1. Getting Started
2. Right Hand
Finger Freedom
3. Harp Style
Examples and Chords
4. Celtic Ornamentation
Triplet Variations
Thumb Triplets
5. Related Tunings
6. Scales in DADGAD
Detailed Charts
7. Chords in DADGAD
Detailed Charts
8. Tablature
Performance Notes
Notation Guide
9. Articles
Miscellaneous Topics

Play DADGAD - Simon Fox

2(a) Right Hand Position

Fingerstyle guitar in traditional, informal music is somewhat lacking in terms of providing any method for learning. We tend to be self taught by watching others and trying to emulate them. While this is a great thing, it can be frustrating when progress halts and there seems to be no way forward. Classical guitar teachers tend to have a fairly structured approach to teaching which can be very helpful. Having said this, it is possible to make dramatic improvements to the right hand by keeping a few things in mind and stopping bad habits before they set in.

This book and the tablature are all based on free stroke picking. In this case, a finger plucks the string and does not rest on the string beneath as in rest stroke. For steel string fingerstyle guitarists it is probably less common to use rest-stroke, as the technique is more important in playing classical and flamenco guitars using nylon strings. Classical guitar fingering symbols are used throughout this book as follows:

Finger Symbol
Thumb p
Index Finger i
Middle Finger m
Ring Finger a

Right Hand Positioning

Among fingerstyle guitarists a number of right-hand positions are used. Often the right hand tends to approach the strings at an angle. This is in contrast to a classical guitarist who is more likely to approach the strings at a right angle as follows.

Fig. 2.1. Classical guitar position
Fig. 2.2. Common fingerstyle guitar position



The position shown in Figure 2.2 above works well as long as the strings are just brushed. Particularly with the thumb, the angled approach may encourage a weaker brush with the side of the thumb. If you keep the knuckle joint of the thumb extended and pluck at a near right angle to the strings, a far brighter sound results. When seated with the guitar, it’s a good idea to point the knuckles of the right hand towards your knee, keeping the knuckles as motionless as possible. The finger-picking motion should also move at near right angles to the strings.

Fingers resting on the guitar face or strings

When the right-hand pinky finger is stretched out to rest on the face of the guitar it is likely to cause a lot of tension. This can only hinder the right hand from playing freely. While it does provide extra stability to have a finger anchored somewhere, in the long-run it will be easier to have the right hand free.

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