I'm trying to learn fingerstyle technique on an acoustic guitar. I'm using the 5 fingers (thumb for E & A, ..., pinky for E) but after 3 days trying with this song I still sound horrible. I recorded the first 8 bars. The sound isn't continuous & the notes are very short. Is this normal for a beginner and will get better with practice and playing faster or is there something wrong with my technique?

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  • It’s like the answers say. The problem is not the picking of the right hand, but the left hand, first the 2 hammer-ons and then the fingers have to push the strings stronger and quite behind the bend. You need much more practice. The success will not come after 3 days. Give you a chance of 3 or 6 months! Did you ever look before on a site like this: guitarhabits.com/how-to-read-guitar-tabs-tablature Mar 1, 2019 at 18:43
  • @AlbrechtHügli Nice site. "hammer-on" is what I tried to do at first without knowing its name but the sound of the 2nd note is low.
    – acoustica
    Mar 1, 2019 at 19:36
  • This is a tricky section for a beginner. I'd suggest working on simpler sections to begin with.
    – PeterJ
    Mar 2, 2019 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


First problem is between notes 1 and 2 , then 3 and 4. There's a little curved line between them, meaning play them legato. That means don't pluck the 2nd or 4th notes, but instead, hammer-on with fingers on your fretting hand. Result will be no gap between them.

The next semi-quaver run is also detached, and needs to be played as we speak words - with no audible gaps between. For that, you need to have fingers ready over the appropriate frets, and don't touch anything with r.h. fingers until exactly on time for each note. Only way to achieve this is to play very slowly and smoothly, losing gaps between notes.

I find bars 2, 6 and 8 with the arrows on tab a little odd. I guess it means stagger the notes - arpeggiate - but there's no sign to do so in the real music.

  • Thank you. I was playing 0-7-6-5 as a chord. In bar 2, I have the four semi-quaver 3-2-0-3; when I play the open string, should I mute it quickly before playing the fourth note 3?
    – acoustica
    Mar 1, 2019 at 19:43

Yes it is mostly a matter of developing the technique. You need to be able to move quicker between notes and chords so there's no gaps when you go the the next note of chords.

Might be good idea to practice basic scales and arpeggios and faster chord changes to develop more general dexterity of fretboard hand.

It's probably not a good idea to use pinky for plucking. Try to be more flexible with how fingers cover different strings and rely on stronger fingers, to get more consistent sound and have more control.

Also try to pay attention to the details from the start and actually practice to play the rhythm that is written there, try not to miss anything (like open D that should ring out in first bar).

  • Pinky's there, so might as well come out to play with the others. Not as strong initially, but worth cultivating, surely?
    – Tim
    Mar 1, 2019 at 20:09
  • I was referring more to OP's approach where each finger has a fixed assignment to a string. There's simply no need to use pinky in the piece above and this 'fixed' approach makes everything harder
    – Jarek.D
    Mar 1, 2019 at 21:42
  • Good idea. There's nothing wrong with incorporating pinky - in some pieces - and i agree that one particular finger for a particular string isn't a good idea.
    – Tim
    Mar 2, 2019 at 7:32
  • @Tim one particular finger for a particular string. Isn't that what is meant by fingerstyle?
    – acoustica
    Mar 2, 2019 at 15:13
  • No it simply means playing with your fingers. Look at the videos showing good players doing it to get the idea: youtube.com/watch?v=Y1pS_6hErDA
    – Jarek.D
    Mar 2, 2019 at 16:12

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