Apr 2023 - 4 fingerstyle songs

Following through on my 2023 Guitar New Years Resolutions, I don’t enjoy singing anymore so I decided I’d like to learn some fingerstyle songs this year so that vocals are not required. I recorded these 4 in the last few days. As I wrote in the YouTube description, ‘Red light recording fever’ ensures I’ve always got a few mistakes. For #1 though, even with the very obvious timing error towards the end (after I’d played it too many times to want to try one more time), it’s a much better attempt than my OM performance this afternoon. Oh well. I see my nerves getting worse over time, not better. I did just buy a book a few days ago, “Unwinding Anxiety”, perhaps that will be helpful, in general. Apart from the issues caused by nerves, dynamics is what I need to be working on for these pieces. Anyway …

#1 Must Have Been Love took me ~ 21 hours to learn (yikes!). #2 to #4 combined took me ~ 7 hours to learn. The 1st song isn’t 9x more difficult than the other 3, but that one also got all the learning for percussive slapping and general technique, and also for learning from a new teacher. Still a work in progress, but hey in the early hours my knuckles were bleeding all over my guitar – until I decided I’d better watch a few lessons and learn how to actually play fingerstyle with slapping!! Anyway I am really enjoying this fingerstyle journey, lots to learn but I am happy being here right now.

Ps if anyone notices the bit of a black eye I have in #1, I recorded that one on April 11th, and the other 3 yesterday. A week before the 11th I dropped my iPhone on my face. Warning: it’s not a good idea to text while you’re lying down on your back! Oopsie.

Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #1 - It Must Have Been Love It Must Have Been Love - Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #1 - YouTube

Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #2 - Stand By Me Stand By Me - Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #2 - YouTube

Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #3 - Summertime Summertime - Fingerstyle Guitar Cover -#3 - YouTube

Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #4 - Sacrifice Sacrifice - Fingerstyle Guitar Cover #4 - YouTube


Thoroughly enjoyed all four, Mari. You are making progress towards the goal and look like you’ve been playing like this for years, not hours, weeks, months.

That Martin sure does sound so rich and full, with lovely bright high end. Sure that is helped by recording with the mic.

I appreciate you don’t want to sing. Now what is needed to persuade Krista to join you and add the vocals. The two of you together, her singing and your finger-style playing, would sound marvellous.

As for ‘21 hours (yikes)’ … I reckon in 21 weeks of hours I’d still be struggling. I know it is all relative and we never ever never compare. Still, from where I sit I think these performances showcase developing technique, your feel and absorption in the songs, and are just inspirational to watch. And whenever I feel I haven’t done as well in any moment, reached my best possible level, I remind myself to look back and appreciate progress made and the fact that every now when I achieve my best level or set a new best level that is an extra happy moment.

I look forward to more of these recordings as you progress along this path.


Despite what you say Mari, last night’s performance was terrific. As we are always saying, other people don’t notice minor mistakes.
I enjoyed the other three songs you added here too, well done. Lots of time well spent.
I admire your decision to concentrate on fingerstyle. It really does sound so good once you get it down. It’s also something that you can ‘bring out’ and play for other people when they ask what you’re learning. Singing a song is often not what one wants to do for others.

The new Martin sounds beautiful, you must be very pleased with your choice.

As for the ‘big’ birthday you mentioned last night, my next one starts with a 7 so I suspect I’ve got quite a few years on you! Lots of time to nail all those songs. :smiley:


@Mari63 that is so beautiful and the tone wonderful. How you kept the discipline to keep that bass line going in Stand By Me is beyond me. It was like two guitarists playing. I think your are already on top of your game.

Truly inspirational again and it’s motivated me to put some of my own fingerstyle stuff up on here and persevere with Justin’s courses.


Hello Mari,
Where do I start ,I’m afraid I have to tap a lot…first some good then some criticism good criticism , combined with compliment and close with a lot of good I guess…

What a start to my very short music day today …definitely one of the best of all justin guitar days :star_struck:

It is a pitty that you put all these beautiful songs in one post because I think they all deserve a stage on their own with accompanying :heart:,so for your story you already have one and for your song you get these four :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:, and voor your eye :kissing_heart:…If anyone notice the black eye :smirk:even Stevie Wonder would notice :smile:

yes sure yikes,no need to brag hear you got it done so quickly :face_with_raised_eyebrow:,and i see i’m not the only one looking at that with appropriate envy :joy:
I’m definitely going to take a “little” longer on that :sweat_smile:, because another (for me bad) thing is that you’ve now made my way too long list of songs even longer with at least 2 new ones that I’m definitely going to add to my to do list(I would like all four, but summertime and stand by me really have to be added this summer)

I have enjoyed listening and not disturbed by any noteworthy mistakes :smiley:

I don’t understand this…with all I’ve seen and heard from you I would expect (and given whatever you show) that with all your experience an age (with the wisdom that comes with it) you should have the opposite feel … but yes, you feel what you feel of course, I can’t change that now except to shower you with compliments…
I’m going to stop tapping :grin:

Well your songs… :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :bouquet: :bouquet: :bouquet: :bouquet: :man_bowing: :man_bowing: :man_bowing: :man_bowing:


@DavidP @sairfingers @rorystrat @roger_holland thank you all for listening and the comments.

David, thank you for your encouragement. Re the ‘21 hours’, a lot of that is simply for having spent that many hours on that particular song! Summertime is the only song in these 4 that I would have thought up front I’d be willing to invest so much time in. It’s the arrangement on Must Have Been Love, definitely not the song. As for partnering up with Krista, definitely, we are working on 2 songs right now, one that she’s learning the vocals for and one that I’m (supposed to be) learning the guitar for. I’ll start putting some time towards that song … soon. In the meantime, whatever I’m playing, I love my new guitar, it’s a joy to play. :slight_smile:

Gordon, thank you. It is interesting the different ways we speak to ourselves vs others. If someone else had played that song exactly as I played it yesterday I would be saying very different things to them - and truthfully too - than what I am saying to myself. I’m sure there’s something to be learned there … haha. I love having a little repertoire of fingerstyle songs that I can play through now, and am looking forward to adding to it. I sat out on the back porch a couple of times in the last 2 weeks when it was (almost) warm enough out and played for a bit. That’s one thing I really miss about living in the country, playing outside. Sitting on my deck playing now while other people might possibly hear me is very good for working on managing nerves. And yes I am thrilled with my new Martin. I was thinking I would go to Toronto in the fall and look for my dream guitar if I couldn’t find it here (we have 1 guitar store in town), and so when I found it here Krista thought I was ‘settling’ because I wanted to have it now. She didn’t think that very long though :slight_smile: And as for milestone birthdays, hmm. The only other year I recall having had an age issue with was 30, and I’ll be double that in December. (So you’re only 1 more than me, if we go by the starting number! :slight_smile: ) I think if I were retired I’d feel less … not happy … about it. Hopefully just a couple of more years for that. And my new guitar really has had an impact on how I feel about that age milestone, because it makes me happy :slight_smile:

Peter, I’d love to hear some of your fingerstyle stuff, you’re quite the player from what I heard last night! And yes Stand by Me is really just 2 simple songs to learn, the tricky bit is playing the 2 songs together lol.

Rogier, I figured it I didn’t mention my fading black eye that someone else would comment on it lol. And as for ‘bragging’ about 21 hours, I can’t believe that I would practice that particular song for that many hours!! Embarrassed might be a better word lol. As for my own way too long list of songs, learn 1, add 3, that’s the way it goes :slight_smile: Nerves. Nerves are an interesting thing. I’ll keep working on it. And finally Rogier, thank you for the shower of compliments :two_hearts:


That was a very welcomed watch this morning; enjoyed each piece very much. I agree completely with @DavidP view that your performances came across like you’ve been playing fingerstyle for years.

I’ve kind of put the fingerstyle blues on the back-burner for the time being as I focus on consolidating beginner fingerstyle. The pieces that you performed I would consider advanced pieces and you played them so well.

It takes a lot of focus, concentration and repetition to not only learn the pieces but to master them. You should be extremely proud of what you’ve accomplished for those first 4 pieces. I look forward to watching the next pieces that you have on the pipeline.

I loved how you kept the bass line of stand by me going throughout the song. I’ve been learning this one (though a much more beginner friendly arrangement) and you’ve gave me a lot of inspiration from that piece.

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Thank you James, I’m glad you enjoyed these songs :slight_smile: I guess if you consider that I first started learning Must Have Been Love in November, I have actually been playing fingerstyle for years - 2022 & 2023! :laughing: One of the things I’m happiest about for these songs is having memorized them, which of course requires many repetitions. Krista commented that the sound of the ‘feel’ is very different when I was reading the tab vs just playing. Heading in the direction of mastery is good enough for me :slight_smile:

There’s always a few in the ‘pipeline’, and I do hope to get to my goal of 10 this year. I think I can count some of the Blues Studies if I need to, they’re fingerstyle too :slight_smile:

I look forward to hearing your version of Stand By Me. Remember - 2 simple pieces, the trick is to play them both at the same time!! :slight_smile:

You are playing so beautiful! It’s really a pleasure to listen to. Very well done indeed :+1: :sunglasses: :heart: :pray:

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Thank you so much @kimlodrodawa :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi @Mari63 Mari these are all delectable guitar pieces, delivered with technical mastery, great timing. I also very much enjoyed your playing on the OM. I like very much your mastery of the percussive slap, and you apply it very well in these pieces. Also you have a very well articulated style of playing, I find it is so difficult to hit all the notes clearly.

Are you working from set piece arrangements or do you make your own?

I was wondering about your recording set up, as you are not singing, you may benefit from having the mic closer to the guitar, it would reduce the likelihood of ambient noise interfering, and as long as you don’t have it pointed directly at the sound hole, but forward of it, it may improve.

Ah I read the Martin is a new addition, congratulations! You do it justice.

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@TRJ thank you Tjeerd! These 4 are all arrangements from LickNRiff. My ultimate goal for fingerstyle is to do my own arrangements, but I wanted to learn a few from others first. I have several on the go right now from LickNRiff, Justin Johnson, and Six String Fingerpicking, but before the end of the year I am planning to try a couple myself. I could probably do a very simple arrangement myself now, but I like it best when the upper frets are played too so I want to learn more from other arrangements before I try my own.

Thanks for the comments on mic placement, it’s definitely worth trying other placements.

Mari, excellent playing on all. Stand by me was the real standout for me. Loved it. Your time has been well spent and shines through in your playing.

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@oldhead49 thank you so much Dave, I appreciate the listen and comments. :slightly_smiling_face:

Mari that was truly outstanding! You spoiled us with a truly beautiful arrangement the other night almost as a meal that fills you up to the borderline and now with those extra 3 uploads - I feel like I can’t anymore but with those lovely looking meals how can I resist?! :laughing: I especially loved Sacrifice but I might be biased as I really enjoy old Elton songs quite a lot :laughing:

As for guitar what can I say - definitely advanced techniques going on and I am truly glad you focused on those, well done to you Mari! Thank God there is still 8 more months to go this year, its gonna be hell of a feast :grinning: all the best!

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Well done, Ms. Mari! It’s perfectly fine to let your guitar do the singing. No nits to speak of from me, just good jangly guitar. Very nice!

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@adi_mrok thank you Adrian :slightly_smiling_face: Sacrifice was my backup song for the OM as I thought the other 2 were a bit short, and I thought if anybody were to play a song I might play for some reason I thought it would be you playing Sacrifice. Well you went in a totally different direction didn’t you! Lol thanks Adrian.

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@CT thank you Clint. I very much like the feeling of letting my guitar do the singing. The more comfortable I get, the more I learn, the more expressive voice I will have :slightly_smiling_face:

Enjoyed every single one…thoroughly. I love finger picking style and one I’ll hopefully develop……once I’ve conquered chords.

Thank you Mari. Loved them all

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@CateB thank you so much. Starting to learn fingerstyle is showing me how much motivation is a factor in learning - there is 1 song I’d like to play that I’m still a ways off from even trying. There is joy in the journey - as there should be :slightly_smiling_face:

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