tumblr visitor
This basic guitar fingerpicking lesson will change your life

This fingerpicking pattern is used by guitarists to 
play thousands of songs. Give it a try! 

                   Fingerpicking Pattern Guitar Tab 
                                              4/4 Time

                            C chord

    t      t        t     t

People are also asking about my video camera. Here it is: 
                                  Recommended Picking Pattern in ¾ Time:

Stress the first note of each measure 
(the notes shown in BOLD print).

    C   G      C   F      C     Am          Dm7   G
    Edelweiss, Edelweiss, every morning you great me.

    C         G      C         F
    Small and white, clean and bright,

    C        G             C
    You look happy to meet me.

    G           G7           C         C7
    Blossoms of snow may you bloom and grow,

    F         D7      G        G7
    Bloom and grow forever. 

    C   G      C   F      C        G7       C
    Edelweiss, Edelweiss, bless my homeland forever.

 Fingerpicking Pattern Guitar Tab 
3/4 Time

The above fingerpicking pattern is good for most songs in 4/4 time, but what about 3/4 (waltz) time? Christopher Plummer (remember him?) used a basic waltz pattern in "The Sound of Music". It's a classic. Have a look:


"Homeward Bound" Tutorial: CLICK HERE
Pattern #1
Pattern #2
 - (1*)-------1-----------------1---
    M        i   m  i                    m
​     T     t                  T      t      i
    1     2  +  3  +     1      2     3
Optional note 

You can play waltzes like Christopher Plummer if you like: bass, strum, strum; or bass, pick, pick; but you might also try this: 

Pattern #2 Demo

More Music Videos by Bob Johnson of PoloniaMusic.com

I started by learning to strum a few simple folk songs using basic chords like: C, F, G, G7, D, D7, A, A7 Am, Em, Dm. That was back in the sixties and folk music was very popular at the time. I remember playing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (G/Em/C/D) many times in the early days. After about a year of strumming a few dozen songs, a friend taught me the " basic fingerpicking pattern" which I learned after practicing it for a few hours one night until my fingers hurt. That was it. I finally thought I could really play beautifully. Everyone was so impressed. Wow!

That same picking pattern is the one featured at the top of this page. I hope you learn it. Practice everyday and don't worry about your progress. Just focus on the pleasure you get from making music. Listen to the beautiful sounds emanating from your guitar. It will give you great joy for the rest of your life. Best of luck!I

FYI: I play music primarily for my personal enjoyment, although I sometimes play publicly in intimate settings like cafés, clubs, schools, senior social gatherings and special events.  Thank you, Tom Gestwicki and J.B. Hiller for your guidance. I hope I have successfully passed on some what you taught me.

Thanks for visiting my website.
-Bob Johnson

This basic guitar fingerpicking lesson will change your life!
            m        m        

            i             i            

"A'soalin" Tutorial: CLICK HERE
Check out this great new guitar tuner!
A Word About the 
Pinky Finger 
In my opinion, it's a good idea to keep your little finger on the guitar sound board to stabilize your hand. A guitar teacher encouraged me to do this when I first started playing, and I am glad he did. Here is Paul Stookey demonstrating.
"Love Me Tender" Tutorial: CLICK HERE
"Love Me Tender" Tutorial: CLICK HERE
* WHEN CHANGING CHORDS the fingerpicking pattern doesn't actually change, but he strings you choose to pick will certainly vary--especially the thumb. A general rule is to pick the first note (with your thumb) with the root note for each chord. So for a C-chord, the thumb picks the C-note (3rd fret/5th string) and then the E-note (second fret/4th string); sometimes the thumb alternates with the G-note (3rd note/6th string). When you switch to the G-chord, the thumb picks the root note -- the G-note (3rd fret/6th string) -- and the D-note (4th string open). This works with most chords, except the F-chord and the D-chord. I  thumb the 5th and 6th strings for the F-chord, and I often do not alternate the thumb when playing the D-chord; i.e. I just play the fourth string open when playing the D-Chord. Sometimes however I alternate the open D  and A strings when playing the D-chord. (See "The Garden Song" above.)

But none of this is engraved in stone. Play what sounds good to you. The fingerpicking pattern doesn't vary but the strings you choose to pick do, but it's all up to you... whatever sounds good.

Off the top of my head, here are a few songs that work well with this pattern: "Worried Man" by the Kingston Trio, "Violets of Dawn" by Eric Andersen, "Ramblin' Boy" by Tom Paxton, and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". "Skip to My Lou" is good for practice... BTW, it doesn't work for waltzes. GO HERE for waltzes.

Hope I was able to help. Don't give up. you will get feel for it after a while.
Some thoughts about changing chords: CLICK HERE

"Garden Song"
Note to guitarists: I tuned my guitar down one tone to better suit my voice. It looks like I am playing in the key of D, but it's actually in D-flat.
Do you want to learn more about fingerpicking? I recommend Bruce Emery's books.
Do you want to learn more about fingerpicking? I recommend Bruce Emery's books.
  • The Goal: Once you get used to alternating the bass notes with your thumb, try playing a simple melody at the same time - that's your goal.  It's harder than it looks, so choose a simple melody and practice a lot. Don't give up! 
  • Optional: Rest the heel of your right hand on the bridge to give the bass notes a blunt sound. Use a thumb pick if you like.