Beginner’s Tips for Guitar Picking

I recently ran a poll asking you guys what you wanted to learn most on the guitar, and guitar picking came in a dead tie with strumming (both at 26%) and seeing as I’ve already done some lessons on strumming, I figured it was time to even the score and get one in on picking too.

Nothing special going on here – basically this just takes a bit of coordination and PRACTICE.

If you really want to learn guitar picking, and it certainly is a cool skill to have, you have to sit there and practice. I can remember going over these patterns for hours when I started guitar picking, working hard to get every single note nice and clear. If you’re still working on getting your chords sounding good, this can be a great way to practice getting a clear sound out of each string.

Start with the first pattern I show you in the lesson, basically picking your root note of the chord, then the top three strings in order ( 3 – 2 – 1). So for the G chord you’d pick the strings in this order: 6 – 3 – 2 – 1.

The root of the C chord is on the 5th string, so you’d pick that chord in this order: 5 – 3 – 2 – 1.

The root of the D chord is on the 4th string, so you’d pick that chord in this order: 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

You get the picture. Watch the guitar picking lesson, and if you have any questions, leave a comment below the video.

Watch Guitar Picking on Youtube

Leave a Reply 12 comments

Donna - January 4, 2010 Reply

Excellent! Now this is what I was wanting. Very, Very Helpful. Thank you.

    Marty - July 6, 2011 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, nice lesson! I’m a beginner and this is really cool to pick and play chords..Thanks

Mike McGhee - January 31, 2010 Reply

Hi Johnathan…

I think your Tuiton on Guitar are excellent m8, i am an avid user and i am coming on leaps and bounds, so a great thank you to you Jonathan 🙂

I am good guy, but a wee bitty “skint guy at the moment” lol. But as soon as i can, i shall donate some cash…”my friend” 🙂

I would so wish you to do picking with the fingers lol, i have been doing trying this since Christmas past and some say that it sounds great to them, “i hope there not jocking with me” lol. So cant wait till you do that video m8.

Thanks again and all the best and can i say its very much a gift from you and what you give your time up for to teach Guitar Bruv…all the best and God Bless 😉

cheers from “Mike in Edinburgh” Scotland, U.K.

George Bachinsky - May 8, 2010 Reply

Hi Johnathan,
I have tried to learn to pick and everyone shows me some complex pattern with no explanation and says just practice. I can learn from what you have just shown us. Thanks.

margaret - December 24, 2010 Reply

just great – thanks for that will give it a go while learning my keys
have a good xmas and all the best for 2011

Wayne - August 25, 2011 Reply

Great job Jon. It’s amazing how little steps can take someone so far. It really helps to see it step by step. Once I picked up a ‘Martin’ at Guitar Center, strummed AT it, and thought, what’s the big deal. After listening to you do something, even in beginner mode, I now understand the big deal about MARTIN.-: Sounds wonderful! Thanks.

percival - February 27, 2012 Reply

Hi Jonathan,
Until this short video I had difficulty in seeing how the numbers on each fret related to the playing. With your relaxed style I saw that it was a lot easier than it looked and I didn’t get the ‘I can’t do/understand that’ feeling. I also have difficulty in using a ‘pick’ and subsequently use my thumb and fingers. Any tips!


    Jonathan Boettcher - February 27, 2012 Reply

    Hi Percival, I’m glad you “picked” up something from this video… haha. Using your thumb & finger’s isn’t wrong, if you prefer that it’s fine. However, if you want to learn to play with a pick, then it will take some practice. I’ve been thinking of doing a video on how to hold one, so I’ll put another vote on that pile now.

Sandpbhatrai - June 4, 2012 Reply

wow!! it’s easy…:) ……’beginner’

GeminiDolly - July 18, 2012 Reply

Oh I liked this video.  Sure looks simple enough.  But how do I know what the root is of a chord?

Elmerhatfield67 - October 18, 2012 Reply

Thanks  friend, I learned a lot from this video!

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