The other day I had to do a little plumbing and clear out the blocked “u-bend” in the sink. Yuck! DIY is not really my forte, but I got there. How does this relate to guitar fingerpicking patterns, you ask? Well, it made me think how lacking my toolbox is for such occasions.


I have a trillion screwdrivers and many hand-me-down chisels (yet I have not used a chisel since school) but…

I barely have any decent wrenches, and those are what I often seem to need.


This total imbalance is very much like many guitarists’ issue of having the wrong tools in their guitar playing toolbox.


For instance, as a fingerpicker, it’s a cool idea to have your own toolbox full of guitar fingerpicking patterns.

One which you can confidently dip in and out of to pull out a cool new pattern when you need it…

Or where you can whip out a Travis picking pattern or two at will.

It feels good to always be prepared like this and have a toolbox full of useful patterns.


The problem is most guitarists are encouraged to stuff their guitarist toolboxes with too many chords and scales they rarely use and often, many half-learnt songs.

This is the equivalent of having a rusty old hammer, a worn-out tape measure and some broken saws.


I’m not a massive fan of you learning lots of things, especially things you never use.

It’s much better to learn a few things, learn them well, with confidence, and then build upon them as you develop.


Take my Fingerstyle 101 book.

It features 10 guitar fingerpicking patterns.

Should you learn all ten in a short space of time?

Unless you are an experienced player and can easily grasp new patterns, nope.


One pattern is obviously not enough for the long term (imagine owning one tool and trying to do everything with it, i.e. using a hammer to chop a piece of wood).

Therefore, a little variety is ideal. In fact, 2-3 patterns learnt by heart and played well after a couple of months is more than a great start for most.

You can always add more patterns later.


To learn the patterns I recommend and the ones I teach to students in my studio, check out my book Fingerstyle 101.

Listen to a few, play about with a couple, and then commit to learning 2-3 for the next couple of months.

They will serve you well and will be very handy tools in your guitar playing toolbox.


Here is the link…

Fingerstyle 101


Happy fingerpicking!


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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