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How to Learn Any Fingerstyle Guitar Song

Fingerstyle guitar is great, but sometimes it can take a long time to learn new songs. In this video, I want to give you some tips to learn and play any fingerstyle song you want as quickly as possible. What better way to do this than to take a hit pop song and arrange it for solo fingerstyle guitar? That's just what I did with the song "Cheap Thrills" by Sia. It turned out to be a pretty challenging tune. Whether you are learning fingerstyle standards or coming up with your arrangments for songs, these tips will help you get those songs down much faster. I've written the tips below so you can follow along as you watch the video. 1 - Listen Listen Listen - Listen to a recording of the song A LOT before you even try to play it. If you get to where you can hum along to the song as it plays, you will have a much easier time learning it on the guitar. 2 - Develop Some Basic Fingerstyle Technique - Putting in the time to get good at the types of fundamental exercises presented in the video will help you out a lot when you come up against challenging parts in songs. 3 - Practice Slowly to Where You Are Making Zero Mistakes - This is by far the toughest tip to implement. When you are learning new songs, you need to practice so slowly that there is no chance of making a mistake. When you practice mistakes you are programming them into your playing. Slow things right down and you will speed up the learning process even though it may feel slower while you are doing it. Two Book Recommendations for Practicing The Talent Code The Practice of Practice 4 - Practice Often - Try to practice multiple times per day if possible. This will force your body and your brain to recall the information more often and help you to learn and retain what you are working on faster. 5 - Step Away for a Little While - If you are getting frustrated just set the guitar down, go for a walk, and come back to it later. 6 - Pick the Right Chord Shapes (Key) - If you are arranging your own fingerstyle songs this can be pretty important. Try locating the highest and lowest notes of the melody. This will give you a good idea of which key and chord shapes are best suited for this particular song. Try using a capo too. It can be a big help if you need want to play the song in the original key but need to use specific chord shapes to make it happen. 7 - Find or Create Good TAB or Notation - Let's face it, the Internet isn't the best place to find accurate TABs for songs but they do exist. Try to find the most accurate TAB or notation for the song you are learning. Sometimes it's faster to just make your own notation, especially for fingerstyle tunes. I go through some tips on doing this in the video using Guitar Pro. The biggest thing to remember is that once you have the basics of fingerstyle mastered, it all comes down to learing new songs. The more songs you learn the more coordination and experience you will gain. That alone will make it much easier and faster to learn new songs.

If you have any questions or need help with anything related to fingerstyle guitar, you can schedule a private lesson with me here. The first lesson is complimentary, so there is no risk or obligation.


If you need to get the basics of playing the guitar down, you should go through the Guitar Foundations course here. You can also invest in the accompanying Ebook here. Let us know how things are going for you and if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

Need advice on what strings, picks, accessories, or gear to use? Check out our list of recommended products here.

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2 comentarios

Miembro desconocido
17 oct 2020

Awesome Tom. I'm glad that you liked the post. Yeah, ear training and timing are two of the most important skills musicians can work on, in my opinion. It's so nice to not have to rely on TAB when you work on getting your ear in shape. ;)

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14 oct 2020

Nice! Truly words of wisdom. This application inspired a lot for me and calls to mind the importance of breaking free from being tablature dependent. I’d like to learn more about shaping melodies around chord structure and ear training. Thanks Nate for the 7 point structure you notated. It’s well taken..

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