Learning how to play fingerstyle on guitar can be one of the most useful ways to expand your skills as a guitarist. Fingerstyle is any style of guitar playing that incorporates the use of fingers, whether with or without a pick. Fingerstyle playing can be found in musical genres as diverse as country, rock, folk, jazz and classical. Learning how to play fingerstyle guitar will take patience and practice, but mastering fingerstyle can help open doors to a new world of musical opportunities for you.
Start with easy first position chords. Find a chord book, which can be purchased or find online at no charge. Practice using your thumb, middle and index finger first. Pick the lowest note in the chord you're working on, then pick the two highest notes (highest first) with your middle finger and index finger.
Switch to another chord. Play the lowest note of that chord as you did in the first chord, then follow with the two highest notes (highest first) using your middle and index fingers. C major and G major are two good chords to start with.
- Change back to the C chord and strum all of the strings in the chords with your thumb. Make a downward sweep with your thumb, then pick each of the strings from highest to lowest using your ring, middle and index fingers, in that order.
- Practice playing this basic fingerstyle pattern several times using a variety of simple chords. As you become more accustomed to this simple style, vary the fingers you use and the order in which you play the notes. You have six strings on the guitar. Focus your thumb on the two lowest, your little finger on the highest string and your index and ring finger on the remaining strings. This will allow you to access the strings smoothly as you play the notes with your fingers.