The Ping Pong Picking Pattern

I've called this the Ping Pong picking pattern, because it has a lot of bouncing back and forth, and because it sounds cool! Whenever you're picking, it's really important to know where the root notes are for the chords you're playing. Root notes set the character and direction for the rest of the chord, and it really helps to start your picking pattern on the root note. Here's our pattern: 

Try applying this ping pong pattern to different chord progressions - you will find it's very versatile and sounds great all over the place! You can find more fingerpicking patterns here. 

Play Along Examples

40 BPM

45 BPM

50 BPM

55 BPM

60 BPM

65 BPM

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  1. It sounds like a pattern i have heard before. I like it.Thanks for posting. I listen to alot of Justin johnson. I am tring to transistion from picks to finger pads, I like the sound better. Keep picking Thanks Dean.

  2. I like this pattern as an alternate to the typical changing bass note and can see using it in some songs. I do my picking using all my fingers and thumb and can easily accommodate this pattern with thumb on the bass/root note and three fingers for the upper notes (probably first, second, fourth fingers).

  3. Thanks Jonathan,
    I preferred the version with the F#.
    I also found it easier using a finger-picking approach, rather than using a pick.

  4. Although I've been playing guitar ( " by ear" ) for some time and don't have much dexterity of my fingers when picking and don't know how how to use scales and such … I think your approach of this sample exercise to develop this skill in my opinion ( because I'm not "music-theory" familiar) To go slowly and gradually faster ( indicating the meter speed) is "Excellent"! … I would pay more attention to those kinds of "structured" lessons to gain abetter understanding of what to do on the guitar. ( P.S. I'm 84 yrs old and I started to play the guitar at 58 yrs old )I just am interested to learn " guitar techniques that I can apply and improve my playing skills.All my music interests consists of : Hawaiian / Contemporary / a little " Jazz "/ Latin / Bossanova . Thank you for this demo lesson!

  5. My favorite player is Doc Watson. But there is so many good pickers. I have tried a few times to pick with no success so I would like a chance to win your course and see if I can make it work. Thanks

  6. The Guitar is such a versatile instrument adding fingerstyle playing technique to your skill levels gives so much voice.

  7. Thanks for posting. I played patterns like that back in the 70's to make things sound different. Brings back memories.

  8. Jonathan, you really have a knack for coming across with knowledge and sincerity with your lessons! I have been working on going hybrid picking ala Kenny Wayne Shepherd. I've learned so much from you over the years! Please keep it coming!

  9. This style of picking is so pleasant to listen to. Watching this video, it doesn't seem too difficult. Has a kind of haunting quality to it. Jonathan's instruction make a lot of sense.

    I liked the pattern of picking with the G the most, but it was a hard decision. I liked them both.

    Thanks, Jonathan.

    Wendy Quenneville

  10. I preferred the G in that progression . I’ll be practicing that pattern,I enjoyed. Thank you. Appreciate your straight forward instruction.

  11. Hey Jonathan, I'm so glad you're adding this course to your growing collection. I definitely preferred the demo pattern that had the F# in it.

    My favorite guitar picker today is Justin Johnson, who is phenomenal. I will never play like him but I look forward to learning the basics of fingerpicking.

  12. Am, C & G had same symmetry on high 3 strings. D11 chord was still symmetrical in similar way.
    Tab illustrated that perfectly.

  13. Love to listen to those blue grass boys – wish I could play like them.

    Old, but one of my favourites, Catch the Wind.

    Favourite pickers Chet Atkins, Steve Early and Mr Knopfler…

  14. Thanks for the lesson. My take away is to think about the chord progression and use the root note of the chords to lead the pattern. My picking is somewhat a random pattern down / up and doesn’t always flow smoothly.

  15. Nice exercise. These types of arpeggios, although different, will always remind me of the Outlaws in Green Grass and High Tides. Thanks for mentioning "keep the pick stroke in constant stroke towards the next string being played." Keeping with these fundamentals and basics will keep me focused on "working" the guitar rather than randomly playing it. I will be trying this exercise on my electric Gibson Firebird with a pick for maximum effect and the Marshall Jubilee Studio so I'm definitely going to play loud and try to slide a few notes between those chords. This will surely unlock something in the beast! Not sure If G or F# at this time. Thank you much! Keep up the good work! Have a very Merry Christmas!

  16. Well Jonathan I like your lessons. As a beginner you keep it simple and being simple it is quite through.
    I do like the old time blues guitarist who play solo. Strumming and picking together really sounds cool.

  17. Hi Jonathan, great video. It sounds very funny . I will use this and the Play Along examples to practice string skipping and timing.

    Thanks a lot !!!!!!

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