How to Arrange Fingerstyle Guitar – Creating a Skeleton Arrangement

Welcome to part 3 in our “How to Arrange Fingerstyle Guitar” series. In this video we are going to start putting the pencil down to the paper in our fingerstyle guitar arrangement of “Hello” by Adele.

If you like this type of in depth content on how to arrange for solo fingerstyle guitar, please give me a thumbs up so I know if I should do this type of video series with other songs.

In the last video we talked about different sources of reference when figuring out the chords and melody of a song. It’s important not to put to much stock in any one source of reference. Let your ear and what sounds good to you be the final judge of how you create your arrangement.

The first thing we do in this video on our blank tab sheet is write in the timing markings, “one and two and three and four and…” This gives us a framework to fill in and makes sure we stay on the proper beat when filling in the bass and melody notes. Then we start filling in the bass notes based on the root of the chords on the original recording and we fill them in on the tab on the same beat that we hear in the original Adele recording. Then we figure out what the melody notes are by using one of our resources or by listening and using our ear to determine the proper note. Then we fill these melody notes out on the tab on the beat that they occur in the original recording. This gives us a very basic skeleton arrangement that we can use as a basic framework to work with as we fill in and develop our arrangement further. In the next video we will focus on spicing up the arrangement a little bit. Subscribe and stay tuned!

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How to Arrange Fingerstyle Guitar – Two Absolute Must-Have Ingredients

Hey guys, welcome to part 2 of this tutorial series on how to make your own arrangements for solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar.

The song we are arranging in this series is “Hello” by Adele.

We will be creating our own instrumental solo fingerstyle guitar arrangement made up of the harmony and melody. We will not be singing the song with our voices, but with the melody notes on the guitar. If we were making an arrangement to sing along to with our voices, we could just strum the chords primarily and would not need to incorporate the melody notes into our arrangement since our voice would be singing the melody. But here in this case we don’t plan on singing so we will create an arrangement that includes the harmony (chords) and melody (lyrics) all rolled up into one.

There are many resources on the internet to find the chords and melody to most songs. You can start by searching on google and youtube for the song you are arranging. I personally try not to look at any other fingerstyle guitar arrangements before I complete my own arrangement. Don’t get me wrong, you can learn a ton from other fingerstyle guitarists and by watching and listening to their arrangements, but I find I learn the best when I go through the exercise and struggle to create my own arrangement first. Only then am I familiar with the songs’ particular challenges and idiosyncrasies and then I am much more able to appreciate and learn from others’ arrangements. So for this reason I stay away from looking at other fingerstyle guitar arrangements of the song I am working on. We want to search only for the chords and the notes of the melody.

When you are looking on the internet for sources of the chords and melody, you want to be careful not to put all of your eggs in one basket. That is to say that you don’t want to use any one source exclusively. Some sources will not have the chords the same as the original. Some sources will play the melody differently than what sounds good to you. You always want your own ear to be the final judge of what you include in your arrangement. Only use the sources you find as a reference to get you going in the right direction.

One valuable source of chord and melody information are animated piano tutorials on youtube that show the notes of the chords and melody falling down onto the keys of the piano. As long as you can figure out the names of the notes on the piano keys, you can get alot of info this way. But remember you don’t have to use any one source, note for note. Use your own ear to guide you along in your arrangement and use what sounds good to you and discard the rest.

When combining the chords and melody together on the guitar there is one very important thing to keep in mind: The highest note you are playing is the one the listeners’ ear hears the best and that is the note that is interpreted as the melody note. So it is important to make the melody notes the highest notes to stand out from the harmony (chords. ) Also, as a general rule, try to make all of your melody notes on the highest three strings. If you are arranging a song and one of the melody notes goes down to the fourth string or lower, you may want to try to arrange the song in another key to keep the melody notes on the highest three strings. The listeners’ ear has trouble detecting melody notes that are too low in pitch, so keep this in mind.

In part 3 of this series we will start writing down our arrangement, so make sure and subscribe to this channel and bookmark the series playlist. Links are below.

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Roger

How to Arrange Fingerstyle Guitar – Where to Start

Hey guys, this is a new tutorial series I’m starting on how to make your own arrangements for solo acoustic fingerstyle guitar.

The song we will be arranging in this series is “Hello” by Adele.

The first thing you have to do before you begin arranging a song for solo fingerstyle guitar is to decide what song you are going to arrange. It should be a song that you really enjoy listening to, and therefore you will also enjoy playing the song and you will enjoy the process of seeing your arrangement develop over time.

Personally, for me, this arranging of a fingerstyle guitar piece is a fun challenge and I always try to improve my arranging abilities with every song I tackle. My personal choice is to not look at any other fingerstyle guitar arrangements of the song I am working on until after I have fully completed my arrangement. This allows me to exercise my creativity and build up skill in finding different ways to arrange a song. After I have completed my arrangement, then I will listen to other fingerstyle guitar arrangements to see what others did and what I could have done better. This is the best for me because after I have spent many, many hours working on an arrangement of a song, I get familiar with the particular challenges of that song and I am more able to appreciate what others have done with their arrangement of the same song. I learn much more this way rather than to just look at other’s arrangements beforehand and copying what they do.

The first two things we need to know before we start our solo instrumental finger-style guitar arrangement are:

1. The harmony – also known as the chords to the song.

2. The melody – also known as the lyrics or words of the song.

The combination of these two elements is what makes up the solo fingerstyle guitar arrangement. We will play both the harmony and the melody of the song at the same time on one guitar. The challenge is to arrange the music so it sounds good on a single guitar and is playable without too much difficulty.

So our next step is to get the chords and the melody elements of our song and there are many different resources available to get this information, which we will talk about in part 2 of this series.

Continued in part 2

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Roger