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Fingerpicking and Patterns (Guitar Lesson)


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Orville Johnson

Fingerpicking and Patterns

Orville Johnson introduces some basic fingerpicking patterns.

Taught by Orville Johnson in Beginner Acoustic with Orville seriesLength: 6:58Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Southern CashSouthern Cash replied on August 18th, 2015

This gives me hope! Thanks!

jjoakleyjjoakley replied on July 22nd, 2015

What is the picking sequence when the chord is 4 strings, as in a D or Dm?

CBCB replied on February 3rd, 2015

Hello Orville, I started as a beginner on Classical guitar, (excellent experience), but not what I wanted. Recently I have been searching for a good program that would lead me to fingerstyle & Folk music, that I love. Thank Goodness I have found Orville Johnson! As I am 85 years of age, I need to be able to enjoy my guitar instruction, and that is what you have provided. Thank you!

lodolodo replied on December 1st, 2014

I'm using all your beginner videos. You are a VERY good instructor. Rewinding the video until its understood is way better than half hr a week with a teacher. Thanks so much for helping me keep moving.

martyrogersmartyrogers replied on June 7th, 2014

This is where the fun really starts. Beautiful!

chuck1937chuck1937 replied on May 9th, 2014

The fingerpicking lesson was great for me on 4/4 beats. What do you change for 3/4 beats.

chuck1937chuck1937 replied on May 9th, 2014

Charles1937. The finger picking lesson was great for 4/4 beats. How do you pick for 3/4 beats.

guitarcamsbcglobalnetguitarcamsbcglobalnet replied on December 2nd, 2013

my parents forced me into guitar i dont like it

buckeyejohnbuckeyejohn replied on February 15th, 2013

WOW Orville, I just learned more in the last two hours of you lessons than in the past several months. Fortunately, I have learned musical notation and practiced a lot of scales in that time.

backhoe barkerbackhoe barker replied on January 30th, 2013

This would be a lot easier if my finger tips (left hand) didn't hurt so much. It really shortens my practice time.

backhoe barkerbackhoe barker replied on January 28th, 2013

Orville, Great finger picking lesson. I'm going to be on it for quite some time, but I feel it is a good investment of my time, as I feel I must get these basics mastered before continuing.

frwyguyfrwyguy replied on January 25th, 2013

I love fingerpicking! Thanks buddy!

costeffcosteff replied on November 8th, 2012

Sounds great. I prefer hybrid picking but the natural thumb gives a nicer tone.

costeffcosteff replied on November 8th, 2012

Sounds great. I prefer hybrid picking but the natural thumb gives a nicer tone.

atreusatreus replied on August 2nd, 2012

Thanks for the insight. I feel more comfortable using T 2 3. Any disadvantage to this?

Don.SDon.S replied on June 12th, 2012

Hi Orville. I'm beginning again and so far so good with the C to G picking pattern.

agbennyagbenny replied on October 27th, 2011

Great lesson on finger picking. Enjoyed it, and thanks Orville.

jwharffjwharff replied on September 10th, 2011

Wonderful introduction to fingerpicking. Enjoyed it alot!

kabedachtkabedacht replied on August 17th, 2011

This is clear and easy to understand. I like the slower pace example followed by the full speed and variation. Thank you. Now to practice the heck out of it.

charlie636charlie636 replied on June 7th, 2011

Really enjoying this lesson. A great picking pattern. Thank You.

dfenetydfenety replied on October 20th, 2010

Orville is it an OK finger picking pattern to go thumb 2 thumb 1 etc? I ask because when very young I starting doing this on my own, and now too many years later, "deprogramming my brain/finger coordination to consistently achieve your thumb 1 thumb 2 pattern is driving me nuts :-) Thanks!

Orville.JohnsonOrville.Johnson replied on October 27th, 2010

Sure its ok to use that pattern, but if you want to improve your playing you need to add more patterns to your repertoire and, eventually, get to a place where you can create the patterns as you play. So keep what you know, but try to learn new ways too.

guitardriverguitardriver replied on August 21st, 2010

Thanks for making this simple enough to give me a place to start.

alamosgalalamosgal replied on May 27th, 2010

Nicely presented. A great start for learning fingerpicking. Thanks for being so clear.

dave54dave54 replied on April 29th, 2010

Very Nice! I"m a flatpicker that wants to learn fingerpicking patterns and songs.

Beginner Acoustic with Orville

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Discover the essentials with Orville Johnson by learning some of the most popular topics and techniques in beginner guitar.



Lesson 1

Overcoming Beginner Challenges

Orville talks about some challenges you will likely face as a beginner and offers some advice that will help you overcome them.

Length: 13:05 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Flatpick and Strumming

Orville talks about flatpicks, how to hold them, and how to strum with them.

Length: 13:29 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Lesson 3

Fingerpicking and Patterns

Orville Johnson introduces some basic fingerpicking patterns.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Metronome and Practicing

Orville Johnson explains why it is important to practice with a metronome. He also covers some practice strategies that will help minimize your frustration.

Length: 21:35 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Practical Theory Part 1: Intervals

Orville dives into part 1 of his beginners' guide to practical theory. In this lesson, you will learn the basics of intervals.

Length: 17:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Practical Theory Part 2: Scales

Orville Johnson takes a look at scales in part 2 of his practical theory mini-series.

Length: 18:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Practical Theory Part 3: Chords and Construction

Orville Johnson jumps into part 3 of his practical theory mini-series. This lesson is about chords and their construction.

Length: 21:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Practical Theory Pt. 4: Modes

It's now time to tap back into the practical music theory portion of this series. Continuing on with part 4, Orville now discusses what modes are and how they are really just scales with Greek names.

Length: 19:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Basic Blues Shuffle

Orville Johnson demonstrates a basic blues shuffle. This incredibly easy rhythm piece will have you sounding like a blues great in no time!

Length: 12:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Connecting Chords with Bass Runs

Orville Johnson demonstrates how simple chord progressions can be spruced up with bass runs. The classic song "Oh! Susanna" is used as an example.

Length: 12:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Voice Leading

Orville Johnson talks about the concept of voice leading. This concept will help you play chord progressions that flow better and sound more harmonious.

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Major Chords

Orville Johnson teaches the basic major chords in this lesson. He also explains the best way to change from chord to chord, a challenge for many beginners.

Length: 19:23 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Note Values

Orville Johnson jumps into some light theory with a lesson on note values.

Length: 7:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

The CAGED System

Orville Johnson takes a beginner's look at the CAGED system.

Length: 8:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Open D Tuning

Orville Johnson introduces open D tuning and encourages exploration of its possibilities. This tuning is great for a broad range of playing styles.

Length: 24:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Open G Tuning

This time, Orville Johnson introduces open G tuning. This tuning is great for a broad range of playing styles and sounds pretty without even fingering a chord.

Length: 21:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Beginner Fingerstyle Techniques

This lesson is perfect for the beginner looking to develop dexterity and independence in the right hand fingers. Orville guides you step by step through basic rhythm concepts and fingerstyle exercises.

Length: 26:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

How Does a Capo Work?

This lesson presents any beginner with the information needed to understand how a capo works. This tool enables you to change the key of a song without learning any new chord voicings.

Length: 22:07 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Beginner Lead Techniques

Orville introduces basic techniques that can be used to play lead guitar. This lesson includes a primer on hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends and harmonics.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Orville's Guide to Practicing

Orville dispenses a lifetime of accrued wisdom on the subject of practicing and learning. This lesson is only 16 minutes long, and it will not only change how you learn the guitar, but can also be applied...

Length: 16:38 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Creating New Chords

This lesson is all about creating different types of chords. This does steer the lesson towards music theory, but the information is invaluable and infinitely applicable.

Length: 23:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Orville Johnson View Full Biography Orville Johnson was born in 1953 in Edwardsville, Illinois and came up on the St. Louis, Missouri music scene, where he was exposed to and participated in a variety of blues, bluegrass and American roots music. He began singing in his Pentecostal church as a young boy, in rock bands in middle school, then took up the guitar at 17,with early influences from Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Chuck Berry. In the early 1970's, Orville spent several seasons playing bluegrass on the SS Julia Belle Swain, a period-piece Mississippi river steamboat plying the inland waterways, with his group the Steamboat Ramblers.

Orville moved to Seattle, Washington in 1978, where he was a founding member of the much-loved and well-remembered folk/rock group, the Dynamic Logs. Other musical associates include Laura Love, Ranch Romance, File' Gumbo Zydeco Band, Scott Law, and the Twirling Mickeys. Johnson, known for his dobro and slide guitar stylings and vocal acrobatics, has played on over 100 albums. He has appeared on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion, Jay Leno's Tonight Show and was featured in the 1997 film Georgia with Mare Winningham. His musical expertise can also be heard on the Microsoft CD-ROMs, Musical Instruments of the World and the Complete Encyclopedia of Baseball. He teaches as well at the International Guitar Seminar, Pt. Townsend Country Blues Week and Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.

Orville released 4 recordings in the 1990's: The World According to Orville (1990) Blueprint for the Blues (1998) Slide & Joy (1999) an all-instrumental dobro tour de force and Kings of Mongrel Folk (1997) with Mark Graham. He also appeared on 4 discs with the File' Gumbo Zydeco Band and produced Whose World Is This (1997) for Jim Page and Inner Life (1999) for Mark Graham. In the 21st century, he has released Freehand, a new Kings of Mongrel Folk disc, Still Goin' Strong, and been featured in the soundtracks of PBS' Frontier House and the Peter Fonda flick The Wooly Boys as well as the compilation cd Legends of the Incredible Lap Steel Guitar.

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