My brand new paperback book, Fingerstyle 101 is out now on Amazon, but did you know this is a huge re-write of a book I first wrote 5 years ago?
Well, in this time I have learnt, developed, and expanded my teaching in the following 7 critical areas, and I want to share these insights with you…
1 – It is more critical than ever that you fix your bad habits and poor technique
Over the years, most guitar tuition out there seems to have got worse.
I’m not sure why but it seems like the good teachers who teach technique (like Jamie Andreas and Allen Mathews) are not being watched as much as those who teach just songs and the “clickbait” teachers who are there one minute and disappear the next.
If you have sore fingers, dreadful sounding chords, poor tone, and your music is not that musical, then you may be watching the wrong teachers.
It has always been critical to have good technique, but in this day and age, as no one seems to mention it, it is extra important you work on improving your technique daily.
2 – Everyone should practise in a “steadier” way
Most guitarists try to learn and practise things using chords and chord progressions that are just too tough to play.
This overloads them.
I was guilty of this in the past too.
For years, no matter how good a student is, when teaching a new idea, I start them off with the simplest of things (such as a fingerpicking pattern using just one chord, until they get it).
Start simple and build quickly – this makes learning much more fun.
3 – Be careful how you spend your practice time
I estimate that most guitarists waste about 80% of their practice time by not actually getting much real “practising” done.
Unless the student has a clear plan, most of the time is spent messing about.
A plan can simply be 3-5 specific things you want to achieve over the next 6 months. This is very simple, but it is far better than hopping around from one thing to the next like Kermit the frog.
4 – Be perfectly clear on how to read tab
Most guitarists know how to read tab, but many don’t.
Some can’t read it very well, and quite a few need clarity on the details and reading fluently.
If you are not 100% clear on reading tab, it’s well worth taking a bit of time to read it properly. It won’t take long, but it is time well spent.
Likewise, if you are further down the line with your playing (i.e. an intermediate player), ignore the naysayers, being able to read standard notation is a good thing too.
5 – Learn things that inspire you
Inspiration is key.
Many years ago, I got in a rut.
I came out of the rut by going back to learning what got me excited.
I remember one of these things was creating a unique, one of a kind, fingerpicking pattern.
I called it the “Cascading pattern” as it feels like my fingers are cascading off a waterfall when playing it.
It is actually the one I “go to” and use a lot.
I love doing stuff like this, but whatever you do, always learn what inspires you!
6 – Practise things slowly before trying to play them at full speed
I always preach to students you must be able to play things super slowly 5 times in a row before speeding up.
To do this, you often need to really slow the piece down.
7 – Learn from people who have been there and done it for real
After playing a lot of gigs, jamming with a lot of folk, and spending time with lots of superb guitarists…
…I picked up and developed many little tips and tricks over the years that made playing more fun.
Although some people dish out weird advice (I’ve heard a fair bit of it) there are lots of little nuggets you can pick up from other folk.
Keep learning from others but take the nonsense advice with a pinch of salt.
There you go.
Those are 7 important things I have either learnt, developed, or just focused more on in my teaching over the years.
They are the things I still see other guitarists and teachers neglect all the time.
Advanced players can get away with these, but beginners will usually find doing so just leads them down a gloomy path of frustration.
If you want some help with all of the above, you will learn how to tackle these things in Fingerstyle 101.
Inside, you will learn how to improve all of the above points.
This includes fixing your technique by learning about proper posture (page 9), “Minimum Pressure Required” (page 16), The “Cup” (page 12), the “Fingerpicking Tone Test” (page 14)…
Plus, there are pro tips where I share what I have learnt from others (page 22-31), and this is just Part 1 of the book.
Here are the links to Amazon’s store where my books sell the most copies:
Whether or not you get the book, use the list in this email to keep on top of your playing and not let bad habits get in the way of your success!
P.S. Order in the next 3 days, hit reply letting me know you have done so (send me a receipt or order number from Amazon please), and I’ll send over these two bonuses…
#1 – My original arrangement of Amazing Grace ideal for beginners and taught in step-by-step HD video and with TAB.
#2 – Ear Training 101 – a simple, straightforward no-nonsense guide on ear training.
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.