Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #32598  by OhioBuckeye
 Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:30 pm
I haven't been playing that long. Still just strumming some chords to songs. But the more I catch these songs done with finger picking the more I like the sound. It's as if it's the best single person way to play a song. Do others think that as well?

I'm curious how hard is it to learn fingerpicking? I just bought Fred Sokolows fingerpicking with the Dead but I'm not sure If i should start that or take his beginner course first. Any suggestions?



 #32599  by IamDocWatson
 Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:37 pm
its not like any harder than flatpicking it just takes a long time to get get at does flatpicking, so i dunno i work on both..youd probably be best if you choose one style and stick to it but i like them both too much.
it takes a lot of boring practice to start...

just do simple chord arpeggios ascending and descending and after a while start to switch it up and pick out different patterns..but really focus on getting a steady bassline with your thumb...fret a chord and just pick out the 1 and the 5 on the bass notes of the chords for like 5 mins at a time at least...then work on your fingers picking out arpeggios and melodys while you keep the bassline going

 #32613  by Chuckles
 Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:54 am
When I was first learning fingerpicking, my teacher gave me the spanish tune Malaguena to work on, which greatly assisted in developing the ability to both alternate finger/thumb, but also trained my thumb to find the different strings. I'm sure the tab's out there if you look.

Once you get the coordination of the digits working in relation each other, then take on something with a melody like Babe it Ain't no Lie.

As always, ymmv.

 #32652  by razmablues
 Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:22 pm
i consider myself more of a flatpicker, since i mostly play electric, but acoustic, it's almost primarily fingerpicking i do. i love it, love the sound, and i love the challenge. if you want some good fingerpicking excersise through a song try out Doc Watson's arrangement of Deep River Blues

tab: ... -tab.shtml


it really got my fingers going when i learned it. Focus on the alternating 6th and 4th string bass note picking.

hope that helps

 #32706  by heavynylon
 Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:30 pm
Well, in the short time I have been playing guitar, I quickly gravitated to the fingerstyle/classical style of playing. This makes it much easier it play tunes with multiple voices and, for solo guitar, you can find some very interesting arrangements.

For a good comparison between fingerstyle and flatpicking, there was a segment from the Grand Ole Opry, I think from the mid-nineties, when Chet Atkins did a series of duets with Les Paul.

As to how difficult it is to learn, there are some basics that if you learn right in the beginning will make it much easier later on. For example, learning how to properly plant your right hand fingers on the strings will make it easier to find the right strings as you learn more complex and faster songs. It would probably be worth taking a few lessons from a good teacher to make sure you're getting the basics right and then take off with the DVDs.

 #32749  by Hunkle
 Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:58 am
Ive been playing for about a year now and my guitar teacher told me to just practice rhythm in the beginning and not even worry about learning songs or anything else for that matter. He stressed the importance of changing from chord to chord in a steady rhythm and only then you will be able to play any song you want. So that's what Ive been working on. Do you guys have any other suggestions as to what a beginner should focus on and practice?

 #32755  by I'm on the Bozo Bus
 Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:41 am
I don't know if this will help....
I am not an instructor, I cannot sight read music however I have been playing for 35+ years. Despite those facts, I have taught my three kids and several of their friends some VERY basic stuff. If they ever do go to a true guitar instructor, I hope they don't come back and tell me they have to re-learn all the garbage / methods I taught them...
With that....

I enjoy finger-picking and flat picking. I have gotten into the habit of palming my pick with my pinky. An example: "Liberty" - I hold my pick basically as I always do, between the index finger and thumb. However the other three fingers have their duties as well. I alternate between picking with the pick and picking with my fingers. The opening "lick" in the tune, repeats itself several times. In the opening, I will typically use my fingers, you can stop / double stop etc... to get a good "pop" with the fingers, then perhaps depending on my particular groove at the moment, I'll run the same line with a pick only later in the tune.
What is my point you may ask?
Not sure....
Perhaps it is this: Be comfortable, make it fun and PRACTICE it.
Again, please note the disclaimer at the top....

 #32762  by tigerstrat
 Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:05 pm
Listen to lots of late 70's-through-late 80's Hot Tuna and Jorma Kaukonen solo records and boots :smile:

 #32763  by steve
 Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:12 pm
tigerstrat wrote:Listen to lots of late 70's-through-late 80's Hot Tuna and Jorma Kaukonen solo records and boots :smile:
absolutely. some great stuff. Jorma is definitely one of the greats, in my opinion. I think he actually has a camp Ohio area towards the end of summer, but from what I remember it fills up really fast. Here is a video of 'Hesitation Blues', one of my favorites.[/youtube]