Learn the Essential Techniques of Fingerstyle with Doug Young

Learn "New Beginnings" by Yasmin Williams
The Care and Feeding of the Picking Hand

What is fingerstyle? Fingerstyle guitar is a technique that uses the thumb and fingers to sound individual strings instead of relying on a pick. The ability to leverage individual fingers allows guitarists to play multiple parts at once, with separate bass lines, melodies, and accompaniment, often leading those who first hear a fingerstyle recording to think they are hearing more than one guitar.

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eric skye acoustic guitarist

World Premiere: Learn to Play a New Waltz by Eric Skye

Like millions of Americans, Eric Skye, the virtuoso jazz and roots guitarist, is currently under a shelter-in-place order—and making the best of it. He’s been hunkered down at his home, in Portland, Oregon, cooking and playing guitar with his wife and children, and contemplating on what is happening in the…

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guitar player Jamie Stillway

Video Lesson: Generating New Ideas from Travis Picking

If you have spent any amount of time exploring the world of fingerstyle guitar, you no doubt have heard of Travis picking. (For a refresher, see “The Nuts and Bolts of Travis Picking”) Named after the country-and-western guitarist Merle Travis, it’s a popular style of fingerpicking that has since worked its…

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Mary Flower

Woodshed: Learn Mary Flower’s ‘Liberal Rag’

In this lesson, I’ll show you how to play an approachable ragtime piece of mine in open G6 called “Liberal Rag,” a title I chose not necessarily as a political statement but to indicate that it can be played at an easy and relaxed tempo, by players at all levels.

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Cross-String Picking Basics

In third position or higher, it becomes possible to combine open and fretted strings to play ascending/descending intervals on nonsequential strings. This technique is called cross-string picking.

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Alex de grassi portrait

Get a Bell-Like Tone—Learn to Play Natural Harmonics

Natural harmonics are produced at specific locations, or nodes, that divide an open string into equal parts. The pitch is determined by the number of divisions. Dividing the string in half at the 12th fret produces the first harmonic; dividing the string into three parts at the seventh fret produces the second harmonic; dividing the string into four parts at the fifth fret produces the third harmonic; and so on.
Mary Flower playing an acoustic guitar

Lesson: How to Play the Guitar Rag ‘Jitters’

Often called Piedmont guitar—after the East Coast regions, running from Virginia to North Carolina, where many of the players lived—this challenging style makes use of an upbeat fingerpicking technique, which I’ll break down for you in this lesson.
Alex de grassi portrait

How to Play Notes Legato with Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and Slides

Play notes legato with hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. Play through today’s examples from the Alex de Grassi Fingerstyle Guitar Method to hear the difference once legato embellishments are added. The melody in Example 2 is very plain, consisting of only half notes and quarter notes. Play it through a few times, using an alternating i–m pattern…

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