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Basic Fingerstyle Exercise (Guitar Lesson BC-184) Guitar for beginners Stage 8

October 18, 2019

Hey, how’re you doing? Justin here.
In this video today we’re going to be checking out some really basic
fingerstyle exercises for you guys that have never played any fingerstyle before, I wanna try and get your fingers moving If you are wondering about this funny sheet down here it is just to reflect a little bit of light back on my fingers so when we do a close up you can see clearly
what I’m doing. Before you think “what is he doing dragging weird sheets into the screen?” That is why it is there. So let’s have a look at that close up now. What I want you to do is I want you to position your fingers on the strings so you have got your 3rd finger picking the thinnest string, your 2nd finger plucking the 2nd string, your 1st finger plucking the 3rd string and your thumb plucking the thickest string. On your left hand you are holding down a G chord. A regular old 1st generation G chord if you like. So what we are going to do first is this little exercise. We are going to pick now thumb . . . 1, 2, 3 . . . and again: thumb . . . 1, 2, 3 . . . you will probably have to look at it a little bit at this stage. Trying to “suss” (work) out where those notes are. Just try and do it nice and evenly if you can. Now it is really important that you realise that you don’t have to have long fingernails to do this. There are lots of great guitar players that play with no fingernails. I think Neil Young doesn’t play with fingernails. Dominic Miller, the fantastic guitar player that plays in Sting’s band, chopped off all of his fingernails and just plays with the flesh on his fingers and he is a fantastic fingerstyle guitar player. So don’t feel like you have to have nails. Now I do wear fake nails and I know it looks really gay or whatever girly or whatever you think. I don’t really care because it makes a really good sound on the guitar and if I didn’t have plastic fingernails on then my fingernails wouldn’t last long enough to actually do any playing at all. So I am not recommending that you go and get fake nails unless you are really into fingerstyle and you play a lot. Right? But if you want to grow a little bit of your natural fingernail to pluck the string it does tend to have a slightly nicer, brighter sound to my ear than just playing with the fleshy parts of your fingers. But it doesn’t really matter. Just thought I would point that out before we get all these haters on the videos going “oh my God, you look like a vampire. Your fingernails look really weird”. Yeah I know they look really weird. I can’t help it. If I could change it so they look more normal I would. But anyway, back to our exercises. So exercise 1 that we are doing is with our G chord going thumb . . . 1, 2, 3 . . . thumb, 1, 2, 3 . . . Over and over again . . . nice and simple . . . When you get bored of doing that I want you to change it and now go thumb . . . 3, 2, 1 . . . thumb, 3, 2, 1 . . . And do that for a little bit . . . When you get bored of that
the next one that I want you to do is thumb . . . 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 . . . thumb, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 . . . Just keep going through that trying to get your picking nice and even . . . Trying to keep it in time . . . and trying to be accurate about the strings that you pick . . . Now hopefully you will remember from when we were doing the rhythm guitar
where we hit the bass note of the chord and then we did a couple of strums that most of the chords have their bass note on a different string. So for both E and G the bass note is on the 6th string. So we were just playing a G chord but the finger picking would have been exactly the same for an E or an Emin. But if we went to say a C chord our thumb would move over onto the 5th string. So let’s just have a close look at that now. The thumb is on the 5th string here. We are playing a C chord with the left hand and we are doing . . . thumb, 1, 2, 3 . . . We go through the same exercises again . . . And then reversing the top ones. So 3, 2, 1 . . . thumb, 3, 2, 1 . . . After you have done that for a little while we go up and back . . . thumb, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, thumb . . . And then even over onto a D chord. So if we play D the thumb moves all the way onto the 4th string. So . . . thumb, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 . . . And then maybe back to G . . . Thumb, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 . . . D . . . You can see that the string change from the thumb is just following the names of the chords. If we went to C . . . D . . . G . . . D . . . and back. It is a really, really good technique and can be really simple. You can see already we have started to make music out of it just using this . . . Thumb, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 . . . pattern and doing that pattern once on whatever chord we felt like. If you keep it consistent suddenly it sounds like a song. Fingerstyle is a very cool thing. When you first start it most people find it a little bit awkward and they are picking the wrong strings or they miss it or they start picking the wrong group of strings that kind of thing. It’s dead normal. As usual pretty much everything on the guitar it just takes some practice. So have a good go at doing that and we are going to do a few more fancier exercises with the old fingerstyle next time but just as a really good exercise start working that in. Getting used to the bass moving around
onto different strings. That would be a really really cool start for you. So, have fun with that and I will see you for another lesson shortly. Bye, bye.


  • Reply Jonas Finn Larsson September 11, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Nice Lesson justin!!

  • Reply kdense08 September 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    why are all your lessons so basic? I like the lessons but, everyone isn't a beginner.

  • Reply bigjigyeah September 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Lol this fingerstyle pattern sounds like Everybody Hurts

  • Reply Larry Nelson September 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    cool lesson, justin, glad you're back again, thanks

  • Reply Darren O Neill September 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I think he uses 'Red Devil' type DR Strings. I may be wrong but I think he mention them before. God I want a maton guitar

  • Reply Devon Langbein September 11, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    why would you come to a beginner's course and expect the lessons not to be basic? lol

  • Reply kdense08 September 11, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Didn't notice, besides a large majority of his other lessons are pretty basic.

  • Reply ex0ja September 12, 2009 at 7:38 am

    I like freaking people out with my fake nails 🙂

  • Reply samlob September 14, 2009 at 7:58 am

    like the echo at 3:49!!! lol

  • Reply kogazor September 14, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    LOL ! Omagad, you look like a gay girly vampire! Not 😉

    Your fingernails are hardly noticeable unless we really focus on it – and still look nice. Unlike some ex-colleague who had that awful dirty disgusting thumbnail… x_X

  • Reply Cue Zephyr September 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I'm just growing my real nails for this use. =D
    I think Dust In The Wind makes a nice fingerstyle practice? =P
    Nice video man, keep it up!

  • Reply KINGTERIK September 19, 2009 at 11:08 am


  • Reply Love & Music March 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    well is the fingerstyle = fingerpicking ? or there is difference i think they are the same !?

  • Reply shadowboy667 June 6, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Can someone please tell me exactly what guitar is that ?

  • Reply Lennie Tt June 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Dude…. you're both talented and funny….

  • Reply Aleksej79ns December 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    LoL Hahahahah!!! 😀 😀 Vampire!!! 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Christopher Tse January 5, 2011 at 1:57 am

    @kdense08 but not everyone is a stuck-up guy who thinks they're pro.

  • Reply EddieZedd March 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    And that's Everybody Hurts for you!

  • Reply puipui367 July 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Hi Justin! I'm a beginner guitar player, well, I've been a beginner guitar player for awhile now, just haven't progressed to keeping up with consistency and learning more without stopping for long periods of time because of other things that peek my interest putting guitar playing on hold. Your beginner lessons are spot on, they are very engaging and perfect pacing. I don't know my chords by heart yet so the pictures of the chords that pop up when you play a chord helps a bunch! *hint hint* : )

  • Reply awimachinegun March 21, 2012 at 2:14 am

    @amaterja I would suggest communicating with words.

  • Reply egj1975 March 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

    These videos (from Justin) are GREAT for people to learn to play. I have been playing for +20 years and I am using his videos to learn new styles and techniques.

  • Reply RayDrumsOnDrums June 18, 2012 at 2:10 am

    It is in standard tuning yes.

  • Reply BobDylansNumber1Fan July 4, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I think it's a great idea wearing fake fingernails, how many partys have i been at when nobody had a pick and i woke up hungover with big blisters..=D thanks for the help, i need improvement on my fingerpicking, been doing it with thumb and index finger for years cause i taught myself and i need to learn it properly.

  • Reply Brent Oustine August 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    this video really helps me.thank you sir 😀

  • Reply Jericho Agduma September 16, 2012 at 9:48 am

    thank u justin I learn a lot! thank u for ur kindness!

  • Reply Dara Dy November 26, 2012 at 9:49 am

    thanks … your video helps me a lot

  • Reply loudrockacdc January 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Damnit, I bit all nails off : (

  • Reply melissa rizzo February 23, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    can u use ur pinky to fingerstyle

  • Reply Nam Tran February 26, 2013 at 11:43 am

    If you are looking to bulk up, you should search Google for "Ripped X Beast". That can help you get the body you deserve.

  • Reply Mark Esslinger March 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Sounds a lot like Black Sabbath's "Fluff".

  • Reply Bend Em March 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Nice maton

  • Reply Checka Fred May 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I may have to kill of the life long habit of biting my nails after this lesson… great vid dude.

  • Reply Derek Lambert June 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    finding it really difficult to change chords whilst picking

  • Reply Rui Pedro June 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I've been following Justin for a year now, books bought and all, but the "before all the haters in the video" really made me laugh! Great Justin!

  • Reply ChewChew July 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I was always wondering why Justin's right hand finger nails look so different from the left hand nails (apart from the length ofc). Now I finally know why! 😀

  • Reply thisninjajango August 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    The drug lord fingernail

  • Reply Bram Buyck September 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Dat R.E.M.

  • Reply Prince Sharma December 15, 2013 at 1:10 am

    dude….i have practice this…………… now what else i have to do………

  • Reply Abdel Sbeezy January 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm


  • Reply emyrol asraf January 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    you are gonna be a good guitar teacher…

  • Reply shatti soud May 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    that's very useful, thanks

  • Reply koleary1798 June 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    If anyone wants to learn a cool and very easy song that uses this technique check out "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. The opening part of the song is literally the exercise he showed us but with all open strings

  • Reply futurenika October 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    i fucking love you dude, but no homo

  • Reply Havva Mahler January 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks, great lesson! And thanks for mentioning you don't need long nails. As a massage therapist growing my nails out isn't really an option for me, but I'm getting a good sound with the fleshy part of my fingers.

  • Reply Niela Rosario April 28, 2015 at 6:34 am

    You helped me a lot thanks for this video 😀

  • Reply Dave May 4, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Great lesson Justin!

  • Reply James Signorelli July 18, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Very nice to the point thank you very muc

  • Reply Paolo Trianni December 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    What if you are already using fake finger nails. Does anyone use there little finger/pinky?

  • Reply thedutycallof January 27, 2016 at 11:32 am

    how did you do you for have this nails ?

  • Reply Dan Dunning April 13, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Aaaand nothing else matteeeeers!

  • Reply Handy Fox July 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Andy Griffith got me into this.

  • Reply Harsh Shastri November 18, 2016 at 3:18 am

    you are the best in the world,thanks a lot for these lesson 😀

  • Reply Christine Pearl December 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

    muchos gracias…this is a big help

  • Reply Black Dynamite January 2, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    he cracked me up when he said that his finger nails may look gay hahhaha

  • Reply BookReader January 14, 2017 at 7:03 am

    nice chap. thanks for the lessons you upload.

  • Reply Satrohan Loverboi January 19, 2017 at 1:22 am

    😂😂u just makes me laugh…thanks for the upload btw😂😂

  • Reply Gowtham V Bhat January 23, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks a lot!

  • Reply Sem noção February 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Can i do this in eletric guitar? dont have a acoustic here and no money to buy one =(

  • Reply freekuki February 3, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    gay!!?…ops ahah

  • Reply Akhil Vatsa March 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    REM Everybody's Hurt is one cool song you can play using the above fingerstyle pattern

  • Reply Angela Cierpicki Tohl March 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Justin I think your fingernails look cool, Johnny Marr likes to paint his silver, so there's another way to to jazz them up!!!

  • Reply Dinesh Raja May 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    thank you @Justin!:)

  • Reply DarthArab June 4, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Brilliant as usual Justin, thank you

  • Reply Evig Sorg June 26, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Are the right hand fingers supposed to come in at an angle or how am I supposed to do this?
    And are the right hand fingers doing a kind of upwards movement? Like…"lifting" the strings upwards for a just a short moment?

  • Reply ahmad shishani December 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    clear and straightforward

  • Reply Michael Amos December 8, 2017 at 4:48 am

    I've applied what you've been teaching in videos , you've been a great help too me .

  • Reply denzelnolet December 17, 2017 at 2:45 am

    Omg you look like a vampire, your finger nails look really weird :/

  • Reply jim welsh November 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    The ring is more gay than the nails! Lol

  • Reply Kamila Putridifa 25 December 20, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I'm new on fingerstyle. And my arrangements are sounded so robotic 😥😥😥, they don't sound natural like Eddie Van Der Meer's arrangements or Andrew Foy's. Any advice?

  • Reply Donald Miller July 17, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Robbie Krieger doesn't use his fingernails, just the flesh. He's actually the first person I've seen do that.

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