Easy Steps to Guitar Fingerpicking I - Happy Traum Page One

Happy starts us off with a 6 string fingerpicking guitar demonstration, then he tunes us up in standard tuning and begins to discuss the finger picks he uses to protect his fingernails and get his sound. He uses 3 such brass picks. One for his thumb and one each for his forefinger and middle finger. He discusses the many different kinds of picks availably and their related differences and is full of helpful information. There is a pamphlet too, bless them!

You don't absolutely need finger picks. It depends on your preference and the strength of your nails. It also depends on what kind of strings your guitar has? Steel or Nylon.

In addition to steel string electric and acoustic guitars I also have a beater-beach nylon string guitar and since I don't relish the idea of finger picks or even growing my nails for that matter I tend to use it when practicing finger picking. The problem with a nylon string guitar is that I am not primarily a Spanish style-classical guitar player and sooner or later am going to have to make the switch to steel strings if I want to play electric. Its debatable if I should have learned directly on a steel string or not. The good news is the nylon string guitar has a thicker neck which makes your fingers stronger and clunkier when you go to play an electric guitar whose string are spaced closer together. I am experimenting and you should too. Chet Atkins himself played a steel string guitar but later found and electric nylon stringed one that he switched to to save his fingers.

Experiment, even try growing out your picking hand nails a bit to see how that feels. Using bare fingers takes time to desensitize your finger tips so take it slow and try different picks. There are many to choose from. The key here is not to get discouraged.

Happy tells us the most important thing to be worked on is the steady thumb technique where you keep a bass note going independently and relentlessly under your melody picking. You have to re-program your brain but once you do it gives you freedom with the syncopated melody.

Page Two

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I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. – Leonardo da Vinci