FINGER PICKING PATTERNSThese patterns are some that I use in songs. They may not be exact duplicates of any recorded music but all patterns are an Artist's personal imprint and you may develop some pattern of our own some day. These are here to help you develop skills and learn what possibilities you can achieve. From here you can move on to even more complex and perfected skills.
This pattern is used a lot in classical music. You will also find it in pop, or some variation of it.
This pattern contains all the notes and fingering of the first pattern with the addition of the thumb and high note played simultaneously. I use these two patterns to play "Oh Holy Night" with the first for the Chorus and the second for the verse. Try changing from one to the other.
This is called a Travis pick. This pattern or some variation of it is used in many songs. Google Travis pick and you'll find other versions of it. It is a tricky one to master but once learned becomes easy to play and useful in many songs. The timing for this pattern is 1-2-and-3-and-4-and. It breaks that exercise of alternating between thumb and finger in that the thumb plays in the first beat and then again on the second. The half beat pause helps to adjust to that lost note. You may find other patterns where a note is used there. You will also find variations on this which incorporate hammer ons with the left hand or a descending base line. Can use this to play "Don't Cross the River" by America. There are other songs you might find this pattern useful for. Use your new ear training skills to listen to them.
This is one that I designed myself. The first two measures create a rhythm which makes it easier to change to the second pattern. Try playing the second pattern with an Am chord and you might recognize "Love Story" by Andy Williams.
This is one that I designed from some classical studies. The rhythm is 1-e-and-a-2-3-e-and-a-4-e-and-a. I use this pattern to play Autumn Leaves, recorded by Nat Kng Cole.
This is one I use to play Mary Did You Know recorded by Kathy Mattea. The note in parenthesis is optional, meaning you can play it throughout the song or once in a while (during the chorus for example). It's easier to learn with that note in there. Once you are comfortable witih the pattern, you can try playing it wthout that note for variation.
This is one I use to play "House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals. It combines single notes with a strum, therefore I play it using the thumb throughout. I use movable chords so I only use the top 4 strings. Practice it using Dm-F-G-Bb-Dm-F-A7. The F chord is movable and the chord form is used for G at the 3rd fret and Bb at the 6th fret. Then back to Dm on the 1st fret.
Some songs alternate between a picking pattern for the verse and a strum for the chorus. To strum without a pick you can use your thumb or you can place the index finger and thumb together, as if you were holding an imaginary pick, and hit the strings with the back of your fingernail on the index finger on the downstroke, and the back of your fingernail on your thumb on the upstroke.
I hope you enjoyed these exercises. I may add more patterns to this section as time goes by so check back, and have fun with it. For a page of all the exercises and patterns for printing (without all my comments) you can click on the logo below.