Even though most traditional jazz guitar playing tends to be associated with the use of a pick/plectrum, throughout the history of jazz guitar many guitarists have also incorporated finger-style in their playing, from Wes Montgomery’s famous use of his right-hand thumb, to such masters of harmony and counterpoint as George VanEps, Lenny Breau, and Ted Greene.  In recent years, more and more jazz guitarists are beginning to discover the benefits of either putting down the pick entirely or adding some finger-style technique to their already existing pick-style playing.

The jazz finger-style techniques covered in this class encompass everything that a right-handed guitarist would do with the right-hand fingers to assist in the production of music on the guitar.  This includes playing with the right-hand fingers only (using nails or bare fingertips), playing with a pick or plectrum in combination with one or more of the right hand fingers for hybrid-picking, and playing with a thumb-pick.  If you’ve ever been curious about delving more deeply into the exciting possibilities and new dimensions that the right-hand fingers can add to your musical universe, then this class is for you whether you’re a guitarist who wants to take the bold step of converting to finger-style entirely, one who simply wants to add a few finger-style techniques to your already-existing pick-style playing, or anything in between.

Jazz Guitar Finger-Style Technique covers:

  • Detailed discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of finger-style playing versus pick-style playing to assist each player in deciding what approach works best for him or her
  • Overview of hybrid-picking with basics of the technique and discussion of the advantages and disadvantages
  • Discussion of the classical guitar concept of right-hand planting/preparation to aid in accuracy and precision of right hand fingers
  • Numerous examples of the use of hybrid-picking for chords, single-note lines (including scalar movement, large intervallic leaps/string skipping, and various one-note-per-string arpeggios) and classical guitar-style arpeggios
  • Discussion of the use of thumb-picks and demonstration of an alternate thumb-pick device
  • Comparison of hybrid-picking versus full-on finger-style
  • Demonstration of using finger-style technique for playing examples similar to those in the hybrid-picking discussion
  • Extensive discussion of incorporation of the right-hand pinky in both hybrid-picking and finger-style playing with exercises for gaining strength and independence
  • Detailed discussion of many different finger-style techniques for playing single-note lines with demonstrations and comparison and contrast of the advantages and disadvantages of each one
  • Examples of various real-world musical phrases using hammer-ons and pull-offs combined with right-hand fingers with tips for changing right-hand fingering to solve various technical problems
  • John Lewis’ bebop tune “Milestones (old),” arranged for single-note finger-style guitar incorporating various right-hand fingerings, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and added chord punctuations for technical study and building the mechanics of combined right- and left-hand fingerings for use in improvised jazz lines
  • Discussion of use of fingernails, nail care, and maintenance
  • All examples are shown in right-hand close-up with certain examples shown in multiple views
  • Running time: 114 minutes
  • Includes 13 pages of written examples and exercises
  • All musical examples from the video are provided in music notation, tablature, and chord grid form.
  • Each example performance in the video is titled and numbered for easy navigation.
  • Backing tracks for written examples and solos are included.

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Class Content

Jazz Guitar Finger-Style Technique 01:54:00

Course Reviews


3 ratings
  • 5 stars1
  • 4 stars2
  • 3 stars0
  • 2 stars0
  • 1 stars0
  1. 4

    Great course but already got these exercises from classical music for most of them
    Anyway, thank you Tom

    by Valentin Weber
  2. Great course, looking forward to a follow up course


    This was a great course and having Tom answer my questions so quickly was the icing on the cake. With that said, I would love to see a video of Tom doing some “real world” playing and then breaking down what he is doing. Perhaps a video just playing 4-5 bebop heads with solos? If the music/fingerings were included it would be a “must buy” course. This course really got me off the ground using my fingers.

    by Abraham Alamalhodaei
  3. comprehensive assessment


    As ususal Tom carefully reviewed all the techniques available for those who to certain degree opt for fingerstyle or hybrid picking. Tom wrist is quite flat on the guitar body if compared to classical technique; this renders hybrid picking quite impossible to be used effectively. Gustavo Assis, from Brazil, and Tim Miller, may be resources worthy to be explored, before giving up with hybrid picking. In any case, Tom flowing fingerstyle execution of Milestones, clearly shows that he made the right choices for his playing. A few words may have been said on string gauges and related tension. Very usefull class.

    by marco giussani
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