There are so many different techniques that can be applied when

approaching the guitar. Fingerstyle happens to be one of the most requested

techniques that I get from students in their music lessons. Its tradition dates

back many decades and has continued to be modernized since.


To play fingerstyle guitar you must first know the fingering letters that pertain

to each finger on your right hand.


Our right hand fingers are identified as:

Thumb – Letter = (p)

Index – Letter = (i)

Middle – Letter = (m)

Ring – Letter = (a)

Pinky – Letter = (c) *Not as common but can be used*




Once you have the letters of the right hand fingerings memorized you can

now take your right hand and give a thumbs up. Now say out loud “thumb

letter p”. Put your thumb down and then do the same with the adjacent

finger (your index finger).



Continue until you reach your pinky. After you have done this a few times and

its clear which finger pertains to which letter, you now can pickup your guitar

(if you haven’t yet) and use these fingers to pluck each string in this order:


Thumb (p) plucks = 6th string (E), 5th string (A), 4th string (D)

Index (i) plucks = 3rd string (G)

Middle (m) plucks = 2nd string (B)

Ring (a) = 1st string (E)


The next step after following these exercises would be to learn different right

hand fingering patterns. There are so many different types of picking patters

that I could not list them all.


If you’d like to learn some picking patterns and more about fingerstyle

technique, I offer music lessons in Litchfield, Connecticut here at the

Litchfield Music Center. Contact me at (860) 459-6266 or email me at