How Long It Will Take to Learn Fingerstyle Guitar Strumming

Published Categorized as Other How To/Tips, Other Lessons and Tips

Round up, folks, round up, for today we will be tackling a question that many of your aspiring guitarists will no doubt have asked yourselves at some point, usually whilst simultaneously scratching one’s head in puzzlement.

To begin with, it is all too easy to feel like fingerpicking is completely out of our reach, prompting us to ask just how long to learn fingerstyle guitar exactly?

How Long It Will Take To Learn Fingerstyle Guitar Strumming

Table of Contents

What is Fingerstyle Guitar?

Before we go on to answer our central query today, how long to learn fingerstyle guitar, we must first find out just what exactly fingerstyle guitar is!

At its root, fingerstyle guitar is simply another kind of guitar playing, a technique which ascends labels of style and genre, present throughout western musical history as long as the guitar has been around. Fingerstyle places far more attention on the picking hand instead of the fretting hand, which is usually favored by prospective guitarists.

You ought already to be see how this would have benefits to one’s guitar abilities. If we’re considering acoustic vs bass guitar fingerstyle, the thumb of the picking hand assumes the role of the bass, and the fingers adopt the chordal backing and melodic lead, all of which can be performed simultaneously. Guitarists such as Tommy Emmanuel even add a rhythmic element by tapping or slapping certain parts of the guitar and strings effects varying from snare to bass drum and much more!

The central theme here is chords which, each fingerstyle pattern weaving through the various chordal arpeggios. The harmony of a song will remain the same if reinvented a fingerstyle song, hence why there are so many rerenderings of classic songs in fingerstyle. The fact that both both listener and musician are essentially being shown the basic tools of which the song is comprised scarcely has any bearing on the force that keeps a song chugging along in our hearts and minds.

What is Fingerstyle Guitar for?

More important than how long to learn fingerstyle guitar are the various situations it might be learned in. Though I would be the first to advise that any style of anything can be used for whatever you like, for I am an avid proponent of experimentation in all its forms. However, fingerstyle tends to be used in two central ways.

The first is more intricate, intending to draw more attention to the accompaniment itself, and to the guitarist in the context of a performance. This can be especially useful if they are the only musician playing or if the guitarist in question is one of the only accompaniments to another musician, be they vocalist or else. In this way and in such scenarios, the flow of arpeggiated chord shapes is apposite for filling out the musical space.

On the inverse, since the chords of a piece are being arpeggiated and dissected into single notes, there is also room for a gentler outlook on the guitar. A performance or composition can assume an air of subtlety and forethought that is difficult to attain when playing the same thing simple strumming. Leaning in on this aspect of fingerstyle guitar can be of particular use when accompanying solo vocalist, or if playing more delicate kinds of folk music. Such music is known to feature melodies and vocal figures that span larger ranges all of a sudden, rendering the wider harmonic spread of fingerstyle chordal arpeggios righteous for the context.

How Long to Learn Fingerstyle Guitar?

This will no doubt vary from person to person, for we are all approaching the guitar from different angles even if we are standing in the same place, that of the first steps of a guitar beginner. Some of us, for example, might have been playing guitar for years, but have otherwise never picked up fingerstyle guitar, for whatever reason. Inversely, some of us musicians might be starting out on the guitar completely afresh, and thus will not be bringing along quite the same wealth of experience that someone who has already been playing for quite some time will have.

Thus, it is near impossible to say just how long to learn fingerstyle guitar. However, this should not deter, for I can guarantee that as long as you do your best with it you will see results sooner rather than later. If you are invested enough in it, then it won’t feel like a chore. Certainly, the guitar is nowhere near as fun to begin with, because often we are engaging with it far more with our conscious mind, where later it is our subconscious that takes the reins. This should not act as a deterrent, though, for it will come.

Practising guitar regularly and as part of a set routine is a sure fire way to get anywhere, and this applies to so many other things in life, regardless of whether they are musical or not. Depending on your schedule, you will want to adjust accordingly, but I would advise around 20 minutes of practise at least per day, so that every part of your body and mind is growing used to, accustomed to, and comfortable with simply sitting there with the guitar on your lap and resonating through your body.

Final Tones

So, there you have it! Hopefully this brief guide through the various ins and out of beginning fingerstyle guitar has elucidated for you some of your own doubts and queries on the subject, and left you with a better impression of just how long to learn fingerstyle guitar for you.

Here are someone else’s views on the subject:

FAQs How Long to Learn Fingerstyle Guitar

Can a beginner learn fingerstyle guitar?

Yes, absolutely, and it would in fact be better for just such a beginner to start now so that it is less difficult in future. Even if said beginner does not end up using fingerstyle guitar all that much, it is a useful skill to have regardless of where one’s musical journey takes them, and is much better picked back up at later date after the seeds were already sown, than trying later down the line to finally get round to it, only to find that it is far more difficult than they could even have realised.

How do you master fingerpicking?

The simple answer is with lots of hard work and practise, as is the case for almost anything regarding music and the learning of an instrument. These things do not just happen overnight, and take laying a lot of groundwork in order for some of the concepts to stick. It is not that these things are inherently difficult or that they are only for a select few, it is that it takes time for the mind to become accustomed to concepts, so the more regularly you practise as part of a routine the better.

Is picking or strumming better?

Neither is inherently better, and in fact both can healthily inform one another in a guitarist’s tool belt, though admittedly each is better at certain things. For sheer force and physicality, for the embedding of firm texture and power into a song, then strumming does a supreme job. On the other hand, picking in fingerstyle is much better for more subtle acts of musical dexterity, for accompanying vocalists and other soloists, or for delicate folk operations. Think long and hard, then choose your weapon. You don’t even have to stick to just one in a song, either, that is the sheer beauty of it!

How do you get good at fingerstyle?

The simple answer is with lots of hard work and practise, as is the case for almost anything regarding music and the learning of an instrument. These things do not just happen overnight, and take laying a lot of groundwork in order for some of the concepts to stick. It is not that these things are inherently difficult or that they are only for a select few, it is that it takes time for the mind to become accustomed to concepts, so the more regularly you practise as part of a routine the better.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *