a message from demonsbelowthesea
The boring answer is that I practice a lot.
Practicing properly has a lot to do with improving any skill. “Practicing properly” means a couple things to me:
First, I don’t let myself take any short cuts. This means starting over if I make a mistake, being able to play the song at the proper speed and getting a clear tone out of every note. In regards to fingerpicking, I try to allow my notes to sustain and avoid muting strings that should still be ringing when I make a chord change or pluck neighboring strings. It really pays to be picky about this type of thing.
Secondly, I never let myself get frustrated. Associating any kind of negative feeling with practice is poisonous and if I’m not in the mood to play I just don’t. Most of the time it’s a joy to play even if I’m playing one section of a song over and over to get it right. There are definitely times when I find things challenging, but challenge is a far cry from frustration.
If you want to get better at fingerpicking, I recommend working on a song that inspires you. Don’t pick something excruciatingly difficult. Pick a song you actually enjoy and that you’ll be happy to have in your repertoire.
"These Days", by Jackson Browne is a really cool song to help get down some nice fingerpicking patterns.
And "Never Going Back Again", by Fleetwood Mac is absolutely amazing.
Hope this helps!