Masterclass: Modern Fingerstyle Guitar

Shane Hennessy


Shane Hennessy is a solo fingerstyle guitarist whose playing style has amazed audiences all over the world and attracted the attention and praise of musical greats such as Tommy Emmanuel and Nile Rodgers. Shane is indisputably one of the top proponents of a new, dynamic approach to fingerstyle acoustic guitar, and over the course of 90 minutes and 15 lessons, Shane breaks down in concise detail the key techniques that enable his electrifying style of modern fingerstyle performance.

Table of Contents

  1. Thumbpick Basics 1 (14:49)
  2. Thumbpick Basics 2 (6:17)
  3. Hand Positioning (7:21)
  4. Composing (7:29)
  5. Arranging Originals (6:06)
  6. Arranging Covers (6:19)
  7. Getting the Groove inn (7:30)
  8. Harmonics (5:48)
  9. Your Thumbs (6:58)
  10. Chords and Voicings (9:21)
  11. Influences and How to Use Them (10:22)
  12. Control Your Playing (7:48)
  13. Use All of the Guitar (4:52)
  14. Alternate Tunings (7:03)
  15. Stage Tips and Where to Go Next (7:57)


Shane starts off by establishing thumbpick and hand-positioning fundamentals before demonstrating the use of harmonics, alternate tunings, muting, advanced thumb positioning and percussive techniques, and shows how he uses these techniques to bring melody, rhythm, percussion and bass together in outstanding, multi-part compositions and arrangements. As he puts it himself, “My type of music involves several musical lines played all at once. If you imagine a band, you have a bass player, a rhythm player, a percussionist or drummer, and a lead or melody player. I try to emulate that dynamic all at once; live, with no extra effects or backing tracks.” Shane goes on to explain his method of composing and arranging for fingerstyle guitar, and shows how you can bring together influences from just about every genre – in Shane’s case there’s everything from funk-driven blues to classically-touched jazz standards, with Irish traditional music, jazz manouche, bluegrass, progressive, and world influences thrown into the mix. Shane Hennessy is not only an exciting, virtuosic performer, but an eloquent and passionate educator. In this masterclass, Shane clearly communicates all the key elements that make up his style so that you too can develop and innovate your own acoustic fingerstyle playing and composition. For every level of guitar player out there, there’s something in this video for you.