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Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles

Energize your fingerstyle chops with this Acoustic Learning Path core course.
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Overview

Welcome to Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles for intermediate to late intermediate students of Acoustic guitar. This Acoustic Learning Path core course is presented by 4 top TrueFire educators: Tommy Emmanuel, Peppino D'Agostino, Muriel Anderson, and Brooks Robertson. The Fingerstyle Principles curriculum is comprised of select acoustic guitar lessons from the educators' existing TrueFire course libraries.

Fingerstyle guitar technique takes full advantage of the instrument's polyphonic qualities, which is one of the main reasons it's so popular across so many styles of music. You'll find fingerstyle techniques in blues, rock, jazz, country, classical, folk, singer-songwriter, and dozens of other genres and subgenres. While specific fingerstyle techniques will vary across musical styles, they all call for finger and thumb independance so that you can play a bass line, a rhythm part, and a melody line simultaneously. The video guitar lessons in this core course will equip you with the requisite skills to take your fingerstyle technique to the next level.

Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles is organized into 3 sections. In the first section, Tommy Emmanuel presents an extraordinarily effective method for learning how to play fingerstyle from the ground up. In Section 2, Brooks Robertson enhances your basic skills with additional fingerstyle principles and techniques. In the third and final section, Muriel Anderson and Peppino D'Agostino present 5 performance studies to prime your repertoire and put your fingerstyle skills to good use.

When you've completed the lessons here in Fingerstyle Principles, you'll find more lessons focused on fingerstyle techniques in Fingerstyle Approaches, also a Play Acoustic Guitar 5 core course.

Key examples are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. Take as much time as you need to work through each video guitar lesson before moving on to the next lesson. If you want to dig deeper or wider into any of the topics covered in this core course, check out the rest of the courses in the Acoustic Learning Path where you'll find more examples, techniques and insight from top TrueFire educators. Grab your guitar and let's get started!

About

Learn how to play guitar with free online guitar lessons and interactive video guitar courses at TrueFire, the world's most comprehensive library of guitar video lessons.
Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles - Introduction

01: Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles - Introduction

Welcome to Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles for intermediate to late Intermediate students of Acoustic guitar. This Acoustic Learning Path core course is presented by 4 top TrueFire educators: Tommy Emmanuel, Peppino D'Agostino, Muriel Anderson, and Brooks Robertson.

2 min
Fingerstyle Foundations - SECTION 1: Overview

02: Fingerstyle Foundations - SECTION 1: Overview

In this section, Tommy Emmanuel presents an extraordinarily effective method for learning how to play fingerstyle from the ground up. Tommy discusses and demonstrates key techniques including thumbpicks, tunings, types of fingerstyle, finger and thumb independance, palm mutes, syncopated chords and arpeggios, melody and other foundational techniques.

1 min
Types of Guitars - Overview

03: Types of Guitars - Overview

Types of Guitars - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Hello thrill seekers! We are going to be talking about many things today. First of all I want to talk about your guitar, and what kind of guitar you play.

3 min
The Thumbpick - Overview

04: The Thumbpick - Overview

The Thumbpick - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I'd like to talk about thumbpicks and how to use them and the different kinds. The thumbpicks that I like are the Jim Dunlop thumbpicks.

4 min
String Tuning & Guages - Overview

05: String Tuning & Guages - Overview

String Tuning & Guages - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I get asked a lot about the tunings that I use. Most of my songs are in normal guitar tuning.

3 min
Types of Fingerstyle - Overview

06: Types of Fingerstyle - Overview

Types of Fingerstyle - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. There are many different kinds of fingerstyle. Classical guitar is a type of fingerstyle.

5 min
Hand Size - Overview

07: Hand Size - Overview

Hand Size - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. A lot of people come to me and say that they can't play that type of song because I don't have big hands like yours, or that they don't have guitar player hands. I don't buy any of that. I'll tell you why.

2 min
Memorizing Songs - Overview

08: Memorizing Songs - Overview

Memorizing Songs - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I want to make an important point to you now and that is using your memory. It's very important that everything you learn along the way, bit by bit you have to memorize it.

1 min
The Bass Part - Overview

09: The Bass Part - Overview

The Bass Part - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I'm going to start out with some simple chords.

2 min
The Palm Mute - Overview

10: The Palm Mute - Overview

The Palm Mute - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. In order to make the sound I'm looking for, which is boom chick boom chick, the way to do it is take a bit of the ringing out of the note with the palm of the hand.

2 min
Angle of the Thumbpick - Overview

11: Angle of the Thumbpick - Overview

Angle of the Thumbpick - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I just want to show you and talk quickly about the angle of my thumb when I'm playing this boom chick bass.

1 min
Open Position Étude: E - Overview

12: Open Position Étude: E - Overview

Open Position Étude: E - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The exercises that we need to do together, we're now going to play through in the key of E.

1 min
Open Position Étude: E - Slow Playalong

13: Open Position Étude: E - Slow Playalong

Open Position Étude: E - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The exercises that we need to do together, we're now going to play through in the key of E.

1 min
Open Position Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

14: Open Position Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

Open Position Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The exercises that we need to do together, we're now going to play through in the key of E.

1 min
Accompanying with Lead - Overview

15: Accompanying with Lead - Overview

Accompanying with Lead - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Getting together and jamming with other players, learning from them, and handing on whatever information you have is a really good thing and a really important part of being a real musician.

2 min
The Melody Finger/Hand Posture - Overview

16: The Melody Finger/Hand Posture - Overview

The Melody Finger/Hand Posture - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I want to touch on a few technique things that I think are important.

3 min
Timing: Being in the Pocket - Overview

17: Timing: Being in the Pocket - Overview

Timing: Being in the Pocket - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I'd like to touch on a very important subject now, and that is time.

4 min
Chords on Beat Étude: E - Overview

18: Chords on Beat Étude: E - Overview

Chords on Beat Étude: E - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Thrill-seekers, we are back, and we are about to do our next level of work, and our next milestone.

2 min
Chords on Beat Étude: E - Slow Playalong

19: Chords on Beat Étude: E - Slow Playalong

Chords on Beat Étude: E - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Thrill-seekers, we are back, and we are about to do our next level of work, and our next milestone.

1 min
Chords on Beat Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

20: Chords on Beat Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

Chords on Beat Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Thrill-seekers, we are back, and we are about to do our next level of work, and our next milestone.

1 min
Syncopated Chords Étude: E - Overview

21: Syncopated Chords Étude: E - Overview

Syncopated Chords Étude: E - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The next exercise I feel is extremely important because this is where the fingers play a little accented beat.

2 min
Syncopated Chords Étude: E - Slow Playalong

22: Syncopated Chords Étude: E - Slow Playalong

Syncopated Chords Étude: E - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The next exercise I feel is extremely important because this is where the fingers play a little accented beat.

1 min
Syncopated Chords Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

23: Syncopated Chords Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

Syncopated Chords Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The next exercise I feel is extremely important because this is where the fingers play a little accented beat.

1 min
Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - Overview

24: Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - Overview

Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Continuing on to the next exercise, which deals with more independence between the fingers and the thumb.

2 min
Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - Slow Playalong

25: Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - Slow Playalong

Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Continuing on to the next exercise, which deals with more independence between the fingers and the thumb.

1 min
Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

26: Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

Arpeggios on Beat Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. Continuing on to the next exercise, which deals with more independence between the fingers and the thumb.

1 min
Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - Overview

27: Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - Overview

Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The exercise that I want you to learn now is the arpeggios with the fingers, but anticipating the notes. Also it's kind of a way of swinging a little.

2 min
Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - Slow Playalong

28: Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - Slow Playalong

Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The exercise that I want you to learn now is the arpeggios with the fingers, but anticipating the notes. Also it's kind of a way of swinging a little.

1 min
Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

29: Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong

Syncopated Arpeggios Étude: E - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The exercise that I want you to learn now is the arpeggios with the fingers, but anticipating the notes.

1 min
The Method: Beat by Beat - Overview

30: The Method: Beat by Beat - Overview

The Method: Beat by Beat - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. I'd like to talk about learning songs now. With learning songs, the way I've always done it is very slowly.

5 min
Beginner's Blues Études - Overview

31: Beginner's Blues Études - Overview

Beginner's Blues Études - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. It's time for our next big milestone, and that is learning a song.

3 min
Hammer-on Étude: Am - Slow Playalong

32: Hammer-on Étude: Am - Slow Playalong

Hammer-on Étude: Am - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. It's time for our next big milestone, and that is learning a song.

1 min
Hammer-on Étude: Am - At Tempo Playalong

33: Hammer-on Étude: Am - At Tempo Playalong

Hammer-on Étude: Am - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. It's time for our next big milestone, and that is learning a song.

0 min
Pull-off Étude: Am - Slow Playalong

34: Pull-off Étude: Am - Slow Playalong

Pull-off Étude: Am - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. It's time for our next big milestone, and that is learning a song.

0 min
Pull-off Étude: Am - At Tempo Playalong

35: Pull-off Étude: Am - At Tempo Playalong

Pull-off Étude: Am - At Tempo Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. It's time for our next big milestone, and that is learning a song.

0 min
Beginner's Blues - Overview

36: Beginner's Blues - Overview

Beginner's Blues - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. We're about to reach our next milestone, which is learning this song. I wrote this little tune specifically to give you something challenging but simple to start with.

1 min
Beginner's Blues - Performance

37: Beginner's Blues - Performance

Beginner's Blues - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The beginner's blues, in the key of E.

2 min
Beginner's Blues - Slow Playalong

38: Beginner's Blues - Slow Playalong

Beginner's Blues - Slow Playalong is a video guitar lesson presented by Tommy Emmanuel and is sourced from Fingerstyle Milestones. The beginner's blues, in the key of E.

1 min
Essential Concepts - SECTION 2: Overview

39: Essential Concepts - SECTION 2: Overview

Brooks Robertson enhances your basic skills with additional fingerstyle principles and techniques such as moveable chords, string transference, dynamics, decoration, slide embellishments, boom chick and syncopated picking patterns.

1 min
Movable Chords: 6th & 5th String Root - Concept 1

40: Movable Chords: 6th & 5th String Root - Concept 1

Movable Chords: 6th & 5th String Root - Concept 1 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. The movable chord forms here will serve a number of different purposes.

8 min
Movable Chords: Top Four Strings - Concept 2

41: Movable Chords: Top Four Strings - Concept 2

Movable Chords: Top Four Strings - Concept 2 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. Here is another example of different, movable chord inversions and forms of the Maj 6, Maj 7, min 6, min 7, Dom7, and min7b5 chord qualities.

4 min
String Transference - Concept 3

42: String Transference - Concept 3

String Transference - Concept 3 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. From Ted Greene's book "Modern Chord Progressions" this is a great technique that allows you to play the same chord voicing either on the next higher or lower group of strings.

6 min
Left Hand Dynamics & Decoration - Concept 4

43: Left Hand Dynamics & Decoration - Concept 4

Left Hand Dynamics & Decoration - Concept 4 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. Dynamics are such an essential component of a song's overall feel and expression of emotion.

7 min
1/2 Step Slide Embellishments - Concept 5

44: 1/2 Step Slide Embellishments - Concept 5

1/2 Step Slide Embellishments - Concept 5 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. This is a great sounding tool that you can use for a variety of different sounds.

5 min
Boom Chick: Alternating Thumb - Concept 6

45: Boom Chick: Alternating Thumb - Concept 6

Boom Chick: Alternating Thumb - Concept 6 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. As we transition into the right hand concepts be patient and take your time getting the proper form and technique.

7 min
Boom Chick: Patterns - Concept 7

46: Boom Chick: Patterns - Concept 7

Boom Chick: Patterns - Concept 7 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. Now let's combine the index, middle and ring fingers with the alternating thumb patterns. Be sure to take these nice and slow, one at a time.

8 min
Syncopated Picking Patterns: 1 - Concept 8

47: Syncopated Picking Patterns: 1 - Concept 8

Syncopated Picking Patterns: 1 - Concept 8 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. These syncopated picking patterns are more rhythmically intricate than the basic boom chick patterns and demand more digit independence.

5 min
Syncopated Picking Patterns: 2 - Concept 9

48: Syncopated Picking Patterns: 2 - Concept 9

Syncopated Picking Patterns: 2 - Concept 9 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. As we did with all the previous patterns we are going to keep the thumb alternating strings and playing on the beat.

9 min
Banjo Rolls - Concept 10

49: Banjo Rolls - Concept 10

Banjo Rolls - Concept 10 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. Banjo rolls are right hand patterns often used by banjo players and guitar players in a variety of styles.

17 min
Skipping Patterns - Concept 12

50: Skipping Patterns - Concept 12

Skipping Patterns - Concept 12 is a video guitar lesson presented by Brooks Robertson and is sourced from Fingerstyle Survival Guide. Skipping patterns are very versatile and offer a unique feel that isn't quite as busy as some of the other syncopated patterns we've looked at.

8 min
Performance Studies - SECTION 3: Overview

51: Performance Studies - SECTION 3: Overview

In this third and final section, Muriel Anderson and Peppino D'Agostino present 5 performance studies to prime your repertoire and put your fingerstyle skills to good use. Both Muriel and Peppino will first demonstrate the piece and then break it down for you note-by-note, technique-by technique.

1 min
Maybellish - Overview

52: Maybellish - Overview

Maybellish - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. One of the most approachable of Chet's tunes is "Maybelle", written for Mother Maybelle Carter.

1 min
Maybellish - Performance

53: Maybellish - Performance

Maybellish - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. One of the most approachable of Chet's tunes is "Maybelle", written for Mother Maybelle Carter.

1 min
Maybellish - Breakdown

54: Maybellish - Breakdown

Maybellish - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. One of the most approachable of Chet's tunes is "Maybelle", written for Mother Maybelle Carter.

17 min
Waiting on the Weather - Overview

55: Waiting on the Weather - Overview

Waiting on the Weather - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. "Waiting on the Weather" is another tune in Am, based on both "Windy and Warm" and "Waiting for the Times to Get Better."

1 min
Waiting on the Weather - Performance

56: Waiting on the Weather - Performance

Waiting on the Weather - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. "Waiting on the Weather" is another tune in Am, based on both "Windy and Warm" and "Waiting for the Times to Get Better."

1 min
Waiting on the Weather - Breakdown

57: Waiting on the Weather - Breakdown

Waiting on the Weather - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. "Waiting on the Weather" is another tune in Am, based on both "Windy and Warm" and "Waiting for the Times to Get Better."

9 min
Jo Bangles - Overview

58: Jo Bangles - Overview

Jo Bangles - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. "Jo Bangles" is a very short tune in 3/4 time, named after Chet's nickname for his popular arrangement "Mr. Bojangles".

1 min
Jo Bangles - Performance

59: Jo Bangles - Performance

Jo Bangles - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. "Jo Bangles" is a very short tune in 3/4 time, named after Chet's nickname for his popular arrangement "Mr. Bojangles".

1 min
Jo Bangles - Breakdown

60: Jo Bangles - Breakdown

Jo Bangles - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Muriel Anderson and is sourced from Essentials: Chet Atkins Style. "Jo Bangles" is a very short tune in 3/4 time, named after Chet's nickname for his popular arrangement "Mr. Bojangles".

4 min
Harmonically Speaking - Overview

61: Harmonically Speaking - Overview

Harmonically Speaking - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Peppino D'Agostino and is sourced from Acoustic Poetica: Fingerstyle Études. This étude focuses on harmonics, which present a series of difficulties.

1 min
Harmonically Speaking - Performance

62: Harmonically Speaking - Performance

Harmonically Speaking - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Peppino D'Agostino and is sourced from Acoustic Poetica: Fingerstyle Études. This étude focuses on harmonics, which present a series of difficulties.

1 min
Harmonically Speaking - Breakdown

63: Harmonically Speaking - Breakdown

Harmonically Speaking - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Peppino D'Agostino and is sourced from Acoustic Poetica: Fingerstyle Études. This étude focuses on harmonics, which present a series of difficulties.

12 min
Rhythmic Slap - Overview

64: Rhythmic Slap - Overview

Rhythmic Slap - Overview is a video guitar lesson presented by Peppino D'Agostino and is sourced from Acoustic Poetica: Fingerstyle Études. I've created this exercise to incorporate percussion into a simple chord progression.

1 min
Rhythmic Slap - Performance

65: Rhythmic Slap - Performance

Rhythmic Slap - Performance is a video guitar lesson presented by Peppino D'Agostino and is sourced from Acoustic Poetica: Fingerstyle Études. I've created this exercise to incorporate percussion into a simple chord progression.

1 min
Rhythmic Slap - Breakdown

66: Rhythmic Slap - Breakdown

Rhythmic Slap - Breakdown is a video guitar lesson presented by Peppino D'Agostino and is sourced from Acoustic Poetica: Fingerstyle Études. I've created this exercise to incorporate percussion into a simple chord progression.

7 min
Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles - Conclusion

67: Play Acoustic Guitar 5: Fingerstyle Principles - Conclusion

Congratulations on completing this core course in your learning path! If you want to dig deeper or wider into the topics covered in this course, check out the recommended supplementary courses where you'll find more examples, techniques and insight from top TrueFire educators.

0 min