Most Basic Finger Picking

First let's explore the simplest version of a finger picking pattern.

Let's start out with our A minor chord, and you already know that we have our root note in the open A string. Let's play that with our thumb. Make sure you're not trying to force a lot of volume out of it. It'll be soft and gentle and that's okay! In between the thumb strokes we'll pick the B string with our index finger.

It's good to have this bass note in the thumb, but your index finger could play any note of the chord, like the high E string, G string or D string. All those options are perfectly usable if you like how they sound. It's also okay to use your middle finger if you prefer.

I'll use a bit of a loose approach so I'll hit a couple of the surrounding strings as well in both my thumb and my index finger. If this makes it harder for you, please don't even worry about it. If it makes it easier for you and you like how it sounds, it's a great option.

Let's keep our picking hand pattern exactly the same and switch to a C major chord. Keep your thumb on the A string, and then just for fun, try the other options for your index finger.

If it's too hard to make the change in both your left and your right hand, you can always keep the picking pattern the same.

We'll play each chord for 4 bars. Then we'll repeat both chords, and finally end on a gentle thumb strum of the A-minor chord that we let ring to end the example.

Anders Mouridsen
Instructor Anders Mouridsen
Any Style
Most Basic Finger Picking song notation

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Questions & Answers

I know it's called finger picking...but, can I use a guitar pick for this excercise instead of my fingers? 1 week ago
Mike Olekshy 4 days ago

Absolutely! The intent of the lesson is to teach this using your fingers, but this is a great exercise for string skipping using a pick.