5 Intermediate Fingerpicking Patterns

When learning how to play fingerstyle guitar, one of the biggest roadblocks many of us face is moving beyond basic fingerpicking patterns as you progress into the intermediate study of the genre.

In this lesson, you will learn how to play 5 intermediate level fingerpicking patterns that you can use to build your technique, as well as add variety to your songwriting and performance in a fingerstyle situation.

If you are looking for a refresher, check out our other fingerpicking lessons:

Without further ado, let’s dive into these fun patterns!

Intermediate Fingerpicking Patterns 1

In this first fingerpicking pattern, you will be climbing up the bass notes with your thumb as you play the upper notes, C and F, with your index and/or middle fingers.

You can alternate your index and middle finger on the upper note if you wish, or simply choose one or the other to alternate with your thumb.

Both methods work well, so try them both and see which one is right for you.

Click to hear audio for this example.

Intermediate Fingerpicking 1


Intermediate Fingerpicking Patterns 2

This fingerpicking pattern features a “pinch” technique, where you play a bass note and the upper note at the same time, followed by a static note in between.

There are a few common ways to finger this pattern, such as playing all bass notes with your thumb and then the highest note with your middle finger and the middle note with your index finger.

You can also use your ring finger on the highest note and middle finger on the middle note, or any combination of those fingers that feels good to you.

Again, try a few variations out and see which one suits your hands and playing better.

Click to hear audio for this example.

Intermediate Fingerpicking 2


Intermediate Fingerpicking Patterns 3

The next fingerpicking pattern that you will learn in this lesson divides the bar into an odd number of notes, in this case 3+3+2 8th notes.

Often times we practice fingerpicking patterns that are grouped into 2, 4 or 8-note patterns.

But, you can create some very interesting sounds when you start to group notes within a bar into odd numbers, such as the 3+3+2 you see in this phrase.

Try playing each ascending bass note with your thumb, and then alternate either your middle and index, or ring and middle fingers for the static upper notes in each bar.

To take things further, try placing an accent on the bass notes with your thumb to bring out the syncopation in the line, making each bass note louder than the upper notes.

Click to hear audio for this example.

Intermediate Fingerpicking 3


Intermediate Fingerpicking Patterns 4

With the fourth fingerpicking pattern, you will run an ascending bass line over each chord, but this time the upper notes are played with a triplet rhythm.

You can use the same fingering as you did with the previous example, playing the bass notes with your thumb and the upper notes alternating ring and middle or middle and index fingers.

Take your time with this pattern, as it is important to get each triplet even when played across the bar.

Click to hear audio for this example.

Intermediate Fingerpicking 4


Intermediate Fingerpicking Patterns 5

The final fingerpicking pattern takes the previous example to the next level as you are not playing 3 static notes on top of each bass note, using 16th notes to do so.

Again, go slowing at first with this pattern, and try your thumb on the lowest note, followed by ring-middle-index on the upper notes.

You can also reverse your fingers and use thumb-index-middle-ring, depending on which one is more comfortable for you and your style of playing.

Click to hear audio for this example.

Intermediate Fingerpicking 5


Do you have a question about these intermediate fingerpicking patterns? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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