Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #19021  by d-v-s
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:25 am
i've seen this term used on some tabs - standard fingerpicking. What exactly does that term mean? Is there a standard pattern for fingerpicking?

I searched the forum for fingerpicking and only saw 2 posts that had some useful exercises - "country blues fingerpicking" and "fingerpicking ideas". can anybody help with some more basic fingerpicking exercises?

 #19034  by IamDocWatson
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:55 am
get your thumb strong and smooth so u can pick out bass lines without thnking about whatever it takes if that entails picking just the bass line with your thumb for as long as you can stand too each time u pick up your guitar...i used to just alternate on a chord like a G for instance picking the 5th string then the 6th string half notes for like 20 mintues straight each time i picked up my guitar throughtout the day, u can do this 5 mins a day and beneifit from it but more often the better, repition is the key...

heres a good exercise for your fingers...

pick 3 strings, any three, and just pick out patterns on just those 3 one finger per string, ad naseuam, experiment and find all kinda patters...
for ex.

with the first 3 strings u can do

321 321 321 321
312 312 312 312
323121 323121 323121
21213 21213

u get the idea just do whatever.dont always use adjacent strings, try 421 431 whatever...but really work on diggin out cool patterns

then slowly just work a bass line and a cool pattern together

so now or standard fingerpicking that probably means just simple ascending and descending arpeggios with a simple 1-5 type bass line....
heres an easy one with a G chord with all 1/8 notes

Code: Select all
(/) Slide Up  () Slide Down  (h) Hammer On  (p) Pull Off  (b) Bend (r) Release (v) Vibrato


 #19043  by d-v-s
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:44 am
doc - thanks for the tips.

I've been doing the 3 string thing for about 1 month now, and I'm feeling good about using the 3 fingers to pick on the 1-3 strings. I need to work on the bass notes, though. I'll try out the example you gave tonight.

One things i notice is that I rest my pinky on the guitar when I'm pickin'. Just wonderin if this is a bad habit to get into, or what? any comments on that?

 #19061  by IamDocWatson
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:01 am
some people do that to anchor their hand and kinda know where they are at better, and after doing that for years and years you may still be an amazing picker but iwould avoid, yes its a bad habbit....

the muscles in your hand arent totaly independant, have your pinky stretched out straight ansd anchored will be affecting the muscles in your other fingers too....

leave your pink naturally reted it will tuck into your hand a little, be as loose as possible just hang your hand there in the air above yourstrings and wherever gravity naturally leaves your pinky is where it should be...might feel awkward at first and u may loose some accuracy if youve been practicing with it planted but, i strongly recomend it

 #19105  by Shaggy
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:55 pm
I did a post in think tank 2 on finger picking and robert johnson blues. There's also some lessons and ideas in the depths of the two think tanks sections if you look for them. Might be of some help.

Good luck.

 #19118  by bodiddley
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:44 pm
So does anyone hybrid pick using a pick and finger picking at the same time? They have those finger picks that wrap around your fingers, does anyone ever use those here? Do they have one that wraps around your thumb?

 #19131  by gumbo
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:51 pm
I have tried but its ay hard. I met this guy in some music store this weekend and he was probably one of the best guitarists I have met, he also finger picked amazingly, did this awesome Hot Tuna cover. :o

 #19135  by Chief5959
 Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:52 pm
The hybrid fingerpick style I have found to be really difficult withrespect to tone. Some guys, like James Burton, use a fingerpick on their middle finger. Other people like Richard Thompson and Danny Gatton use just the plain fingers. I have found it is hard to get a consistent tone between the picked note and then the notes that you play with your fingers.

 #19139  by IamDocWatson
 Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:33 am
i grow my nails to even out the tone, and use a thumb pick, it helps bring out the bass notes better....but sometimes in certain songs i dont use the thumb pick and just use the fleshy underside of my thumb for warmer bass notes with less attack

 #19149  by CaptainTrips
 Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:57 am
bodiddley wrote:So does anyone hybrid pick using a pick and finger picking at the same time? They have those finger picks that wrap around your fingers, does anyone ever use those here? Do they have one that wraps around your thumb?
I myself love to use hybrid picking. The sound you can get is exquisite, and while I do, do some finger picking usually when I'm confronted with a tab that has some picking in it I usually prefer hybrid so that I can always go back to straight picking with my pick. I don't know how you, or anyone else, does it but I like to just move the pick up a little further into my fingers (just a bit) and face it at a 90 degree angle to the strings. That leaves me three other fingers to pick with, although mostly I always just use my ring finger.
But songs like Althea and Black Muddy River just sounds so great with the hybrid picking.