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Tommy Emmanuel Teaches 4 Steps To Fingerstyle Guitar Technique | Reverb Learn To Play

October 18, 2019

Hi thrill-seekers, I’m Tommy Emmanuel
coming at you through my friends at, a wonderful company. So I’ve
been asked to teach how to get started in fingerstyle,
and it’s a wonderful journey. It takes a little time and it takes a lot of effort,
it takes a lot of commitment and determination, but along the way you’re
gonna learn so much, and you’re gonna have so much fun getting started. The
main thing that I want to kind of stress to you now at this beginning level is
that what what we’ve got to achieve first is getting that thumb to be
independent from the fingers and create a steady groove. So in order to do that,
if you’ve never done it before, most people won’t want to play the second
beat with their fingers right like this so you’ve got beat 1 then beat 2 beat 3, like that. If you do it that way it’ll never work. Okay, so you can’t do that.
What I’m going to show you is the right way to get started and that is get the
thumb to do all the backing – step one as I’ve come to know in my in my life that
there is a definite line. There are people on this side who say never anchor
down, you know, always keep your hand floating, and then there are people where,
which I’m on one of anchor down it makes you play more solid. So you know you have
to make that decision whether you anchor down or not. If you
watch Merle Travis or Jerry Reed or Chet Atkins, you’ll see they all anchor down I
want to be on that team – the winners. Fingers down on the body and
don’t let those rebellious digits up. You’ve got to get the thumb to do this –
spell out the chord, right. So, five, four six, four, five, four six, four Alright? Now, in order to
make that sound nice and go boom, chick, boom, chick, with the
palm of my hand here, I just take a little bit of the note out of the
string and kind of muted so you get: You see that? Now that’s a better sound isn’t
it? Now let me just say, the rule of thumb, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the first
base note of every bar should be the root note of the chord you’re in. So if
I’m in C, my first note should be a C. Here we go: Now to F, Alright? If you don’t do that,
that it’ll sound like this: And the bass note will be one one beat later. So don’t
do that, it sounds weird. Unless of course you want to become a curiosity and get
yourself on television. Let’s do step one: we put our fingers
down, we don’t let them up, we’re muting just slightly, now we’re going to play C
and F and G and back to C and have the thumb do it totally independently. Here
we go: Up to F. G. Okay? Chet Atkins used to always say “Develop a steady thumb so you can do this all in any key”, so I’m just gonna give you an example. So I’m gonna
play a little faster, I’m gonna go: F E, A Let’s go up to D To G A Let’s go to E up here You see what I’m doing? Now if you want to get
that Merle Travis sound, you can do that Travis used to kind of sweep his thumb down like a like a honky-tonk piano: It’s a great sound, you can do that later
when you’ve gotten clever at this you know. what I’m saying? I think you do. Drum roll:
Step Two: We leave our pinkie down and with our three
fingers we spell out the chord like this: Right? Now, we keep the thumb going while
spelling out the chord. This is the very beginning of the independence between
the thumb and the fingers. Here we go. Okay? So spell out the chords, keep the
pinkie down, get the thumb nice and steady, and you can do that anywhere on
the fret board. Step three is a little harder. Now what I’m going to do
is I’m going to play a little accent or a kind of skip beat with the chord like
this – 1, 2, 3, 4, And that’s directly against what the thumb
is playing. So now your hand has to get used to that little mental conundrum. So
you go: the thumb doing that, and now we go Somehow it already sounds like music.
Step four is where we get the fingers to spell out the chords in arpeggios. That’s
a big word for an Australian, “arpeggio” That is while keeping the thumb going,
so it it looks like this: So now I’m gonna lay the thumb in a
little more, a bit more of a groove and keep the fingers going, so it’ll sound
like this when you’re doing it properly it should sound like this: Okay? So you do it slowly and get your
fingers doing that nice and steady until you can do, you know: You can do it! So, that’s the four steps to getting
started playing fingerstyle. So in the next video, you lucky devils,
we’re going to learn a song and play it together.


  • Reply Абзал Абзал May 4, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    I can play arpeggio, but in step 3 I cant mute strings(((

  • Reply Joe K May 6, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Hey rusty i know its been a year, so, did you learn anything from Tommy? If not, hows your style doin? Any better today than last year? Hows it workin for ya?

  • Reply Vaughn Felix May 7, 2019 at 5:39 am

    I’m stuck on step one 🙁

  • Reply Thrid Eye Entertainment Nicht live May 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    God this is so good!!!

  • Reply 7byseven May 12, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I want to rest my little finger on the body to anchor down but it puts my other fingers too close to the strings, I would need to either fit a raised pickguard or buy a guitar that has a closer body.

  • Reply Luis Bonillas May 13, 2019 at 3:56 am

    I cant rest my pinky, my fingers are so long. ¿any advice?

  • Reply james deroc May 16, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    i have been deceiving myself . . .my thumb is not truly independent

  • Reply cwam1701e May 16, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    This video is defective, I still can't play like that guy no matter how many times I watch it.

  • Reply Nickey Jorgensen May 16, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you

  • Reply Mscott ashley May 18, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    That's it, I quit!

  • Reply banjothebandit May 22, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Would love to see tabs with these videos! I've only been playing for about a year and a half or so, so I can pick up a few things but not everything. Reverb's videos have been such a great learning tool. They really do a great job of keeping you interested and moving along and expose you to things you might not be into yet

  • Reply Tenzin Alexander May 23, 2019 at 12:30 am

    Actually, the best way to learn finger-style is to get the book "Mauro Giuliani 120 studies for right hand development". They are patterns that use easy chords- they are all using the C chord and I think G7. Exercise on the them while you are watching sports on TV or whatever. Practice them 20 minutes a day and you will master fingerstyle. I played classical guitar for years and this book and "Andres Segovia Diatonic Major and Minor Scales" will strengthen your fingers and you will learn agility and eventually get good tone.

  • Reply TheMDGMobile May 24, 2019 at 2:49 pm


  • Reply Divyansh Anand May 26, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Great artist+Great person+ Great teacher=Tommy Emmanuel

  • Reply hammill444 May 26, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Step one is the most important: have inherent talent.

  • Reply George Morris May 27, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    I'm from Boston & its hard for me 2 say ahpagio,also its a MOTHER fuchin 2 get Rollin with a that thumin, thanx MR Thomas thumbing E🖒👍anchor the pinky!!

  • Reply ahmed wrya rwandwzy May 28, 2019 at 5:04 am

    I have a question
    In step 3 or 04:35
    Is each of 3 middle fingers playing a string ?
    I mean is ring finger playing lowest string and middle finger playing the one above it and so on ?

  • Reply Dan Kelly May 28, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Regarding the anchoring down: I think Tommy is wrong about Jerry Reed. I just finished watching a bunch of videos of Jerry, and he never anchored even for one beat.
    But I never have, and now I’ve become a convert !

  • Reply Gaurav Das May 30, 2019 at 7:45 am

    He makes me want to shout "SLAP THAT G STRING DADDY" and I'm a straight guy.

  • Reply YooA Kang May 30, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you

  • Reply nirujan nirujan May 31, 2019 at 6:56 am

    thank you so much

  • Reply So I says to the guy, I says to him, I says, May 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    wow so simple yet, so difficult to learn, and yet so good sounding.

  • Reply Ohthehumanity June 3, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Brilliant Artist, Teacher and Musical Genius!

  • Reply Mychal Sims June 6, 2019 at 3:13 am

    Looks quite simple, but actually quite difficult! Thanks Tammy!

  • Reply Mr. Hoppelelefant June 8, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Somehow it allready sounds like music, it's magic lol

  • Reply Austen J June 11, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    It's a pity that Tommy simply buzzes from original artists from the past and has never written/composed a fresh composition for future artists to buzz from. It's not a shame, it's just a pity. He keeps original artists from the past fresh in our minds, but will be forgotten. More of a 'chat' than a 'Chet'.

  • Reply John Walker June 11, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    3:05 Dear Prudence would disagree with you there…

  • Reply Aegean Sailing June 13, 2019 at 10:02 am

    amazing musician and guitarist but bad on commercials especially promoting his friend's company. He doesn't seem to be very happy to do this as this doesn't seem to be very much of his kind of thing as he couldn't say "no" to this request from his friend or whoever he was..

  • Reply Ansh Chaudhary June 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    sounds like fucking farm town

  • Reply David Mario Stoffels June 19, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    stir it up litlle darling stir cmon baby bob marley

  • Reply Trevo, Ph.D. June 19, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    God damn that thumb pick is so tight on his hand

  • Reply Louis June 20, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    thank you so much for being who you are-Genuine.

  • Reply Arka Banerjee June 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    I want a classical guitar 😥😥😥😥😥

  • Reply Cash Ramsay June 25, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    what mic is that?

  • Reply sawdust 69 June 29, 2019 at 1:37 am

    i can get the thumb going fine but when i go to pick the chord melodies…….Houston we have a problem.

  • Reply marc toleds June 29, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Tommy Emmanuel is a guitar virtuoso

  • Reply Multiverse 117 June 29, 2019 at 7:12 am

    ive practiced for hours on how to get this right, struggling hard but it just makes me respect tommy even more, amazing player and teacher

  • Reply JTS Whitewater Live July 5, 2019 at 2:36 am

    I'm going to have to watch this 100 times to figure it out

  • Reply lazy Guitarist July 6, 2019 at 5:03 am

    And God created music in 7 days and on the 7th he rested and knew that music was good. 😂😂😂😂

  • Reply F M July 7, 2019 at 10:05 am

    282 Thumbs down?????????? must be a frustrated musician with 282 youtube accounts!! really If you cant learn from this guy take up…… bingo.

  • Reply Kevin Smyth July 7, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    I think damping the thumb is a question of style. Saying you must do it is too restrictive since every guitarist should develop their own style. However, getting the thumb to work independently of the fingers is essential. I think anyone who plays or has attempted to play Fingerstyle would agree with that.

  • Reply Сергей Макаров July 8, 2019 at 6:36 pm


  • Reply Pee vonB July 8, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Love that mic.

  • Reply Ron G July 9, 2019 at 4:28 am

    Tommy shreds !! One of my favorite guitarists along side Ritchie Blackmore Michael schenker uli Roth Ed Van Halen yngwie Steve Morse

  • Reply Shawn Hawkins July 9, 2019 at 5:45 am

    You have really helped me out on this.

  • Reply Emilio Assisi July 10, 2019 at 9:50 am


  • Reply Ian Cumbers July 11, 2019 at 6:20 am

    tommy what a great muso and great bloke a fountain of knowledge if ya listen good

  • Reply Brian Quick July 11, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    The 283 thumbs downs,are from people with broken thumbs from practicing step one,trying in vain to reach that like button.

  • Reply LobsterProductions July 12, 2019 at 3:42 am

    Tommy Emmanuel is the coolest gentleman there is

  • Reply Aaron Li July 12, 2019 at 7:07 am

    For those who need a tab for this video:

  • Reply Guitar Academia July 14, 2019 at 9:57 am

    great advice from the man: If you play the 5th on 1 instead of the root, you will be on television….

  • Reply Hank Igoe July 16, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    I'm hankerin' for some anchorin'

  • Reply Hank Igoe July 16, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    "Become a curiousity and get yourself on TV." Was that a stab at Trump?

  • Reply 6 String Fan July 18, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I so appreciate how Tommy shares his knowledge with us on how to play guitar more effectively. I know that this lesson he gave here was simplistic to him. It is kind of like a calculus teacher having to teach basic algebra.

  • Reply yep that's me July 19, 2019 at 1:48 am

    286 ppl didn't anchor

  • Reply Zed zagger July 19, 2019 at 7:44 am

    no I don't see what u r doing! I can't see what strings u'r hitting with your left hand, maybe put a fret board image in the bottom corner so I can see what your left fingers are doing. sounds great but not helpful 🙁

  • Reply Rafaela Lima July 19, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I absolutely cannot pass step three aaaaaaa i need help

  • Reply Vivek July 20, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Julian Assange ? Is that you ?

  • Reply Em Bake July 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I need to get myself a nice thumb pick 😅

  • Reply Hank Igoe July 22, 2019 at 1:38 am

    the pinky is my achilles heel, I tel u wut

  • Reply B G July 23, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Boring as usual

  • Reply Graeme July 24, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Fantastic… lee… frustrating..! Took me 4 days to get steady with the Last exercise..!! But I got there… I can't hold a knife any more though..!!!


    Thank you for your priceless knowledge

  • Reply Derek B July 25, 2019 at 2:52 am

    I love how he looks up to Jerry Reed so much.

  • Reply glanceDup July 26, 2019 at 2:57 am

    I want my life to be as independent as his thumb

  • Reply Constable Benton Fraser July 26, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Arpeggio, that's a big word for an Australian
    What a great teacher

  • Reply Sargon of Cincinnati July 28, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Those who believe the picking hand should float. Are wrong….

    The picking hand should be anchored. So saith The Guitar God.

  • Reply Mikheal's Music July 29, 2019 at 11:30 am


  • Reply Radek Himmer August 4, 2019 at 7:26 am

    Thanks Tommy 🙂

  • Reply Joe Blair August 5, 2019 at 3:56 am

    ….just came across Mr .Emmanuel by accident….I've not recovered yet. Will be convalescing with his classes for years to come methinks….

  • Reply Joseph Hayes August 6, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve never heard someone explain famous people as a curiosity before.. mind blown.

  • Reply Sven van Leeuwen August 6, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    This guy, I like him. Nohomo.

  • Reply Thymus-chan 81 August 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Great, now that chord progression is carved in my head for the rest of my life

  • Reply Sidl Schneider August 8, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Half of you is probably here because of Mark Knopfler. Me too. 😂

  • Reply Deb Murray August 9, 2019 at 11:35 am

    How lucky are we guitar beginners to get a lesson from Greatness? Loving this! Thanks!

  • Reply David J August 13, 2019 at 6:47 am

    0:09 hi thrill "Cykas"?

  • Reply Jim Mitchell August 13, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Tommy you sir are a class act, a pro and a nice guy !!! Thanks

  • Reply Jayash Pande August 14, 2019 at 12:36 am

    He doesn't finger his girl, he thumbs her

  • Reply Satish Subramaniam August 15, 2019 at 7:45 am

    This is an amazing lesson. Thank you Tommy and reverb.

  • Reply Anthony Stone August 17, 2019 at 12:50 am


  • Reply Joshua Stine August 17, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    This lesson is just amazing. Thank you. I needed this.

  • Reply SellMe YourSoul August 24, 2019 at 10:28 am

    the neck looks delicious on this one

  • Reply nodgelyobo1 August 26, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I'm doing one of Tommys online courses, it has taken me about 3 weeks to learn one small section, but the stuff I have learned while practising this is invaluable….He teaches you slowly and precisely, but he doesn't hold your hand ….learn slow, build up to speed, great fun.

  • Reply Fábio Montone August 27, 2019 at 2:30 am

    For these guitar players who can anchor down on their knees it's easy to say that LOL… Not everybody has articulated drumsticks as fingers…

  • Reply MSA6001 August 27, 2019 at 2:58 am

    Seen Tommy at a show in Minnesota – Enjoyed every minute. Very funny with a twist of humor. A must see to believe the awesome talent.

  • Reply Jobz king August 31, 2019 at 10:51 am

    I always try practise this but i can't spell it out..Can i borrow your fingers sir..

  • Reply Wolfie The Wanderer August 31, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Just four easy steps. OK!!!

  • Reply loupiat September 1, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    A drum two guitars and a bass in one instrument !

  • Reply EM P September 7, 2019 at 1:54 am

    Been working on this for about a week. Im down to phase 2 and its starting to feel easy. Gave a try to phase 3 and I can't do it to save my life.

  • Reply John Sikes September 9, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    "I wanna be on that team"..fist pump. I'll say! You might be leading that team now though.

  • Reply stevedgolfer September 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Compared to classical players it's like playschool guitar

  • Reply Roy Howard September 18, 2019 at 10:44 pm MANDOLIN GUITAR

  • Reply Brian Shabani September 21, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Tommy thanks so much for your time, I appreciate your instruction, Yes I will practice, Best Thanks for sharing regards.

  • Reply Timothy Bowling September 28, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Tommy Emmanuel is one of the finest people ever born. We are so lucky to live at the same time.

  • Reply Wilco October 2, 2019 at 2:41 am

    such charisma… I just found out about this guy and it feels like I've known him my entire life

  • Reply Domninc Dsouza October 3, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Sir very good. I like to learn how to play a guitar. First I have to buy a guitar. Should I go for 4 or 6 string Guitar. Please reply. Thank you Sir.

  • Reply Morten Jacobsen October 7, 2019 at 8:21 am

    A link to the next video he is talking about?

  • Reply Arrested Images Photography and Design October 7, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Johnny Ramone never anchored down, I want to be on that team – the rebellious team – Gabba Gabba Hey!!!!

  • Reply Keith K October 12, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you Tommy, really really appreciate you taking time to make these tutorials ! You’ve provided me with tremendous insight into learning finger-style acoustic guitar!

  • Reply Rico Macias October 15, 2019 at 9:33 am

    My gf is so independent. She broke with me and I didnt even know it… I feel you the four fingers

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