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Fingerstyle 101: Learn 8 Beautiful Fingerpicking Patterns That Every Guitarist S

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Fingerstyle 101

 

Learn 8 Beautiful Fingerpicking patterns That Every Guitarist Should Know

 

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Copyright © 2015

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be edited without the prior written permission of the publisher. You are free to distribute it in its current, exact form.

Disclaimer

All the material contained in this book is provided for educational and informational purposes only. No responsibility can be taken for any results or outcomes resulting from the use of this material.

While every attempt has been made to provide information that is both accurate and effective, the author does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or use/misuse of this information.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 6

Terminology 10

How to listen to and learn the patterns 16

The Essential Chords 22

The Importance of the Thumb and root notes 29

The Patterns 33

  1. The “Going Up” Pattern 34

  1. The “Ballad” Pattern 43

  1. The “Outside-In” Pattern 50

  1. The “London” Pattern 60

  1. The “Romanza” Pattern 69

  1. The “Ed Stream” Pattern 79

  1. The “Butler” Pattern 87

#8 The “Sweet Melody” Pattern 95

Where to next? 105

6 Steps To Getting The Most Out Of This Book (and Yourself) 106

Chord Reference Guide 119

Links and Other Useful Resources 130

[] Introduction

There aren’t many better sounds in the world than a guitar being fingerpicked.

It could be a battered old Takamine, a brand spanking new Fender electro acoustic or a boutique Ramirez nylon classical.

It doesn`t matter what guitar you have, with fingerpicking you can take the most simple of chords and turn them into elegant, joyous, awe-inspiring pieces of music that will stun and delight your audience. 

Fingerpicking the guitar can and will bring you many years and decades of fun, joy and expression to your life.

You will enrich your own life and those of others around you. 

Fingerstyle guitar is not new, but it has made a huge comeback over the past few years.

It actually dates back a long way.

Fingerpicking guitar changed music and the world around it.

Whenever you listen to the radio, watch a guitarist or put on your favourite guitar songs, it’s very often the fingerpicking guitar parts that stand out and grab our attention.

It can be a complex pattern using syncopation in 6/8 time or it can be a simple little chord melody using just the thumb and two fingers.

Either way, it’s the sound that matters.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to be too clever or too complex with fingerpicking.

It can get very complicated very fast if you don’t keep your eyes (and ears) on the ball.

Always use your ears as the sole guide of what sounds good.

About the book

Throughout this eBook you will see 8 examples of fingerstyle guitar playing.

They are 8 very different patterns.

This isn`t a case of rehashing the same patterns.

Don`t worry if you play acoustic, classical or electric.

All the examples will work and sound great on ANY guitar as long as it is a guitar you are comfortable playing.

The chord progressions you will learn are some of my favourite and most beautiful patterns.

Each pattern comes with two examples.

The first example features the pattern played on C Major, G Major and a D Major chord.

You are also going to learn an example chord progression with each picking pattern.

This is so you can actually hear the fingerpicking patterns in use in the real world.

Once you have learnt the picking pattern and the chord progression that goes with it, experiment with playing the fingerpicking pattern with some of your own favourite chord progressions.

Once of the beauties of fingerpicking is the possibilities we have opened up to us.

Feel free to experiment and adapt.

Some of the fingerpicking patterns and chord progressions are inspired by the likes of:

Ferdinando Carulli and Fernando Sor (classical)

Paul Simon and James Taylor (classic folk)

Ed Sheeran and John butler Trio (modern pop)

There is a nice range and mixture of styles in this book to suit everyone`s tastes.

[] Terminology

 

To avoid confusion throughout this book I will refer to the fingers and strings of the guitar in a certain way.

Strings

The six strings of the guitar will be described as their open string notes and NOT their string number.

See below for which string is tuned to which note.

6 = Low E

5 = A

4 = D

3 = G

2 = B

1 = High E

Remember, it`s the note on the right hand side of the above chart that we will be using throughout the book.

Fingers

Throughout the book, I will describe the fingers by their names and not their numbers.

Thumb

Index

Middle

Ring

Pinky

The reason for this is, if we call everything by its number, such as is if I state:

Play fret 2 with the 3rd finger on the 2nd string”

It can confuse people.

Where as if I state:

Play fret 2 with the ring finger on the B string”

It will have more clarity.

The `rule` of fingerpicking.

Generally, when fingerpicking the:

Thumb plays the bass strings (low E, A and D)

Index finger plays G string

Middle finger plays B string

Ring finger plays E string

As you will see later on, there are exceptions to this rule…

 

Rhythm

It`s essential for you to understand and be 100% comfortable with rhythm.

It is useful if you understand the theory behind rhythm.

For example, if you are able to discuss what quarter notes are, that is a bonus.

It`s far more important, however, for you to be able hear a rhythm and replicate it.

In this book there are three main note lengths that we are going to use.

These are:

Quarter note = 1 whole beat – There are 4 x quarter notes per bar (in 4/4 time).

Eighth note = 1/2 of a beat – There are 8 x eighth notes per bar (in 4/4 time).

Sixteenth note = 1/4 of a beat – There are 16 x sixteenth notes per bar (in 4/4 time).

There are lots of different types of rhythm out there in western music such as the ones stated above plus other more advanced types such as dotted rhythm and triplets.

For the majority of music out there quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes cover so much of ground.

All the patterns in this book use quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes.

These note lengths are called sub-division. For more help with and to hear the sub-divisions in action, watch this video tutorial.

As stated above, if you can understand what quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes are, that is fantastic, but being able to play them is much more important.

[] How to listen to and learn the patterns

 

All eight fingerpicking patterns and their two examples come with audio examples which you can listen to by clicking each link as we go along or you can download them all in one zip file as part of the bonuses for this book.

You can then save each audio example to your media player, put them on, play them on repeat and get learning them.

Each fingerpicking example also comes with a Guitar Pro file so you can play them, slow them down, speed them up, loop certain sections and adapt them if you like.

Guitar Pro isn`t cheap but is well worth the money if you have the resources.

You can purchase and download Guitar Pro from here.

As an alternative to Guitar Pro, I recommend Tux Guitar.

Tux Guitar is free software that can play Guitar Pro files and do a lot of the things that Guitar Pro can do.

You can download Tux Guitar here.

 

Example 1

The first example for ALL the patterns is played with a:

C Major Chord

G Major Chord

D Major Chord

There is one bar on each chord but for the first example it is more about learning the pattern with familiar shapes.

Therefore, do not worry about trying to play example 1 all the way through.

Stay on one chord and keep repeating it until you get it right.

Then move onto the next chord.

I have used the chords of C, G and D because they all have different amounts of strings played within the chord.

C Major – 5 strings

G Major – 6 Strings

D Major – 4 strings

This covers all the bases so to speak.

When you learn other four, five or six string chords, simply play the exact same pattern as you did for the chord with the same amount of strings.

For example, if you want to play a pattern with Em, ask yourself:

How many strings are in the Em chord?”

Six is the answer.

Therefore, you play the exact same pattern as you did for the G Major chord as this is also a six string chord.

Another advantage of using the same C, G and D chords for the first example is so you can compare the sound of ALL the patterns against each other with the same three chords.

Example 2

 

The second example is where we get really creative and use a whole bunch of cool ideas from your typical open chords such as C, G, D, Am, Em to B7, E7, FMaj7, Dm7 and more.

Some of these examples use a variety of fretting hand techniques.

Things such as using alternate bass notes for familiar chords and the use of melody within a chord.

We also incorporate a great technique that I call `chord anchors`.

There is also the use of medieval sounding drone notes within chords, lush Major and minor 7 chords and more.

The main feature of this book is to learn about picking hand techniques and the eight patterns of course.

You will see as we go on that a variety of fretting hand techniques can not only simplify but compliment the picking hand.

[] The Essential Chords

 

The first example for each fingerpicking pattern uses the chords of C Major, G Major and D Major as shown below.

The blue notes for all the chord diagrams in this book are the `root notes`. These, as will be explained, are essential for all fingerpicking guitarists.

C Major

 

G Major

There are two common versions of G Major with an alternate way of fingering one of those versions.

G Major (Rock Version)

This version is the four finger version that has a more rocking sound.

In general, this version is more suited to strumming the guitar.

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G Major (Folk Version)

This version is the three finger version of G many beginners learn as it is the easiest to play for most guitarists.

G Major (Folk Alternate Version)

This is exactly the same chord as the one above but importantly it is played with different fingers.

You use only fingers:

2 (middle)

3 (ring)

4 (pinky)

Leave finger 1 (index) free.

This is done so the change to the C Major chord is made easier and so we can use the index finger to play notes on the 1st and 2nd frets while maintaining the shape of the G chord with our other fingers (more on this later).

 

D Major

You will notice that the fingerpicking patterns you learn throughout this book are slightly different on the D Major chords.

This is because the D Major chord features just four strings in its most typical form and we have to compensate for this.

As explained earlier on the thumb usually deals with the bass strings (low E, A and D) and the fingers play the treble strings (G, B, and high E).

When playing a typical D chord we only have one bass string in use which is the D string.

Because of this we often treat the G string as a bass string ONLY when playing D chords (and other four string chords).

This is very common in real world fingerpicking scenarios.

 

[] The Importance of the Thumb and root notes

The patterns featured in this book all start with the root note of the chord (being played with the thumb) at the beginning of the bar.

That means if you play a C Major chord, the:

First pluck with the thumb will be the C note on the 3rd fret of the A string (as this is the root note).

If you play a G chord, the:

First pluck with the thumb will be the G note on the 3rd fret of the low E string (as this is the root note).

If you play a D chord, the:

First pluck with the thumb will be the D note on the open D string (as this is the root note).

Learn and master your root notes for these essential chords and all the other chords you know.

It is really important when fingerpicking.

 

Why are root notes so important?

The root note is the `strongest` note within a chord and the listener is used to hearing this being played at the beginning of a new chord.

There are of course, exceptions to this but most of the time, keep it simple, start the bar off with the root note and your music will sound stronger for it.

You will notice that the root notes for different chords are located on different strings.

This means your thumb will be changing between the low E, A, D (and sometimes the G, but more on that later) strings.

 

Don`t forget to hold your chord shapes

Whenever you look at the tab or musical notation, ensure you look at the chord shape notated above it.

The above example has a C, G and D chord.

At the beginning of each bar, make sure you play the shape of the chord stated with the fretting hand and then hold that shape throughout until you see the next chord shape.

We want as many notes to `ring` fluently throughout the piece as possible.

 

[] The Patterns

Right, now we have covered the basics of chords, root notes and terminology, let`s have some fun and learn the eight fingerpicking patterns.

For every example in the book, I have detailed a description of what I believe is the easiest way to play them.

Please note: You may want to play some of the pieces slightly differently to me and that is perfectly ok. My description is simply a guide.

 

[] #1 The “Going Up” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

Our first fingerpicking pattern is a simple 6/8 fingerpicking pattern that you have no doubt heard in many ballad type songs.

It is called the “Going Up” Pattern as we `go up` the strings one at a time, before briefly coming back down.

Don`t be worried or concerned about 6/8 time.

There are 6 eighth note beats in 6/8 time.

Most guitarists count these as 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

The two sets of 3 equal 6 (which are the 6 eighth notes).

Play each 1 with a slight accent (hit a touch harder) and play the 2, 3 a touch quieter.

This creates the distinctive sound of 6/8.

Listen to and then play the following pattern.

 

The “Going Up” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

Use the thumb to play the root note of each chord (which in this example is the first note in each bar).

 

Then use the:

 

Index finger (G string)

Middle finger (B string)

Ring finger (high E string)

Middle finger (B string)

Index finger (G string)

 

 

6/8 is a common time signature that you have no doubt heard in lots of big hits.

 

One of the most popular of these is R.E.M. `s huge hit “Everybody Hurts”.

If you take this pattern and play it with a D and then the rock version of G Major for two bars on each chord then you have the main bulk of that classic song.

 

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the initial bass pluck is on the 3rd fret of the A string (as this is our root note for the C chord).

We then play the strings of G (with index finger), B (with middle finger) and high E (with ring finger) before going back to the B and G strings.

The rest of the pattern is the same for every chord. Only the initial root note string varies from chord to chord.

G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the initial bass pluck is the low E string at the 3rd fret (as this our root note for the G chord).

D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the initial bass pluck is the open D string (as this our root note for the D chord).

The “Going Up” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example

The above example is a simple chord progression based around the key of G Major with a quick chord substitution in the penultimate before going back to the key of G Major.

The first three bars act as an intro.

Notice how the G note on fret 3 of the high E string descends down the fretboard one fret at a time.

It moves from the 3rd fret, to the 2nd fret to the 1st fret.

This is called a chromatic run and adds a touch of jazz to the piece.

When playing this initial G, GMaj7, G7:

It is best to start the first G off using the folk alternate version (refer to the chord chart at the beginning of the book).

The reason I recommend doing this is it allows us to play all three chords G, GMaj7, G7 without switching shapes.

With your fretting hand, you can play the:

3rd fret on the high E string with your pinky

2nd fret with your middle (or index) finger

1st fret with your index finger

…for the G, GMaj7, G7.

You do all this while holding your middle and ring fingers in the same place throughout.

You may not have played a G chord like this before.

It is very common though especially with fingerpickers.

Take it nice and slow and focus on perfecting the intro (the first three bars first) before tackling the rest of the piece.

Although a simple picking pattern, it sounds lovely and sweet and is one you should add to your repertoire of patterns.

Whenever someone mentions playing in 6/8 time you can use this pattern to show them just how good you are.

 

Key Takeaway

You will notice with fingerstyle guitar, you will sometimes have to fret chords in a different manner to what you have done in the past.

The main reason for this is to allow melody notes to be played alongside the chords that wouldn`t be possible otherwise.

Being adaptable with your chord shapes is key to being a successful fingerpicker.

[] #2 The “Ballad” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

The Ballad pattern is a simple fingerpicking in 4/4 time.

Although it is quite basic it has a powerful quality that overrides its simplicity.

 

The “Ballad” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

To play the pattern we start with a `pinch`.

[++]
The Pinch

A pinch is when we play two notes together – one bass and one treble note.

In this instance we `pinch` the root note (with thumb) and the high E string (with the ring finger) together.

This pinch is played as a quarter note.

The pattern

Once you have played the pinch, the following two notes are played as eighth notes.

Play the:

G string (with your index finger)

Followed by the B string (with your middle finger)

That is half a bar completed.

Notice how the rest of the bar is simply this same pattern repeated.

 

 

The “Ballad” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example
[++]

For the above example we move away from standard chord shapes and play some alternate chord shapes.

 

What we are doing here with our fretting hand is keeping our:

 

Ring finger on the 9th fret of the G string

Pinky on the 9th fret B string

 

 

We do this all throughout the piece.

 

The index and middle fingers play a variety of notes around these two `anchored` notes to create the harmony and melody.

 

This technique of keeping fingers on the same string and frets throughout is what I call a chord anchor and is something I teach in more detail in my course Rockstar 101: Essential Guitar Skills for Beginners.

 

Notice how, for the first four bars the only notes that change is the bass note on the low E string.

 

The order of the bass notes on the low E string are played:

 

As an open string

7th fret (with index finger)

9th fret (with middle finger)

8th fret (again with middle finger)

 

In bars five and six, notice how the bass note stays on the low E string, while in the second half of each bar we play the 7th fret of the high E string (with index finger).

 

Don`t forget to keep your fretting hand ring and middle fingers stationary on fret 9 throughout.

 

This is an interesting piece, that has an ethereal quality to it and one that is inspired by the drone based medieval lute music popular in England during middle ages.

 

Key Takeaway

A simple fingerpicking pattern can sound drastically different when played with a bunch of alternate chords.

`Chord anchors` are very powerful for testing out picking hand ideas as you do not have to focus quite as much on the fretting hand.

This frees you up to try out and experiment with the picking hand.

Of course, you can try this ballad pattern with a more standard chord progression such as G, Em, C, D and hear how different it sounds.

Just remember to move your bass notes to the relevant string so that each bar starts with the root note (check the chord chart at the end of the book for details on root notes).

[++]

[] #3 The “Outside-In” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

Let`s look at our first `Travis picking `pattern.

`Travis picking` is a method of playing different bass notes with the thumb and interspersing them with the higher strings.

Look at the example below to see what I mean.

It is an eight note to the bar pattern with the first four plucks the same as the last four plucks.

This allows us to keep things simple.

 

The “Outside-In” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

A Travis picking pattern is played:

Thumb (on the root string)

A Finger (on one of the treble strings)

Thumb (alternate bass string)

A Finger (on one of the treble strings)

This pattern is called the “Outside-In” pattern and is a common pattern amongst fingerstyle guitarists.

It is called the “Outside-In” pattern because we start on outside strings and work our way into the middle strings of the chord.

The Pattern

Play the first bass note on the root of the chord.

Then play the:

B string (with the middle finger)

A bass note on the D string (with the thumb)

G string (with index finger)

Repeat all of the above to complete the bar.

 

The D chord – the exception to the rule

Notice how (as described earlier) we treat the D chord and (other four string chords) differently.

The whole picking pattern is the same as the C Major chord but is shifted up a string.

We can even use the same fingers to pick the D chord as the C chord.

Compare the patterns above for the C and D chords and see how it`s exactly the same apart from everything on the D chord is played one string above that of the C chord.

Why?

Because a D chord only has one bass note which is the D string (in its most common form) so we treat the G string as a bass note in this instance.

This means however, we need to shift everything else up a string.

Keep practicing the above pattern on all three chords.

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the initial bass pluck is the A string on the 3rd fret (as this our root note for the C chord).

Our second bass note is the string above which is on the D string.

G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the initial bass pluck is the low E string (as this our root note for the G chord).

Our second bass note is on the D string.

(You can of course play your alternate bass note on the A string, but for this example it sounds smoother and more consistent playing the same alternate bass note on the D string as we did for the C chord)

D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the initial bass pluck is the D string (as this our root note for the D chord).

Our second bass note is the string above which is the G string.

Note: The G string is technically not a bass note, but to continue following the pattern when playing any D chord we can treat the G string as a bass string.

 

The “Outside-In” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example
[]

The real world example is heavily influenced by the 60`s and 70`s folk fingerpickers such as Paul Simon and James Taylor.

 

For this example, I have kept it simple and kept each chord as a 5 string chord.

 

This means all you pick the same strings for each chord shape throughout.

 

This is useful because it allows you not to worry too much about changing bass notes throughout with the picking hand.

 

There are four chord shapes used throughout.

C

G/B

Am

Asus2

Play it through and notice at the end of the piece you play a little strum on the Am chord.

Use a finger or your thumb to strum this chord as you would do when strumming normally.

This strum is simply there to add a little more interest to the piece.

You can of course use this fingerpicking pattern all the way throughout a song.

Once you have played the little strum on the Am minor chord, the whole piece repeats as shown by the two dots at the end of the notation.

The very last Am chord at the end of the piece in brackets is to indicate a tied note which simply means the previously strummed Am chord is to ring out.

As with all these examples, watch and listen closely to the audio or use the Guitar Pro file for clarity.

 

Key Takeaway

`Travis picking` is one of the most common fingerstyle techniques ever.

You will hear this everywhere especially when listening to more traditional fingerstyle players such as Paul Simon and Merle Travis (the guitarist the technique was named after).

Be comfortable with the idea and process of alternating the bass notes with the thumb on each beat.

If you need to, practice leaving out the melody notes on the treble strings just to practice changing between bass notes comfortably on their own before adding the melody notes back in.

[++]

[] #4 The “London” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

The London pattern is another classic `Travis picking` pattern and is probably the most famous of them all.

I call it the “London” pattern because it is used on Ralph Mctell`s classic song the `Streets of London`.

If you have ever heard the Kansas song `Dust in the Wind` you will also know it from that song too as well as countless other fingerpicking classics.

 

The “London” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

This classic pattern starts off with a:

Quarter note `pinch` (which is the same as we do in the `Ballad` pattern).

We then follow that up with another bass note which is played with the thumb on the D string.

Once the first two bass notes are played, pluck the:

G string (with index finger)

Root note (with thumb)

B string (with middle finger)

Alternate bass note (with thumb)

G string (with index finger)

That all sounds like a lot.

You must take your time with this pattern and get the order comfortable before you even attempt to change chords or try the second example.

The D chord is once again the exception to the rule where everything is once again shifted up a string higher from the C chord.

Compare the pattern in the notation above for the C and D chords for clarity.

 

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the initial bass pluck is the A string on the 3rd fret (as this is our root note for the C chord).

Our second bass note is the string above which is on the D string.

G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the initial bass pluck is the low E string (as this is our root note for the G chord).

Our second bass note is on the D string.

(You can of course play your alternate bass note on the A string, but for this example it sounds smoother and more consistent playing the same alternate bass note on the D string as for the C chord)

D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the initial bass pluck is the D string (as this our root note for the D chord).

Our second bass note is the string above which is the G string.

Note: The G string is technically not a bass note, but to continue following the pattern when playing any D chord we can treat the G string as a bass string.

One thing to notice is that the D chord is the exact same patterns the C chord but everything is shifted up one string higher.

This is very common for the D chord so it is worth swapping between the C and D and mastering this pattern for the relevant strings for these two chords.

 

The “London” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example

 

The second example above is a piece based around the mode of E Dorian.

Once we have reached the Am chord it then shifts into the key of A minor.

This piece is inspired by a variety of styles of music and has quite a few chord changes.

Dorian is a mode commonly used in jazz and blues, but this fingerpicking pattern is used often in folk. We therefore have an interesting `hybrid` piece.

My advice to you is to break it up into two sections when learning it.

Start off my mastering the section from

Em

A

Em

G

G/F#

Once you have mastered this part, learn the section starting from the A Major chord in bar 7.

If you struggle with chord changes, break it up further into two bar chunks.

For example, keep repeating the Em, A back and forth.

Then master the Em, G, G/F#.

This pattern is super flexible and sounds very cool at fast speeds and slow tempos too, so keep it slow at first.

It will still sound great.

Do not rush.

 

Key Takeaway

Fingerpicking over a variety of chord changes can be very difficult especially when you are learning new chord changes and learning a new fingerpicking pattern.

Many fingerpicking songs have tough changes and some of the more sophisticated pieces will be a challenge.

The important thing to remember is break it all down into the smallest chunks you need to.

Repeating two bar sections over and over is a good idea to help you get used to the changes.

You can then piece them together.

[] #5 The “Romanza” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

I call this pattern the “Romanza” pattern as it is inspired by the classic etude `Spanish Romance` that many of you will have learnt.

 

The “Romanza” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

The “Romanza” pattern is in 3/4 time which means there are 3 beats in the bar.

Each beat is played as a set of triplets.

This simply means, we count each beat as 1, 2, 3 and we do that all three times.

Therefore a bar will be counted as:

1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3.

This is actually a fairly easy pattern to play and as always it`s better to listen to the example and hear it in action.

As long as you ensure you begin each bar with a root note and let each note ring out, it will sound great.

Make sure each set of three notes are consistent without any pauses in between.

 

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the initial bass pluck is the 4rd fret of the A string (as this our root note for the C chord) along with the high E string (with ring finger).

Then play the B string (with middle finger), then the G string (with index finger).

Then play the high E, then B, then G strings twice more using the same fingers throughout.

G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the initial bass pluck is the 3rd fret of the low E string (as this our root note for the G chord) along with the high E string (with ring finger).

Then play the B string (with middle finger), then the G string (with index finger).

Then play the high E, then B, then G strings twice more using the same fingers throughout.

D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the initial bass pluck is the open D string (as this our root note for the D chord) along with the high E string (with ring finger).

Then play the B string (with middle finger), then the G string (with index finger).

Then play the high E, then B, then G strings twice more using the same fingers throughout.

 

The “Romanza” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example

The example I have created for the “Romanza” pattern is in the key of A minor and is loosely inspired by Stravinsky`s “Le Baiser de la Fée: Scene III

Firstly, we start off with an:

A minor chord

Then, we play an:

F Major 7

Changing from Am to FMaj7

You can either play the F note on the low E string with your thumb using the “over the top of the neck technique”,

Or

You can use your middle finger and move it from the G string across to the 1st fret on the low E string.

Both ways are a little tricky so experiment and use whichever works best for you.

If you have already tried this example, you may notice the 2nd fret of the D string isn`t actually needed (as we don`t pick this string in this pattern).

You can therefore `hover` your middle finger over the 1st fret of the low E string for an easier change from the Am to FMaj7.

Am/G chord

For the Am/G chord I recommend playing the G note on the low E string with your pinky while holding the Am chord with your index, middle and ring fingers.

Other chords

The other chords are where the Stravinsky influence and inspiration really come to the fore with some strange sounding voicings of familiar chords made to sound more unusual.

The penultimate bar of the piece features three, four string `pinches` to resolve the piece.

We then repeat the whole thing and finally bring the piece to a close with a ring out of the Am chord.

[++]

 

Key Takeaway

When playing any fingerpicking pattern it isn`t always necessary to have a huge amount of chords and lots of chord changes.

Sometimes it sounds very powerful to just play the same chord and change the bass note.

The example above features the same notes on the top three strings for the first six bars.

These notes are:

Open High E string

1st fret B string

2nd fret G string

View the tab for clarity.

The chords and bass notes for the first six bars are:

Am

FMaj7

Am

FMaj7

Am

Am/G (The “/” indicates an alternate bass note).

There`s a lot of mileage to be gained out of playing the same notes and simply changing the bass note occasionally.

It`s only later on in bar seven that we change things up a little.

Even then we could easily have played many more bars of the above progression of the first six bars.

Experiment with your own chord and alternate bass notes for these patterns.

It`s a great way to add some sophistication to a bunch of chords.

[] #6 The “Ed Stream” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

This next pattern isn`t as common as some of the others in this book, but is a great exercise in fingerpicking at speed and with an unorthodox rhythm.

It also sounds great and the fact it isn`t quite as common as some means you have more scope to make it sound like your own in your own song ideas.

I named it “Ed Stream” rather jokingly as it is based off Ed Sheeran`s Bloodstream (see what I did there).

 

The “Ed Stream” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

 

This pattern uses 16th notes throughout.

 

If you don`t know what 16th notes are and they sound daunting, there is no need to worry.

 

16th notes are double the speed of 8th notes, so they can sound very fast.

 

Do not think about speed as yet though.

 

It is infinity better the master something slowly than it is to play it quickly but inaccurately.

 

Many guitarists count this pattern as:

 

1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2

 

This is then repeated to complete the bar.

 

Listen to and view the example for clarity.

 

To play the pattern we are going to deviate from the standard rule of playing the:

 

Low E, A and D strings with the thumb

 

And playing the:

 

G, B, and high E strings with your other fingers

 

 

Instead we will play the:

 

Root note of the chord with the thumb

Second note with index finger

Third note with the middle finger

 

The ring finger and the pinky aren’t needed here at all.

 

 

 

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the initial bass pluck is the A string on the 3rd fret (as this our root note for the C chord).

Our second note is the string above which is on the D string (this time played with the index finger instead of the thumb).

The third note is the string above which is on the G string (this time played with the middle finger).

G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the initial bass pluck is the low E string on the 3rd fret (as this our root note for the G chord).

Our second note is the D string (this time played with the index finger instead of the thumb).

The third note is the string above which is on the G string (this time played with the middle finger).

(You can of course play your alternate bass note on the A string, but for this example it sounds smoother and more consistent playing the same alternate bass note on the D string as for the C chord)

D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the initial bass pluck is the open D string (as this our root note for the D chord).

Our second note is the string above which is on the G string (this time played with the index finger instead of the thumb).

The third note is the string above which is on the B string (this time played with the middle finger).

 

The “Ed Stream” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example

Instead of using conventional chords for this example I wanted to show you how you can use `chord anchors` once again to create something powerful.

 

This will allow you to really focus on building up the speed and accuracy of the fingerpicking pattern without having to change chords frequently.

 

The bass notes

Use the index finger of the fretting hand to play all the different bass notes located on the:

 

7th fret A string

6th fret A string

7th fret low E string

 

 

The `chord anchors`

Keep your ring finger pinky on the 9th fret of the D and G strings throughout.

 

And:

 

Anchor your middle finger on the 8th fret of the G string throughout ready for the subtle change of note on this string in bar 4.

 

Lift the pinky off the strings for this one bar only.

 

Again, listen to the audio example and view the tab for clarity.

 

 

 

Key Takeaway

Speed can only come once accuracy has been achieved.

A lot of guitarists aim to play fast as soon as possible.

If you don`t have solid technique and a good amount of muscle memory you will struggle to pick up speed.

Start off slow with this pattern and work your speed up over a week or so.

I recommend you use the Guitar Pro play-along and loop one bar at a time with a reduction in tempo.

Then gradually speed up the piece.

You will find this is a natural and comfortable way to learn and improve your speed.

[] #7 The “Butler” Pattern

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

The “Butler” pattern is named because it is very loosely based off the John Butler Trio`s amazing instrumental piece `Ocean`.

This is one of my personal favourite instrumental songs ever and is well loved by a lot of guitarists.

We are playing something a little more unusual here and it is definitely more intermediate than some of the other techniques we have looked at so far.

 

The “The Butler” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

 

Notice how each bar starts off with a bass note hammer on.

 

If you are not yet comfortable hammering on – particularly from open strings, you should practice this in isolation first before adding it to the pattern.

 

 

To start the pattern off we play the:

 

Open string that the root note is based on (for C Major it is the A string).

 

We then hammer on to the root note (for C it is the 3rd fret of the A string).

 

For chords where the root note is an open string, hammer on to the `3rd` note of the chord.

 

If you do not yet understand music theory, you may not know what the `3^rd`^ of the chord is.

 

If that is the case, use the guide below.

 

 

What fret do I hammer on to for what chord?

 

E minor = open low E string – hammer on 3rd fret

E Major = open low E string – hammer on 4th fret

 

A minor = open A string – hammer on 3rd fret

A Major = open A string – hammer on 4th fret

 

D minor = open D string – hammer on 3rd fret

D Major = open D string – hammer on 4th fret

 

 

 

The rest of the pattern uses the thumb, middle and ring fingers in the standard way for all the other notes.

 

 

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the initial bass pluck is the open A string with a hammer on to the 3rd fret of the same string (as this is our root note for the C chord).

[++]
G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the initial bass pluck is the open low E string with a hammer on to the 3rd fret of the same string (as this is our root note for the G chord).

[++]
D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the initial bass pluck is the open D string with a hammer on to the 4th fret of the same string (as this the `3rd` note for the D chord).

 

The “Butler” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example

The above example is one that I wrote in the mode of A Lydian.

If you do not understand modes, this simply means that it is based around the notes in the key of E Major but the focus is more on the A note rather than the E note.

The fretting hand has a relatively simple job in this example.

Apart from the two hammer on`s it doesn`t have a lot do.

This is a relief as the plucking hand picking pattern is a little complex and intricate.

Listen to the pattern clearly, slow it down and play it in guitar pro with the free Guitar Pro files that you can download at the end of the book.

You can also study the pattern and break it down into smaller chunks.

The first and second half of the patterns (separated by the hammered on note) are very similar.

Master the first half and then the second half, and then play them together slowly.

Remember – take your time with this pattern.

[++]

 

Key Takeaway

Some fingerpicking patterns are so intricate and complex that playing them with conventional chords can be far more difficult.

You will probably notice that the second example is easier to play than the C, G, D example.

For a pattern like this, the second example is what I would use far more often in the real world.

Sometimes when a fingerpicking pattern that sounds as good as this one, we only need simple chord voicings and the use of drone notes to create an interesting vibe.

Paul McCartney wrote `Blackbird` – a classic fingerpicking song for many guitarists (and one that I love myself) and that used the open G string droning throughout.

It`s a powerful technique that can add a lot of colour to some ordinary chords.

Experiment with playing this pattern and others using a drone note or two within a chord.

A simple way to do this is to play conventional chords but pick a string (let`s say the B string) and keep that as an open string throughout.

Experiment and have fun!

[] #8 The “Sweet Melody” Pattern

 

[+ Click here to watch the video lesson+]

Now it`s time to add some melody notes into our fingerpicking patterns.

The “Sweet Melody” pattern as I have called it contains chords, bass notes and melody notes all at the same time.

Playing all three on one instrument sounds impressive but can be difficult to do.

Let`s break it down into its simplest form.

 

The “Sweet Melody” Pattern
Click here to listen to the example

As always before reading through the descriptions of these patterns, ensure that you listen to it in action and view the tab above.

Let`s split the pattern into two parts.

The first half of the bar is the chords and bass part.

Bass and Chords

There are two `pinches` played with the thumb, index middle fingers and ring fingers.

The thumb plays the root note while the index, middle and ring fingers play the G, B and high E strings respectively.

The pinches are interspersed by two bass notes played on the root with the thumb.

Practice this part first for all three chords in the above example.

Okay, when you feel comfortable with playing the first half of the pattern let`s look at adding the melody.

The Melody

There are no hard and fast rules when adding the melody notes to any fingerpicking pattern.

As long as you hammer on to a note that is in the key you are in, it will nearly always sound great.

My recommendation here is not to get too pedantic about which notes you hammer on, but to listen and hear for yourself which melody notes work for which chords.

Let`s take a look at the above example first for the C Major chord.

For this chord we hammer on from the 1st fret B string (which is a C note) to the 3rd fret B string (which is a D note).

Both of these notes are in the C Major scale and therefore will work as a melody within the C Major chord.

Once you have chosen your note to hammer on to, you then follow this up with the:

High E string (with the ring finger)

B string (with middle finger)

G string (with index finger)

B string (with middle finger)

For the G chord you will probably find it easier playing the rock version as shown in the chord chart at the beginning (but without the note on the B string).

This frees up the ring finger to play the `hammer on` on the B string.

If you are unsure which note to hammer on to when playing other chords, then you may need to learn your scales in the open position.

Alternately, you can use your ear to guide you.

If you play this pattern for an E Major chord and hammer on to the:

1st fret of the B string, it will sound weak and a bit odd

Whereas if you hammer on to the:

3rd fret it will create a dominant 7th chord which will sound bluesy

That is just one example, there are countless other.

As always, experiment, try things out for yourself.

See what works.

Don`t forget to learn the example below to see it in action in a more real world setting.

 

 

C Major (and other 5 string chords)

On the C Major chord the bass note stays on the A string played at the 3rd fret (which is our root note for the C chord).

For this chord we hammer on from the 1st fret B string (which is a C note) to the 3rd fret B string (which is a D note).

Both of these notes are in the C Major scale and therefore will work as a melody within the C Major chord.

All the melody notes are played on the G, B and E strings.

G Major (and other 6 string chords)

On the G Major chord the bass note stays on the low E string played at the 3rd fret (which is our root note for the G chord).

For this chord we hammer on from the open B string (which is a B note) to the 3rd fret B string (which is a D note).

Both of these notes are in the G Major scale and therefore will work as a melody within the G Major chord.

All the melody notes are played on the G, B and E strings.

D Major (and other 4 string chords)

On the D Major chord the bass note stays on the open D string (which is our root note for the D chord).

For this chord we hammer on from the 2nd fret high E string (which is an F# note) to the 3rd fret high E string (which is a G note).

Both of these notes are in the D Major scale and therefore will work as a melody within the D Major chord.

All the melody notes are played on the G, B and E strings.

 

The “Sweet Melody” Pattern Example
Click here to listen to the example

The example I have created for this pattern is very much inspired by the likes of Ferdinando Carulli and the romantic era of classical music.

The I-V progression heard at the beginning which in our key of C is C-G7 was very common during this period.

As the progression goes on, I added an Am and B7 to create a more modern sound and make the piece build to a compelling finish.

You will notice that we deviate away from the fingerpicking pattern towards the end.

When creating an original piece of your own, it`s always worth throwing in some rhythm and picking variations of your own to keep the listener interested and `hook` them into the music more.

The piece finishes with a trill between the 2nd and 3rd frets of the high E string.

A trill is when only the first note is struck (which in this instance is the 2nd fret of the high E string),

…and then the rest of the notes:

Are rapidly hammered-on and pulled off (between the 2nd and 3rd fret for this example).

If the trill is too difficult you can leave it out for now and bring it in when you more comfortable using this technique.

Key Takeaway

Sometimes when playing music that uses `set fingerpicking patterns` it`s a powerful idea to vary things a little.

This has great power when not overdone and will make your music and arrangements of songs sound more interesting and more compelling to the listener.

It is also a more professional sound.

Towards the end of a section or piece of music is a great time to mix things up a little and deviate away from your `set pattern` as this is an ideal place to create or resolve tension.

Try this idea for yourself.

[++]

[] Where to next?

I recommend following the steps outlined ahead.

This will allow you to get the most from this book and your fingerpicking guitar playing.

 

[* *] 6 Steps To Getting The Most Out Of This Book (and Yourself)

Step 1)

Learn and master each pattern with the three chords of C, G and D as shown in the first example for each pattern.

Do not rush learning them.

Slow them right down and focus on getting clarity and the correct rhythm before attempting them at full speed.

Aim to play each example ten times in a row perfectly at a slow tempo before considering speeding them up.

This is a good mantra to follow for EVERYTHING you ever learn on guitar too.

 

Step 2)

Instead of playing one bar of C, one bar of G and one bar of D as I have notated now, you should mix it up a little.

Maybe play:

1 x bar of C

1 x bar of D

1 x bar of C

1 x bar of G

You could even throw in more chords that aren`t mentioned above.

For instance, you could swap the C for an A minor or you could swap the D for a D7.

The possibilities are endless.

If you want to know what chords work well with each other, you will need a lot of playing experience or knowledge of basic music theory.

My book `Guitarists Get Theory` available with 6 other books as a bundle package deal is available here.

 

Step 3)

Learn the example `play-along` song.

This is a really important step and one that shouldn`t be neglected.

Don`t forget, the `play-along` is the second example for each pattern.

These are what allow you to hear the patterns used in a real world example using typical pop and classical chord progressions and chord voicings.

Commit to learning and perfecting each one.

It will be much better for you to learn each example properly and be 100% perfect with each one before attempting the next one.

Record yourself playing them so you can hear and see what the audience hears and sees.

You can then spot any weak and strong areas.

Also, email me a link or a copy of your own recordings of these examples or any of your own using these patterns for a bit of feedback.

You can email me at [email protected]

Step 4)

 

Adapt the play-along song.

Feel free to adapt and mould the second example for each pattern to your own taste.

Some of those are pieces I have created from bands or solo songs over the years but you can do what you like with them.

If you do use the examples for any recorded music I only ask that you let me know so I can hear them for myself!

 

Step 5)

Learn the songs you love.

You should always be learning songs that you love.

I recommend you make a list of 5 fingerpicking songs you really love and get learning them over the next few months.

The skills you have acquired from this book will make learning new fingerpicking songs simpler and much more fun!

 

Step 6)

Create your own songs and arrangements.

As I hope you have found from this book, there infinite things you can do with fingerpicking guitar.

The sky is the limit.

Experiment and have fun writing songs.

Even if you have no real desire to be a huge pop star or a world famous guitarist, I believe that every one of you should write a song at some time in your life.

It is so rewarding.

Go for it, even if it takes you months, work on it little by little.

Then when you feel ready, go ahead and record it.

Home studio software and equipment is relatively cheap these days and the cost of getting a song – particularly one with just guitar and vocals on it can be fairly simple and very cheap to record to a high standard.

Of course you can go into a studio and get a professional to record it for you, or even a friend who has experience with recording.

 

Adding other chords to the fingerpicking patterns

Just a quick note on using these patterns with other chords not mentioned in this book.

I bet a lot of you are thinking right now:

Well, if I do play these patterns with different chords, what strings will I pick, as a G chord has a different bass note to a D chord?”

The answer is to ask yourself:

How many strings are played in the original chord?”

For example, a C Major chord has five strings in the chord.

An A minor chord also has five strings.

Therefore, play the exact same pattern for both of those chords.

Make sense?

To clarify, three easy rules to remember are:

1) For any four string chords, (such as D7, Dm, Dm7, etc), play the SAME pattern as shown for that example for the D Major chord (as that is a four string chord).

2) For any five string chords, (such as Am, C7, Am7, A7, Bm, etc), play the SAME pattern as shown for that example for the C Major chord (as that is a five string chord).

3) For any six string chords, (such as Em, GMaj7, G7, F#m, etc), play the SAME pattern as shown for that example for the G Major chord (as that is a six string chord).

 

A final note.

As a by product, all the techniques in this book will help your guitar playing in so many other ways, continue to use them for as long as you play.

You will be a better guitarist for it. Be the best guitarist you can be.

Thank you and I wish you all the best.

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination

Email me at [email protected] for any questions or just let me know how you get on.

I love to hear how these techniques help you to achieve your guitar playing dreams.

 

[] Chord Reference Guide

You will find all the chord shapes mentioned in this book below so you can refer to them as and when needed.

[++]

“Going Up Pattern” Play along

Below are all the chord shapes used for the “Going Up” Pattern play-along.

 

“The Outside-In” Play-along

Below are all the chord shapes used for the “Outside-In” Pattern play-along.

 

“The London” Play-along

Below are all the chord shapes used for the “London” Pattern play-along.

 

 

 

 

“The Romanza” Play along

Below are all the chord shapes used for the “Romanza” Pattern play-along.

 

 

The “Sweet Melody” Play along

Below are all the chord shapes used for the “Sweet Melody” Pattern play-along.

 

 

Please note:

 

I haven`t included the chord shapes for the play-along examples for the “Ballad”, “Ed Stream” and “Butler” patterns.

 

This is because they use either `chord anchors or open string drone notes and not standard chord shapes.

 

Therefore, it is easier to view the tablature to see where to locate your fingers for these three pieces.

 

 

 

 

I would like to thank the creators of the following images for allowing me to use them in this eBook under creative commons licence.

Christopher Johnson for his photo titled `Ed Sheeran, Blood Red Shoes, Hot Chip, Bloc Party, XX, others at Frequency Fest in Austria`

[] Links and Other Useful Resources

Click the links below to download or playback the audio/files mentioned in this book:

Listening to the examples

The audio examples (for playback only)

Free Bonuses

The audio examples and Guitar Pro Files (for download only)

They are in a zip file. Simply save them to a PC, Mac or Smartphone and double click on the zip file.

 

You will need `unzipping` software installed to extract the files.

 

Once the files have been extracted, import them into iTunes, Windows Media Player, Tomahawk or your favourite media player.

 

You can then listen, loop, repeat and play along with all the audio examples.

Guitar Pro Files

To playback the Guitar Pro files you will need to download one of either of the following software:

Guitar Pro

Tux Guitar

 

 

Other resources available from the author

Dan Thorpe currently has two web sites:

Guitar Domination – a free resource for all guitarists to learn and enjoy

Elite Guitarist – A selection of courses aimed at making you the absolute best guitarist you can be.

These range from strumming, chord changes, essential beginner guitar skills and more.

Click the links below for more details:

The Guitar Domination Super Book Bundle

Strumming with Soul – Strum the guitar with technique, passion and power

Rockstar 101 – Essential Guitar Skills For Beginners

Ninja Chord Changes


Fingerstyle 101: Learn 8 Beautiful Fingerpicking Patterns That Every Guitarist S

There aren’t many better sounds in the world than a guitar being fingerpicked. It could be a battered old Takamine, a brand spanking new Fender electro acoustic or a boutique Ramirez nylon classical. It doesn`t matter what guitar you have, with fingerpicking you can take the most simple of chords and turn them into elegant, joyous, awe-inspiring pieces of music that will stun and delight your audience. Fingerpicking the guitar can and will bring you many years and decades of fun, joy and expression to your life. Fingerstyle guitar is an essential and often VERY overlooked part of guitar playing. Yet, it is Fingerpicking that separates the awesome guitarist from the sloppy sounding amateur. Do you struggle to hear what fingerpicking patterns are used in a song? Do you not know which fingers pluck which strings? Do you not know any ACTUAL fingerpicking patterns to call on at will? Are you aware of `Travis picking` but have no idea how to do it (this is must know picking stuff) Do you find it frustrating watching others impress with just a handful of chords and some awesome fingerpicking skills? If you answered YES to any of the above, you need to improve your fingerpicking guitar skills. The solution for becoming a finger style master is here... Follow the simple steps in Fingerpicking 101and impress your audience and reach the next level with your guitar playing quickly. Learn the fingerpicking patterns used by artists such as: Ed Sheeran, John Butler Trio, Damien Rice, Eddie Vedder, James Taylor, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Donovan, Ferdinando Carulli, Tommy Emmanuel, Paul Simon, Michael Hedges, John Renbourn, Kansas, Dixie Chicks, Bruno Mars, Philip Phillips, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Arlo Guthrie, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, Fernando Sor, John Denver, Bonnie Raitt, Peter, Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Fleetwood Mac and many more.... Beginner fingerstyle guitarists often struggle with two main areas. One is chord changes and the other is what string to pick with what fingers. Get your finger picking patterns sorted today and your guitar playing will be so much more impressive and expressive. Dan Thorpe makes the chord changes easy in this book by showing you: - Simple chord changes - Familiar chord changes (which are easier for you) - How to use drone notes, - A unique style called `chord anchors` - and many more things which will allow you to FOCUS on the picking hand while still making beautiful music. You don`t have to be an intermediate or so called expert guitar player to enjoy and learn plenty from this book. Whenever you listen to the radio, watch a guitarist or put on your favourite guitar songs, it's very often the fingerpicking guitar parts that stand out and grab our attention. Throughout this eBook you will see 8 examples of finger style guitar playing. They are 8 very different patterns. Don`t worry if you play acoustic, classical or electric guitar. All the examples will work and sound great on ANY guitar as long as it is a guitar you are comfortable playing. The chord progressions you will learn are some of my favourite and most beautiful patterns. Each pattern comes with two examples. All the chords in the book are shown in a simple, clear and easy to understand chord chart, along tab for every example. Some of the fingerpicking patterns and chord progressions are inspired by the likes of: - Ferdinando Carulli and Fernando Sor (classical) - Paul Simon and James Taylor (classic folk) - Ed Sheeran and John butler Trio (modern pop) With just a handful of chords and some interesting picking patterns you will wow your audience, impress your band mates and most of all, get more pleasure and joy from playing the guitar. You will enrich your own life and those of others around you. BONUS CONTENT You also receive two exclusive free bonuses

  • ISBN: 9781310821578
  • Author: Dan Thorpe
  • Published: 2015-09-15 09:40:27
  • Words: 10389
Fingerstyle 101: Learn 8 Beautiful Fingerpicking Patterns That Every Guitarist S Fingerstyle 101: Learn 8 Beautiful Fingerpicking Patterns That Every Guitarist S