Creating beautiful melody on guitar can seem impossible for many beginners. However, even a few tweaks can make all the difference. These fingerpicking tricks range from fixing subtle sloppy errors all the way up to making you sound professional.
This first pattern is simple and elegant, and fits well in a variety of styles. It emphasizes the bass notes on beats one and three.
Focus on the melody
When it comes to playing a song on guitar, the most important thing is to focus on the melody. The chords and rhythm are secondary. This means that you should spend time learning and practicing your songs note for note, until you can play them without mistakes and sing along with them. If you’re having trouble picking up the melody, try starting out with a simple strum pattern to get your rhythm down first. Once you have the rhythm down, then work on incorporating the melody notes into your playing.
It’s also helpful to use a metronome to help keep your timing consistent when fingerpicking. It’s easy to lose track of your rhythm when you’re juggling multiple strings and trying to add in melody notes and accents. Using a metronome will help you stay in time and prevent you from losing your place when playing with other musicians.
Another way to improve your melodies is to experiment with different timbres. For example, if you’re playing with a bass player or singer, try using a thumb flesh mute to dampen the vibration of the string and create a more subdued sound. This will help the melody stand out and be heard more clearly.
You can also change the pitch of your melody notes to add variety and expressiveness to your music. By varying the pitch, you can create tension and build momentum in your songs.
To learn how to change the pitch, try fingerpicking a song that uses a simple chord such as an Em or Asus2. Play it repeatedly until you can pick it up easily and then play it with a voice or a drum beat to train your ears to hear the changes in pitch.
Finally, you can also add dynamic variations to your melodies by increasing or decreasing the intensity of your playing. This will make the melody seem more intense and powerful or soft and delicate. By combining these techniques, you can create a beautiful and expressive melody that will catch your listeners’ attention.
Experiment with a variety of chords
It’s easy to get caught up in playing fancy melody notes and interesting chord tones when fingerpicking on guitar. This often causes a guitarist to forget about the all-important groove. The groove is a fundamental part of any song and is something that should be practiced just as much as your melodies and chord progressions. It’s important that you keep a steady rhythm and tempo when changing from one chord to another, especially as a beginner.
To work on this, try practicing a few different ways of changing between chords. You can even do this with the same chord progression that you’ve already been working on. It’s all about trying out different patterns and seeing what works best for you. Then once you have a few different patterns under your belt, you can start experimenting with varying the number of fingers used and how fast or slow you play.
Alternatively, you can also try varying the number of strings that you’re picking at once. This will change the tone of the note you’re playing and can give you a slightly different sound to your chords. It’s also a good idea to experiment with the angle at which you’re picking up the strings. Most people tend to have their pick angled downward when they play, but some people prefer to angle it upwards or even backwards. This can make the difference between a crisp clear tone and a muffled sound.
Another thing that you can do is to add in a few extra chords to your progressions. This could be a few sus chords for rock, some 7ths and 9ths for jazz, or any other variety of chords that you hear in your favourite genres. This can give your music some more variation and also help to keep the rhythm and tempo consistent with the rest of your song.
Lastly, you can also try adding in some sweep picking or hammer-ons and pull-offs to your picking pattern. This will give your songs a more dynamic sound and will help to bring out the notes in your melody. It can also help to relieve pressure on your picking hand and make it easier to maintain a consistent rhythm with the other two fingers. This is particularly helpful if you’re using your thumb for the melody.
Add moving lines
A big part of a melody is how it moves around the chords. This can be done by adding a few simple “moving lines”. Essentially, these are single-note phrases that are repeated across the chords in different patterns. This adds a lot of interest and complexity to the melodies you play. It can also be used to fill in gaps in the melody or to add tension and excitement to it.
Learning how to play an instrument can be easy or hard depending on the person. One of the most common moving line fingerpicking patterns is called Travis picking and is used by a variety of musicians, including Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Tommy Emmanuel. It involves the thumb picking between two strings and the other fingers playing the chords. This can be a bit tricky, but it is worth practicing it because it can add a really cool element to your guitar playing.
The great thing about this pattern is that it can be applied to any chord and can work well with most styles of music. Just be sure to adjust the order of your fingers based on the chords you are playing. Also, be sure to practice this pattern with a chord progression so that you can get comfortable using it.
Another way to add movement to a melody is by using arpeggiated patterns. This simply means that you are picking the notes of a chord in sequence and then repeating them to create a melody. This is a common technique that can be found in many popular songs, so it is definitely something that you should try out.
Another good thing about practicing this type of fingerpicking pattern is that it can help to develop your finger dexterity. This is because you will be working out all of the little muscles in your fingertips that can help to make them stronger and more accurate. This will help you to play with more precision and control, which will ultimately lead to better guitar playing. So, if you are looking to take your guitar playing to the next level, then be sure to incorporate some of these fingerpicking techniques into your playing. You will be surprised at how much they can improve your sound and style!
Don’t forget the groove
Ultimately, whether you’re strumming chords or playing single notes, your goal is to keep a groove going. A good place to start is by listening to your favorite guitarists. They’ll have a natural sense of rhythm that comes from years of experience performing live. Try to pick out the down beats and up beats in the songs you’re listening to and see if you can reproduce them on your guitar.
Once you’ve got a handle on the rhythm, try adding some more complex melodies to your repertoire. These patterns will help you develop a more sophisticated sound and can be found in a wide variety of songs. For example, if you listen to Jimmy Page, he’ll often play a simple melody on the “Stairway to Heaven” and then speed up the song for the climactic conclusion.
You can also experiment with using your thumb to pick two strings at once. This technique is known as Travis picking and it’s a great way to add some extra color to your songs. Just remember that this is a completely different style of playing so it’ll take some time to get used to it.
To practice Travis picking, start with the first eight notes of this exercise and then move on to the next set. Don’t worry if your fingers feel awkward at first; it’ll all come together with practice.
Just make sure to remember that your thumb should be in front of the other fingers and not behind them. This will give you the best timbre and control. Additionally, remember to move your thumb away from the string before plucking it with the side of your finger.
These fingerpicking tricks will open up a world of possibilities for you as a guitar player. It’s always good to push yourself to the limits but don’t forget to keep the groove in mind. If you can master these tips, you’ll be able to create beautiful melodies on your guitar without the need for a pick. Remember to practice these tips on a regular basis and don’t be afraid to experiment with your own sounds. You never know what you’ll discover!