Real Guitar Adventure for Grownups

Fingerpicking And The 80/20 Rule for Learning Guitar

in Fingerstyle Guitar | 2 comments

Adding Fingerpicking To 80/20 Guitar Lesson



In this lesson you'll find I'm using the chords that I taught you in the previous lesson based on a blog post I read by Tim FerrissHow to Finally Learn Guitar. If you haven't watched my previous video or read the post output links at the bottom of this post.

I received many comments that people enjoy experimenting with these three guitar chords as well as the ease of fingering by putting the cable on the second fret. In this lesson, I pick it up a notch and fingerpicking to the chords. We'll start simple. Be sure and watch to the very end. I've added something a little more fancy at the very end.


Fingerpicking Tips


To start with make your D chord form. Then put your right hand in the fingerpicking position. I covered this in more detail in previous videos but I'll summarize here. You're going to gently rest your three fingers on the first three strings of the guitar. Your third finger is on the first string, your second fingers on the second string in your first finger is on the third string. Then place the outer left side had of your done on the basis note… in this case the D string.

Now gently push your thumb down to strike the fourth string and rest on the third string, then pull your fingers into your palm one at a time starting with your first finger. Try to stay relaxed and even.


Getting a Smooth Fingerstyle Guitar Sound


The first trick with getting a smooth fingerpicking pattern is to stay relaxed. Keep your fingers slightly curved and pull them into your palm.

The second key to learning fingerstyle guitar playing properly is to learn to hold your right-hand at an equal distance from your guitar. Another way to say this is done pick at the strings and pull your hand out each time you strike a note. The motion is fingers moving into your palm and your hand staying steady. This makes it much easier to get your fingers back to where they belong for the next stroke.

Once you practice this with the D chord form try it with the C chord form. Then move on to the G chord form.


Fingerpicking Exercise


The entire exercise consists of playing the D chord twice using a complete fingerpicking pattern two times. Then play the C chord form twice using the same fingerpicking pattern. It's best in the beginning to use the same top three strings for the C chord form, but change the base note to the fifth string. Then do the same pattern on the G chord form changing the bass note to the fifth string.

And the exercise by going back to the D string and playing to fingerpicking patterns.

Here’s a diagram of what I described above:


Fingerpicking Exercise

There are plenty of variations on this pattern that sound great and I would love to create lessons showing you some of them.


Leave A Comment


Did you enjoy this lesson? Let me know in the comments and if you would be ready for some more advanced fingerpicking patterns let me know.

Here’s the link to the Tim Ferriss post:

How to Finally Play the Guitar: 80/20 Guitar and Minimalist Music

And my lesson on fingering these chords:

Using the 80 20 Rule for Learning Guitar

I’ve also posted a 5 Minute Practice Session to help you really nail these chords:

5 Minute Practice Session #1 And The 80/20 Rule for Learning Guitar

Tell Us What You Think - Please Comment Below!

We would love to hear your comments and questions. What specific things are you struggling with while learning guitar?



Tomas Michaud

Tomas Michaud

Author - Tomas Michaud at Real Guitar Success
Tomas Michaud is an American born guitarist and music educator with a French Canadian heritage. He first developed the Starland Guitar System in 1982 when his 9 year old daughter asked him to teach her guitar. Since then he’s founded the Starland School of Music in the SF Bay Area, and

When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.
Tomas Michaud

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  1. Hello Tomas,
    Thank you for making this valuable information available. As a beginner Guitarist, this information is helping me to navigate through the obstacles with more awareness of what expect and also providing me with solutions to help me succeed in my learning. Thank you,


    April 7, 2014

    • Hello Curtis,

      Thanks you. You can get Tomas Michaud’s “10 Secrets To Playing Awesome Guitar” absolutely FREE! Click here:

      and you can SUBSCRIBE to his YOUTUBE Channel here: for more guitar lessons.

      Take care,

      Starland Guitar
      Customer Support


      April 7, 2014


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