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Justinguitar - Free Guitar Lessons

Folk Fingerstyle Module Introduction

The Folk Guitar Lessons

Best place start is at the beginning..

Intro to the series and some important info on the basic techniques you need! Not wise to skip out on this...

Video Lesson


What should I have done before doing this course?
• Know and be able to play open chords, barre chords
• Know the notes in the open position
• Understand the concept of keys, diatonic chords and the major scale.
• Have done some basic fingerstyle exercises

Do I need long fingernails to do this course?
No. You can use the flesh of your fingers, or fingernails. Having some nails and some not is not a good idea however, cos some notes come out crisp and others round, and that just sounds funny!

I use fingernails, in fact I use acrylic nails because my natural nails are too weak to use on metal strings. The majority of professional players that play steel string guitar have some kind of fake nails, steel strings just shred natural nails if you play hard or play a lot.

Legendary amazing guitarist James Taylor uses fake nails too and teaches how he fixes them in an emergency in this video! But if you need to get fake nails, just go to a nail bar, they'll do a much better job than you can do yourself, they look more natural and it's not expensive. If you are confident with your own masculinity you shouldn't have a problem with it. You'll get some funny looks when you walk in but once you tell them you play guitar and you just want 4 fingers doing, they are usually more than happy :)

Which fingers play which strings?
The basic idea for most of this course is that your Thumb will play a consistent bass pattern on the thickest three strings, and your fingers will play the thinnest 3 strings! It is very logical and when you start it is a big help to have a system in place, but be aware that you will break the rules, you will have to in this course and in 'real life' but the better you have a default system in place, the faster you will pick things up!

Why do you insist on having the TAB and notation in front of you when you learn the patterns?
The reason it's so important is so that you can clearly see the rhythm and when notes are played together. You will understand more as you go along, but the basic idea is this:

In the notation (the dots) you will see that some notes have a downward stem (line coming off the note dot) - these are the bass notes and are usually played with the thumb. For all of this course the bass notes will be played on the beat, that is the 1, 2, 3 or 4. When you are looking at the TAB or music it is easy to see which of the notes played by the finger are played with a thumb note (on the beat) or between them (on an "and" of "off" beat).

Looks like there are too many beats in your bars of notation, why is that?
Because there are two different voices shown on the stave at the same time, you have to think of the notes with down stems and the notes with up stems as different parts written on the one stave. Look at it that way and they should add up (unless I make a mistake!!)

Some music uses p i m a on fingerstyle patterns, what is that?
That is the classical method of naming the fingers. I think it's just easier to call them Thumb and fingers 1, 2 and 3, but in case you want to know the classical terminology it's explained in this chart.

1st Finger
2nd Finger
Annular (Ring finger)
3rd Finger


Is using your little finger as an anchor a bad habit?
No. I would probably do it but my little finger is too short. Many of the greatest fingerstyle players use the little finger anchor technique, but many do not - so it's your call. See what feels comfortable for you!





Justinguitar Beginners Songbook

The Justinguitar Folk Fingerstyle Module DVD

This DVD contains all 10 lessons from the Folk Fingerstyle Module found online PLUS 37 minutes of exclusive bonus material, more complex versions of Happy Birthday and Waltzing Matilda PLUS a 28 minute lesson on my song Page 99. You'll also find all the tab examples in an easy to print pdf ebook - and buying products helps keep this site (and further style modules) free for those that can't afford to contribute financially! Thank you for your support :)

Click here or the image to the left for more information and to order!



Lesson ID: FO-100