Finger picking refers to the technique of using
your fingers to pluck the strings instead of using a guitar pick. We will show
you not only how to finger pick but also explain the classical guitar method
along with the finger names. Music written for classical guitar uses the same
fingering naming conventions we will show you here. Although this is another
easy topic to understand it will take some practice to gain proper control
and fluid movement.
Fingering names are used for your strumming or picking hand. For Right-Handed guitars this means your right hand.
For a Left-Handed guitarist this refers to your left
hand, although the names are the same.
Fingerings names are as follows;
p for pulgar (thumb)
i for indice (index finger)
m for medio (middle finger)
a for anular (ring finger)
Although the Baby finger is not used in classical guitar technique it doesn't mean that you can't use it for other styles of playing. In Flamenco guitar the baby finger is used and is named 'e".
The next diagram below shows you the proper Classical guitar names for each finger name and the thumb or finger for a Right-Handed musician.
The names are the same for a Left-handed guitarist only for they apply to your left hand.
A basic rule for finger picking for any style is to use your thumb (p) for the bass strings (4th-5th and 6th), index (i) for the 3rd string, middle (m) for the 2nd string and your ring finer (a) for the 1st string.
Place your right forearm on the top front edge of guitar with your forearm horizontal to the floor so that your hand falls just back of sound hole.
Always keep your wrist relaxed and in-line. This means that you don't want to curve or bend your wrist which will cause you discomfort.
Your fingers will curver naturally so all movement will only be from your fingers. This will give you the most control and speed and is a natural position.
This method allows you to get to know where your fingers are without looking and keep your fingers at the right height above the strings. Notice in the picture below how the thumb easily extends never conflicting with your other fingers even when you use the thumb and fingers at the same time.
LETS TRY IT. The next page has exercises for you to see, hear and try.
Each example shows different finger picking rhythms.