3 EASY Fingerstyle Patterns For Beginners

See a breakdown plus a brief description of each pattern below!

Fingerstyle Pattern 1 - Inside Out    

‘Inside Out’ is a name for a common fingerstyle pattern, which will be made more complex in each exercise. In my experience, there is no better exercise to get your finger picking working well for whatever songs or patterns you then go on to play!

Fingerstyle Pattern 2               

This is where the bass note of the chord (always played by the thumb) alternates between the three thickest strings. The first note is always the root note of the chord. From there, the pattern changes depending on which string the root note is on, but is still a note from the chord. Therefore, how to play this pattern on a C chord and then a G chord is needed.          

This ‘3 String Alternating Bass’ technique is commonly referred to as ‘Travis Picking’ after guitarist Merle Travis. The bass note (played by the thumb) must be  kept on the beat and played in time. Then the fingers play whatever rhythm or pattern is asked of them. It is the bass note being even and alternating between strings (but beginning on the root) that the name ‘Travis Picking’ typically refers to.

Fingerstyle Pattern 3            

This is the ultimate fingerstyle exercise and warm up, but also sounds beautiful and is used in many fingerstyle songs! The name refers to the pattern beginning on the inside strings (2, 3, 4 and 5) working to the outside strings (1 and 6) and then back to the inside strings again.                 

We’re also keeping the 3 string alternating bass to really test your finger picking dexterity!                   

The only note different here from the previous page is the third finger plays string one. Other than that everything is the same. However, this is a much greater test of your dexterity. Start slow and keep the timing even. Take your time to get it right!