Learn to Play the Guitar in Two Weeks, day 10: Fingerpicking I

So far, we’ve been playing as if you only had one finger on the right hand (or two, like Bruce Langhorne). If plain strumming — whether with a plectrum or one of the fingers — is guitar playing’s equivalent to the pathetic one-button Mac mouse, fingerpicking is more like an advanced gaming mouse, or the vim editor, where the whole keyboard is available as “buttons”.

Sure enough — you may get along fine with one button most of the time, but if God had intended us to strum, he wouldn’t have given us five fingers, now, would he? Anyway: we have them — it’s stupid not to be able to use them.

A note on fingers and nails

Before we start for real, a few words on hands and nails. First: nails or not?

Guitarists have been quarreling about this since the early nineteenth century. I’m biased. I’ve been playing with nails since I was ten, and if I break one, it’s only marginally better than breaking the finger. In fact, that’s not just a very bad exaggeration: during my school days, when various activities which I have luckily put behind me since then, such as being outdoors, playing football, running around and falling, climbing in trees, etc. — all those things that make nails break — I developed a fairly good technique for playing without whichever finger had a broken nail at the moment.

That is to say: playing with nails has its disadvantages. Broken nails is one, but there are others: you’ll have to keep up a certain level of nail care, you may be blessed with stiff nails which break easier or soft nails which don’t do much good anyway, etc.

The advantage is sound: with a nail, you will get a both stronger and more distinct tone. That’s just about the only advantage there is, but it is substantial.

It’s up to you. Give it a try, and decide for yourself what you prefer. Should you go the nail way, here are some points to remember:

Nail care

No matter what you do with the right hand, you should keep the nails on the left hand short, otherwise they will interfere with your playing. Not too short, though: they are not just attack weapons but protect your fingertips too, and if you keep them too short, you’ll open yourself to all kinds of infections. Besides, a little nail is good for support also when you play.

As for the right hand, you will have to groom them. Even the smallest irregularity will develop into a broken nail before you know it, and what’s more, it will affect your sound.

The nail should be like an extension of the finger: you don’t play with the nail, you play with the fingertip; the nail just gives the tone that little extra crisp attack at the end.

To that end, you’ll need some tools: a nail file and some sandpaper.

The file is for shaping, and that only. You want a gentle curve on the thumb side of the nail. That’s where you will touch the string — not centrally, but diagonally (“caressing” is a more appropriate word than “striking” for what the finger should do to the string). Most importantly: no sharp edges, but a smooth round curve.

The sandpaper is for polishing. If you’re thinking that this is beginning to sound a little too girlish, think again. A smooth surface does wonders for your tone, and your nails will last longer without breaking. Highly recommended.

The sandpaper should be of the micro-grits type. In Europe, sizes P800–1200 are fine; in the US the corresponding grit sizes (a word I didn’t know existed until today) are called 400–600.

If this still doesn’t make sense, use your girl-/boyfriend as a test case: if you wouldn’t caress her with it, then it’s too coarse…

Hand position

I’ve mentioned before, concerning left-hand playing, that some of the techniques and practices that are taught in classical guitar playing don’t make much sense in the chord-based/strumming-based repertory that we’re dealing with here. But for the right hand, there is actually quite a lot that applies, i.e. that will give you a better technique if you take them into account.

One is the position of the hand.

  • The fingers should attack the strings diagonally,
  • the wrist should be the part that is farthest away from the guitar,
  • and when you look down at the hand, the thumb should form an “X” against the other fingers, i.e. the three other fingers, not the thumb, should play into the palm of the hand.

These are not unbreakable rules, but they will give your hand a greater mobility, and there are no disadvantages that I know of.

update: Coming to think of it, there is one case where this doesn’t apply: palm muting. In some styles, the palm of the right hand should mute the bass strings, and then, obviously, the wrist can’t be too far from the bridge …

First steps

Let’s get to work. The first step is to mimic what we have already been doing with thumb or plectrum: separating the bass strings from the treble strings. I’ve emphasised how important this is in a previous post, but I’ll repeat it: all strings are not created equal: emphasise the bass strings on the strong beats and fill in with the trebles in between.

It so happens that the hand is perfectly fitted to this distribution. As a rule of thumb — a metaphor which was never more fitting than here — the three bass strings are the domain of the thumb, whereas the index, long and ring fingers take care of one string each (the little finger is virtually never used).

The first pattern we might try out is the simplest possible. It may not very interesting in the long run, but it may be a good way to let the fingers get used to their new roles.

You can use any chord, of course. For these examples, I’ll use E.

  E
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     
|-----0-------0---|-----0-------0---|-           ring finger  
|-----0-------0---|-----0-------0---|-           middle finger
|-----1-------1---|-----1-------1---|- etc       index finger 
|-----------------|-----------------|-        \               
|-----------------|-----------------|-        |- thumb        
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|-        /               

You should recognize the general pattern from lesson 8: thumb/bass on the strong beats, treble/other fingers in between. The only real difference is that now that the fingers have separate areas of dominion, you don’t have to move the hand around so much, and your aim will be more precise.

That is: with practice it will be more precise. It does require more practice to move four fingers to the right spots than to throw away a shot in that general direction with a plectrum. So start with the simple pattern above and rehearse it until you’re in charge of your fingers and not the other way around.

A note about redundancy

If you think: “hey, that’s not an E — there is only one left-hand finger in use there, and I seem to remember that E uses three fingers: 022100″, that’s only part right. It is an E major chord, we just happen not to use two of the strings at the moment.

If you then think: “Great! Then I can save some energy, as you’ve been telling me to all the time — there’s nothing like being lazy and a good student at the same time,” again you’re only part right. Yes, you should be lazy, but in this case, lazy means fingering the whole E major chord.

That is so for two reasons. One is mental: even though there are cases — lots of cases, in fact — where you will not use the full chord, it will be much easier to just stick to the main chord shape instead of constantly having to think “Now, which strings am I playing? Which fingers can I leave out?” At a more advanced stage, you can start thinking like that (you may have to start thinking like that), but for now, let an E be an E and play it 022100.

The other reason is even more important: true enough, in the example above, you are only using the index finger, but it shouldn’t remain that way. You will need those other strings eventually, for variation and — not to mention — for security: if you accidentally strike a wrong string, you might as well get a correct note out of it (i.e. a note which belongs in the chord).

This may seem like a trivial matter to make a fuss about, but I still find it worth pointing out, especially since this is a text-only course where you will be playing from tabs. In some of the more advanced tabs (e.g. Suze (The Cough Song), there are certain details that look difficult if you don’t move the fingers in place until they are explicitly written out in the tab, whereas if you change the chords all at once, it will fall in place naturally.

Some more basic patterns

Even with the simple patterns, there is ample opportunity for variation. First,
you should vary the bass string.

  E
  :   .   .   .            :   .   .   .     
|-----0-------0---|      |-----0-------0---|-
|-----0-------0---|      |-----0-------0---|-
|-----1-------1---| and/ |-----1-------1---|- etc
|---------2-------|  or  |-----------------|-
|-----------------|      |---------2-------|-
|-0---------------|      |-0---------------|-

In patterns like this — actually, in all fingerpicking patterns — it is a good idea to keep in mind where the proper keynote is. Make a habit of thinking “E major: 6th string”; “C major: 5th string”, “A major: 5th string”, etc., and play that string on all the strong beats, as in these two examples, until you can do it without thinking. When you know what you’re doing, you are free to deviate from the norm, but until then: it’s a good habit to emphasise the correct string.

The next step is to vary the other fingers as well.

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|---------0-------|---------0-------|
|---------0-------|---------0-------|
|-----1-------1---|-----1-------1---|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-2---------------|
|-0---------------|-----------------|


  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-------------0---|-------------0---|
|---------0-------|---------0-------|
|-----1-----------|-----1-----------|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-2---------------|
|-0---------------|-----------------|

And a couple in triple time:

  :   .   .   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   .   .    
|---------0-------0-------|---------0-------0-------|
|---------0-------0-------|---------0-------0-------|
|-----1-------1-------1---|-----1-------1-------1---|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-0-----------------------|-0-----------------------|


  :       .       .         :       .       .        
|-------------0-----------|-------------0-----------|
|---------0-------0-------|---------0-------0-------|
|-----1---------------1---|-----1---------------1---|
|-------------------------|-------------------------|
|-------------------------|-2-----------------------|
|-0-----------------------|-------------------------|
The style in this last example is called arpeggio, meaning “harped”. It brings to my mind another snippet of classical guitar lore that I picked up, I think from Francisco Tárrega’s legendary guitar school: when playing arpeggio upwards, all the fingers should be positioned before the arpeggio starts, whereas going down, they should not.

The Holy Grail of Fingerpicking: Travis style

But hey — let’s not make any mistake about it: you’re here — we’re all here — in order to be able to play “Don’t Think Twice” or John Lennon’s “Julia”, right?

(“Julia”, by the way, is one of two songs, ever, that have had the “girlfriend” effect in my case. At that time, I was too young and shy to take advantage of it, even though I fully understood the potential. The other case was “Tomorrow Night” off Dylan’s Good As I Been To You, but alas: I was soon to be divorced, but she wasn’t… In other words: in the end, your ability to impress girls depends more on you than on your guitar skills. My apologies for leading you on with the title of this series.)

Right.

The style that is used on the two mentioned songs and millions of others, frequently goes by the name of “Travis picking”, named after Merle Travis. For this true art of fingerpicking, there is one alfa and omega: a rock steady thumb. Everything else is just embellishment.

We’ll stick with our E major chord. Now play:

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------| 
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|

etc, all with the thumb. Don’t you dare using the index finger for the fourth-string notes: the only thing that is important in fingerpicking is that you are able to keep that movement with your thumb, no matter what happens: if the roof falls down, if your future girlfriend suddenly leans over and kisses you, if the index finger plays some other tones — don’t break the thumb rhythm.

The next step is to vary the thumb strokes:

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-----------------| 
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|---------2-------|---------2-------|
|-0---------------|-0---------------|

When you say that’s easy enough, let’s add the other fingers:

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----| 
|-------1-------1-|-------1-------1-|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|

You can add them one at the time if you wish, or in any order you wish, and in principle on any beat, but the main rule is that the beats are the thumb’s domain — the other fingers play between the beats, as in the example above.

Remember to keep the fingers at the right strings (for now; later on you should free yourself from that too, and be able to play the patterns on any strings): all the “1″s above are played with the index finger, the second-string notes with the long finger, etc., but all the time, the thumb does its 9–5 job on the bass strings.

Some further variations:

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-0---------------|-0---------------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----| 
|-------1-------1-|-------1-------1-|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0-----------|-----0-----------| 
|-----------1-----|-----------1---1-|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|

And with some variation in the bass as well:

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-0---------------|-0---------------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----| 
|-------1-------1-|-------1-------1-|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|---------2-------|---------2-------|
|-0---------------|-0---------------|

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0-----------|-----0-----------| 
|-----------1-----|-----------1---1-|
|-----2-------2---|-----2-------2---|
|---------2-------|---------2-------|
|-0---------------|-0---------------|

There is a good video demonstrating this playing style at this page.

The patterns are too many to list, but the ones I have written out above are the most common: with these under your belt, you have almost all that’s required to play everything from “Don’t Think Twice” to “Dear Prudence”, from “Suzanne” to Pink Floyd’s “Hey You”.

All it takes is some practice.

Boots of Spanish Leather

To prove that I’m not lying, here’s a look at “Boots of Spanish Leather”.

The chord shapes that are used in this song are:

G 320003 use the long-, ring-, and little fingers
C/g 3×2013 merely a variation on the previous chord
Em9 054030 This is one of the trademark Dylan chords, and it’s much simpler than it looks and sounds: just a C major chord that is moved two frets up.
D7/f# 200212 Another chord that looks more tricky than it is. Use the thumb and keep the index finger in place on the second string.
  G           C/g               G                 
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0---------1-|-----1---------0-|-----0---------0-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------2---|-----2-------0---|-----0-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|

                                      Em9             
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0-----------|-----0-----------|-----3-----------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------0---|-----0-------0---|-----4-------4---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-0-------0-------|
                            Oh, I'm   sailing   away

                    D7/f#       G                 C/g     
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----3-----------|-----1-----------|-----0---------1-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----4-------4---|-----0-------0---|-----0-------2---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------0-------|-2-------2-------|-3-------3-------|
              my    own     true      love                                   

              G                 Em9              
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----1---------0-|-----0-----------|-----3-----------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----2-------0---|-----0-------0---|-----4-------4---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-0-------0-------|
                                I'm a-sailing     a-   

  D7/f#       G                 C/g               G        
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----1-----------|-----0---------1-|-----1---------0-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------0---|-----0-------0---|-----2-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-0-------2-------|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|
 way      in  the   morning                            
 
                    Em                        
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0-----------|-----0---------0-|-----0-----------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------0---|-----2-------2---|-----2-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-0-------0-------|-0-------0-------|
           Is there something I   can send you from a-

  C/g         G                 C/g               G       
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----1---------0-|-----0---------1-|-----1---------0-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----2-------0---|-----0-------2---|-----2-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|
 cross   the   sea                                    

                    Em9               D7/f#       C/g           
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .    
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0-----------|-----3-----------|-----1---------0-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------0---|-----4-------0---|-----0-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-0-------0-------|-2-------2-------|
          From the place that         I'll      be     

              G                             D7/f#   G
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----1---------0-|-----0---------0-|-------1-------0-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|---0-------0-----|
|-----2-------0---|-----0-------0---|-----0-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-3-------2-------|
  landing

                 
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0-----------|-----0-----------|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------0---|-----0-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|
                               No, there's...

In principle, the whole song uses the same pattern:

  
:   .   .   .    
|----------------|    ring finger
|----0---------0-|    middle finger
|----------0-----|    index finger
|----0-------0---| \
|----------------| |- thumb  
|3-------3-------| /

Once you have the pattern in the fingers, the only thing that may present some difficulty here is some of the chord changes. Not that they are difficult, but they don’t happen where/when you’d expect them if you’re used to square four-by-four music.

One of most prominent characteristics of the Travis picking style is the syncopation that almost automatically comes out of it: the thumb marks the rhythm, but it’s the other fingers that are heard, and they fall off the beat, most of the time.

That syncopation is the origin of the style-specific trait of starting the measures a little too early. Look at the very first measures in the tab of “Boots”.

  G       C/g               G                 
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .   
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----0---------1-|-----1---------0-|-----0---------0-|
|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|-----------0-----|
|-----0-------2---|-----2-------0---|-----0-------0---|
|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|

The way I have written it here, it looks as if the C chord enters in the middle of the first measure. But that’s not really the way it is perceived. A simpler, strummed version of the same would rather look like this:

  G                 C/g               G                 
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   
|-----3-----3-3-3-|-----3-----3-3-3-|-----3---
|-----0-----0-0-0-|-----1-----1-1-1-|-----0---
|-----0-----0-0-0-|-----0-----0-0-0-|-----0---
|-----0-------0---|-----2-------2---|-----0---
|-----------------|-----------------|---------
|-3-------3-------|-3-------3-------|-3-------

But the Travis-picked version almost requires the more syncopated feel. One might say that the only place this is difficult, is on the paper: where to write down the chord changes. In the tab above, I’ve tried to write them in where they actually take place, not where they musically belong.

All the Lessons


14 thoughts on “Learn to Play the Guitar in Two Weeks, day 10: Fingerpicking I

    1. This one is too funny to delete… It is also a reminder of what a crazy place the internet has become, where content is not a means of communication but a potential for revenue. Disgusting, that’s what it is. (I’ve changed the url so that they won’t get any search engine points from me. That’s how mean I am)

  1. Nah, why are you so harsh on them? They are trying to deliver stuff people are interested in. And they are trying to live on that. Maybe they do it in a silly way. But they definitely don’t try harder to shove stuff down people’s throat than Stallman is…

  2. I disagree. First of all, the fatigue that lies behind my comment comes from the insane amount of blogspam and trackbacks and visits from fake sites I have in my logs. This motorbike site is not doing it in a particularly silly way — they are doing it in exactly the same way as most other similar sites. It may of course be that they are doing someone a huge favour by having trackbacks all over the place, to the benefit of those who don’t know how to get hold of sandpaper. Perhaps. But it seems to me that for most of these sites, it’s just a matter of boosting the SEO factor and gathering hits and incoming links.
    Besides, Stallman isn’t trying to stuff anything down anyone’s throat against their knowledge, willingness and best interest. He has integrity, but that’s a different matter.
    Just wait for my next post… :)

  3. Thanks again for the great lessons. I have a related question I hope I can ask here. I’m being driven crazy by “Girl of the North Country”. I’ve been following your tab, but I could swear I hear him hitting the fifth string (the one you’re holding on the fifth fret above the capo) in kind of a drone, I think on the offbeats. Do you hear this? Would you be able to give any more detail/hints on how to play what he’s playing on that song?
    Many thanks!

  4. Oh, emend that question — now I think it’s the fourth string I hear, but open, not on fourth fret (from capo). What do you think?

  5. If you mean during the Em9 parts (beginning of verse, etc.), I’ll have to say no: there is no open 4th string drone there. There is however an open 4th string at the end of the Em9 stretch, in the transition to D7, as you can see in the tab to Girl at Dylanchords.
    I agree that it can be difficult to hear these things from the plain recording, and that resonances and different tone combination can in fact create the impression that tones are there which aren’t. To that end, I can recommend a piece of software called Transcribe, which lets you slow down, isolate certain channels or tone areas — highly useful in situations like this.

  6. Hey there Mr. Ostreum. I wanted to thank you here on your blog and tell you how much you have improved my life. I was a lost soul before I discovered this site. Now I’m obsessed with Dylan and I spend all of my free time on this site LOL I can play a lot of the Dylan songs (I have a few recordings if you’d ever care to listen..I’d be very grateful) but mostly what I’;m concerned with these days is, despite my being able to play don’t think twice and all those other great ones, I can’t fingerpick it properly. Do you think there is any hope for me? I’m 20 years old and have been playing with just strums for a long while now, and my strumming hand almost feels a bit weak these days from all the strummign I’ve done. Just wondering what an older, more experienced guitarist thinks of this .Thanks! – forevr ocking out to The Dylan ..Mike Grasso Again thanks for your site Mr. Ostreum its really changde my entire life and even if you dont answer this question you ARE THE MAN!

  7. Well, I’m glad to have been able to be of some help. I’m tempted to quote a so-called great man who once said: “Don’t follow leaders” and then add to that “If you let someone change your life, you’d better be damn sure they know what they’re doing”, be they songwriters or site admins.

    To your question: of course there is hope! Pick one of the simpler patterns from day 10 or 11, and play it over and over again. Start with the thumb alone, play

      E                      
      :   .   .   .          
    |-----------------|  
    |-----------------|  
    |-----------------|
    |-----2-------2---|
    |-----------------|  
    |-0-------0-------|

    until your thumb bleeds
    Then add the index finger:

      E                      
      :   .   .   .          
    |-----------------|  
    |-----------------|  
    |-------1---------|
    |-----2-------2---|
    |-----------------|  
    |-0-------0-------|

    and play that for another hour or so. Then the long finger:

      E                      
      :   .   .   .          
    |-----------------|  
    |-----------0-----|  
    |-------1---------|
    |-----2-------2---|
    |-----------------|  
    |-0-------0-------|

    and by the time you are done with that, you’re either dead from a finger infection, or you have the foundation of a fingerpicking technique. :)

    I think I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but I’ll gladly repeat it: that thumb movement is the A and O of fingerpicking — the rest falls in place almost by itself — with a little practice, of course.

  8. Forever grateful for yr sendback Mr Ostrem. The site means so much to me. 4ever appreciated. Thanks from me and all my ancestors & descendents! You know how to rock, tab, and apparently operate Linux!

    Young, but Daily Growing- Mike Grasso

  9. Awesome web mate. I struggle with fingerpicking, can you please but the finger positions next to the tab for the lessons page. That would make it easier.

  10. I’ve enjoyed your site for going on two years–I’ve spent hours in the Dylan section, and one of the great Eureka! moments of my life was finding out (from you) that Dylan uses the open-D on most of “Blood on the Tracks.” That changed my life. I’ve been playing guitar for 30 years, but until two years ago still considered open tunings too exotic. Now I’m in them all the time. Fascinating stuff here.

    Regarding nails, I have a pretty credible fingerpicking technique, but I’ve been hampered by my inability to grow nails (I bite them off; not to the quick, but too short to be of use) and my inability to use fingerpicks, which feel like orthopedic devices on my hand. If I’m amped, no big deal, but otherwise the volume is just too low to be satisfying when you’re playing in public (as I seldom do, but still.) THEN, somebody suggested fake nails. I thought maybe he was joking, but I took him up on it, went down to my friendly neighborhood nail salon, and found the second thing that changed my guitar-playing life. The volume and attack you can get with a set of fake acrylic nails is tremendous. The downside is, well, you’re a guy with fake nails, and when you strum it’s hard to avoid some noisy knocking of the nails against the guitar, but it’s definitely worth checking out for anybody hampered by natural nail issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*