65

Per a suggestion, I am converting my comment into an answer. WARNING: math ahead (uh-oh, it looks like Music.SE doesn't support MathJAX -- I am going to go ahead and post the TeX code anyway and try to explain it in plain english along the way. I also added a meta request to see if we can't fix the MathJAX problem.) Discounting the inharmonicity due to ...


21

The reason for the difference in sound is that the release of the string from the pick is faster than with fingers, which means that fewer of the upper harmonics are damped as the string is released. This gives the pick a brighter sound than the fingers.


17

The difference is caused by the different shape of the plucking implement. One easy way to verify this at home is to take your pick (same material and thickness), and pluck the strings with the back of the pick or the side of the pick. The tone will be different because of the different profile of the pick (pointed versus rounded). Also, the thickness of ...


13

As an addition to the other answers, here's the frequency spectrum of an open low E string of an electric guitar (a Squier strat with a bridge humbucker), strummed with the fleshy part of the finger, plucked with a fingernail, and picked with a plectrum (a Dunlop Delrin-500 .71mm). I played each note a couple of times and then selected one that sounded ...


10

Exactly what constitutes a good guitarist? If it's someone who can play like some other guitarists, then maybe yes. If it's someone who can play just about everything, and put his own slant on new stuff, then no. Being able to play some songs isn't a bad thing, although playing them from tab is similar to painting by numbers, but all it does is give you ...


9

I do not believe that learning both picking and finger-style concurrently will negatively impact your progress. One of the hardest things to do when learning an instrument is to stay motivated. My advise is: grab onto whatever you can to stay excited and interested. There are so many things you can work on when you have time to practice that, especially in ...


9

Lots of very good guitarists do it, and lots don't. It really comes down to personal taste or rather, try both and see which works better for you. The argument for it is obviously in the name - it anchors your hand better meaning greater stability and precision. If you don't need to anchor to be rock-steady, don't - I guess if you have perfect anchoring ...


9

Okay so if I understand you correctly you are not having any trouble with chord changes when using a pick (presumably to strum) but if you are playing fingerstyle one string at a time with a pattern or using a pick to pick out individual notes of a chord (in a pattern) - then your transitions between chords simply fall apart. If that is what is happening ...


9

There are a lot of good answers here but I didn't see what I was primarily looking for in them, so I will add it. In addition to patience and practice, there is a technique for making the chord change more smoothly. When stumming, we usually have to nail the chord change completely in the very small amount of time between the last strum of the old chord ...


9

This is an interesting question. Before finishing the entire description I would have opted for your technique is not up to par and you are getting fatigued. However, you point out that this does not bother you at home and that it starts right away on stage (after the first pinch). If this is solely a performance anxiety issue it's probably psychological. ...


8

I think you have outlined two of the uses of inversions in your questions already. To add a bass line to the chords that are not just all roots. To put the melody note "up on top" so it is the highest note sounded even when it is not the highest note in the chord. (e.g. An E note in the melody over a C major triad) There is one more reason I would like to ...


8

Your priorities should be (1) finding a decent teacher and taking lessons every other week or so, and (2) locating a music store or repair shop in your neighborhood so you can get you guitar fixed if it breaks again. You don't want to wait 6 years again to start over. Also, learn to take care of your guitar. If you are lucky you might find that your ...


7

Two reasons for saying yes. Occasionally, you may pluck the wrong string with your right hand. If there's an appropriate note on that wrong string, it'll still sound in tune. Secondly, strings not played, but which could produce a right note, will vibrate sympathetically in tune with those played. Not a great deal, maybe, but this can add to the richness of ...


7

This is entirely up to you. It can be simplest to remember to play the whole chord and just pick your way through it, especially if you are holding the chord for a bar or more. In many Travis picked songs this is the way to go. If, however, you are rapidly moving through chords, it can be much faster to just fret the notes you require and then move your ...


7

If you wait to truly master something before moving on, it will take literally forever to make much progress. Once you've learned something fairly well, it's good to take the next step. It's also good to come back to things again and again. I've found that with most learning, it's a process of 2 steps forward one step back. This let's you keep learning ...


7

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 ...


7

It is clear that some keys will have many open string notes in them. You will find that much classical guitar music is written in such keys. This is due to the desire to have open string resonances contribute to the volume of the instrument. However on the electric this is not as much of an issue. In fact on an electric open strings can generate unwanted ...


6

I'm also using my pinky a lot when finger picking. In this way there's not so much difference switching between pure finger picking and hybrid picking. So that's another benefit of this approach. With hybrid picking your index finger is not available, so there it's natural to use the pinky more. Plucking two adjacent strings feels more natural with the ...


6

This sounds to me like you do not have the picking technique down yet. This makes you focus on the right hand which leads to you struggling with the left-hand chord changes. My advice for you would be to maybe first forget about chords and just play open strings. Make sure you have got the finger picking down to the extent where you can look at your left ...


6

You need to reduce your cognitive load. The other answers have some good ideas, but here is another quick one: Simplify the picking pattern you are practicing with. So instead of practicing an arpeggiated pattern, just pluck the bass with your thumb, then three treble strings at once with three fingers held together. That's it. PLUCK-twang, PLUCK-twang, ...


6

It's so difficult because there is more than one way to play each note. I would look at it from another angle: it's so easy because there is more than one way to play each note! Whenever one way to play a note turns out to be unwieldy, you have several alterative options that may be easier. As a beginner, you'll want to stick to a few default positions. ...


5

Different styles fit different people, so correct or optimal has many answers. I would have used: 2* 4 4 3 3 2 1 * or 1 if strings are inadvertently muted (I'm assuming we're talking left hand fingers here, fingerstyle guitar usually means the that the right hand fingers are used to strum.)


5

Hard and fast rules will only guide you to what people have found worked for them. There is nothing wrong with changing to suit yourself. The thumb sounds good on the lowest two strings, as that's where the bass line often runs, so a fleshy sound is appropriate.A pattern I sometimes use involves only the top four strings, so I use thumb on 4 and 3, with top ...


5

This is way old but I want to comment because I'm a massive Dire Straits fan. I started out my guitar playing career working on Sultans of Swing from videos on the internet. I play finger style, no pick, so it was hard to get both the right picking action and the left hand movements. Because I started with a song I know so well, backwards and forwards, I can ...


5

There are a variety of techniques you can learn, and they are useful for different purposes. When choosing which one to use, let your ear guide you. This is not a comprehensive list of techniques, but it covers the basics: You can pluck repeatedly upwards with the same finger. This is the easiest technique to learn. It leaves your other fingers free to ...


5

If both guitars buzz with light strings but not with heavier strings, then there are a couple of options. I'm assuming the buzz is happening when the string touches a fret somewhere near the middle of its vibrating length; if the buzz is at the nut or bridge or somewhere else, then this line of thinking does not apply. You could switch to a heavier gauge, ...


5

The short answer is that lighter gauge strings will be easier to play and easier to get clear tone when you fret the notes. Most beginners and even many seasoned guitarist prefer lighter gauge strings. But going from medium gauge to extra light gauge will probably create the need for a new set up. So let's talk a little about "set up" for acoustic ...


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