Thumb & Fingerstyle

by Michael O'Dea


I've been playing guitar for ~8 years now and I've become entranced by the skill and sound of Chet and Tommy. I decided I must learn how to do this and train my thumb to be independent. I mostly played blues for the past 8 yearsso fingerpicking itself is new-ish to aside from classical gas I suppose.

What I want to ask is basically I've been chugging my thumb along like instructed in the beginning but I just can't get it to keep going. Is there a way to do this effectively? Also I have been trying this with the song Freight Train (Chet's arrangement) Is there a place to get a good tab for this or for a step by step DVD on how to play this or even just get started on fingerstyle properly?

THANKS, quite lengthy I know, sorry about that!


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Apr 13, 2011
Developing Alternating Bass
by: Jim Pharis

Hi Mike,

You're encountering a problem that's stymied many of us. How to keep that thumb ticking away.

In my opinion, the only sure fire way to learn to do it is with a lot of practice. The boom-chick has to be a purely automatic action, so repetition is key to building the necessary muscle memory.

As far as learning fingerstyle guitar goes, I hope that you find the lessons at helpful.

I'm currently formalizing the method that I use for "in-person" students so that I can offer a complete method via DVD.

Stay tuned to for the details.

Best of luck with your studies.

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