Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar 

These pages are dedicated to the art of Fingerstyle Guitar.   If you're new to Fingerstyle Guitar, read the Wikipedia definitions below.  You are also invited to read the essays "American Fingerstyle Guitar" by John Schroeter and "The Guitar Place" by Will Schmid to understand why Fingerstyle Guitar is growing in popularity.

On this site you will find collections of Compositions and Arrangements for Fingerstyle Guitar.  There are numerous Articles, Reviews, and Interviews.  The Open Tuning Reference has information on Open D and Open G tuning.  There is a collection of Frequently Asked Guitar Questions and a collection of Guitar Player Jokes (all in good fun!).

Fingerstyle Defined: 
Fingerpicking, or playing fingerstyle, is a technique for playing the guitar, or some other stringed instrument using the fingertips and/or fingernails, rather than with a plectrum (or "pick"). It is used for classical guitar, and some other acoustic styles, but it has found its way into other genres as well.

Hybrid picking is a guitar-playing technique that involves picking with a pick (plectrum) and one or more fingers alternately or simultaneously. Hybrid picking allows guitar players who use a pick to perform music which would normally require fingerstyle playing.

American Fingerstyle Defined: 
American fingerstyle guitar is a style of fingerpicking. It includes elements of blues, ragtime, country, gospel, jazz, and many regional music traditions.

American fingerstyle guitar is commonly played on steel string acoustic guitars with 6 or 12 strings. While it is played on just about every type of guitar, these are most common and characteristic. Music arranged for American fingerstyle playing can include chords, arpeggios and other elements such as artificial harmonics, hammering on and pulling off with the fretting hand, using the body of the guitar percussively, and many other techniques.

Though not commonly used today, the term "Travis picking" was once widely understood to describe the common style of alternating-bass fingerpicking used by American fingerpickers from the 1950s into the 1970s, after the great country guitarist and songwriter Merle Travis.

American primitive guitar defined:
American primitive guitar
is a subset of American fingerstyle guitar. It originated with John Fahey, whose first record album Blind Joe Death (1959) inspired many guitarists such as Leo Kottke, who made his debut recording of 6 and 12 String Guitar on Fahey's Takoma label in 1969. American primitive guitar can be characterized by the use of folk music or folk-like material, driving alternating-bass fingerpicking with a good deal of repetitious ostinato patterns, and the use of alternative tunings (scordatura) such as open D and drop D

A brief History of the Steel String Guitar

Examples of the true beauty of fingerstyle guitar

Order this CD

Mike Dowling and Pat Donohue

Michel Dalle Ave
from the CD "Chez Moi" (2022)

Featured Fingerstyle Music
Selections drawn from tab files

Cheek To Cheek
Irving Berlin
as played by Guy Van Duser
Watch Daniele Bazzani play it
Stars And Stripes Forever
John Phillip Sousa
as played by Guy Van Duser
Snowy Morning Blues
James P. Johnson
as played by Guy Van Duser
No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus
Charles Weigle
as played by Jonathan Burchfield
Downtown Stomp
Pat Donohue

Featured TAB

Over The Rainbow
Harold Arlen

Trouble In Mind
Pat Donohue arrangement

Song for a Rainy Day
Tommy Emmanuel

Mississippi Blues
Willie Brown

The Wide Ocean
Tommy Emmanuel

Girl from Ipanema
A. C. Jobim

Smokey Mountain Lullaby
Chet Atkins

Georgia On My Mind
Hoagy Carmichael

When I'm Sixtyfour
Lennon & McCartney

California Dreamin'
Mamas & Papas

Cry Me A River
A. Hamilton


If Graham Met Leo
Daniele Bazzani                


Willie Nelson
arranged by B Mock

Willie Nelson
arranged by P Kucharski

Articles or Reviews


Mike Dowling - Book/CD & DVD Review
by Paul Kucharski


Mike Dowling Interview
by Paul Kucharski


Resonators Explained
by Paul Kucharski


Which Taylor Guitar is Right for You?
by Jules Fitzgerald


Nail Care
by Ciaran Elster


Art of Gospel Guitar Review
by Paul Kucharski


The CAGED Guitar System Made Easy Video Review
by Paul Kucharski 


Easy Steps to Guitar Fingerpicking Video Review
by Paul Kucharski 


Princess Royal - Arranging Celtic Music in Orkney Tuning
by Anton Emory 


Shortnin' Bread
by Vincent Sadovsky


The Art of Dropped D Guitar Review
by Paul Kucharski


Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar
Workshop Review
by Paul Kucharski


and more...
see complete article index


Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar, copyright 1998 Paul Kucharski.

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