Fingerpicking Training

Core Location: Techniques

To start our fingerpicking training, I'd like to share essential training arps (arpeggios - "broken chords" - picking the tones of a chord one at a time) and other exercises to strengthen and command the motor hand.

We can use any chord [preferably a six-string chord] or even just open strings for these exercises. Or, we can use the E Major chord scale (or something similar).

In college [for classical guitar], the E Major chord scale was one of my main fretting palettes for fingerpicking training. I probably plant/muted and arpeggiated the chord scale more than playing any other piece of music, or even melodic scales. And, strangely enough, I received more compliments while practicing it than even playing my own fingerstyle music or classical pieces, at the time.

Let's begin with the same pattern across different string sets.

fingerpicking p i m a in tab

Play this on each chord of the E Major chord scale. I will often only ascend the chord scale for arpeggios exercises like this. I also won't use the higher version of E [0-14-14-13-0-0], but move to the basic E in first position following the D♯o.

Also, leaving out the thumb, we have i, m, and a. 3 things have 6 combinations. So, try the same string pattern, but play all 6. The patterns are i-m-a as shown, i-a-m, m-i-a, m-a-i, a-i-m, and a-m-i.

A good practice idea is to change the pattern on every chord. Repeat any of the patterns for the last couple of chords. Maybe ones that were more challenging.

Keep the driver knuckles over the string set we are picking. The space between your thumb & index will open up, & our elbow will move our hand over the next string set.