Pick 'n' Pluck - Fingerpicking Technique

This guitar lesson covers a fingerpicking technique that I like using from time to time. The basic idea is that you pick the root note with your pick (plectrum... whatever!), and then you pluck strings 1, 2, and 3 simultaneously after that. This gives a somewhat syncopated rhythmic feel, and it sounds great because you can get really fancy with the bass lines if you want too.

If you want to get technical, I guess this isn't true fingerpicking; because in that case you wouldn't be using a pick at all, you'd be using only your fingers. My preference is to combine the use of the pick and the fingers, which is what is referred to as hybrid picking.

If you do want to get fancier with the root notes, think about what the bass player would do in that situation, and try playing around with those ideas. If you know what guitar scales you have to work with, then you can play around in there. In this video you'll see I do a bit of that with the riff / progression towards the end of the video. There are many other guitar riffs that you could use this with, you just have to be creative.

Pick 'n' Pluck - Fingerpicking Technique

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12 Responses to “Pick 'n' Pluck - Fingerpicking Technique”

  1. Nick24 October 31, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    Thanks Jonathan- Great lesson- I've been working on my pick/fingerstyle and this will help. Volume on your video seemed very low- FYI

    • Charlie October 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      The volume is very very low

    • Maythuyar Williams November 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Hi Jonathan
      Thank you so much for your lesson.Your lesson I saw on the video is too fast for me as I am not good at learning from the video on line as too quick for me to get them all.I am just wondering if I can learn from you face to face would be much better as I know you are a good music teacher.Can you give me your address and contact number so that I can contact you and come to your place to learn finger picking technique.
      Thanks
      Maythuyar

  2. james Vivas October 31, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Jonathan,
    Are you leaving the Bass behind? All I see recently are guitar tips in your e-mails. I have purchased you Bass DVDs and found them valuable.
    Can you try to mix in some Bass Guitar Tips with your e-mails?
    Stuff like a 3 note Bass solo or chords vs scales in Bass lines? Other tips you could develop and share ?
    Keep up the good work.
    James (Mike) Vivas

  3. lyle October 31, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    johnathan. i use to play 30 yrs ago, now i just started playing or persae i have a berklee grad instr. but he isnt using the metrnone, which i heard is extremely inport for developement, i do like you lesson i have been considering purchaseing your 1 4 5 but i bought a texas bluse set up from dan dely but he didnt give all that was suppose to come with the package so i have been reluctant now with the on line purch. i have been preech at for so long on learning the scales across the neck and the notes also. thi9s is what byou seem to also preech about. i also notice from joemusic the product he sells showing the caged system , that has a nice note arrangement. sounds as if there is some hendrix there. your riffninja is also i like. pleas write back with opinion thanks.

    • Jonathan October 31, 2011 at 8:28 am #

      Hi Lyle, yes, it is very important to learn the notes on the fretboard and some basic theory, including how chords work and the scale patterns. That knowledge will help you play any kind of music you want, including Hendrix's stuff, the blues, or something else...

  4. Leo October 31, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    I enjoyed the pick & pluck lesson. I was just wondering how long finger nails should be for application of this method. Mine seem to hook the strings sometimes. I see some pickers with longer nails and some with short ones. This might seem like a dumb question but I would like to know.
    Thanks Leo

    • Jonathan October 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      Hi Leo, that's a good question actually. Some guys keep their nails long for this, but personally I don't do that, and I just use my fingertips and keep my nails short. It works okay for me, best thing is to try it out and see what will work for you.

  5. lyle November 2, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    johnathan, i looked at the riffninja, is your one four five lesson the same or does it inter twing or complament each other. i get confused when i see someone with eight or nine different mode patterns of the ionin mode or is it just for example in the key of g. is it that g to g just at different starting points. i had nnoticed he went from sixth string rite down the neck , nice for solo thanks please advise.

    • Jonathan November 2, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      Hi Lyle, my 145 lesson is different than the Guitar Improvising Secrets lesson from RiffNinja; however if you checkout the monthly membership there, you'll find some similar topics covered. Regarding the modes - in my opinion, you don't need to use that many - you can get away with about three scale patterns, that will let you cover the neck quite well.

  6. Barno January 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    another great lesson!

  7. Douglas January 21, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    very nice. Always good to have more ideas on how to play the guitar. Many thanks

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