Fingerpicking For Beginners- Learn Fingerstyle Guitar

For those of you that have a guitar laying around the house and have never picked it up  (or picked it up years ago and want to learn), here’s your chance to learn fingerstyle guitar and be able to play a little in 12 minutes or less!

Fingerpicking for Beginners- Learn Fingerstyle Guitar… what’s it all about?

Many of the fingerstyle guitar lessons that I’ve come across on YouTube are either too complex for guitar beginners, focus on teaching a lot of guitar theory and not how to play, or just not explaining things well enough. If you can count to four, watch the first video and try to play along with the lesson, you will be amazed that you can actually play guitar (or even just a little bit in 12 minutes or less).

Rather than showing you an entire picking pattern on the left hand, lesson #1 of Fingerpicking For Beginners starts out with showing you two notes that you play or “Hit” as I like to call it with your thumb. You can simply stay right there, pause the video and practice just that until you feel you “have it down.” Then play some more of the video and add the extra notes with your index and middle finger.
Some people are different than others and pick things up quicker… but that doesn’t mean that you can’t become a good guitarist with practice. The idea is to take the lesson in small stages, and try not to get overwhelmed by the whole lesson. Learning fingerstyle guitar is not the easiest of things to do, but practicing small chunks of the lesson will make it easier. The 12 lessons below are accelerated lessons and really meant to be something that is learned over a course of a month or two for the average person. Whatever you do, understand that repetition and learning in small stages is more effective than trying to learn everything in one shot.

Here’s some commonly asked questions about learning fingerstyle guitar:

Q. How much time per day should I practice?
A. Practice a small part of the lesson(s) for as long as it takes to play it correctly a few times in a row. This doesn’t have to be hours either. When you get something right and it sounds good, make sure you go back to it again as frequently as possible. It’s better to practice a little each day than trying to cram it all on a weekend. Even 10 minutes is good, as long as you do it every day.

Q. The two fingered chords that are being taught… are these real chords?
A. Yes, very much so. There’s many variations to the standard chords… these are among the easiest to start with.

Q. Are there songs that can be played with these easy chords?
A. Yes, absolutely, in fact many many many many (too many manys) songs use these exact same chords shown in Fingerpicking for Beginners, lessons 1 through 12.

Q. What if I’m having trouble with a part of the fingerpicking lessons.. Is their additional help?
A. Yes! There’s a few things I can do to help you. One would be to email me at Starting January 31, 2021, a new website will be up that will have all my courses all in one place for easy navigation. If you haven’t done so already, please go to the top of this page and sign up for free lifetime membership to my guitar VIP group. After January 31, there will be a small membership fee to new members.

It’s time to grab your guitar and learn fingerstyle guitar!

Simply start with video 1 (make sure to try to play along as the lesson is being taught.
And the main rule is “TO HAVE FUN”. Here’s the vids!

More Guitar Lesson “Series” at my YouTube Channel

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  1. Pingback: Fingerpicking For BEGINNERS-Play Guitar In 12 Minutes! | Viral Syndicator

  2. Scott Hill

    what is the timing on metronome?

    • Robert Harris

      HEy Scott, in downbeats (4 beats per measure I typically will play this song at around 80 beats per minute. In the follow up course I will set the metronome on double time (8 beats per measure) at 160. It’s whatever you are comfortable with. E mail me at if you want the free follow up course!! bob

  3. Iwant to learn finger sytle on your YouTube video

  4. I’ve had a guitar for several years and was always going to learn but haven’t made the time. No that we are confined to home for several weeks this has been such a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and patience. I’ve loved these lessons. Still working on it but it’s getting a little easier each day. Sincere appreciation <3

    • Robert Harris

      HI Alyson! Great to hear from you and glad you are getting some time to play guitar (aren’t we all!)! Yes, little each day is the key so you are doing it right!! Happy (safe) pickin and best to you and your family!! bob

  5. Thanks for good lessons

  6. scott ransom

    I am nearly 60 years old and missed my chance to be a famous guitarist many years ago. With the current stay-at-home, I ventured out to buy a used guitar yesterday, and now intend to devote some of my stay-at-home time to become a not-so-famous-but-maybe-adequate guitarist. Your videos are super…even I am picking it up. Thanks!

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Scott, seems like not too long ago when I heard someone was 60, it sounded so old, but now look at us… still a kid but 60 too!!! I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not that old- ha ha… Glad you are enjoying the videos and getting the time to play. Keep me posted and happy pickin’ !! bob

  7. Hey, thank you for your lessons! My second string isn’t making any sounds when i have it pressed down. I have made sure that i’m not pressing too hard, that my finger is right beside the metal thing and that I have an arche in my hand. I even tried to just hold my finger very gently on the second string but it just soundet muted. What could I bee doing wrong?

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Tess! Thanks for taking the lessons here and let me see if I can help. So it could be any number of things. First, are you pressing the string with the tip of your finger? Also too, many times you have to press harder. It could also be the angle that you are pressing that is not correct (more on that in a little bit). If your finger is touching the fret too (the metal strip across thing) it could be muting the string which causes a “thud” sound.. Press just below the fret meaning, your finger just to the left of the fret and without touching the fret.. Here’s another video about body positioning that will help a lot with getting the finger to press at the right angle.. will also help with other chords too for the future. . Let me know if any of this works okay.. happy (safe) pickin’ !! bob

  8. I love the fact that you have replied to these peoples messages Bob, you don’t need to but you do.
    I am also a man of a certain age who has never played guitar, and with the UK in lockdown I thought why not give it a go. I am using my sons guitar which I bought him for his 10th birthday (but he showed no interest) so maybe too small for adult fingers between the frets but until the shops open I cant get hold of a full sized. Only up to lesson 2, Big smile on my face when I managed three repeats without messing up. Bring on the A and D chords!

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Harvey, thank you for writing here and now that my website is running again (it was broken for a while) it’s nice to actually get an e mail saying that someone wrote in!
      The other system that had facebook comments tied in was a disaster. Not a big facebook fan..
      I’m glad you are going for it on the guitar. Sometimes it’s great to start on something small, just to get used to the whole thing.
      The lockdown as you can imagine has lots of people playing guitar. Can’t think of anything better except the virus going away for good and people still playing the guitar . Now that you have the pattern in your head, the only thing that changes is the strings we pluck for each chord. As a basic rule with this pattern, we always start each measure with the thumb playing the lowest bass root note for each chord. So for a D chord, it’s the 4th string open D note root. A chord, 5th string open A note root. Em, 6th string open E note root. Applies to all chords. Happy (safe) pickin’ !!! Keep me posted!! bob

      • 5 mins practise 3 times a day and loving it ; got to be able to finger pick and strum all 5 chords in a row (well twice out of five goes with a few pauses in between!). A difficult day today though when I was on review Lesson 5 and realised I had been using my First and Index fingers for A E and G rather than Index and Ring Finger. Felt like an idiot, but back on it now relearning to use the correct fingers. Just looked on your YouTube channel, SO MANY COMMENTS, I can’t fathom how you have the time to reply to them with such personalised responses. Thanks for putting in the time to help others during these unusual times.

        • Robert Harris

          Hey Harvey, you definitely got the right formula with the 5 min 3 tines a day. This will do wonders as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
          You know, if I didn’t mention before, you can choose to use different fingers to play some of these chords. In fact, the G chord…
          I do a bunch of different variations as with other chords too. With the fingerstyle, it all depends on where we are going and what
          we have to do in order to play a particular song. The way you described what you started to do might work better in some cases..
          Anyway, I’m glad that you were able to adjust. Guitar is like stepping up to the plate and trying to hit a pitch. Seems like you always have
          to adjust things and be ready for any curve balls..
          It’s funny, not so long ago I was hoping that things would slow down a little… now look.!!
          But as it turns out, the YouTube channel and the amount of people taking lessons is 5 times what it was before this virus stuff. I have to spend 2 hours in the am answering all the other time zones (Europe, Asia, Africa etc.,) then, I get a big wave here in the US around lunch time. I think it’s important to keep in contact with everyone as I think this helps keep people motivated and let’s them know I”m really pulling for them.. Anyway, glad the guitar is keeping you busy (and may I say “sane”) ha ha… All the best Harvey and keep me posted with your guitar!! bob

  9. Alette Wubs

    Hi Robert, I came across your video by accident today. I am 52 and from the Netherlands. I am learning the finger picking method since almost a year now. I find it difficult at times, that’s why I was trying to dive into some online instructions. My compliments on your method. You tell it clearly and show it slowly which makes it easy to know what to do. I have sent a link of your video to my son (18 years) since he got my old guitar but doesn’t know how to play. I hope he will enjoy it too.

    Thank you soo much for sharing these lessons. I’ll try to do the lessons tomorrow.

    Greetings from the Netherlands, Alette

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Alette, great to hear from you and happy to hear you are playing guitar!! Hoping that these basics will help too!!!
      All the best and happy pickin’ !! bob

  10. Rosie Tyskerud

    Thank you for sharing your lessons. Easy to follow along for beginners such as myself.

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Rosie, glad that the lessons were easy to follow! Hope you will continue to play guitar!! All the best and happy pickin’ !! bob

  11. David Jimenez

    I combed thru about 20 different youtube videos and found your finger picking for beginners. It is my favorite. I like the pace and tempo. Ill admit that I initially kept hitting the wrong strings and or made contact with other strings but after practicing daily for 20 – 30 minutes. Im transitioning the chords well and timing is good as well. I was able to get thru the four chords 5 times continuously today in front of my family making me look like I knew what I was doing. I truly enjoy it and look forward to working with more of your lessons.

    • Robert Harris

      Hey David, thank you for taking the lessons with me and very pleased to hear that they helped!!
      Yes, it takes a while to get to coordination down, but taking things in small steps will really help (I think you already know this). The changing of chords is the difficult part so that’s great that you are doing well with that part! Just guessing it won’t be long for you to do the follow up course… if you need help just let me know… All the best and happy pickin’ !! bob

  12. Hi Robert,
    I have been playing for a few months now and I just finally turned 13. I also got my first guitar that belongs to me.
    This has been very beneficial. You made it look so easy and in my opinion I think it looks harder than it actually is. If it wasn’t for you and your videos i wouldn’t be sitting here picking my guitar stings and playing these pretty notes.
    I just commented to say how grateful i am to have found your videos!

    P.s) Do you no the name of the song by the way?

    Zac Filla

    • Robert Harris

      Hey Zac,
      great to hear from you and great that you are playing guitar! I’m glad the lessons helped and thank you for letting me know. Yes, it’s easier than it looks
      and glad you worked on it! The song is called “That Song” and funny – I wrote that when I was 13. Let me know when you are finished with all 12 lessons and if you are having trouble downloading the follow up course, I will send it to you. Thanks again Zac and have a great weekend!! bob

      • Thanks Robert!
        I am starting the follow up course now which is exciting.
        OK wow i didn’t no that, that was a piece of music you created, cool. Its sounds very professional and my parents were amazed when i whipped out those chords. Thanks Robert again!

        • Robert Harris

          Hey Zac, great, I’m glad you are taking the follow up which focuses on the most important part of music- timing and groove which we didn’t cover in the first 12 lessons. If you need any help please let me know but it’s just a matter of playing along with the click …. slower is actually harder!
          Thanks again and we will keep in touch!! bob

        • Thanks Robert. I started the lessons last week and enjoying every moment of it. I’m 67 and never had such fun with fingerpicking. I’m at lesson 8 now. Thanks again for sharing your talent.

          • Robert Harris

            Hey Ed, thank you for taking the lessons here and great going making it to lesson 8! I don’t think most people get that far!
            After lesson 12 there’s the follow up course- my guess is I will see you there! Thanks again and have a good evening- bob

  13. Robert……..I’ve read every question here thinking surely I’m not the only one that has this issue but sigh……I’m having trouble figuring out exactly the order of the 7 strings!! I think I’ve got it and I listen to you again and UGH! somethin’ is amiss……….is it 4-3-2-4-2-1-2 or 4-3-2-4-?-?-? ?? I’m having a great time making up my own version but I’d love to be able to play it as intended. I can’t wait to get further into the lessons by the way! You’ve taken out the “impossibility” of it…so thank you every so! Janet –

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Janet, thank you for taking the lesson here and glad you are having fun with this!!!.
      First video lesson is 4-3,2,4,1,3,2 and I hope that’s the video you are talking about (over the Easy D chord..
      BTW, the strings we pick in fingerstyle frequently change (according to the chord we play, so improvising is good and how people come up with new stuff.
      The basic rule with this style is to always start each measure with the lowest bass root note of a chord available on the guitar – so D would 4th string D note open- A would be 5th string A note open, E would be 6th string E note open. etc….
      In this lesson we pick 7 of the 8 notes possible in a measure but your sting variations are cool Just keep going, and it will make more sense as you learn and play more.
      Happy pickin’ and thanks for commenting here!! bob

  14. Hi, Bob,
    Thank you very much for your lessons. Your explanations are clear and fun to follow. I’m working on Lesson 1 of your series and enjoying it very much. I am practicing daily, usually evenings. ‘Looking forward to more time to practice in between work. Playing guitar is a long time dream and it feels good to have time to focus on learning. Thank you again!

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Cher, thank you for taking the lessons here and welcome! It’s great that you are able to play each day, as that will really help.
      Thanks for the nice comment and glad you are making your dream to play come true!!

  15. Hello, Bob

    I have checked out loads of YouTubeVideos about finger-picking and yours are by far the most accessable for me. Thank you very much for teaching me playing fingerstyle after whacking away campfire-style for 40 years. warm greetings from Germany ^^

    • Robert Harris

      Hi Daniel, great to hear from you and thank you for the kind words… really glad the lessons helped!!!
      I just started a new fingerpicking website ( but only have 1 course posted so far. You are welcome to join as I will be moving everything over there + new stuff. Wishing you all the best and happy pickin’!! bob

  16. Kristin Cooper

    How do I subscribe, I love your teaching and patience.

  17. Thank you! Truly loved the lessons

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