Fingerstyle Foundations: Basic Thumb Technique
The fingers pull up from the higher-pitched strings toward the lower-pitched strings. They pull back into the hand as they play.
The thumb, in contrast, plays from the lower-pitched strings toward the higher-pitched strings. It swings in the opposite direction as the fingers.
It’s extremely important to keep your thumb out of the fingers’ way (and vice versa).
In this video, I show you some important aspects of how to hold and use the thumb for fingerstyle guitar:
One of the biggest things to keep in mind as you play fingerstyle guitar and use your thumb is to bring your thumb back to where it needs to be in order to play the next note.
I call this making the thumb “spring-loaded.” Don’t get in the habit of allowing your thumb to hover and float up and away from the strings after it plays. Many beginning fingerstyle guitar players make this mistake–their thumbs float off wherever and just barely make it back to the string before they play their next note.
As you play more difficult music, you won’t be able to get away with this wasted thumb movement. So it’s a good idea to work good thumb habits from the start so you don’t have to go back and undo all those bad habits later.
I hope that helps!
As always, ask any questions you might have in the comments. We’re laying the foundation for everything that comes next.