Miami Acoustic Guitar Teacher | How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar

Hi!  Miami acoustic guitar teacher Dyce Kimura here discussing today the difference between fingerstyle acoustic and flatpicking.  This is a wiedly discussed topic and is often confused by beginners so I’m here today to clear that discussion up for you.  That is in the soul, it’s also used in Brazilian Jazz. It’s using that pop. It’s a percussive sound, where you hit the guitar. [Echion 00:14:32] recently was doing some songs like Don’t Let Say where he hits the guitar, then he has that pop.

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What I have there going on is something called the moving bass line. The bass line is not stagnant. In other words, this bass line is leading into the song and it’s actually emphasizing the changes in a melodic way. You’ve got a melodic movement on the low end with the bass line and you have melodic movement on the high end inside the chord. You also have melodic movement and harmonic intervals in the middle section. You’ve got the lows, the mids and the highs. They are all moving interdependently. It’s really beautiful and a topic I often discuss as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.

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Then of course I’ve got that snap with that pop. That’s also adding percussion. A lot of beginners want to learn this style from their Miami acoustic guitar teacher. A lot of beginners come to see me, they say, “I want to learn this type of finger style.” I tell them the truth and I say, “Hey man that stuff is hard. That stuff is not easy.” I just want to address something, a lot of people when they are looking at starting to play guitar, they think that something that sounds gentle is easy and then something that sounds intense is hard.

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Miami Acoustic Guitar TeacherThat’s not true, just because you can do it loud and strong, it doesn’t mean it’s hard. It could be a lot harder to do something very delicate, fragile, gentle and intricate than something that’s just big, bold and brash and loud. Does that make sense? Delivering a really in detail melodic structure on acoustic with finger styleis a difficult but necessary thing to teach as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.

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That is as opposed to a lot of people when they do a fake finger style. They take their finger and strung with their finger nail.

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If you are going to do that, you really should learn how to use a pick, where it will be more like this …

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Notice if you are good, you can have a moving bass line, mids and differentiating the highs with the percussive feel even using a pick, watch.

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All right. All these concepts are actually pretty difficult. They are actually pretty advanced, even for a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.  That’s why I said at the beginning of this talk we are having that I’m going to cover some basic topics and then I’m going to get into some advanced stuff. I always got to remind my students, “Hey, sometimes we are getting into really advanced stuff.” A lot of people, they want to do the advanced stuff, because it sounds cool. Then because it sounds cool, they find out, “Hey, that’s advanced and that’s hard.” You’ve got to have patience.

If you are just coming into the scene, learning how to play guitar from a Miami acoustic guitar teacher, I would ask you to be content with something that is simple. Have victory over that and then to slowly in to more complex concepts rather than trying to bite off more than you can chew or even worst yet, inflicting that desire on your guitar teacher and making him or her teach you something that’s more than you can chew. Of course I’ve encountered that a lot. I have to talk people down and try to hopefully get them satisfied with playing something that is a little more attainable.

If that’s you, whoever that fits, I would like you to apply that to your thinking. Maybe that will help you get you further down the road. Okay, I want to cover a few more topics here that I have encountered as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher. I also want to show you the difference of playing with a capo and playing not with a capo. This is with a capo.

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With a pick. Then finger style with a capo, B.

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Now, here’s finger style with open strings using bar chords.

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I just had keychains, I wonder what happened, hold on.

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It should have been here.

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All right, not bad. We should have been here. This is with a capo.

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Wow, notice the subtleties, even with the high notes, the way they pop and they jump up and then I cut them abruptly.

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That’s called left hand mute. This level is complicated, there’s a lot to it. I just want to be fair and talk about everything that I’m doing right now as I do in lessons as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher. Here is the bar chord.

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That’s a lot more work, but it’s not using a capo. Rarely what I say to people, “It’s better to use a capo.” That being said, I do teach my beginners at first to play with a capo, why do I do that? You teach the initial bar chords like five or six or seven open chords, majors and minors. I might teach you like an A, A minor, C, D, D minor, E, E minor.

There may be a few open chords that we do, G for instance. From there I can put on a capo and actually have you play a couple of hundred more songs without getting into bar chords. Bar chords are really hard. Usually hold off from the bar chords. As a seasoned Miami acoustic guitar teacher, usually wait with the student at least a month if not three or six.

It depends on how fast the student is learning. It depends on how strong your hands are. It depends on how well the student is doing with their Miami acoustic guitar teacher.  Men tend to have stronger hands than women. Adults tend to have bigger hands than children. Acoustic tends to be harder than electric. These are all variables that ends up depending how well the student is going to be able to play a bar chord.

I’m usually careful to give them homework that is going to fit their ability. I don’t want to give them something that is just way more than they can do in that week. That’s why I’m careful as to when to give out that bar chord. For the sake of this video, I wanted to show you both how to do the bar chord, the finger style and the capo and talk about the advantages and disadvantages.  But as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher I am often careful with these assignments.  

Obviously, the advantage of playing with the bar chord is that you don’t need a capo and you don’t need to re tune. What do I mean? You remember when I said that when you put on a capo, you need to tune. Just like I suspected, my guitar when I tune to the capo and then I take the capo off, my guitar is now slightly out of tune. A lot of people don’t know this. They get up to perform with a capo and they end up sounding sour. They could have taken a moment just to tune with a capo, then sound crisp. Now I’m going to sound like I’m supposed to sound.  These are invaluable tips you can get from a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.

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Here’s with a pick.

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I’m able to get all of those accents, but don’t forget guys that this is advanced. This is definitely advanced stuff to get all those advances and the cuts and coming in with the bass line, with the string selection, this stuff is hard. It does take time. Guitar playing is exactly as hard as it looks. Here’s with the finger style.

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Tom Petty wrote this song and Tom definitely played it with a capo. I believe he is actually playing it with a 12 string. 12 strings are cool. I have one at my house in Japan, but they are also a pain. They are nice, they sound big, but they are constricting you. You can’t do as much as you can do with a six string. We covered a lot of things today that a Miami acoustic guitar teacher would need to know. Let me just re tune real quick. Just real quick, this is with a capo.

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Notice I didn’t bother to re tune and I can hear it sounds a little bit off. I don’t know if you can hear it out there in the video, but …

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Like that.

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You hear that G.

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Which is exactly my point. That’s why you want to tune up. Anyway …

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I’m doing some finger style blues.

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Sounds really good. If I use the pick.

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This guitar sounds great by the way. This is a Taylor 814ce. If you are interested in this guitar, I’ll put a link at the bottom of this video and show you where you can buy one.

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It’s a very, very nice guitar. Just quickly, you can do some finger style techniques with playing guitar souls and blues.

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Some arpeggios.

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I will challenge you to just rewind this video and really look at the way my thumb is moving. You are going to notice how busy the thumb is relative to all the other fingers. I have a very unique finger style because I was trained as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher. My first signature playing was by classical. I don’t give the bass the same proportion as all of the other strings. I put a lot more bass in my playing.

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I’m also using a technical syncopation, where I’ll do the base and then immediately vacillate between a bass and a mid note and a bass and a high note and a bass and a mid note which I teach as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.

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Give me a second here. I’m using brand new strings. These are D’Addario 12s phosphor bronze I believe. They are really good. They are probably a bout five bucks a pack. I prefer these strings over anything that is wound or wrapped or coated. I get them by the case. Right here, these are D’Addario 12-52s. If you want I’ll put a link at the bottom of this video for those strings. That’s what I recommend as a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.

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As you can see in finger style, you can get very creative. It’s a lot of fun. Just on a personal note, my first six years of playing guitar were classical. Literally I was playing Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and stuff. I don’t really like that stuff, that’s just what they made me play when I was a child. I was six years old when I started. One of the things that I really appreciate and I took with me is a very deep and unique finger style playing.

I’m moving bass lines, I’ve got accents, I’ve got snapping and popping. A lot of that snapping and popping, I didn’t get it from rice krispies treats by the way, Crack Snapple and Pop. I got it from Brazilian Jazz. Brazilian Jazz is a little different, but listen to the snap in Brazilian Jazz finger style.

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It’s a lot more bubbly and danceable. Maybe even a cocktail hour vibe. I hope I covered enough topics here to open your eyes in regards to finger style playing, moving bass lines, inter related melodic structures with bass notes, mid notes, high notes, use of a capo, tuning issues you may have, use of your thumb, bar chords versus capo versus open chords. A whole lot of cool stuff, strumming patterns even and some mistakes that beginners make where they just try to do everything with their finger tips instead of committing to learn picking or finger style from a Miami acoustic guitar teacher.

I really want to hear from you. Comment below, like the video if it helped you out, share it on media if you want, subscribe. If you comment any questions you have, I always answer. You can also go to my website at and check on my blog where I’m talking about all kinds of guitar techniques and tips. Thanks so much guys. I’ll see you at the next video blog here which I discuss fingerstyle guitar vs pick.