When practicing your fingerstyle technique, it’s essential that you set your right hand up correctly from the get-go. Unfortunately, we can often lose track of the fundamentals of technique and suffer through some sketchy sounding fingerpicking as a result.
One of the easiest technique fixes – and one that is critical to sounding professional – is to make sure that your thumb is positioned ahead of your fingers. (By “ahead”, I mean that your thumb is closer to the headstock than your fingers are.)
Here’s the method: place your thumb on string 6 and allow fingers 1, 2 and 3 to sit on strings 4, 3 and 2, respectively. Now slide your thumb along string 6 toward the headstock. You should notice two things: your wrist has bent a little and your fingertips are now more perpendicular to their assigned strings than they were before.
By sliding our thumb ahead of our fingers, we’ve accomplished two important things:
1 – Our thumb and first finger are not competing for the same area and bumping into one another.
2 – Our fingers are now in a better position to strike each string than they were before.
When the thumb is too far back, the fingers are naturally positioned more parallel to the strings and “scrape” them. By contrast, when the thumb moves forward, the fingers naturally move to a more perpendicular angle relative to the strings. So not only does our thumb have more room to maneuver, but our fingers attack the strings more solidly, like a pick.
Try it out – I think you’ll notice an immediate difference in your fingerstyle attack and sound! And learn all you need to know about properly setting yourself up for fingerstyle success in my lesson, 4 Easy Steps to Fingerstyle Success.
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