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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Thanks guys!
Roger