Paul Smith Music Beginning finger picking patterns #1-4
                                                     (Travis picking)

Introduction to Tab / Right Hand Position / Patterns #5-9  /  Patterns #10-13 /  Patterns #14-20 / Patterns #21-25  

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Please note:
I'm helping you learn to finger pick, and I'm doing this free of charge.
I want you to understand that it has been incredibly time consuming,  
writing out the tab. recording the audio clips, uploading the files...etc.
All I ask is for you to please show your appreciation.

                  DONATIONS are appreciated!

 Starting January 1st 2013 CD's will no longer be sold in Jewel cases.  Only discs! 

Before you begin to learn these picking patterns, please make sure you read

        WHY learn to finger pick?  And HOW to learn

Please don't make the mistake of just beginning finger picking with the picking patterns.  
That may save yourself some time right now but in the long run it will cost you.  You 
will more then likely learn bad habits, which will need to be unlearned later, or worse 
yet you may even give up learning to finger pick altogether.  Please don't let that happen!  
I've done this before and I can help you avoid a lot of problems that you may not yet 
foresee or understand.  Trust me, you will be much better off if you put your guitar down 
just for now
and first read the information on the page mentioned above.
  I know there 
is a lot of information on that page, but you should, and will need to know it when you're 
beginning finger picking.  It will help you learn the fastest, and the BEST way to finger 
pick.  It will also save you a lot of heartache.  For example - the reason why you need 
to begin finger picking using finger picks is explained.  Also why you should listen 
to finger style guitar music
is also discussed.  Very important is the information about 
HOW to learn finger picking. 
You will read about things that will help you to stay with
your practicing and how to get the most of it and much, much more.  

In fact I suggest going back a rereading that information as you progress.  I've organized 
the page into "Subtitles" to help you locate the information more quickly.  Clicking on the 
BLUE subtitle will take you to that part of the page.  You will find that the things you read 
there will take on newer meaning as you practice and learn the skills in the art of finger picking.

    Learn while wearing finger picks.
The BEST way to learn beginning finger picking is to learn while using finger picks.
The reasons for this are discussed on WHY learn to finger pick and How to learn
For the finger picking patterns I will be teaching you, you will need three finger 
picks and one thumb pick.  Finger picks are not as available in music stores as they
were back when I was
beginning finger picking.  So by request I'm offering them
on this web. site.  There are a number of varieties as well as brand names of picks
to choose from. 
I'm not pushing or advocating any particular type or brand.  That is 
your call.  They all have good things and bad things about them.  It's simply a matter 
of personal choice and getting use to them.  However, I do recommend not using 
metal picks on acoustic guitars for reasons discussed in the page mentioned above.  (Please read it)  
If you want, you can order some picks from this site.  You would be surprised how 
many people ask how to wear finger picks.  If you purchase picks from 
Paul Smith Music
.net you will receive instructions on how to ware them and how 
to fit them correctly. To order picks from this site. (new window)  

If your just starting to learn to finger pick, I recommend getting this deal below.  When
beginning finger picking you what to start to listen to as may artists as you can that play 
this style.  These CDs incorporate the very picking patterns you will be learning on this 
site and they will help you learn by listening to how these patterns are used.  Plus they will 
help motivate you.  The customized picks will also be help because they make it easier to 
learn when you
're just beginning to finger pick.  This combo makes for the reduced prices.  
If your just beginning finger picking I recommend you get this deal.
                 The best offer on this web site  - you save $14.68)

Three CD's plus two sets of custom plastic finger picks - Total $43
Includes - Three music CD's Relax And Reminisce, Eastern Shore, and Goose Lake,
with TWO sets of customized plastic finger picks - Free shipping U.S.A.* -  

$44      Best deal on this web site  - you save $14.68

With velvet pick bag >  $46.50
* Red Asterisk means this only applies to shipping in lower 48 United States.  
      Outside the United States please click shipping cost. 
(New window)

Also check out
Paul's latest CD, Alone With Integrity
also his new site at

Learning with basic beginning finger picking patterns

The idea here is to learn some basic beginning finger picking patterns.  So you will be
concentrating only on the right hand. You don't have to but I recommend that you tune
your guitar to a chord so you donít have to use your left hand at all.  That would be
the BEST so you can concentrate only on your right hand (your picking hand).  
                           To tune to a D chord
  Use an electronic tuner is ideal, if you don't have one follow this below.

E string - tune down a whole step, to a D note 
               (fret E string on 7th fret - tune E string down to same pitch as A string)
A string - leave as is A note
D string - leave as is D note
string - tune down a half step to F# note
               (fret D string on 4th fret - tune G string down to same pitch) 
B string - tune down a whole step to A note 
               (fret new F# string on 3rd fret - tune B string down to same pitch)
E string - tune down a whole step to D note
               (fret new A string on 5th fret - tune E string down to same pitch)

With this tuning you won't have to worry about playing the chords shown 
above the picking patterns and if you want to you can put a capo on the 
2 fret for an E chord; 3rd fret for F; 5th for G. Using a capo will also make 
fingering notes and chord easier to play because the strings don't have to be
pressed so hard.  

If you donít want to do the retuning, you can just play the chords shown.  
Itís not important right now what you do with your left hand, just as long as 
the chords that you play and the notes that you will be picking sound pleasing 
to the ear.  That way you will recognize the good sounding tones as you pick.   

Start by thinking in terms of picking patterns.  We will begin with patterns known
as "Travis picking". The "Travis pick" is a finger picking "style" that basically means 
you will be alternating between your thumb and fingers.  That is, you will pick a 
string with your thumb then pick a string with one of your fingers.  Then back 
to the thumb again on a different string this time, followed by another finger on 
another string, and so on.  (Merle Travis is where the "Travis pick" got its name but
actually he only used one finger and a thumb in imitation of his fathers banjo playing. 
But when I teach the Travis pick we will use three finger picks for reasons discussed 
on the
 WHY learn to finger pick?  And HOW to learn page of this web site.  
For our purposes we'll refer to this as "Travis picking." or the "Travis pick"
even though it isn't exactly the same way that Merle Travis did it.( click to review)   

There are many variations of the "Travis pick" or ďTravis picking.Ē  Please try to 
learn as many as you can.  You will also find on this site other finger picking patterns 
that are not "Travis picking."  Your goal will be to learn one finger picking pattern 
(or variation) then go on to the next.  Once youíve learned the 2nd pattern, go back 
to the 1st until you can play them both smoothly while changing from one pick pattern 
to the other in one continuous flowing rhythm.  Then add a 3rd pattern.  Learn 
to play all three changing back and forth.  Add a 4th and so on.  The changes here
from one pattern to the next are small.  But by the time you get to picking pattern
#13 you will see a big difference from picking pattern #1.  Because you have made 
those changes gradually from one pattern to the next you will find the picking patterns 
are easier to learn.  It's like building blocks, because one picking pattern builds on the 
previous picking pattern and so on.    

By the time you learn the first nine Travis picking patterns shown on this site, you 
can start to think again about your left hand.  Then, youíll be ready to actually 
play chords and make progressive chord changes and perhaps learning some songs.  
I'll explain more about that after pattern #9. 

FOR NOW -- Remember that your only working on your RIGHT HAND skill.
So concentrate solely on that hand... nothing else.

   Beginning Guitar finger picking Tab.  Patterns #1-4     (Travis picking patterns)

It's best to download the Audio samples.  Use them to help get the rhythm of the finger picking pattern.
            (These samples are mp3 formatted at 64kbps, 10 to 15sec. in length, and average about 100KB)

These first patterns we are going to learn uses the FIRST POSITION with your right hand. 
What is that?
Read Finger Picking Hand Position to find out before beginning the picking patterns.

Guitar finger picking Tab
Picking Pattern #1  (Travis pick)  
      Start this
Travis finger picking pattern by pinching 4th and 1st strings in each measure. 
              (the notes "d" and "f #" for D chord)
       Notice that both measures are the same.  Repeat over and over until smooth and rhythmic.
       Start very, very, very slow.  Speed will come in time.  Don't rush it.  Remember and use the 
RULES for LEARNING how to finger pick found on the above mentioned page that you should read..

                                    Audio samples / Slow / Medium / Fast  

   D   chord

E  II----2-----------2--------I---2------------2-----------II   
B  II---(------3-----------3--I---(------3-----------3-----II    
G  II-*-----2-----------2-----I-------2-----------2------*-II   
D  II-*--0--------0-----------I---0---------0------------*-II   
A  II-------------------------I----------------------------II
E  II-------------------------I----------------------------II

         2  T  1  T  2  T  1      2   T  1  T  2  T  1
         T                        T 
      (Pinch)                  (Pinch)

Guitar finger picking Tab
Picking Pattern #2   (Travis pick)
        Pinch to start this finger picking pattern in the 1st measure, but not the second.  
        Repeat both measures over and over 
        until smooth, continuous rhythm.

        Then try playing without returning to the first measure, 
        that is start with the first measure then repeat the second 
        measure three or four times before returning to the first. 

                                     Audio samples / Slow / Medium / Fast /  

  D   chord

     2  T  1  T  2  T  1          T  2  T  1  T  2  T  1


Guitar finger picking Tab.
Picking Pattern #3   (Travis pick)
        This finger picking pattern is the same as exercise #1 except you alternate the bass thumb 
        from "d" string to "a" string.  When learning this pattern you want to concentrate on the 
        bass notes as you increase your finger picking speed.  
       "Think" about the "bass pinch", but just let the other notes happen.    

                                    Audio samples / Slow / Medium / Fast /  

       D   chord


      2  T  1  T  2  T  1      2  T  1  T  2  T  1
      T                        T  

Guitar finger picking Tab.
Picking Pattern #4   (Travis pick)
Pinch to start this pattern, alternate the bass thumb, second measures you don't pinch.  
         Again, "think" about the "bass", and just let the other notes happen as you play.    
         Repeat over and over until mastered.  Concentrate on the thumb learning these.

                                   Audio samples / Slow / Medium / Fast /  

       D   chord


     2  T  1  T  2  T  1      T  2  T  1  T  2  T  1

Now try these exercises:
After you have these basic guitar finger picking patterns down and you can pick them without 
interruption, there are some things to help you further imprint the picking patterns in your mind.  
Accent individual notes each time as you pick a pattern.  For example in Pattern #1 start by 
accenting (or picking harder) the fist notes (those you pinch) more then the rest.
  Do that each 
time you come to those notes.  Next, accent only the second note.  Which would be the "a" note 
in this case, picked with the thumb.  Accent it every time you hit that note and donot accent any 
other notes in the pattern.  Then do the same with the third note.  Accent it and no others in the
pattern and so on until you have learned to accent each note individually in the pattern.   
This will not only help in memory and coordination, but it will also help later when you want to 
perform certain licks, chord progressions and add melody lines as your finger picking a song.  

Another exercises -  This is to help you increase speed.
Begin picking a pattern and as you do continue to increase speed gradually.
Go faster and faster until you are going as fast as you can and keep picking for as long as you can
and as fast as you can without making any mistakes.  If you begin to make mistakes -
                                       Then- STOP!!!
Start again very slowly and pick all the strings very hard, as hard as you can as you increase speed.
When you start to make mistakes STOP!!!  
Start again, very lightly this time, picking the strings very faintly, as you increase speed.  Go as fast as 
you can and as lightly as you can until you start to make mistakes and STOP!!!
You will notice that your speed and ease of playing will improve as you do these exercises.
By going back and using a metronome you will actually see your improvement in speed.
After these exercises, your metronome will show you that you have improve.  GOOD JOB!

These variations in approach will help you to learn new pick patterns and should be used for all of 
the patterns you attempt to master.  

Remember - Do not practice the pattern wrong.
Also - Do not practice a new pick pattern more then 15 minutes. 
Your mind will learn best while fresh.  So don't overdo it.
Remember the HOW to LEARN rules. 

If you want to practice a new pick pattern more then 15 minutes in a day that if fine.
Just keep each practice session to 15 minutes.  Practice four (15 min.) times a day and you 
will have practiced one hour on a new pattern that day.  You will make fast progress at that rate. 

Remember it takes time to learn.  Look at your progress on a monthly basis.  You'll be supprized!

To help you more:
Keep reading the information on this site over and over again.  
You will find that as you practice picking and you go back 
and reread the material, that all of a sudden what didn't make scene
before now has more meaning.  Your experience will be helping you
to better understand what it is your reading about.

Also don't forget to LISTEN to other finger picking guitar work done 
by accomplished finger picking guitarists.  This will help you when you 
practice your patterns, so that you can get that "SOUND" the way you 
hear them do it.  This can be done when not practicing.  It is enjoyable, 
easy, and it's incredibly helpful too.  Plus you can do that for as long as 
you wish.  Please purchase my CD's for a good start at LISTENING.


One music CD Relax And Reminisce with TWO sets of customized plastic finger picks - Total $25.80 
(Another good deal **Most popular buy on this site - Free shipping U.S.A *  - you save $6.30)


                        With velvet pick bag > $28.30


*  Red Asterisk means only shipping in lower 48 United States is free.  Otherwise please email me with transaction. 

Did you make a copy of the "rules for learning" on the finger picking page?
Click on Rules For Learning.   (New window)  
It is very important if you are just
beginning finger picking.  Following these "rules for learning"
will make for the BEST and FASTEST possible learning of new Pick Patterns.

Have any comments about my site...... 
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because I had 9242 Spam emails today (Nov. 2006)  I can't take that kind of abuse anymore.

If you make a purchase I will send you my email address so you can ask me questions.