3 Fingerpicked Patterns You'll Wish You Knew From the Start...

Stop being the kind of guitar player who's focused only on strumming patterns or guitar solos and licks. You'll miss out on all of the beauty and simplicity fingerpicking has to offer... 

Although fingerpicking can be quite complex, a lot of music can be played with just a few simple fingerpicking patterns. Since most music is written with four beats per measure, the following examples will show you simple fingerpicking patterns for music with four beats per measure.

When you’re fingerpicking it is very important to make sure that your thumb is playing the bass note of the chord, which is either the chord name or the note after the slash in the chord symbol. This is a separate topic that will not fit to cover properly in this short post.

I'll assume you understand guitar chords and which string is the bottom note in a chord. To help you understand how the pattern works on a variety of chords I have notated a demonstration of each pattern using the pattern isolated at first. Then, I have it applied in a short chord progression (with TAB and notation).

Fingerpicking Pattern #1).  (click on the image to enlarge)

This first pattern is simple to perform, and as an added benefit it works with a wide variety of musical styles. The use of the bass note on beat one and the 2nd to 4th string coverage on beats two and four give this a pattern a sound that promotes steady movement. I've notated it in both standard and tablature notation so you can relate to the patterns steady 8th-note feel.

Fingerpicking Pattern #2).  (click on the image to enlarge)

The second pattern is a little more complex but it creates a wonderful flowing sound that is great for songs that need a more driving pattern. Pattern #2, is a pattern that allows for a more driving groove due to the steady push of a bass-note upon every second beat. This "more driving flow" is also enhanced from the addition of 16th-notes.

Fingerpicking Pattern #3).  (click on the image to enlarge)

This third fingerpicking pattern is a more complex groove that promotes articulation through a hammer on idea applied on beats one and three. A double-stop chord is also added at the top string sets on beats two and four. While 16th-notes make a lot of this riffs feel, the effect is down-played here due to the hammer-on embellishment and the delay of the beat produced by a dotted 8th-note on beats two and four.

I hope these three patterns have sparked in you an interest in fingerpicking patterns for the guitar. Just like with any other musical technique, if you practice these diligently you will find that they become second nature to you, and sooner that you think, you will be using them to accompany your favorite songs and in your originals.

Keep experimenting and you will be able to come up with many new patterns of your own. Enjoy your new fingerpicking patterns!



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