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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys...some of you may have seen my thread regarding my new Martin. Well I really like it. It fits my small three fingered hand very well. I chopped of my left index finger (fretting hand)15 years ago.
I love acoustic picking songs but many of them are very tricky and need all 4 fingers.
I would love to learn a few good sounding fingerpicking songs.
My ultimate dream is to be able to play Leo kotzkes last steam engine train. It's probably never gonna happen but maybe you guys can show me similar style songs that I can practice and play. Any tips to improve my right thumb would be great as I want to learn to use it and do separate bass lines.
Cheers
 

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The only thing I can suggest for alternating thumb is to keep doing it until you are blue in the face and hopefully by that time it will start to feel natural. It can be a tough one.
 

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If you want to jump into the fire, try Claptons Hey Hey. I'm learning it off of Justin Guitars Youtube. It's gonna take some work though.
 

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I learned Hey Hey back in the day off a Hal Leonard photo copy. I wonder if it is the same as JustinGuitar. Great tune. I was obsessed with learning Clapton's 'Unplugged' album at the time.
Any of those songs are great pickin'.
 

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I learned Hey Hey back in the day off a Hal Leonard photo copy. I wonder if it is the same as JustinGuitar. Great tune. I was obsessed with learning Clapton's 'Unplugged' album at the time.
Any of those songs are great pickin'.
Justin basically shows the live version and has some fantastic little hints to throw in. Basic beginer stuff like all good guitar teachers will tell you. Slow it down and practice it correctly. Once you start getting speed, dig into it hard....etc...After decades of hard rock I started getting into Blues style about 2 years ago for both electric and acoustic. I find that Justinguitar and our own @dolphinstreet (Robert Renman) have the skills and experience to even teach old rock dogs new tricks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! That Clapton song is a great tune to start with. The very first riff he uses all four fingers, but I should be able to find a way to cheat a bit.
Keep 'em coming!
 

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Just from personal experience, I've found both Dust in the Wind and Jolene to be great for a couple of different styles as well. Dust for 4 fingers, Jolene for Travis. I'm pretty sure Travis himself used only 2 fingers, but I'm not sure. Depends what style you're looking into. I'm going to assume by "4 fingers" you mean PIMA or Thumb, Index, Middle, Ring. Have you tried out anything like the old Aaron Shearer Classical technique series or something. That book gave me the basic mechanics to do fingerstyle in many genres with much greater ease. Except for Flamenco. That's a totally different beast all together.

I know there are a couple of really good fingerstyle members in this forum somewhere. I'm just a beginner compared to a few here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
By four fingers, I mean I only have three on my fretting hand. Plus, I have short stubby fingers and just can't reach very well.
Lots of songs need 4. There are many songs that are just not possible.
I was hoping to find some songs with less complicated fretting, and more interesting right hand picking.
I use my thumb and 2-3 fingers on my right hand, and I want to get much better with my thumb.


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Well, could alternate tunings help ?
 
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By four fingers, I mean I only have three on my fretting hand. Plus, I have short stubby fingers and just can't reach very well.
Lots of songs need 4. There are many songs that are just not possible.
I was hoping to find some songs with less complicated fretting, and more interesting right hand picking.
I use my thumb and 2-3 fingers on my right hand, and I want to get much better with my thumb.


View attachment 218802
Well that changes the scope of things entirely, doesn't it! lol. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I just tried the first bit of Hey Hey without using my index on the fret hand. Had to revoice the 4 note E7 with the pinky bend a bit and start with my 3rd on the B for the 1st note. Have you played around with 3's and 7's, dyads, and triads for alternate voicings on other tunes? As long as you can imply certain chords it'll work. It isn't cheating at all, particularly in your case. The person listening doesn't know you''re playing it differently...and they don't really give a crap. As long as it sounds good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Unfortunately, my theory is non-existent. I generally do what I can to make the most of the notes I can play.I have played around with alternate tunings, but I really want to stick to standard. There are enough songs already without having to re-tune my guitar. Plus, the old tuners on the Martin don't work great.
Once its in tune, it stays, but its a pain to re-tunes.
Thanks for the advice!
 

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OK, this may sound a little, "off", However after reading your post I tried a few songs without using my index finger and it appears to me were you to tune your 2nd string UP a half step you could play:
John Hurt, Aint' no tellin, and Colter Wall Saskatchewan 1881 for starters.
In both would have to use your pinkie on the second fret (little practice but do-able).

If you can make the stretch on the A/a7? you could play stagolee

That's just off the top of my head. Hope that helps.
 

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In case it helps this is where I started learning the alt. thumb base:

The songs I actually first mastered alt. thumb
in D

and also in D:
edit: my first slide was a hunk of plastic pipe I had in the garage that fit my pinkie, second a glass one I bought, third one, and the one I use most is a piece of 3/4" copper pipe. ;)

edit edit: no, I can't play like either of them, but i"m working on it, and watching them do it right helps. :)
 

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I watched a video last night from Tommy Emmanuel about his method for learning the alternate thumb. He gives a 4 step method.
I think you may have been watching the same video I did the other night. Here's the one I saw:

 
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