Sungha Jung in Frankfurt
Start learning the technique to play a fingerstyle song by Sungha Jung

From his unique playing style to his signature songs, guitarist Sungha Jung has inspired droves of guitarists to learn fingerstyle guitar. Here is how to get started playing guitar like Sungha Jung.

How To Learn To Play Fingerstyle Guitar Like Sungha Jung

Here are the steps to playing like Sungha Jung:

  1. Learn fingerstyle techniques to get a solid introduction to fingerstyle guitar
  2. Choose a song that you would like to learn
  3. Practice the song and try to be as accurate as possible

We'll go into more detail on the exact techniques you need to know to play guitar like Sungha Jung, as well as how you can accurately learn his arrangements.

Why Learn to Play Fingerstyle Guitar Like Sungha Jung?

If you are interested in playing K-pop or Animé songs on fingerstyle guitar, then Sungha Jung is your man. Without a doubt, his arrangements are one of the best ways to start learning advanced fingerstyle guitar. 

Here are the steps to learning to play fingerstyle guitar like Sungha Jung.

Step 1: Learn The Fingerstyle Guitar Techniques Sungha Jung Uses

To play a fingerstyle song or arrangement by Sungha Jung, you should have the basics of fingerstyle technique. This means having proper left hand technique and rock-solid right hand technique before tackling a song by Sungha Jung.

Basic Fingerstyle Guitar Technique

When you strum or pluck guitar chords, there should be no buzzing. Your fretting hand fingers should land as close as possible to the frets. You should be aware of how your wrist is bent and how your thumb is positioned behind the neck.

The plucking hand should be independent from the fretting hand. You must be able to play songs by mostly concentrating on what the left hand does. You can practice arpeggios and other exercises to improve your right hand independence.

Why Not Look At The Plucking Hand?

The reason behind only looking at the left hand when you play fingerstyle guitar is that it must cover a much larger playing distance than the right hand. So, there is more chance for error if you look at the plucking hand when you are playing a fingerstyle guitar song instead of the fretting hand.

Don't Look At Both Hands

Also, if you are constantly looking at both hands, your playing will be hesitant and not very smooth. As you are concentrating on one hand, try to imagine the location and placement of the other hand on the guitar.

Girl playing fingerstyle guitar
Watch the fretting hand only, as its job is more complex than the plucking hand.

Some Advanced Fingerstyle Guitar Techniques That Sungha Jung Uses

Some songs by Sungha Jung use techniques that go beyond the standard fare that you must learn to play guitar, such as legato, barre chords or glissando. You will have to learn some advanced techniques in order to play fingerstyle guitar like Sungha Jung. Some of the advanced techniques that he uses are:

  • Tapping
  • Guitar Harmonics
  • Alternate Tunings
  • Thumb Percussion
  • Rasgueado

If you want to pick one technique to start mastering off the bat, it's the thumb percussion. Sungha Jung uses percussion in almost all of his songs. This means you will need to practice the swinging motion of your wrist, as well as the return to normal plucking position.

Other advanced techniques that you will see Sungha Jung use on a regular basis are harmonics and rasgueado. 

Once you've mastered the basics of fingerstyle guitar and you've decided which advanced techniques to study, it’s time to move on to step number 2.

Step 2: Choose A Song To Learn

Next you will need to choose an original song or a cover by Sungha Jung to learn. If you are not too picky, I recommend going for one of his earlier arrangements or songs first. Why?

The reason being that his more recent original songs tend to be more technically demanding. They have fast licks, and include special techniques such as slap harmonics and tapping. Some songs even use alternate tunings

Brett playing a guitar by Sungha Jung
Siesta by Sungha Jung doesn't require any advanced fingerstyle guitar techniques

So, try to learn a Sungha Jung song that uses the least number of advanced techniques.  If you are stuck choosing a song by Sungha Jung, check out five of Sungha Jung’s top tunes to learn.

Step 3: Find Accurate Tablature and Start Learning

Now that Sungha Jung has official tabs posted by his Korean publisher, for a few bucks you can get accurate tabs and start learning. It's important you have accurate tablature and follow the exact right and left hand finger patterns that he uses.

But that's not the only step to learning how to play a guitar song by Sungha Jung. You will have to do a lot of listening, ideally by carefully following along with the tablature. You'll want to listen for things such as timing, and take note of the special techniques that you hear him using.

The biggest challenge that you will have when learning songs by Sungha Jung is bringing everything up to speed, and memorization. 

How To Learn A Song By Sungha Jung

Here are the steps to learning to play a fingerstyle guitar song by Sungha Jung:

  1. Break down the song into individual sections  (chorus, verse, bridge, etc.)
  2. Choose a section of the song to learn first
  3. Practice the individual section of the song, first with the tablature and then without
  4. Move on to a different section until you have learned them all.
  5. Pay attention to variations – not all song sections are exactly the same!
  6. Do a complete run through of the song and string all the sections together.

It's critical that you start by learning small sections of the song instead of starting from the beginning and playing through the whole song, without doing any memorization.

Also, when you are working on memorizing a song, regularly check back with the tablature. This ensures you haven’t missed any important sections. 

A Structured Course to Play Guitar Like Sungha Jung

If you are having trouble performing the Sungha Jung original song or arrangement for your friends, check out my online course Play Fingerstyle Guitar Now! You will learn all the techniques that you need to play his songs with ease, as well as exercises specifically tailored to learning his playing style.