Lesson 11 – Finger Patterns (Part Two)

Finger Patterns (Part Two)

Are you ready to move on? Make sure you’re comfortable playing the previous patterns before continuing. Good, now it’s starting to get interesting. This next pattern is a variation on the first; you’ll notice there are a couple extra notes. We’ll continue to call the patterns E & A for now. Follow the procedure you used in part one to learn these.

Pattern #3

Once you’re confident with your ability to play it, apply it to this progression. Remember to start with the A pattern, and notice that the last two notes of each bar are a walk down/up to be played with the thumb.

Pattern #4

This next pattern has a slightly different emphasis timing-wise than our previous examples:
Pattern #5

Once you’re comfortable move on and apply it to this progression:
Pattern #6

This next one is again a new timing:
Pattern #7

It sounds natural to the ear, but to your fingers it probably won’t seem to flow until you grow used to the feel. Take your time, when you’re ready apply it to this progression:
Pattern #8

Take note of how small changes can alter the feel dramatically. Try the above over different chords and different progressions. Listen to some of your favorite players and you’ll find some of these patterns jumping out at you. Pick out what they’re doing that draws you to their playing and make it yours. Capture the feel. Don’t think you have to stick with these patterns; create some of your own and remember to always challenge yourself.

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17 Responses »

  1. These are great, but I have a couple of questions…

    First, in the E pattern/A pattern progression the tab is clear enough, but I don’t find the chord diagrams very helpful. The ones labelled E7 and A7 are the chords I know as straigh E and A, and they don’t appear in the progression anyway which is all the D7 / G7 shapes. Is it a mistake in the chord diagram? Also I find it hard to thumb the low E string in the D7 shape, so I was playing the alternating bass by moving my second finger as required. It might be nice to say something about whether this is OK or not.

    The final one I’m not sure on is the first case of the C progression. The last two bass notes of the second bar are from a G chord, which moves moving the second finger out of the C progression. It sounds really good, but the fact that it doesn’t appear like that in any of the later progressions made me think maybe it was a mistake? For beginners I think it’s easier to stay where it is, but it does sound really good so I’m not sure.

    Thanks again for this terrific resource, I hope you don’t mind a bit of proof reading from someone following it through carefully!

  2. thrope :
    Also I find it hard to thumb the low E string in the D7 shape, so I was playing the alternating bass by moving my second finger as required. It might be nice to say something about whether this is OK or not.

    Whoops, I mean my third or ring finger of course here.

  3. Hi Thrope,
    Thanks for the comments, sorry to get back so late.
    You’re right, the E7 and A7 are major chords, they were labeled wrong. I’m glad you pointed that out!

    For the E string in the D7 shape it’s best to use your ring finger to play the alternating bass notes. The proper way to finger this chord is 5th string – ring, 4th string – middle, 3rd string, pinky, 2nd string – index.

    I’m not sure what you mean about the C chord progression, the second chords is a G, so I must be misunderstanding the questions.

    Thanks again,
    Stop by anytime.

  4. First of all can I just say that I think this a terrific site and thank you for sharing this amazing knowledge with me.

    My blues playing has improved dramatically since I first discovered this site.

    On the first progression the E pattern differs slightly from the E pattern we learn at the top of the page on th 2nd and 3rd notes. Can you tell me which one is correct so that I learn the correct style.

    Many Thanks


    • Thanks for the kind words Ben!
      I’m not quite sure I understand your question. I’ve gone back and numbered the patterns, if you can tell me where it gets wonky.


  5. Thanks for the quick response.

    On pattern 3 the E pattern begins with an E bass note on the 6th string then a pinch on the 3rd and 5th strings then back to a B bass note on the 5th string

    It then states that ‘Once you’re confident with your ability to play it, apply it to this progression (Pattern 4)’

    But on pattern 4 the E pattern starts with a bass note then a pinch on the 1st and 4th string and a pinch on the 2nd and 5th string. This differs from pattern 3 and where I think the inconsistency is.

    Does this make more sense?


  6. Ahh, I see what you mean.
    The pattern is the same but with an extra note thrown in, so technically it is slightly different. If it’s throwing you off you can always leave it out, these patterns are more about developing your muscle memory than providing patterns you shouldn’t stray from.
    IN reality, as long as your thumb is solid you can get away with a lot.
    Is this helpful?


  7. That’s very helpful thanks.

    Sorry to be so pedantic but now I know these lessons are more about the muscle memory I see that the odd extra note doesn’t really make a difference.

    These lessons have really improved other areas of my playing. Just by learning to stop resting my pinky on the guitar body when finger picking means I can now solo with the pick and pick patterns a million times better than a week ago. Like 6 months improvement in 1 week!

    Thanks again – I’m a step closer to playing like Blind Willie Mctell! ha ha 🙂

  8. When you can do that, come back here and give me some lessons!

  9. Hi,
    Again thanks for these lessons – they certainly sort out any poor fingering of barr chords!
    Just to check my understanding of Pattern #4: the chord progression is E7, A7, D7, G7 which (I think) makes the ‘pattern labels’ above the stave look wrong.
    Best regards,

  10. Hey Dodge,
    Thanks again for the great input. I can see how this could look confusing. Even though the chords are E7, A7, D7, G7 as you say, the finger pattern you use to play them are from the Pattern#3 diagram: A/E/A/E.

    I’ve added the chord names as well, let me know if this makes things any clearer.


  11. Hi Sean,
    I’m getting there…slowly.
    The ‘E Pattern’ is used for chords with a root note on the E string; and, the ‘A Pattern’ is used for chords with a root note on the A string?

  12. Exactly!
    Using this logic you can apply the kind of same pattern over C & G, C with the ‘A pattern’ and G with the ‘E pattern’

  13. How can I mute 4 string in G chord?

  14. Great site!

    In case it’s a typo, thought I’d let you know the 2nd to last note in pattern #5 is notated as B, but it’s E in the recording (which makes more sense) and also E in pattern #6. Or did I miss something?


  15. Good catch Mike, your absolutely right.
    Thanks for pointing that out!


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