Here are my top 60 fingerpicking songs of all time. The list has a very varied mix of artists and ranges from beginner to advanced. I created this list to help fellow fingerpickers choose songs for their repertoires and so they can always come back here for ideas for which piece to learn next.
In the video, I give a quick demo of each of the 60 songs and each week on Thursday a new video lesson (with tab) is uploaded for one of the songs, gradually we're working through the list.
Each and every one of these songs has something unique about them, and you will learn a huge amount just from giving some of them a go. If you want to give yourself a big goal you could try to learn them all and, if you do, I assure you that you'll become a great fingerstyle player!
The best way to get good at fingerpicking is simply to learn a tonne of great songs. This list will turn you into a well-rounded and accomplished fingerstyle player because it covers so many essential techniques and so many nuances.
I picked these particular songs because I wanted them to be well known and familiar to most people, especially people that are just getting into fingerstyle guitar and want some instantly recognisable tunes to have a crack at. However, of course there are MANY other songs I could have picked across multiple genres and I'm sure that I have missed some real classics (please leave some of your favourite fingerpicking songs in the comment section below). Having said that I really do think this is a great list for people of all levels to refer back to for fresh songs to learn and as time goes I'll be making the list much bigger and more diverse.
I really hope that you enjoy all the songs and I'm sure that it'll give you plenty to work on!
Beginner Fingerpicking Songs:
For people who are brand new to fingerstyle then these are my top ten fingerpicking songs to get you going. You must be patient when you first get going because trust me, it's going to be a little frustrating. Your fingers will get mixed up and you're going to pick the wrong strings, but it's all part of the fun and just remember that every time you make a mistake (which will be often) you're one step closer to getting it right.
- Time of Your Life (Green Day)
- Everybody Hurts (R.E.M)
- Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
- Ain't No Sunshine (Bill Withers)
- House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)
- Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
- Wherever You Will Go (The Calling)
- Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
- Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
- Every Breath You Take (The Police)
Beginner - Intermediate Fingerpicking Songs:
Dust in the wind and Freight Train are two very well known fingerpicking songs and are certainly the gateway into intermediate playing. If you could only learn two from these five I would recommend those two. However if you have the energy, go ahead and give the other three a go, you won't regret it.
- Dust in the Wind (Kansas)
- Freight Train (Elizabeth Cotten)
- Dear Prudence (The Beatles)
- Is There Anybody Out There? (Pink Floyd)
- Naked As We Came (Iron & Wine)
Intermediate Fingerpicking Songs:
Things are really starting to heat up now and all these songs have their own challenges. These intermediate songs are where most of the really well known ones are and hopefully you recognise the majority of them. Again if I had to recommend just a few from the intermediate list I would say Road Tripping', Fire and Rain, Don't Think Twice It's Alright, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Blackbird.
- Road Trippin' (Red hot Chilli Peppers)
- Guaranteed (Eddie Vedder)
- Yesterday (The Beatles)
- Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton)
- Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)
- Fire and Rain (James Taylor)
- Shape of my Heart (Sting)
- Don't Think Twice It's Alright (Bob Dylan)
- Keep Your Head Up (Ben Howard)
- Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
- Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)
- Don't Know Why (Norah Jones)
- Old Pine (Ben Howard)
- Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Yip Harburg)
- The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel)
- Why Georgia (John Mayer)
- Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel)
- Oh Susannah (James Taylor)
- Blackbird (The Beatles)
- More Than Words (Extreme)
- Street Spirit (Radiohead)
- Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)
- Toulumne (Eddie Vedder)
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles)
- Julia (The Beatles)
Intermediate - Advanced Fingerpicking Songs:
If you can play these songs then you're really on the path to success. These tunes are really quite challenging and will certainly require some dedicated practice. Personal favourites: Stop This Train, Going to California and Hey Hey.
- Stop This Train (John Mayer)
- Going to California (Led Zeppelin)
- Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)
- Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin)
- What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
- Angeles (Elliot Smith)
- Hey Hey (Eric Clapton)
- Signe (Eric Clapton)
Advanced Fingerpicking Songs:
The advanced list contains songs from the true greats of the fingerpicking world and anything by Tommy Emmanuel or Chet Atkins is going to be difficult. I've also included Don't Fear The Reaper and God Only Knows which aren't fingerpicking songs per se but can be converted in to wonderful fingerstyle pieces, as many great song can be.
- Neon (John Mayer)
- Don't Fear The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult)
- God Only Knows ( The Beach Boys)
- Never Going Back (Fleetwood Mac)
- Papa George (Tommy Emmanuel)
- Ruby's Eyes (Tommy Emmanuel)
- Classical Gas (Mason Williams)
- Mister Sandman (Chet Atkins)
- Big Love (Fleetwood Mac)
- One Day (Martin Taylor/Tommy Emmanuel)
- Embryonic Journey (Jefferson Aeroplane)
- Haba na Haba (Tommy Emmanuel)
Post a comment with some of your favourite fingerpicking songs.
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