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Easy Fingerpicking Pattern


One of the most magical aspects of playing the guitar is the ability to use different fingers to play different notes/strings either at the same time or to mix them together to create cool  patterns! This is known as fingerpicking, and it's a great skill for every guitarist to have in their toolkit! Once you get started with it, you'll be hooked. If you're a beginner looking to dip your toes into fingerpicking, you're in the right place. In this video, we'll introduce you to a simple fingerpicking pattern that's perfect for those just starting out on their fingerstyle journey.


Is there a right kind of guitar?


Nope. Any type of guitar can be used for fingerpicking, but the sound of fingerpicking is most often heard in genres that feature an acoustic guitar, like folk music, and classical music. However, there are also many great electric fingerpickers! With that being said, use whichever guitar you are most comfortable with.


Do I need nails?


Nails are not necessary for fingerpicking, but they do create a more percussive and bright sound, and will make the note project louder. I personally have nails, and I like to keep them level with the very tip of my finger. That is the sweet spot for me. When they get longer I find that they slow me down and sometimes sound harsh. I like to always have a nail clipper, a file and a buffer in my practice space, and I generally attend to my nails about once a week. 


How should I position my picking hand?


You want to place your hand in a way that allows your thumb to be parallel to the strings, and floating over the E and A string, and your index, middle and ring fingertips to be resting on the G, B and E strings respectively. Your thumb should remain neutral and the side of your thumb picks downward, while your index middle and ring fingers pick upwards on a small diagonal. Your hand shouldn't really move while you are fingerpicking. All of the movements are in the finger joints closest to the tips of your fingers. The point of contact where the finger picks the string should be right where the nail meets the flesh (if you have nails) or right at the tip of the finger. 


The Simple Fingerpicking Pattern:


For our beginner fingerpicking pattern, we'll focus on using an open position C major chord, but the pattern we learn can be applied to any chord. Use your thumb for string 4 and 5 (D and A string), your index finger for string 3 (the G string) and your middle finger for string 2 (the B string).


Notice how on the first beat, you play the two outer notes together at the same time. The thumb plays the lower note, and the middle finger plays the higher note. On beat two you alternate between string 4 using the thumb, and then string 3 using the index finger. On beat three, you alternate between the two outer notes, using the thumb and middle finger. On beat four, you play string 4 with your thumb.


Once you master this pattern, you can change the two higher strings the strings 1 and 2. Once you feel comfortable with this pattern, using different strings, you can also add in hammer ons, or pull offs.


Practice Tips:


- Start slowly. Speed will come with practice, so don't rush the pattern.


- Use a metronome to maintain a steady tempo and help with timing.


- Pay attention to your finger placement and hand position to ensure a clean and clear sound.


- Practice this pattern for a few minutes each day to build muscle memory.


- Gradually increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the pattern!

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