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.


Photograph of fingerstyle guitarist John Doyle.

John Doyle Shows You How to Play Celtic Guitar

I met up with Doyle at a Philadelphia-area house concert where, joined by fiddler Duncan Wickel, he performed a stunning show that displayed the full range of his powers on guitar, from rollicking rhythm to beautifully melodic fingerstyle (actually played with a pick and one finger). Before the show, the easygoing virtuoso sat down with his left-handed Muiderman flattop to shed light on how he honors and stretches tradition as a guitarist and songwriter.


Alex de grassi fingerstyle

Play a Syncopated Fingerstyle Rhythm

This asymmetrical alternating bass groups the eighth notes into two groups of three and one group of two in what is sometimes referred to as a 3–3–2 pattern by playing the bass notes on beats one, two-and, and four of each measure.
Alex de Grassi cross string picking

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.