Today I want to talk about playing fingerstyle songs in a really fun way!
You see, there are two big problems with most fingerstyle songs taught out there – even the simpler songs.
Problem #1 is that most songs usually require chords. This often means big stretches and awkward fretting hand movements.
Problem #2 is that the melody is usually played across 2 or 3 strings, meaning the picking hand has to work hard to NOT pluck the wrong strings.
Both of these issues are common and can be hair-raisingly frustrating!
…Especially if you’ve been trying to learn a song or two for years and it still doesn’t sound very musical.
…But did you know you can play stunning songs without chords and without having to worry about picking the wrong strings?
This means buzzing chords and slow chord changes can become a thing of the past…
…And you can say goodbye to awkward pauses in the music, picking wrong notes, and songs not sounding recognisable.
“So, what is this mystical unicorn of guitar playing?” I hear you ask.
In fact, it’s not anything crazy at all.
It’s actually a really simple way of playing fingerstyle songs that I’m surprised no one ever teaches.
I’ve been playing about with this style for a while now with students.
(Funnily enough, this method evolved from a keyboard tuition book Archie and I use).
The method is very simple, and it’s all about doing two things:
#1 – Playing the melody on one string (ideally the high E string). This makes it far easier for the picking hand.
#2 – Using the open bass strings. Open bass strings are wonderful because they’re the easiest thing in the world to play (anyone can play them). Yet a simple open-string bass note can add huge richness and depth to the music.
Put both of the above factors together and you have musical dynamite!
I am tentatively calling it the “No Chord Fingerstyle” method.
…And it works really well because it simplifies songs massively and erases the big issues you and I have had to contend with over the years.
Don’t get me wrong…
You still have to play the parts nicely, practice the song methodically, and pluck the correct bass strings at the correct time for the music to sound harmonically correct.
…But once you can do the above, you can increase the number of songs you have in your repertoire in double quick time.
Plus, there’s other stuff you can do later.
You can add in riffs, embellishments, and fills.
You can develop the song over years and keep adding to it, refining it, and tweaking it.
So, if you ever want to play a simple song, I’d recommend you try it.
Melodies on one string and open bass notes = a whole lot of fun!
Has anyone done this before?
Maybe, but I’ve never seen anyone else play this way – let alone teach it.
…But if you want to learn this style, I’m teaching it.
I’ve taken the song “When the Saints Go Marching In” and I’m playing it in this style.
I’ll teach it to you note for note in this very simple way.
You’ll learn exactly how to play the melody, which bass notes to play and one secret technique that makes this style work and glues it all together.
This special technique is something a lot of guitarists talk about but many get wrong.
It’s all inside the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons out on the 1st of February.
This promises to be a really fun set of lessons.
You can find out more about the academy below.
Keep enjoying your playing!
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.