What is Finger Style Guitar?
Learning to play finger style guitar can greatly enrich a guitarist’s ability. When using a flat pick, the guitarist can play single lines and block chords. However, using the fingers on the right hand can provide the opportunity to play several roles at once. In this way, the guitarist can play melody, bass line and chords all at the same time. A good finger style player can even sound like two guitarists!
Finger style does not only include the complex approach of guitar ragtime. Listening to James Taylor, one realizes the benefits of finger style guitar as a means of song accompaniment.
How I started playing finger style:
Inspired by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt in my early years, I started writing my own rags for guitar in my 30s. In the process of writing and playing these pieces, I became fascinated with the guitar’s potential as a multi-voiced instrument, like the piano. I have written over 20 rags for guitar. Some of these are featured in my book “Ragtime Guitar” published by Hal Leonard, along with 11 of my guitar arrangements of classic piano rags.
“Ragtime Guitar” is available on Amazon
Lessons in finger style guitar
My students love studying and playing finger style! In these lessons I start with proper right hand position and progress through exercises in finger independence. These exercises can train the guitarist to play an independent bass line with the thumb along with a melody line in the fingers. I encourage any student of the guitar to explore this rich and fascinating technique. It can be a way of opening new musical vistas and, at the same time, give more depth to one’s abilities on the instrument.
SAMPLES OF FINGER STYLE EXERCISES AND MY OWN RAGS CAN BE FOUND IN THIS SECTION OF THE WEBSITE