I'm struggling at a certain part of Eddie van der Meer's arrangement of "Unravel" (timestamped at 1:20) for fingerstyle guitar. You can also find it at 1:32 in this tutorial.

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It requires to play 16th notes on the high E string at 130 BPM. When I started playing it, I just used the sheet music and played very slowly, so I pretty much plucked everything instead of strumming (which seems to be done in many parts). So for the first chord of this bar, I strike the A string with the thumb while plucking the B & high E strings with middle and ring finger, then pluck the E string twice with the ring finger for the 16th notes and then pluck the G & B strings with index and middle finger. As I got faster, it became almost impossible for me to play the 16th notes on the high E string with just the ring finger. I realized from the tutorial that what should be actually done is to play the two 16th notes alternatingly with middle finger first and ring finger second, and then strum the G & B strings with the index (or middle/ring finger?). This seems easier, but I'm not sure if this is what's actually happening. It's hard to see for me and I never played a piece of music where I would alternate between plucking and strumming with a few fingers like that, so I have no idea how this would be normally played. Apparently this sort of strumming is also done in many other parts of the arrangement. Can anyone help me with this? So, is what I've gathered correct or is it done differently? I would be very grateful for feedback, as I want to learn it properly now before I reach another dead end with the wrong approach.

I play an acoustic nylon-stringed guitar using fingertips, if that is of any importance. Also, I don't know a lot about English guitar terminology. With "pluck" I mean playing a single string using one finger by pulling it up (would "picking" or "pulling" be also correct?), and with "strum" I mean hitting multiple strings in succession with one (or more fingers) in a certain direction (so "striking" or "hitting" the strings).

  • For those thinking 'What, a string tuned to H?' It's also known as the B string, the 2nd.
    – Tim
    Sep 11, 2021 at 14:35
  • @Tim Oops, sorry! Changed it to "B" string. In my native language it is called the "H" string, and "B" refers to what is "B flat" in English.
    – panda-byte
    Sep 11, 2021 at 14:39
  • Not a problem - it's something international players ought to be aware of. Bach made good use of it !
    – Tim
    Sep 11, 2021 at 14:51
  • Why not just play the G and B with the index and middle fingers? The middle should be able to prepare while the ring is playing the second A. For the first chord you might play the middle B with the index finger to help m prepare for the A Sep 11, 2021 at 19:17
  • @ToddWilcox This could work, but I'm worried those percussion hits (which I haven't practised nor figured out yet) could require me to play the strings with the index like in the tutorial. So I thought it would be safest just to stick as close as possible to the performance the sheet music is based on. I was hoping someone on here was familiar with this way of playing and they could tell me if my assumptions are right or if I got it completely wrong
    – panda-byte
    Sep 13, 2021 at 20:22


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