Below are 6 of the most commonly made fingerpicking errors I see on a day-to-day basis with students.

Take a look and see how many of these you make.

Be honest with yourself, as these 6 can crush progress faster than Bigfoot treading on a greenfly.


Here they are:

    1. Playing with poor technique – nearly everybody suffers from this at some point. Do you have sore fingers, slow chord changes, or are things awkward or painful when you play?
    2. Getting a weak fingerpicking tone – you can play everything well, but if the tone you get is poor, that is all the listener hears. Always aim for a bright, clear tone.
    3. Practising too fast – if you do this, you may find it takes much longer and is more frustrating to learn to play things.
    4. Accepting your mistakes – constant mistakes, especially the same ones, kill progress.
    5. Looking back and forth at each hand while fingerpicking – a hidden killer of progress but a common one. This causes awkward pauses in the music. It is hard but try to look only at one hand at a time when you play.
    6. Always practising in “Free time” – not having a solid sense of rhythm when playing with or without music, sounds very amateurish. Tapping your foot, using a click, or playing with music helps.


Okay, so there is a brief summary of the mistakes.

Now, play a piece you are pretty comfortable with and try to ensure you don’t make the above mistakes with it.

After playing it, rate yourself from 1 to 10 on the above with…

…1 = awful and 10 = you are good in this area.

Total up your score and see which areas need working on.

Aim to get 7+ for each area.

Anything less will need focused work for you to get the most out of your playing going forward.

Just writing down or printing out these mistakes and avoiding them at all costs can help you make some nice, steady improvements with your fingerpicking playing.


In my book, Fingerstyle 101, which is now out in paperback format…

…I cover each of these mistakes in more detail and give you a specific solution to fix each of them on pages 36-38 (as well as many more tips throughout the book)…

Plus, there is another big mistake guitarists make, which I cover in the book but which didn’t fit in this test…

To get the book or find out more, click the Amazon link below for your relevant country.


Here are the links:






Note – Australia is another country where a lot of my books are bought but, as far as I can see, for some reason Amazon is not shipping my books there at the moment. This is an issue to do with Amazon, not me, but I’ll look into it and see if there are any alternative options.


Have a great day and happy fingerpicking!


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. For anyone who orders the book in the next 4 days, hit reply with your order number and I’ll send you over the following two bonuses.

#1 – My original arrangement of Amazing Grace that sounds great and has been arranged so that beginners can enjoy it – (taught in step-by-step HD video and with TAB).

#2 – Ear Training 101 – My guide on how to train your ears in a nice, simple way.

Beware though, after this time, the bonuses will not be available.


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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