Most guitarists find it more convenient—not to mention, less painful—to use a guitar pick to play their favorite instrument. However, some professional guitarists have found that fingerpicking a guitar is an important skill which allowed them greater versatility.

Fingerpicking is not an easy skill to learn. It will take a lot of practice to master it. And, yes, you might end up developing blisters along the way. However, if you feel that you are being limited in your guitar playing by the pick you are using, then learning how to fingerpick is a must.

Let us start with the correct placement of the fingers of your picking hand on the strings. Place the thumb on the thick, low E string. Next, place your index finger on the second D string. Your middle finger is placed on the middle G string. Place your ring finger on the fourth B string. Last but not least, place your little finger on the thinnest, high E strong. It may be difficult for you to get your pinky into place, but try to move it into a playing position that is most comfortable for you.

The next step is to fret with a basic E major chord. Pluck the individual strings with your fingers, starting with your thumb (on the low E) and ending with your little finger (on the high E). Do it slowly at first. Since the use of the pinky in guitar playing is very rare, it may take some time for you to pluck strings with it properly. Practice picking each string over and over again until you can play them at the same strength and at the same loudness of the note.

Next, do the reverse. Start this time with the little finger ending with your thumb. Again, repeat this exercise until you can play each string at the same strength and loudness. Once you have gotten the hang of this, you can alternate plucking from low E to high E and then from high E back to low E.

Once you have mastered this particular exercise, the next thing you should is to build up on your speed. Still following the above procedure, pick the strings at a faster speed. Every time you have mastered one speed, gradually increase your speed.

Another exercise that you can do is alternate plucking the strings. For example, you can pick the low E, then jump to the G string, move back to the D string, then B string, back to the G string, and then end on the high E string. This will make your fingers more flexible and limber.

Of course, don’t just stick with the E major chord. Perform similar exercises using the other guitar chords. The A major chord can be particularly challenging, but try to experiment with finger placement. Some guitarists would swivel their thumb from the low E string toward the A string, and then do the exercises.

Discover more tips on how you can develop your fingerpicking guitar skills today!