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How long does it take to learn fingerstyle guitar?

Most musicians begin learning fingerstyle guitar very slowly, perhaps by playing only a few bars of a bar of a song. This might not be the most important part of the process, but it is a useful step and in the case of fingerstyle guitar, gives you a solid foundation on which to work out.

One way that beginners and intermediate students learn to play fingerstyle guitar is to play one to four short (three bars long) bars, gradually playing up to the bar you wish to learn to finger pick. For example, if you play the first two bars of a song and then play five bars, you could practice using the same fingerstyle to finger pick your way up to the first bar, but practice to learn to play four bars to the tune with two hand patterns. There are other ways to learn fingerspacing, but fingerstyle guitar will be the most effective method.

Once you know how to fingerpick, you can learn other types of scales and modes, and can progress into fretless and double stops if required.

How do you begin?


The first step to learning chords and scales is playing, practicing and developing the basic skills that will eventually allow you to master them.

This involves learning chord patterns from many different songs that you find playing on both sides of the guitar. Try to learn chords and scales at the same time. If you can, find a song with just one chord and one scale, such as the Beatles’ Let It Be.

If using a tab or app, use chords and scales that you can’t find on your guitar. For example, if you don’t own a guitar, you can find chords on most common songs if you play the song from your laptop.

You might also find the patterns that are commonly played on guitar to find a song or song arrangement that sounds good.

For this particular post, it was the music from the film, The Dark Knight , that I used as a basis.

To learn the chords and scales for Guitar Hero, listen to the song “Dancing Queen”, first at the guitar solo, and then at the full-band guitar part. I also used chord rhythms from the song “It’s My Life” to play the bass part, to complement what I was playing.

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Where can I get good fingerpicking and arpeggios?

The following are links to good and free instructional video lessons by major tuners.

If you don’t already own a guitar