Any & all thoughts appreciated - mando to guitar, but for the fingerstyle, now stumbling a lot

Hi, thanks for letting me ask this… Been playing mandolin for a while and more octave mando, pretty comfortable with it…

So I was always intrigued about adding a bassline somehow, I love fingerstyle, finally bought a guitar, and have messed with it and am trying to get a feel for the fingerboard map.

My question, or where I’d like advice is…

It “seems” like pretty much everywhere you look, people learn the guitar with a pick. Cool.

But I’m pretty happy with my flatpicking, and the scales I’ve tried on the guitar roll out pretty quick once my left hand figures out the distances. (man am I fretting too hard though)

Anyway, I don’t really want to waste time with a pick, so I’ve tried to do some fingerstyle drills and get a feel and learn the distances and touch and see how that works.

But holy cow, am I stumbling around with my right hand.

Even with scales, I’m never consistent, not sure which finger to use. (Like on a mandolin, DUDU or DUDDUD is unconscious for me anywhere I go. I don’t even think about it anymore)

Am I an idiot for wanting to gloss over the picking part of the beginner experience?

What would you do? Again, I’m really here for figuring out how to get Knopfler sound and space in my bag of tricks.

And PS, wow do I love to bend strings. I can see why that is a thing. It’s beautiful.

Anyway, THANKS again for any guidance.

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Hello :slight_smile:

Justin teaches the scales with a flatpick, but I would imagine (being a fan of fingerpicking myself) that if you play more than 1 note of the scale on the same string, then you use the same finger for the given string, just like in a picking pattern. E.g. the notes of the major scale pattern 1 played on string 1 would all be played with your 3rd finger.

Ok thanks, very interesting. Do you find it’s more efficient and/or clean to then “assign” each finger to a string? Because I have had some success alternating fingers if I climb strings, ie. Gbe or dgbe or ebg… and using index, middle to walk them. I am so lost.

I’m not sure if it’s more efficient the way I’d play scales fingerstyle, it just comes from my experience with Justin’s courses. However, if you’ve already managed to develop your technique for alternating fingers, I wouldn’t throw it out. After all, you have more options to use depending on the context.

As for fingerstyle playing, I recommend you check out these lessons/courses:

Finger Style First Steps
Technique: Fingerstyle
Folk Fingerstyle
Rolling Chords to Spice Up Your Fingerstyle

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In classical, scales are often alternating i - m (index middle) fingers on all strings.

Maybe that helps?

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When practicing scale alternate with thumb and index finger
on the E A D and on the G B e alterate with index and 2nd
Or index, 2nd and ring finger if playing 3 notes per string.
When playing solos you probably fine using thumb and index
on all strings easiest.

You may want to look up hybrid picking. It’s a combo of pick
and fingers.

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@stitch Thanks a lot, these are quite useful.

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In one of the vids he does say to assign fingers to strings for the time being. I think that is likely to be a good foundation for me, but below is a tip about alternating thumb index and index middle for scales. That feels quick and I get more consistent strikes than repeating the same finger.

This reminds me of bluegrass music, it’s like, did it work once? Then do it again! Thanks very much for the links

Another useful resource for learning finger picking is this, I found it very useful.

Thanks, that is great, he’s not locked into anything too rigid but there’s definitely a method.

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