The last group of exercises is for guitarists that can play the intermediate and beginner patterns with relative ease.
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These patterns mix faster rhythms , two-hand coordination, and speed bursts to get your chops to the next level. If you find you can do some, but not all, of these exercises, go back and review the previous two levels of exercises. Then when ready, return to this section to tackle these tougher exercises with stronger fingerpicking chops.
On the first beat you play the 5 th and 3 rd strings with p and m, then you play the 4 th and 2 nd strings with i and a. This seems like a simple exercise, but it challenges your coordination, especially when adding accents. Then, accent one note at a time, such as the open G-string, every time you see that note in the bar. From there, take this fingerpicking pattern to other chords, progressions, and full songs to expand it in your studies. Here, you play two beats of 8 th notes followed by two beats of 16 th notes, using p-i-m-a for both rhythms. Changing speeds like this, getting faster later in the bar then resetting back to the slow rhythm at the start of the next, is an excellent chops builder.
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Go slow with this exercise, use a metronome, and make sure you play exact rhythms with a metronome, not just slow vs. When ready, take this pattern to other chords and progressions to push it further in your practicing. Use a-m-i-p for each chord in your picking hand, and feel free to experiment with other fingerings if you want to be creative with this exercise. As well, take this pattern to other chords and progressions to get the most out of your practice routine. This brings focus to both hands, elevating the difficulty of the exercise and building your coordination in the process.
Once you have this pattern down, take it to other chord shapes and full progressions in your studies. Remember to change the shapes in your fretting hand, moving between the open B and C notes on the 2 nd string. When you have this pattern down, alternate it with the previous exercise, as well as apply it to other chords and chord progressions.
One of the most popular, and fun, fingerstyle techniques is walking and comping chords at the same time. Being able to cover the bass and guitar roles in a group is one of the reasons fingerstyle is so effective, and efficient. Though the technique is the same throughout, bass and chords, your picking hand gets a workout with this tune.
Start with just the bass notes with this study, adding in the chords later on when you feel ready. After you work out the study as written, put on the backing track and add your own chords, and even notes, to this bassline. As well as working fingerstyle chords and harmonic techniques, you can use fingerstyle techniques with single notes. When doing so, you focus on three musical concepts, scales, arpeggios , and licks. To begin your single-note studies, here are six different fingerstyle scale exercises that you can use in your practicing.
Each exercise is written out over a C major scale, so make sure to apply each exercise to other keys and scales. Run this exercise with all three fingerpicking variations to get the most out of your time in the practice room. As well, go slow at first, as seeing scales from the top down takes time to become comfortable in your playing. Begin with this C major scale, using the three fingerpicking variations to expand your technique.
Then, take this exercise to other keys and to other scales, such as Mixolydian , natural minor , and melodic minor , in your practice routine. Then, aim to beat that tempo each week as you progress with your fingerstyle guitar technique in the practice room. In these examples, you use an 8 th note followed by two 16 notes as you work up and down a two-octave C major scale.
After you can play this exercise with a metronome at a comfortable speed, take it to other keys and other scales in your practice routine. You can challenge yourself further by coming up with other rhythmic groupings to practice with any scale you work on. When doing so, you keep the same advanced fingerpicking technique you used in the previous example, alternating p-m-i and p-a-m.
Once you can play this exercise over a C major scale, take it to other keys and other scales in your practice routine.
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Work each exercise in the given key at first, with a metronome, before taking it to other keys in your studies. As well, each of these exercises can be applied to any arpeggio, such as m7, m7b5, dim7, mMaj7, etc. Work each fingerpicking variation to get the most out of these exercises, and for a further challenge, add accents to each shape. From there, take this arpeggio to other keys, and then apply the fingerpicking variations to other arpeggios, such as 7, m7, and m7b5 shapes. To avoid this, go slow, even working without any tempo at first if needed, before speeding things up when ready.
Work this arpeggio with a metronome and with the three picking variations in the tab to gain the most benefit from this exercise. When doing so, the thumb comes into play half way through, rather than at the beginning as in the previous example. Make sure to run this arpeggio with a metronome at different speeds, as well as take it to other keys. Lastly, take this and any arpeggio exercise to other fingerings and chord qualities, such as 7 th , m7, m7b5, and dim7 arpeggios. Adding rhythms not only works your musicianship , it challenges your picking hand in both control and coordination.
In these examples, you play an 8 th note followed by two 16 th notes on each beat. After you can play this rhythm comfortably, create your own variations by using other rhythms over arpeggios in your studies.
Table of Contents
Because of this, go slow, work with a metronome, and take this pattern to other keys as you expand it in your practicing. Once you can play this pattern, work arpeggios with different rhythms as you challenge your picking hand further in the practice room. The following licks are divided into three sections of two lines each, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Start with the first phrase and work down the list from there, as each gets progressively more difficult. The first fingerstyle lick alternates arpeggios over a ii V I progression in C.
Take your time with this line, work it in sections, and focus on the transition where you switch from steps to leaps in the phrase. More on this in the next lick, but for now, experiment with that fingering and see if it makes sense to you. Rather than play p-i, or i-m, there, which would make the rest of the arpeggio awkward to pick, you play p-p. Go slow with this lick, work it with a metronome, and then when ready, bring it to the audio below.
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