There is a lot of info about starting with fingerstyle. But most people starting with fingerstyle actually have some experience with plucking or music in general. On the other hand, I'm completely new when it comes to music and have zero knowledge.

Is it reasonable for me to start with fingerstyle? My goal is definitely fingerstyle but I don't know if I should start with it straight away.

3 Answers 3


Yes, it's reasonable to start with fingerstyle.

If you are completely new to the guitar then you'll have several other things to work on as well like fretting-hand technique, posture, basic theory like note names and chord shapes, etc. So you may want to work on some of these things in isolation because it can be a lot to focus on at the same time. For example, maybe don't worry so much about your picking hand technique while you are just trying to learn to fret a chord shape cleanly. Maybe just strum it with your thumb at first. Then once you can fret that chord cleanly move on to focusing how you'd pick the individual notes.

But there's nothing about fingerstyle that is inherently harder than playing with a pick. It's not some advanced technique that beginners should avoid. If you were playing with a pick you'd be completely new to that as well and have to work through similar growing pains. You have to start from the beginning either way.


Adding to user37496's answer as I have some immediate (in)experience here.

I'm a beginner and in a similar spot: I've been playing for about three months, and I've included finger picking from close to the start. I don't feel that's been a mistake, and even at my level I can finger pick interesting enough music to keep me charged.

The basic concept of finger picking is straightforward. The mechanics aren't significantly more difficult than any other guitar part I've hit yet (no weird stretches!), and there's much less raw memorization needed than chords, scales, or notes.

There are some subtleties of hand position that I wasn't able to pick up from books and videos. I strongly recommend live instruction

As user37496 suggested, isolating the pieces is helpful: my chord switching isn't good enough to focus both on chords and on a new picking pattern, but I can hold a single chord while drilling a picking pattern, then swap focus and pick a simple pattern while practicing switching chords.

As far as learning resources, I started with a few videos, a stack of library books, and Mark Hanson's The Art of Contemporary Travis Picking. I was able to pick up decent open chord forms while I was arranging a teacher, but my picking hand position was off and I've spent weeks unlearning bad habits and concentrating on the right position. Going back I can tell that I wasn't holding my hand the way the book or videos suggested, but the difference was subtle enough that I didn't see it until it was pointed out. Now I can hear when I fall back on bad habits.


There are benefits to learning both without/with a pick.

I started (47 years ago - I'm old) with my first 'real' guitar lessons (I did muck around on my own before starting lessons) being classical guitar. So I went through the Segovia method, Sor studies, etc. This was (is) a great foundation for whatever style you want to play. You will learn proper fretting-hand technique and correct picking technique for whatever style you want to play. I now mostly use a flat-pick as I play bluegrass and P&W (on electric). There are still some things we play (usually slower) that I use fingerstyle on my Martin.

Enjoy. You've got lots of options.

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