Top 5 Fingerpicking Patterns From Songs You Love!

fingerstyle guitar Nov 09, 2023


Hey there, fellow guitar enthusiasts! I'm excited to share with you some fantastic finger-picking patterns that will elevate your guitar playing to a whole new level. In this blog post, I'll break down the top five finger-picking patterns from beloved songs, and I've even thrown in three bonus techniques for good measure. So, you'll have a total of eight patterns to master by the time we're done. Let's dive right in!

1. "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas

Our first finger-picking pattern comes from the classic song "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. This beautiful pattern incorporates chord noodling and a gentle finger-picking sequence.

**Left Hand:** The chords used are C major and A minor. During the intro, you'll notice some chord noodling, which involves altering notes within the chord.  This happens on the second string.

**Right Hand:** The finger-picking pattern starts with a pinch pick (thumb and ring finger) on the second string, followed by a chord change.

To master this pattern, break it down into its components, focusing on the left and right hands separately. Then, gradually combine them for a seamless rendition of "Dust in the Wind."

2. "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica

Our second pattern is derived from "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. This pattern is an excellent choice for beginners, as it efficiently utilizes all the necessary fingers for finger-picking.

**Left Hand:** You can use this pattern with various chords, such as C, A minor, G, and D.

**Right Hand:** The finger-picking pattern involves plucking strings 6, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3 in sequence.

What's great about this pattern is its versatility. You can apply it to various chords, making it a foundational skill for finger-picking enthusiasts.

3. "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin

"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin is an iconic song with a finger-picking pattern that combines arpeggio techniques and pinch picking.

**Left Hand:** You'll encounter chord changes throughout the song.

**Right Hand:** The finger-picking pattern begins with an arpeggio ascending through strings 4, 3, 2, 1, followed by a pinch pick.

This pattern allows you to experiment with different chords, creating your unique sound while maintaining the song's vibe.

4. "Street Spirit" by Radiohead

"Street Spirit" by Radiohead offers a unique finger-picking pattern that involves playing the bass note first before transitioning into the full chord pattern.

**Left Hand:** The chords change as the song progresses.

**Right Hand:** Begin by playing the bass note, followed by the rest of the chord pattern.

The beauty of this pattern is that it encourages creativity. Experiment with different chords and create your own renditions.

5. "Big Love" by Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham Version)

Our fifth pattern hails from "Big Love," as performed by Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. This intricate pattern features a pedaling bass note and a distinctive finger-picking style.

**Left Hand:** Chords include E, A, and F (in the form of an Fmaj7).

**Right Hand:** The finger-picking pattern combines a pinch pick, hammer-ons, and continuous thumb movement.

This pattern is excellent for honing your thumb's dexterity and can be applied to various chords, making it a valuable addition to your finger-picking repertoire.

Bonus Techniques

Now, let's explore three bonus finger-picking techniques that will take your guitar playing to new heights.

1. The "Oom Papa" Technique

This technique introduces a unique way of combining bass notes and chord patterns. I refer to it as the "harpsichord" technique.

**How It Works:** Start by plucking the bass note and follow it with a clawing motion using fingers 1, 2, and 3 for the chord.

**Application:** This technique can be applied to any chord, allowing you to create an intriguing sound. Practice it with one chord before experimenting with different progressions.

2. The "Johnny Cash" Technique (Travis Picking)

This technique, often associated with Johnny Cash's signature style, involves a rhythmic thumb pattern combined with finger-picking or strumming.

**How It Works:** Use your thumb to pluck the bass strings (typically strings 6 and 4) while using fingers 1 and 2 to pluck other notes.

**Application:** Apply this technique to various chords and songs. Experiment with the thumb's rhythm to create a distinctive country or folk sound.

3. The "Kids" Technique

Inspired by the song "Kids" by MGMT, this technique combines a moving bass line with melody notes, providing a unique twist to your finger-picking repertoire.

**How It Works:** While playing chords, focus on maintaining a driving bass line while incorporating melody notes.

**Application:** This technique allows for endless creativity. Use it with different chords and melodies to craft your compositions.


There you have it—five fantastic finger-picking patterns from beloved songs and three bonus techniques to enhance your guitar-playing skills. Remember, mastering finger-picking takes time and practice, so don't rush the process. Break down each pattern, isolate the left and right hand techniques, and gradually merge them for a seamless performance.

As you become more proficient with these patterns and techniques, don't hesitate to incorporate them into your original compositions or adapt them to other songs. The beauty of finger-picking lies in its versatility and the endless possibilities it offers.

So, grab your guitar, start practicing, and let the magic of finger-picking take your playing to new heights. Happy strumming!

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