One of the key elements of fingerstyle guitar is the ability to use each of your fingers independently. This is especially important for the right thumb, as this finger plays the bass notes. The bass often leads the rhythm and groove of the music, which is why its coordination needs to be very steady.

Exercise 1
Each of the notes in this fragment is played with the thumb (as indicated by the stems of the notes facing downward in the sheet music).
The most important aspect of this exercise is to keep the beat constant. Repeat the fragment a couple of times while trying to keep the rhythm as steady as possible.


Exercise 2
Now also the left hand is involved. Each bar contains one or two fretted notes, while the right hand plays the same pattern everywhere. As seen before, the numbers in the sheet music indicate the recommended fingers to use for the fretted notes. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 correspond to the index, middle and ring finger. The double dots at the end of the transcription denote that the fragment is repeated.


Exercise 3
In general, fingerstyle music sounds best when the strings are able to sustain for a long time. This is achieved by pressing the strings onto the frets as long as possible, and by making sure that strings are not touched accidentally. If the left hand fingers are positioned perpendicular to the fretboard, it is unlikely that these will accidentally mute an adjacent string.


Exercise 4
In this exercise each note played with the thumb is followed by a note played with either the index finger or middle finger.
Notice that the left index finger is used to fret the second note of the first bar. The reason for using the index finger instead of the middle finger is that it enables one to let the fragment its last note ring when the fragment is played repeatedly.