Basics on How to Do The Fingerstyle On Guitar

Hello, guitar fanatics! Joshua here with a tutorial on fingerstyling. When most people start out, they begin with using a pick and they stick to basic strumming. Don’t get me wrong, knowing how to strum is an essential of any guitarist’s skillset. However, those that want to get better begin playing with their fingers. This opens up a whole new world of things to play. You couldn’t play complicated riffs or melodies by just strumming or plucking one note at a time.

To learn how to fingerstyle, you must understand the basics. From now on, you will refer to your E, A, and D strings as basses. Then your G, B, and e strings are primes. Why is this important? Because the basses you won’t mess around with too much, and because of this, they are only played with your thumb (there are exceptions to this rule, but for the sake of this lesson, only play them with your thumb).

The primes are a bit simpler. The G string is only played by your first finger, the B string by your second, and the high e by your third (again, there are exceptions, but don’t worry about them now).

Now that you’ve got your fingers in the right place, look at this.


This is a fingerstyle tab. Apart from the letters, it’s just a simple tab. But what do those letters mean? Well, I’ll spare you the history lesson, and get you right down to it.

I-index finger
M-middle finger
A-ring finger

That’ll be a nice reference chart for you. The next step is whatever note is on the tab, there is a letter beneath it. How that works is you play the note, same as you normally would, but if there’s a ‘p‘ under it, then you play it with your thumb. If there’s an ‘I’ you play it with your index finger, and so on and so forth.

Also you may want to check out this EASY FINGERPICKING LESSON

Start practicing that tab, and don’t worry about how fast you go. Your speed will naturally increase as your hand becomes familiar with the pattern. Keep at it until you get it right. Once you feel comfortable, feel free to check out our other lessons at for more fingerstyling techniques.

If you want to go deeper with this technique, I recommend you to check out this course in DVD:


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