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Take Your Fingerpicking Up A Notch! Learn This Fingerpicking Pattern Using The Drop D Alternate Guitar Tuning

In this video you'll learn my Drop D Fingerpicking Pattern. It's a fingerpicking pattern that you can use with lots of songs… Both vocal as well as instrumental (usually in the key at D). It's also a blast.

It's also the first part of the longer tune I composed called Bits n’ Pieces which includes a series of 3-note chords that you can play up and down the guitar neck. Keep your eye out for future lessons that you can add to this.

Pro Tips To Learning Fingerpicking Patterns

Pro Tip #1

Start by learning the basic fingerpicking pattern… I suggest fingering the D chord in your left hand. It's a 4 beat pattern. Try practicing the first two beats of the pattern, then add the 2nd two beats. This is a way to break it down that makes sense the most people.

(NOTE: Practice it slowly at first without worrying about tempo or rhythm. Then try practicing it with a metronome starting at a very slow tempo. Do a little each day and work to get smoother while you pick up the tempo a little bit at a time.)

Pro Tip #2

Practice fingering all the chords without the fingerpicking pattern. One good way to do this is to finger the first chord and strum it 4 times. Then finger the 2nd chord and strum it 4 times. Finally finger the 3rd chord and strum it 4 times.

||: D /// | G6/B ///| Cadd9 /// :||


At first don't worry about the tempo, but as you get comfortable with fingering the chords start trying to do it at a steady slow tempo without stopping as you change chords. This will help you learn to change chords on time.

The next step is to practice strumming each chord just 2 times without stopping or slowing down as you change.


||: D / G6/B /| Cadd9 / G6/B /:||

Finally practice strumming each chord one time. This forces you to change faster and get better at changing.

||: D  G6/B Cadd9 G6/B :|| (one strum each)


Pro Tip #3

Once you can play the basic pattern with the D chord start using the pattern on the G6/B chord and the Cadd9 chord.

Play two measures of D, one measure G6/B and one measure Cadd9.

In chart form it looks like this:

||: D /// | //// | G6/B ///| Cadd9 /// :||

Would you like more help with this lesson? 

Check out the premium Drop D Fingerpicking Pattern lesson in Real Guitar School. There you'll find practice along videos with the chord changes as well videos the pattern recorded at three different tempos to play along with.

Not a member yet? See how easy and affordable it is to take advantage of this premium lesson and many more like it at

Recommended Resources: 

If you’re new to Drop D tuning here’s a lesson that will help.

Drop D Alternate Guitar Tuning

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  1. Thanks looks like an easy exercise to start learning basic finger picking. I have only watched it once but I had a hard time understanding the finger picking pattern. I’m sure once I watch it again and study the printed material it will come to me. I am excited to learn the add on material you said is coming.

  2. I accessed your site in hopes that I could figure out Mickey Newbury’s picking pattern on San Francisco Mabel Joy. Thanks for the tips. It should get me statred.

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