Playing guitar requires attention to both your left hand (which chooses notes) and your right hand (which establishes rhythm). Of course, the roles are reversed if you’re a left-handed player. It’s important for beginning students to focus on both hands equally because they will always work in conjunction.
This lesson addresses guitar finger tips that’ll help you understand the importance of the role of the fingers of your fret hand. If you’re new to playing you may notice that your fingers get sore quickly. Don’t worry. It won’t be long until you build calluses on your fingers to help shield the pain. In the meantime, you just have to keep playing and fight your way through the discomfort until you build some resistance.
Next, let’s look at how to view your fingers in terms playing guitar. In terms of making chords, you are only going to be using your fingers, not your thumb. Your fingers are numbered 1-2-3-4 or referred to by name (index, middle, ring, and pinky). In a lot of guitar lessons involving chords you’ll see the numbers used on a diagram of the guitar neck to indicate which fingers should be used when forming a chord. In the example below, the circled numbers indicate finger numbers.
Fingerpicking has its own special notation. You’ll see it referred to as PIMA, which is an acronym derived from the Spanish words for the fingers. The pinky is rarely used in fingerpicking so there is no regular indication of it, although in some instances you may see it indicated as a C if necessary (PIMA-C).
Here are two fingerstyle examples using PIMA. One is in standard notation and the other is in guitar TAB. You’ll only see finger indications in lessons and not in printed music meant to be read by professional or experienced guitar players.