wire (I kid you not...).

    Of course, the rosy glow of nostalgia is painting those days much prettier than they were...
    Lessons??? You had LESSONS????

    I had music lessons at school. Main thing I remember is the teacher solemnly informing us at one point that "all pop music is rubbish". (To be fair it was 1962 so he had a point.) So I have to thank him for that at least, turning me on to an anti-school alternative.
    Like telling kids "don't do drugs!" ... well I hadn't thought about that before, sir, but now you've given me some ideas.... :hippie:
    OK - seeing as I am a teacher myself (having failed at everything else), I can maybe help there.

    There are basically two schools of thought: classical, and folk/blues.
    On the treatment of chords, classical can be crudely summed up as arpeggiating (thumb and 3 fingers), while folk/blues is about laying down a rhythm with the thumb, with one or two fingers filling in other chord tones or melody.
    Ol' Mark Knobflopper mainly uses classical arpeggios (eg on Romeo & Juliet). That's quite distinct from the alternating bass technique usually known (in the US) as Travis picking. I'm sure MK can do that too, but the right hand technique is different.

    Here's a simple classical exercise - no charge! - for an Em (but can be applied to any chord):
    Code:
    -------0-----------0------------------
    -----0---0-------0---0-------------------
    ---0-------0---0-------0----------------
    ------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------
    -0-----------0-----------------------
     p i m a m i p i m a m i
    
    as you may know p = thumb, i - index, m = middle, a = ring.

    Plenty of books on classical technique will give you more of that sort of thing. I'd recommend Noad for that avenue: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solo-Guitar-Playing-Fourth-Gtr/dp/0825636795 (That's "solo" as in unaccompanied, not "solo" as in "what scale do I need to solo on these chords?" ;)
     
  10. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Senior Member

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    Google "120 right hand studies". First link is a PDF, and while it may not be blues, it's a good start. I think TrueFire has courses, too, that you could try.
     
  11. Hatefulsob

    Hatefulsob Senior Member

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  12. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    Yup. Fingerpicking is why your clever hand is at that end of the guitar, and your stupid hand is on the frets.
    :)
     
  13. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    I'd spend a few hours learning proper technique before battling on with exercises

    the 2 most important things (that I learned from classical vids/books) IMO...

    movement should be from the big knuckle, not clawing at the strings....since it's the biggest muscle it won't tire out as easy, the other joints still flex but the power should be coming from the big knuckle

    also learn about planting..helps so much with accuracy.... your finger is actually on the string, pushing down and letting it go to make the sound, rather than taking a swipe at the string with your finger, it becomes almost unnoticable but is essential!
     
  14. revtime

    revtime Senior Member

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    I learned quite a bit from Steve Krenz with Learn and Master Fingerstyle guitar. He goes slow and you can follow him quite easily. Not like that Zakk Wylde guy. I mean I love everything about his playing and Book of Shadows is easily one of my favorite albums of all time. But as a guitar teacher he is HORRIBLE.....horrible.
    I still get a kick out of peoples faces when I pick up a guitar and they are like "You need a pick?" and I just hold up my right hand and say "Nah, I got some built in" and do some banjo rolls.
    I am not even that good with finger picking. I wanted to learn the Metal so I play predominately with a thick pick.
     
  15. Gyroman

    Gyroman Senior Member

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    Thanks to all for the replies :thumb:

    Jon, I remember the Frederick Noad book from when my sister did classical guitar at school, so it's quite possible that what little I know already may have come partly from it. That and the previously mentioned occasional lesson from my aunt (yes, she really was, and I believe still is, a classical guitar teacher :) ).

    I suppose I've been reluctant to embrace classical techniques because a lot of the guitarists that make the progression from classical to rock sound a bit too perfect if you know what I mean. Think John Williams in Sky: Absolutely note-perfect, timing impeccable, but strangely soulless or a tad mechanical. (My opinion, others may not agree).

    Thinking about it logically though, it can't hurt to borrow the classical techniques without learning the discipline that classical players strive for.

    I will be checking out the links and suggestions that people have posted (I may give the Grimoire a swerve though... :D ) in the coming weeks, so thanks once again everyone for your input. :thumb:
     
  16. paradice

    paradice Senior Member

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    Yeah...no need to have the guitar over your left leg proper classical style but getting the fundamentals will mean you can play for longer, with less tension...have more fun!

    That's not to say you wouldn't get it right on your own...bit of a risk.IMO tho!
     
  17. LenPaul

    LenPaul Premium Member

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  18. Malikon

    Malikon Skreeeeee-ONK! V.I.P. Member

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    it may sound silly but a real good song to start down this path is Dust in the Wind.

    The chords are basic 'cowboy chords': C, G/B, Am, G, Dm, Am (<---obviously not the whole song but it can get you started)

    Honestly just sitting there playing with the chords you start to figure out the 'pattern' to fingerpick it.


    ...anyway,..that's how I started. That was my first fingerpicked song. Eventually it progressed to Classical and Flamenco,...but Dust In The Wind is (imo) still one of the best songs to start fingerpicking with. Because it's not super complicated, and it sounds real pretty. Which encourages you to keep practicing.
     
  19. LenPaul

    LenPaul Premium Member

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    Boston "More Than A Feeling" is a good one too
     

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