how I play...

I am often asked how I play the guitar, so I created this page trying to explain the way I pick the notes. I developed my own style over the years, never had a musical education or lesson, simply because there was no money for that… so I play to what I feel, which mood am in etc. For me music has to come from the heart with lot’s of passion and not from a lead sheet...

However, down below you will find some links to videos on you tube, which might be of interest to you as well as where I demonstrate my style and playing. 

I mainly do finger picking, thumb picking or fingerstyle guitar music these days, trying to get a sound with high volume and as natural acoustic as possible and without any effects. But also use more and more the electric guitar again, didn’t do that for more than 20 years now...

the alternate thumb picking

When I was still young and pretty, I listened to greats from the US who were doing ’the alternate thumb picking’ and I was fascinated about this kind of picking. That’s what I wanted to do. At those times there were no internet or cell phones neither websites or CD's, some books were on the market, a very few and very difficult to get. But for me it’s hard to learn from a book, I cannot read music, tabs were not invented at that times… I for myself need to hear what I want to play and get it into my “blood”, so I mainly listened to the old tube radio, AFN, American Forces Network, it was always after midnight when this kind of music came along…

At the alternate thumb picking the thumb is running the bass lines while the fingers, one, two or three, simultaneously play the melody, sometimes you play the melody also with the thumb. You will have to practice for some time before you are familiar with this kind of picking and to find out all these kind of techniques available,  it’s all about practicing, so keep in mind, you should practice every day…


the flat picking 

The flatpicking guitar is actually more closely to bluegrass or newgrass music, maybe Americana too, old country music etc., you will hold a pick or flatpick between thumb and index and maybe some also use the middle finger and you pick notes on the strings, often very fast. To pick the single notes will happen often in combination with playing cords, it takes a while to master this. There are also other music styles like gypsy jazz or celtic music using this style. 

Whatever type of flatpick you will use for this kind of music, you have to know that the flatpick will affect the tones you play on your guitar. The “old” guys in the flatpick scene recommend to use a thicker one as the guitar responds-resonates more than using a thinner one. I use a 1.20mm flatpick of Clayton brand in the USA, I guess they are available on “Flatpicking Guitar Magazine”. 

fingerstyle guitar  

the fingerstyle guitar playing is for me a more elegant way to play music, Ed Gerhard, Laurence Juber, Steve Baughman, Franco Morone, Martin Simpson etc., they are all very fine Fingerstyle guitar players. 

Playing fingerstyle guitar means you use your fingertips for plucking the strings of the instrument, many musician use their nails, acrylic nails or fingertips in combination with nails, all is possible, you have to find out what is comfortable for you. Laurence Juber e.g. plays with his fingertips while Ed Gerhard is playing with acrylic nails and both do gorgeous music!

The fingerstyle guitar music is for me a kind of modern classic music on a steel string guitar with beautiful melodies, often wonderful music arrangements with multiple chord progressions, appregios and harmonics etc., others may think/feel different, find out what you think/feel about this kind of playing and keep in mind it’s more than just a style…   

Havana Bluez    an early first version...

final note

I can just briefly mention the 3 styles I am playing in as to going into more details would come up to several pages which is not appropriate to do here, some links for you are below, but go to the “link” page, there are some additional links for much more information, thank you for your time…

down below are some links about playing the acoustic guitar as well as how to restring the axe etc., these links might help you how to do things properly, if you are are not yet familiar with it, have fun and keep on picking…

links :

how to string a guitar 1

how to string a guitar 2 

how to restring your acoustic guitar

restring your acoustic guitar with Gary Brawer

restring an acoustic guitar with slotted headstock

string & tune a National guitar with slotted headstock



how to use a pick

guitar cleaning and maintenance 1

guitar cleaning and maintenance 2

cleaning and polishing your acoustic guitar

fretboard finishing oil

guitar restoration

fixing a small chip in a guitar finish

Martin & Co. guitar factory tour

Gibson guitar factory tour

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