12 Beginner Fingerpicking Patterns
In this step we're going to learn the most important and essential beginner fingerpicking patterns for newbie fingerstyle players to master.
We'll take what we learnt in the previous step on finger selection and start applying it to these beginner fingerpicking patterns.
This is Step 2 of the 10 Easy Steps To Get You Fingerpicking series, if you've not seen Step 1 yet, make sure you go through that before starting this lesson.
We'll just be focusing on the right hand here, so all the notes will be played as open strings. We're doing this to eliminate any distraction and to allow us to focus solely on the right hand. Bear in mind that it won't sound all that pretty, but that's not important right now as we only want to work on building the strength and independence of each picking finger at this stage.
Now you're confident with which fingers should be playing which strings, it's time to put those fingers to good use.
The way to do that is to start with some very basic patterns and to simply practise them over and over again.
In this first beginner fingerpicking pattern we play the strings D, G, B and high e consecutively. I've chosen this sequence because you're always playing the adjacent string and it's very easy to visualise.
With your right hand you'll be continuously picking p i m a (thumb, index, middle, ring).
Follow these steps:
- Prepare your fingers by placing each of them on the strings they're going to play. Have them resting there, ready and waiting to go.
- Pluck the D string down with your thumb, keeping all your other fingers still on their strings.
- Then play the G string with your index finger.
- Then the B string using your middle finger.
- Finally play the high e string with your ring finger.
- Go back to the beginning and repeat. Many, many times.
Practise very, very slowly and focus hard on getting each note to be played as smoothly as the last. Let all the strings ring out until it's their turn to be played again. It may feel a little peculiar at the beginning but eventually this will start to feel very comfortable.
Congratulations! You've just played your first fingerpicking pattern.
Now you've got your very first beginner fingerpicking pattern down, it's time to try some more.
The next thing to do is to keep the index, middle and ring fingers playing the same sequence of strings as before but move the thumb to the A string.
This is just a tiny alteration in the right hand but you'll instantly feel the change as you now have to train your thumb to get comfortable playing the A string.
Now all we're going to do is move the thumb from the A string to the low E string. Everything else remains exactly the same.
Great work! Don't be tempted to start playing these patterns fast yet, keep them slow and continue to focus on the clarity of each note.
Now you have those first three patterns down, we're going to keep going and start mixing up the fingers in many different variations.
The more variations you learn, the better. That way you're training your fingers to play in all sorts of different directions.
The next variation to do is to simply reverse your index, middle and ring fingers.
This time instead of playing p i m a in the right hand, play p a m i.
The next two exercises are the same but moving the bass note to the A string first, then the low E.
Continue to practise the patterns we've done so far until you're sure you're comfortable with them.
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If you really want to take your fingerpicking to the next level, consider taking one of my fingerstyle courses. In the school you'll find hundreds of in-depth video lessons, all aimed at helping you grow into a great fingerstyle guitarist.
Let's keep going and do some more beginner fingerpicking patterns.
Here are another six different patterns. Bear in mind that I haven't moved the bass note around like we have on previous examples.
Make sure to try each pattern with the bass note on the E, A and D strings, not just as it's been written. This will actually give you 18 patterns in total.
10 Easy Steps to Get You Fingerpicking - Step 2 Summary
In this step we've covered a whole bunch of different beginner fingerpicking patterns that stick to our 'general rule of thumb' technique, which we learnt in Step 1.
Practise all these variations over and over until you really feel ready to move on. You can even try to come up with some of your own patterns now, and I strongly encourage you to have a go.
If you're really wanting to take your fingerpicking to the next level, consider taking one of my fingerstyle courses. In the school you'll find hundreds of in-depth video lessons, all aimed at helping you grow into a great fingerstyle guitarist.
I hope you've enjoyed Step 2 of this 10 Easy Steps to Get You Fingerpicking series. I'll see you on Step 3!
If you have any questions or comments then please leave them below.