3 Simple Fingerpicking Patterns That Rock! - Part 2

In this lesson you will learn some of the most beautiful fingerpicking patterns around.

Ultimate Guitar
I call this pattern the "Romanza" pattern as it is inspired by the classic etude "Spanish Romance" that many of you will have learned.

The "Romanza" pattern is in 3/4 time which means there are 3 beats in the bar. Each beat is played as a set of triplets. This simply means, we count each beat as 1, 2, 3 and we do all that three times.

Therefore a bar will be counted as: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3

Example 1 - C Major, G Major, D Major Chords

This is actually a fairly easy pattern to play and as always it's better to listen to the example and hear it in action.

The pattern starts off with a pinch on the root and high E string. As long as you ensure you let each note ring out, it will sound great. Make sure each set of three notes are consistent without any pauses in between.

Example 2: a Real World Play-along

The example I have created for the "Romanza" pattern is in the key of A minor and is loosely inspired by Stravinsky's "Le Baiser de la Fée: Scene III."

Firstly, we start off with an A minor chord. Then, we play an F Major 7.

For the FMaj7 chord, you can either play the F note on the low E string with your thumb using the "over the top of the neck" technique or you can use your middle finger and move it from the G string across to the 1st fret on the low E string.

Both ways are a little tricky so experiment and use whichever works best for you.

If you have already tried this example, you may notice that for the A minor chord, the 2nd fret of the D string isn't actually needed (as we don't pick this string in this pattern).

You can therefore "hover" your middle finger over the 1st fret of the low E string for an easier change from the Am to FMaj7.

Am/G chord

For the Am/G chord I recommend playing the G note on the low E string with your pinky while holding the Am chord with your index and ring fingers.

Other chords

The other chords are where the Stravinsky influence and inspiration really come to the fore with some strange sounding voicings of familiar chords made to sound more unusual.

The penultimate bar of the piece features 3 x four string "pinches" to resolve the piece. We then repeat the whole thing and finally bring the piece to a close with a ring out of the Am chord.

Key Takeaway

When playing any fingerpicking pattern it isn't always necessary to have a huge amount of chords and lots of chord changes. Sometimes it sounds very powerful to just play the same chord and change the bass note. The example above features the same notes on the top three strings for the first six bars.

These notes are:
  • Open High E string
  • 1st fret B string
  • 2nd fret G string
The notes above do not change until bar seven. You can therefore hold your fingers in the same place while just changing bass notes until you reach bar seven. This change in bass notes over the same treble notes is what gives the piece a lot of power. View the tab for clarity.

There's a lot of mileage to be gained out of playing the same notes and simply changing the bass note occasionally.

Experiment with your own chord and alternate bass notes for these patterns.

It's a great way to add some sophistication to a bunch of chords.

Thanks and good luck!

About the Author:
Dan Thorpe. You can view more of his tutorials at his website Guitar Domination Stay tuned for part 3 or alternately, you can download free copy of the 5 star rated Amazon eBook - Fingerstyle 101: Learn 8 Beautiful Fingerpicking Patterns That Every Guitarist Should Know.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wouldn't it be better as 9/8?
    It could be seen as 9/8 due to the triplet feel and I always wandered the same. Typically, the `Romanza` that this fingerpicking pattern is based off is notated as 3/4 with triplets but either will work. Thanks for dropping a comment. Dan
    I learned how to fingerpick from the Coheed song "The Light and the Glass." Really simple finger picked beginning that sounds really complex and awesome.