Right Hand Techniques (Guitar Lesson)


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Nick Amodeo

Right Hand Techniques

Welcome to a right hand "boot camp" with Nick Amodeo! In this lesson, Nick demonstrates several picking and strumming exercises that will whip your right hand into shape.

Taught by Nick Amodeo in Bluegrass with Nick Amodeo seriesLength: 24:48Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Southern CashSouthern Cash replied on February 9th, 2015

Nice job

cleverbeaverhatcleverbeaverhat replied on January 22nd, 2014

About holding the pick with the side of your finger. I`ve been playing a while now and I`ve always held the pick sorta with the end of my index finger and the side edge of my major finger. Anyway, when I`m trying out holding the pick on the side of my index finger it just feels awkward. The picking is alright, but my strumming sounds a lot less rich and I feel like I have less control. So I'm wondering, is holding the pick with the side of the finger really advantageous for flatpicking? Does it really help with speed? Is it worth it to go through what could be a fairly long de-learning/relearning phase to change the way I hold my pick? Any thoughts?

Nick.AmodeoNick.Amodeo replied on January 23rd, 2014

hi cleverbeaverhat. thanks for the question. while it can definitely feel awkward at first, ultimately, what holding your pick with the side of your finger produces is a symmetrical shape to the hand, which is crucial for minimizing tension, and is the most efficient way to accumulate speed and accuracy. check out david grier videos on youtube for an example of what i consider to be perfect flatpicking technique. thanks and good luck!

cleverbeaverhatcleverbeaverhat replied on January 24th, 2014

Thanks for the quick reply! I'll keep at it.

carlosmacmartincarlosmacmartin replied on May 28th, 2011

"Common sense is not universal" and I remember what it was like back when I was a "beginner"...many moons ago! Practice makes permanent & you can never over-look the basics or a good solid foundation! Good material here!!!

thesnowdogthesnowdog replied on June 12th, 2011

Reminds me of a tshirt I saw the other day. "Common sense is so ****ing rare these days it may as well be a super power!"

davidk132davidk132 replied on March 8th, 2011

Actually I think it's fine. It's a reasonable overview or reminder of the super-basics, without which we're just gonna be sloppy. However, JP could get the lead out and start posting future lessons in this set more frequently than once a week.

Cecilia2Cecilia2 replied on June 5th, 2011

This techniques are very usefull for peaple like me who have to develop their right hand abilities, thank you. I have a lot to do:-)

downunderdownunder replied on April 30th, 2011

I've just had my 1st ah ha moment! I've been finger picking with Steve Eulberg and travelling just fine, but when I tried to use a pick I was plucking the chords and getting snagged everywhere. It felt so alien, but this lesson solved all my problems. One, I was holding the pick all wrong and using my whole arm to strum. As soon as I started using my wrist correctly everything just came together beautifully. Testament to hopping from teacher to teacher to correct problems with my technique. Thank heaps Nick!

jnc51jnc51 replied on April 26th, 2011

I think these lessons are very concise. I like the stories; it makes it interesting. I'm happy with Nicks approach. It's just like the beginner series; if you're not getting it from one instructor, try another. That's the beauty of this site, your options are incredible.

lewraylewray replied on March 29th, 2011

Not sure why you don't want a teacher to give examples. Lots of teachers try to anticipate questions and illustrate things in more than one way so people can have a better chance of understanding it, maybe you forgot that some viewers of these lessons will be people who don't already know all this. I'm also not real sure why you have a problem with emphasizing the need to have a strong basic foundation to build this particular skill set on. I don't want to learn guitar like I'm learning a video game pattern. I'm also paying for this site, maybe the next lesson will be exactly what you want and I can work on this (and other things on the site) while I wait and see what the following lesson will be.

nash24nash24 replied on March 8th, 2011

Yeah, I think another site would be the way to go. I learned nothing from this guy. A story teller, not teacher.

jboothjbooth replied on March 9th, 2011

Check out Orville's Bluegrass lessons. He is already teaching songs, you can browse those until more Nick lessons come. He's getting into his material soon, remember this is only the start of the series meant for people who don't yet have the knowledge you do. We are actually recording him on Friday so lot's of new stuff this way comes :D But in the meantime I really recommend checking out Orville because he is awesome and he also teaches Bluegrass and is probably more up to your level of playing. Trust me when I say this though, Nick is an amazing player and you won't regret waiting :)

nash24nash24 replied on March 7th, 2011

This is silly Jamplay. Way too much time on simple technique and stories included. We are paying for this.

jboothjbooth replied on March 8th, 2011

Hey, I understand where you are coming from, I am super anxious for Nick to get into the blazing Bluegrass playing as well, but he's giving a proper foundation on the genre for those who are not as experienced. This series will be building for a very long time and will encompass a lot of material, so don't worry, everything you want is coming up. You may want to check out Orville's bluegrass series if you want to get directly into some songs though, as he is progressing faster.

nash24nash24 replied on March 8th, 2011

Sorry, but this isn't about "being nice". I'm sure he is a great player, but that isn't the point. He could condense what he is trying to say and give a lesson. Again, we are paying for this. Tiger Woods and ice skating, could be left out of it. Some guitar would be nice.!!!

joe1950joe1950 replied on March 8th, 2011

Hey....Always remember to be nice....and careful of what you say. Before this is all over, we may find out that Nick is really Tony Rice in disguise. I think Nick is covering all the bases. Thanks, Nick. I also am looking forward to all your lessons

stratmusicstratmusic replied on March 8th, 2011

I don't think it can ever hurt to review technique and draw attention to how important it is...especially for a genre such as Bluegrass flatpicking where it will be crucial for the speed and tone. I know it is hard to wait for the lessons furthur in the series because there are lots of us that have been waiting for a series on Bluegrass flatpicking and are excited Nick is here to teach us. After this lesson I will definitely re-evaluate my current technique and try to work on anything I may need to adjust so I will be ready when the rest of the series is rolled out! Thanks Nick...I really like your teaching style and look forward to all your lessons.

Bluegrass with Nick Amodeo

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

A sub-genre of country music which blends improvising with folk-like melodies. Pioneered by Bill Monroe in the 1930s in the "bluegrass" state. Nick will present flatpick techniques.



Lesson 1

Series Introduction

Nick Amodeo introduces the Bluegrass Series and explains what to expect in the following lessons.

Length: 2:27 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

History and Influence of Bluegrass

Nick discusses the history of bluegrass and the influence it has had on other styles of music.

Length: 27:44 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Bluegrass Instruments and Influence

Nick explains the musical role that each instrument plays in a bluegrass band.

Length: 17:01 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Bluegrass Chords

Nick explains how to play some of the most commonly used chords in the bluegrass genre.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 5

Right Hand Techniques

Welcome to a right hand "boot camp" with Nick Amodeo! In this lesson, Nick demonstrates several picking and strumming exercises that will whip your right hand into shape.

Length: 24:48 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Right Hand Boot Camp

Nick Amodeo continues his discussion of picking technique in this installment of right hand "boot camp."

Length: 24:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Crosspicking Techniques

Nick presents several exercises that develop string skipping and crosspicking technique.

Length: 23:35 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Common Bluegrass Scale Exercise

Nick covers some exercises and scales that develop left hand technique.

Length: 33:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Bluegrass Ornaments

Nick explains how to play various slurs such as slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. Also included are some common bluegrass licks that utilize these techniques.

Length: 30:54 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Bluegrass Right Hand Rhythm

Nick covers some basic bluegrass strumming patterns.

Length: 12:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Left Hand Boot Camp

Nick covers some of the most commonly used scale patterns in bluegrass.

Length: 31:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Nine Pound Hammer

Nick applies fundamental guitar techniques from previous lessons to the song "Nine Pound Hammer."

Length: 31:39 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Texas Gales

Nick demonstrates his interpretation of "Texas Gales." You might say this one will blow you away!

Length: 38:30 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Cross Picking: Home Sweet Home

Nick teaches the song "Home Sweet Home" and uses it to demonstrate cross picking techniques. Nick also covers the chords, and a chord with melody version to correspond with a picked version he has created.

Length: 57:24 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only

About Nick Amodeo View Full Biography Nick Amodeo is a multi-instrumentalist based out of Denver, Colorado. A self taught musician, he took up guitar at age 12 before moving on to mandolin and electric bass. He is the 2005 Colorado state mandolin champion, and was featured on the 2007 Downbeat magazine Blues Album of the Year, Otis Taylor’s “Definition of a Circle.”

Nick has shared the stage with such artists as Buddy Guy, Chuck Campbell, Mollie O’Brien, Nick Forster and Pete Wernick of Hot Rize, and many others. Nick currently is the mandolin department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and has over 10 years teaching experience.

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