fingerstyle

Mother Maybelle Carter was an innovator who reinvented rhythm guitar—here's how she did it.

Intermediate to Advanced

Beginner

  • Learn how to strum chords and pick melodies at the same time.
  • Combine the various elements to create your own songs and arrangements.
  • Explore guitar-friendly keys using open strings.
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Strum chords and pick melodies at the same time! While Carter-style picking is most closely associated with country legend Maybelle Carter, the technique, and variations thereof, can be heard in the music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, and even progressive pioneers Yes.

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Investigating the style of one of ragtime’s biggest names will undoubtedly improve your fingerstyle technique.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
Understand how to improve your fingerstyle technique.
• Learn how syncopations work in ragtime music.
• Develop a deeper understanding of Joplin’s masterpiece, “The Entertainer.” Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

One of my first galvanizing experiences as a beginner guitarist was when I found a YouTube video of Tommy Emmanuel, C.G.P, playing his Beatles medley. The mix included “Here Comes the Sun,” “When I’m 64,” “Day Tripper,” and “Lady Madonna,” all of which clearly utilized Scott Joplin-style syncopations. While half the comment section under the video seemed to use this face-melting performance as an excuse to burn their guitars in desperation, it looked like an opportunity to me. Even though I was almost totally ignorant as a guitarist at the time, I’d had a couple of years of piano lessons, and Joplin’s “The Entertainer” was my first ever recital piece. That simplified version of “The Entertainer” didn’t have the handfuls of octaves and parallel 10ths that Joplin wrote in the original score, but all the syncopations were exactly the same, and the central concept was understandable. That basic piano foundation meant that once I had a few chords under my belt as a guitarist, I took to fingerstyle guitar like a duck to water. Maybe I can help replicate that learning process in you.

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Whether you’re a fingerpicking enthusiast or simply looking to understand the fundamentals, master these examples and you’ll start sounding like the “Country Gentleman” in no time.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Beginner
Lesson Overview:
• Understand the basics of Chet Atkins’ style.
• Learn how to play “House of the Rising Sun” like Chet Atkins.
• Create the sound of multiple guitars while playing solo. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Chet Atkins’ style is incredibly unique and there’s been a tribe of guitar players that have rallied around it for decades. His method has been popularized by esteemed guitarists like Mark Knopfler, Jerry Reed, and Tommy Emmanuel. So, what is the “Chet Atkins” style? If you don’t already know, I can assure you you’ve heard it before in Esurance TV commercials or in these popular versions of “Mr. Sandman” and “Windy and Warm.”

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