zombie of guitar playing

Back when my son Archie was a baby, I wrote a book on fingerstyle technique that was full of lovely musical pieces.

It’s called Fearless Fingerstyle.

I no longer sell this book, but it’s still a book I’m proud of.

One of the reasons I wrote the book was to fight back against something…


That is the fact I always felt there was a certain plague running around the guitar world like a flesh-eating zombie.

It’s the fact that on the guitar there is too much emphasis being placed on beginners playing chords and strumming them.

 Yes, I may be hunted down by some guitar tutors stuck in their ways for saying this, but often…Chords are overrated.
…Especially if you play melodic music such as fingerpicking.Yes, we all need a few chords in our locker but my word, I get annoyed by teachers who just push chords on students like Tuco from Breaking Bad pushing drugs (we can call them “chord pushers”) or by those mad books with 15,343 chords in them.

The thing is, you really don’t need a massive number of chords to be able to play beautiful music.


Some people think, “well chords are not all that much hard work”, but for beginners, they can be painfully hard.
First, you need to learn the shape, play it with absolute clarity and precision, and learn how to change chords smoothly…
If you fail with any of these, this new chord shape can become a bit of a hindrance rather than an asset.
Therefore, you should be selective about learning new chords and ask, “do I really need it?”
Even if you can play chords really well, you might be stuck in your ideas about what to do with them.


I love chords and I love what we can do with them but there is something I find really exciting…

I call these ‘partial chords’.

‘Partial chords’ are specific versions of chords that require only two fingers to play for the most part.

…And when you combine these shapes with some fingerstyle, you can create some stunning and lush-sounding music on the guitar.


So how do you do it?

Usually, you take any chord you know and strip it back to the ‘root note’ plus another note in the chord and maybe an open string or two.

You can then add a simple picking pattern (often just a four-note pattern will do).

If you combine this with some fretting hand techniques, such as slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, or bass runs, you can create some lovely sounds.


Speaking of which, I’ve just created a video showcasing how you can combine slides, partial chords, and fingerstyle in a fun way.

You can check out the video here.


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. By the way, the reason I don’t sell the Fearless Fingerstyle book is that at some point I’m planning on updating it and re-releasing it. But that will have to wait (other exciting stuff is coming first).

…But for a few days, you can still get a copy of the book for free.

Simply join the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy by the 1st of March and you will get my Guitarists Get Theory book AND Fearless Fingerstyle book sent to you as free gifts.


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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