Guitar fingerings and fingerpicking

The standard notation of the left hand fingers is the following:

  • 1 – first (index) finger
  • 2 – second (middle) finger
  • 3 – third (ring) finger
  • 4 – fourth (pinky) finger
  • T – thumb

Guitar fingers

The picture illustrates the left hand and the fingers used by right hand guitar players to press the strings.

Some guitar players are using also the thumb to press on bass strings (least on 6th string), but this case depends on the hand and fingers/thumb size. If you cannot do this (I can’t do this), it’s not a problem.

For the left hand guitar players the image should be in the mirror, representing the right hand which is used in this case for pressing the strings.

Fingerpicking (fingerstyle)

In the case of fingerstyle guitar playing, for picking the guitar strings the basic rule is the following (the fingers mentioned below are for the right hand, used for picking and strumming):

  • first (index) finger – picking the 1st string
  • second (middle) finger – picking the 2nd string
  • third (ring) finger – picking the 3rd string
  • thumb – picking the 4th, 5th and 6th strings

This is not a general rule and it is not applied for all cases in playing. There are some songs in which the first three fingers are moved a bit for picking the 2nd, 3rd and 4th guitar strings.

But for beginners the basic position is very good to start in fingerpicking (fingerstyle) guitar playing.




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