Beginner Fingerpicking (with Guitar Pro Files)

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Practice Tips

Beginner Fingerpicking (with Guitar Pro Files)

play these beginner exercises at any tempo you want with a software called Guitar Pro

Guitar Tablature (or guitar tab) is a way of notating music for guitar.

It is not quite reading “sheet music” like our piano-playing friends, it is a little bit easier but still takes a little getting used to.

We’ll start by:

  1. playing a melody on one string.
  2. we then add other strings
  3. we then examine how chords are written in tab

Guitar Pro can help you practice

Unlike classically trained musicians, guitar players are often self-taught.

As a result, it is common for guitar players to have an under-developed sense of rhythm and timing. 


Classically trained musicians:

  • read sheet music
  • can read and feel rhythm as a result
  • have a strong accurate sense of timing


Self-taught guitarists:

  • don’t typically read sheet music (rather guitar tablature)
  • can’t read rhythm patterns
  • often need to improve their ability to keep time



Guitar tab is great as it shows you of the notes you play on the guitar neck.

But how solid is your sense of timing? Can you read rhythm?


What if you had a tool that could help you do that?

A typical practice routine

So what I often do is this:


  • Enter some notes for what I want to play
  • Choose a nice slow tempo (like 70 beats per minute)
  • Select the few bars and turn on the ‘cycle’ option so they play in a loop
  • Press play in Guitar Pro and play along, making sure that I am in perfect time.

Once I have mastered it at 70 beats per minute, I’ll increase that to 80 or 90 beats per minute and do the same.


The first step is to download a free trial of Guitar Pro.

You can get a 30 day free trial, so there is no reason not to try it out.



Then you can download these Guitar Pro files that I have attached below.

You can simply click on them to open them (once you have Guitar Pro installed on your computer), choose a tempo of your choice and away you go…



Exercise 1

The first file is an ideal exercise to start fingerpicking with.

This is where we teach each finger to play on their respective string 

  • the index finger on the 3rd or G string
  • the middle finger on the 2nd or B string
  • the ring finger on the 1st or E string
Below you will see the tab and you can click on the GP logo to download the GuitarPro file

Exercise 2

Now you can try fretting a G chord and then playing the same thing

Remember to keep each finger playing its respective string!

It’s ok to look at the fingers of the right hand while learning this – is each finger sticking to “his own string”?

Exercise 3

Now you can try fretting a G chord and then playing a T-1-2-3 pattern (thumb, index, middle, ring of the right hand)

Remember to keep each finger playing its respective string!

Take this slowly at first.

 Exercise 4

This exercise is the same as the one above – except using the chords G and Em.
Em can be played by fretting nothing with the left hand (since we are playing only open strings)

Exercise 5

Now you can think about an up-and-down pattern. 

This pattern below is the T12321 (this describes which fingers of the right hand or picking hand that we use)


Play using the finger pattern of T-1-2-3-2-1 (thumb, index, middle, ring, middle, index)

Do this over G and C

Exercise 6

Finally we can play this up and down pattern over a series of chords.

I have chosen G, G, C, C then Em, C, Em, C




  • Download the GuitarPro software (free trial available here) and install it. 
  • Download the Guitar Pro files I have provided.
  • Open one of them.
  • Choose a nice slow tempo (like 70 beats per minute)
  • Turn on the ‘cycle’ option (for the whole file is fine)
  • Press play in Guitar Pro and play along, making sure that you are in perfect time.
  • If it’s too easy, increase the tempo

Good Luck!

p.s. if you want to build a guitar practice habit, see this lesson.

Get the Learn Fingerpicking Book

Register for the newsletter and I will send you this book (105 pages) and a free lesson once a month. 

This is the ideal resource for complete beginners who wish to learn guitar.

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