Got your guitar? Did you tune it up? Today we are gonna start the fingerstyle journey with this beginner fingerstyle pattern.
This is an easy fingerpicking pattern to get you started down the road to being a finger stylist! This pattern will have a simple video demonstration, a text walk-through, and support in the comment section. I’ve found the best way to learn how to fingerpick a guitar is to:
- Start with a Pattern – Play it slowly until you’re comfortable
- Transition between Chords – Put your new Pattern to Practice
Start by practicing the pattern until you’re confident, comfortable, and fluid. Focus on good sound before speed, this will develop quality dexterity and will translate into becoming a better finger stylist!
Perfect Picking | Pattern Practice
This Pattern will help you build dexterity! As you get comfortable playing this pattern, you will become familiar with string-location and sound. It takes a while to become familiar with the finger picking, so give yourself breaks when practicing. A small break in between attempts often helps me with difficult patterns. If this is your first Finger Picking lesson, I highly suggest starting with the TIMIRIMI pattern I demonstrate here. So without further ado, lets fingerstyle!
Down and Up | The Push-Up of Fingerstyle
This fingerpicking pattern is called ‘Down and Up‘ because this pattern starts at the top E-string going down to the bottom e-string then back up to the top. It builds a strong dexterity-foundation common to fingerstyle due to the use of the thumb for Bass play and your remaining fingers for subsequent notes. Today we will be playing the G chord.
Start by making the G-chord shape. Then follow the picking pattern below based on your fingerpicking preference. I prefer using all five fingers but most finger pickers use four fingers. Some, I’ve seen, use just three. Take the time to try them all out.
Three-Finger Pickers: The Thumb will pluck the top E string (It will be a G Note because you’re on the third fret); The Index finger will play the D string followed by the Middle playing the G-string; then the Index Finger will play the B string followed by the Middle playing the bottom e string (which will also be a G note since you’re on the third fret). Use your Pinky to stabilize your hand on the body of the guitar.
Four-Finger Pickers: The Thumb will pluck the top E string (It will be a G Note because you’re on the third fret); your index finger will play the D string and then the G-string; your Middle finger will play the B string; your Ring finger will play the bottom e string (which will also be a G note since you’re on the third fret). Use your Pinky to stabilize your hand on the body of the guitar.
Five-Finger Pickers: The Thumb will play the top E string (It will be a G Note because you’re on the third fret); your Index finger will play the D string; the Middle finger will play the G-string; Ring finger plays the B string and your Pinky plays the bottom e string (which will also be a G note since you’re on the third fret). Be sure to Stabilize your hand on Saddle of the guitar using your palm.
You’ve made it ‘Down‘ this pattern. To go ‘Up‘ use the same fingers to go back up the strings. You do not play the bottom e-string again or the top E-string on the way back ‘Up’. This is because you played 5 notes on the way ‘Down’ so you only need to play 3 notes on the way ‘Up’. That’s the B, the G, and then the D string.
Three-Finger Pickers: Your Index will play the B string followed by the Middle finger playing the G-string and finished by the Index playing the D string. Remember, you should keep your Pinky on the body of the guitar for stabilization.
Four-Finger Pickers: Play the B string with your Middle Finger followed by the G-string with your Index finger and finally the D string with your Index finger. Remember, you should keep your Pinky on the body of the guitar for stabilization.
Five-Finger Pickers: Finish the ‘Up’ portion of this pattern by playing the B string with your Ring finger, the G-string with your Middle finger, and the D string with your Index finger. Remember to keep your palm on the Saddle of the guitar for stabilization
What’s Most Important
- Find a picking style that’s most fluid and comfortable to you
- Pick a stabilization point that helps steady your hand and aids Muscle Memory development
You have completed the ‘Down and Up’ fingerpicking pattern. As mentioned earlier, gain confidence in playing this well before issuing more challenging play. Make sure you have good sound quality before you add speed or extra bass notes to your playing.
Let me know, down below, what’s your finger-picking preference! Do you play with three fingers? Four Fingers? Are you one of those oddities, like me, that plays with all five fingers? And what did you think about the other styles when you tried them?
Building Dexterity | Adding to the Arsenal
By becoming comfortable with this fingerpicking pattern; you are adding another tool to your arsenal of fingerstyle ammunition. As you become more familiar with the strings and sounds you’re playing, the easier it will become to add variety to your play and develop melody to your stylings.
At the early stages of learning how to fingerpick, your biggest concern is building dexterity. You want to feel comfortable picking the strings and let their placement and sound become second nature. As you practice different patterns, try different techniques, and learn now chords; take the time to play freely in an unstructured format. Subconscious learning is conducive to building quality dexterity and improving your overall sound.
As always, I’m happy to help if you have any questions or concerns! Just leave a comment down below