It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Fingerpick On An Acoustic Guitar

by Maurice Richard
Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons

Most people love the sound of acoustic guitars. They can be incredibly soothing to the ear.

And when it’s time to play at the campfire or house party it’s the go-to instrument every time.

But then you heard someone fingerpick on guitar and you fell in love. It sounded so smooth and relaxing and you immediately knew you had to learn how to play that way.

Determined to learn you decided to try and figure it out yourself. But you quickly found out it’s not as easy as it looks!

After a while you start to lose heart and think you may never get there. It’s just too hard to learn and you are not getting any younger so it’s probably too late for you.

Or is it?

never too late to learn fingerpicking on guitar

Fingerpicking Is A Completely New Way To Play Guitar

Learning to fingerpick guitar is not as simple as it looks however it is well worth learning.

It’s almost like learning to play guitar all over again because you have to completely change one of the two main components of what you already can do.

In order to learn fingerpicking your strumming hand has to be retrained to perform a totally different function. Not only that but you now have to train individual fingers too!!

But that’s not all. While you learn to change your strumming hand and turn it into a picking hand, you also have to stop paying attention to your fretting hand and learn to change chords without looking.

And there it is! Double whammy! You have to actually retrain both hands and it’s pretty much like starting over again.

Most People Try To Learn The Wrong Way

There are many different ways to approach and try to learn to fingerpicking but not all of them will lead you to success.

What I have found, from experience teaching many students this skill, is that most people try to learn the wrong way.

What typically happens is you hear a song that you like that is being fingerpicked. You go to the internet and get the TAB for the song and then start to learn it.

For most people this does not go well and you get frustrated with it. Progress is very slow if it even goes forward.

That’s because you are not ready to apply the skill yet. You have to learn it first. This is no different than when you first picked up a guitar and started to learn new chords and strum patterns.

I do not know a single person who picked up a guitar for the first time in their lives and successfully learned how to play their favorite song without learning the chord shapes and how to change between them and coordinate it with strumming. That took some time.

So you have to learn the skills first, slowly, before you can apply it to your favorite songs.

Find An Experienced Guitar Teacher To Help You

Finding the right teacher to help you learn to fingerpick acoustic guitar is the key for you.

They will know exactly where your skill level is at and then proceed to teach you accordingly.

They will help you build you skills from the ground up and in ways you can handle and find success.

You have to make sure this teacher is experienced and has helped others learn how to fingerpick before so make sure to ask for proof.

experienced guitar teacher will train you to fingerpick

Give Yourself A Break

There are two types of people that try to learn how to fingerpick. Those who are not yet ready to learn and those that are! Seems obvious but many people do not think about it.

You are not ready to learn if you are not able to change between chords smoothly. You don’t have to be blazing fast at it but you do have to have a basic skillset before you start fingerpicking to be successful.

If that is you then learning to fingerpick is going to be very frustrating and you may think you will never learn and quit even trying. That’s the danger of starting too soon.

If you are ready to learn there are different problems. You will feel like you are a beginner all over again. That can be very discouraging. However, this is normal because really you are a beginner, but only at fingerpicking.

So, give yourself a break. Whichever category you fall in is just an indicator of where you are on the path. With the right teacher and approach, you can learn to move up the path and reach your goals to fingerpick guitar!