Learn Acoustic Fingerpicking From Our Friends at Guitar Tricks

Posted 31 Jan 2014 in Acoustic Guitar, How Tos, News

Hey Guitar News Daily readers, we’ve got something really special for you today. Our friends over at guitartricks.com hooked us up with an exclusive look at some of their guitar lessons.

If you haven’t heard of them yet, Guitar Tricks is a revolutionary online guitar learning system that teaches players to sound like their favorite guitar heroes. Anyways, they gave us a sneak peak of one of their stellar lessons, “Getting Started: The Four-Step Pattern”. You’ll notice the video is embedded below, but we’ve included some pointers and commentary to get you started with acoustic fingerpicking techniques. Enjoy!


This video, which is hosted by Lisa McCormick, instructs readers on how to fingerpick in the most basic pattern of all, the four-step pattern. The first step to successfully pulling off a four-step pattern is to figure out the hand positioning; the player will be using three fingers: the index, middle, and thumb. The other two fingers should be planted on the pick guard of the guitar and will act as a sort of pivot during the procedure.


In addition to hand placement, the video also discusses the various tools that can be used to fingerpick a guitar. Most professional players use natural nails, and so does Ms. McCormick. However, she also uses a finger pick to simulate a nail on one of her hands, which is not entirely necessary. Don’t worry if any of those terms sound unfamiliar to you, as this exercise can be performed even with just one’s fingers. However, the different materials will produce different qualities of sound.


Ms. McCormick’s four-step pattern can be done by emulating the music pictured below. Remember that both the 1st and the 3rd notes (an E and a G) of the pattern are picked with the thumb, while the top note (E but in a different octave) is assigned the middle finger and the index finger to final note (B). Note that this pattern uses all open notes; that is, the player should be plucking these strings with their dominant hand and not fretting any notes on the neck. Ms. McCormick does throw some chords into the mix at the end of the video, but these are more a preview of what future videos may hold.

Repeat this pattern slowly at first and use patience when practicing, especially if you’re still a novice. If you learn the wrong technique now and practice it incorrectly, the mistake will stick with you for years. Instead, practice this pattern at a lower tempo to make certain you get the perfect technique and really internalize the pattern.


All in all, this video and the accompanying lesson really gives some good pointers to beginners. Granted, this lesson and many of the other ones we saw online were certainly targeted towards new players, intermediate or advanced players might want to skip ahead to some of the harder lessons. However, if you’ve never really played guitar before, guitartricks.com might just be the perfect first step.


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