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I have just started picking up my guitar again after not having touched one since April 2013. This time, I am doing things different. Instead of constantly buying and selling guitars in an attempt to find the "perfect" guitar, and spending more time switching back and force than actually playing during a practice session, I am down to just one guitar - a Blueridge BR-140A. I has the most comfortable nexk of all the guitars I have played.

And instead of trying to learn everything at once, from multiple instructional sources, I have to stick to a single source and work my way through Dan Miller's Essential Series.

And, I have given up the idea of building guitars and am selling all the tools, wood and other things that have been filling my basement,

It took me a while but I realized I had turned learning to flatpick into a second job, instead of letting it be a pleasurable and relaxing thing to do in my spare time. I am trying to return to what made playing guitar fun when I was younger.

Anyone else still out there?

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Hi Jim, I'm curious what the two instructional books you are using now. I leo have fingerpicking resources...jeje!!! Focus, focus, focus!!!!

It should say "I also have fingerpicking..."

Beginning Fingerstyle Guitar, by Lou Manzi

Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar, by Arne Berle and Mark Galbo

I also have dozens of fingerstyle and flatpicking instructional books and DVDs. I've explored all of them and when the going got tough, I'd skip ahead or on to a different book. This time I decided to focus on getting all the lessons mastered from whichever source I chose. These two have very similar approaches in that they introduce a concept, then have exericses and practice etudes that cover the concept. The blues book has the exercises and etudes in different keys, and I find that transposing is easy after going through the first two volumes of Flatpicking Essentials.

I've been surprised at how nice it is to play these exercises and etudes while relaxing on the deck or by a fire and chatting with friends. It's pleasant background music that does not have a familiar melody, so it doesn't distract from the conversation. It's much more sociable than singing, or blasting out a loud flatpicked solo. But I do throw in a softly played fiddle tune now and then, picked without a plectrum.

I like finger style too, all sorts from Pierre Bensusan, Bert Jansch, Townz Van Zandt. Can you give me a song/ artist that inspires your fingerpicking, just so I know what artists and style you are talking about?

Bruce Cockburn's Speechless album would be a good starting place, particularly the song "Train in the Rain."

But saying Cockburn inspires my fingerstyle playing is like saying David Grier inspires my flatpicking. Both comparisons are too ludicrous to have any meaning.

Trust and believe,,,you must,,,,must....find a group to jam with......somewhere around you is a jam group...bluegrass, Oldtime, folk,,,and all, yes,,,all of the jams I go to whether they are called bluegrass or Oldtime, play just about everything sooner or later.  Playing with others will keep the spark alive,,,,I guess I maybe lucky,,,there is a jam somewhere every night or afternoon(weekends) of the week. And of course one jam will lead into knowing about another. Check the local coffee houses,,,bars,,,listening rooms and most likely there is a jam going on in the area...or you may have to drive a bit....DO IT!  NO, I am not talking about open mikes,,,,that is a whole different animal.  Old time jams are the best, get your rhythm chops down, then work on those base runs,,or G runs.....and go out and have some fun........   

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