Fingerpicking versus Flatpicking

Fingerpicking versus Flatpicking

Fingerpicking versus Flatpicking

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Fingerpicking versus Flatpicking

Q: You have been giving me some great ideas on learning the guitar from the ground up. Thank you very much for that. My feeling (not even an intention yet) is that ultimately I will be a finger picker.  Thus, I will not be doing any (or much) flatpicking at all. Since I have been playing the ukulele (fingerstyle) for the last year and a half, would it make sense to start learning to play the nylon string classical guitar by strumming with my thumb and index finger (as I do with the Ukulele)?  During this would it also be good to learn the chords and chord progressions first before trying to learn how to pick (finger or flat)?

So, given that I am starting from absolute scratch, when it comes to picking, is it better to learn flatpicking first and then learn how to fingerpick later, or the other way around?

A: You could go either way. There are many famous guitarists that only used their thumb and sometimes fingers to play:

Jeff Beck

Wes Montgomery

Kevin Eubanks (Jay Leno Show)

You also could just put a thumb pick (or even finger picks) on your fingers) to move to a pick situation and keep your same fingerpicking style. I would still recommend starting with 1st Steps for the Beginning Guitarist to get your strumming and coordination between the two hands together. The Guitar Physiology DVD will still be relevant too. You need to get a little forearm movement into your fingerpicks or strumming with your thumb so that you don't hurt yourself by overworking the muscles in your hands. Once you get past the basics in 1st Steps for the Beginning Guitarist I can give you a set of fingering picking ideas.  With these you could then reapply to the the chord progressions in 1st Steps for the Beginning Guitarist.

Hope that helps

Best Regards,


It is also recommended that you read Bruce Arnold's Blog at his artist site. It contains more discussion of the musical topics found in these FAQs as well as other subjects of interest. You will also find the "Music Education Genealogy Chart" located here which shows you the historic significance of the music education products found on the Muse Eek Publishing Company Website.

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