Folk Fingerstyle Module Intro

Difficulty: Purple
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Intro to the series and some important info on the basic techniques you need! Not wise to skip out on this video and FAQ.

What should I have done before doing this course?
• Know and be able to play open chords, barre chords
• Know the notes in the open position
• Understand the concept of keys, diatonic chords and the major scale.
• Have done some basic fingerstyle exercises

Do I need long fingernails to do this course?
No. You can use the flesh of your fingers, or fingernails. Having some nails and some flesh only is not a good idea however, because some notes come out crisp and others round, and that just sounds funny!

I use fingernails in this course, but in mid 2016 I decided to stop using nails at all and now work just using the flesh on my fingers! I used acrylic nails for over 20 years because my natural nails are too weak to use on metal strings. The majority of professional players that play steel string guitar have some kind of fake nails, steel strings just shred natural nails if you play hard or play a lot - however the longer I play with flesh the more I like it. It's very much a personal preference!

Legendary amazing guitarist James Taylor uses fake nails too and teaches how he fixes them in an emergency in this video! But if you need to get fake nails, just go to a nail bar, they'll do a much better job than you can do yourself, they look more natural and it's not expensive. If you are confident with your own masculinity you shouldn't have a problem with it. You'll get some funny looks when you walk in but once you tell them you play guitar and you just want 4 fingers doing, they usually find it real cool that a guy is in.

Which fingers play which strings?
The basic idea for most of this course is that your Thumb will play a consistent bass pattern on the thickest three strings, and your fingers will play the thinnest 3 strings! It is very logical and when you start it is a big help to have a system in place, but be aware that you will break the rules, you will have to in this course and in 'real life' but the better you have a default system in place, the faster you will pick things up!

Why do you insist on having the TAB and notation in front of you when you learn the patterns?
The reason it's so important is so that you can clearly see the rhythm and when notes are played together. You will understand more as you go along, but the basic idea is this:

In the notation (the dots) you will see that some notes have a downward stem (line coming off the note dot) - these are the bass notes and are usually played with the thumb. For all of this course, the bass notes will be played on the beat, that is the 1, 2, 3 or 4. When you are looking at the TAB or music it is easy to see which of the notes played by the finger are played with a thumb note (on the beat) or between the beats (on an "and" or "off" beat).

Looks like there are too many beats in your bars of notation, why is that?
Because there are two different voices shown on the stave at the same time, you have to think of the notes with down stems and the notes with up stems as different parts written on the one stave. Look at it that way and they should add up (unless I make a mistake!!). TAB readers shouldn't have any problems with this - just notation readers. For this kind of material I recommend looking at the TAB even if you read the dots!

Some music uses p i m a on fingerstyle patterns, what is that?
That is the classical method of naming the fingers. I think it's just easier to call them Thumb and fingers 1, 2 and 3, but in case you want to know the classical terminology it's explained in this chart.

p
Plugar
Thumb
i
Index
1st Finger
m
Middle
2nd Finger
a
Annular (Ring finger)
3rd Finger

Is using your little finger as an anchor a bad habit?
No. I would probably do it but my little finger is too short. Many of the greatest fingerstyle players use the little finger anchor technique, but many do not - so it's your call. See what feels comfortable for you!

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