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Guitar Picking

Beginning guitarists tend to put more attention to the fretting hand / fingers and forget that the other hand needs practicing as well. While it is important to play the notes / chords accurately it is also important to produce a good quality of notes or chords by developing the right hand (for right handed guitarists) techniques.
There are some ways to strike your guitar strings but the most two important are strumming and picking techniques.

What is guitar strumming?

Strumming is a technique that allows you to play the notes of a guitar chord simultaneously by stroking the strings either with your fingernail(s) or by using a plectrum or pick. I myself prefer to strum the strings using my fingernails because the sound they produced is warmer. If you need more treble or clearer sound you can use the plectrum. Please note that plectrum comes in different sizes, the most common ones are thin, medium and thick. In my experience medium plectrum gives the best result for both strumming and picking the guitar strings.

In my own words, strumming is striking almost all of the guitar strings (depends on the chords you are playing) by sweeping your fingernails or pick up and down the strings in a unique pattern, for example a rhythm or strumming pattern of a bluegrass song will sound bad when you try to apply it to a slow rock song.

Guitar Picking

By picking the guitar strings you can give more attention to a particular string, something that normally people won’t do with strumming technique. Just like in strumming technique you can use either your fingers or plectrum to pick the strings, however finger picking technique here actually may involve both of your fingertips and fingernails, where in finger strumming technique only fingernail(s) is used.

Finger Picking

Fingerpicking is used extensively in folk guitar and classical guitar, but it is also common in other genres. Most of guitar players use thumb and the other three fingers to fingerpick the strings and use their pinkie finger as a brace on the guitar.

While some people claimed that plectrum picking can deliver light speed notes compared to fingerpicking actually each style has its own benefit, and country guitar players take the full benefit of both techniques. They hold the pick with the thumb and index finger and at the same time they can do fast fingerpicking with the other fingers.

Fingerpicking example, no plectrum used: justforfun

The sound file above is an example of a song (well, actually there were 2 songs) played using fingerpicking technique. I recorded it using my laptop and a cheap microphone so the sound quality is far from perfect. To remove the noise I use a software called Audacity. Only 4 chords were played on the budget classical guitar. It really stung my fingers (Ouch!)

Happy Picking!

-TJ-
Beginner Guitar Lessons Admin

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