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More Picking Patterns (Guitar Lesson)

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Jim Deeming

More Picking Patterns

Jim expands on lesson 2 and teaches several different picking patterns. He also covers the basics of muting.

Taught by Jim Deeming in Fingerstyle Guitar seriesLength: 14:23Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (07:31) More Fingerstyle Action In the previous lesson, Jim showed you how to play the alternating bass pattern using your fingers instead of a pick. Plucked chords were also added to the pattern. Take this time to review the materials presented in the last lesson. Jim expands upon these concepts in the current lesson.

When playing the alternating bass line in conjunction with chords, the chords were previously played on beats 2 and 4. If you always place the chords on these two beats, your rhythm playing will lack variety and will begin to sound stale rather quickly. For this reason, it is important to learn how to place the chords on other beats. Mastering this process will also increase the coordination between your brain and hands. The alternating bass line remains unchanged regardless of where the chords are placed within the measure.

For example, Jim first shifts the chords to beats 1 and 3. Notice how the bass line remains the same. He demonstrates this pattern with an A chord. This chord is a good chord to a start with when learning this new pattern. However, it is important that you master the pattern with each chord that you know. The other chords in the key of A major (D and E) are a logical place to start.

Note: For tablature to all of the rhythmic examples played in this lesson, open the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Chords on Beats 1 and 4

The chords can be shifted to any permutation of two beats within the measure. Jim demonstrates how to play the chords on beats 1 and 4 for example. Placing the chords at the beginning and end of the measure gives the rhythmic feel strong forward movement. Practice this example as slowly as you need to at first. The most important aspect to focus on is keeping a clear, even pulse. Gradually speed up the tempo as you become more comfortable.

Chords on Beats 2 and 3

The last available combination is beats 2 and 3. Practice placing the plucked chords on these two beats. Remember that the bass line still does not change!
Chapter 2: (07:05) Basics of Muting When playing a bass line in conjunction with chords, Jim applies two forms of muting. When basic muting is applied to this rhythm pattern, a few specific results occur. Palm muting the bass line enables the listener to distinguish between the tone of the bass and the tone of the chords. When the sound of the bass line differs from the sound of the chords, both parts are more distinguishable and tend to stand out more. Also, the overall rhythmic feel has much more forward momentum when left and right hand muting is applied.

Adding Palm Muting

One of the advantages of playing with a thumb pick is that it enables you to palm mute rather easily. Palm muting is achieved by lightly resting the palm of the hand across the desired strings. Your palm should rest just on the other side of the bridge. This allows the pitch of the strings to be heard with an altered, slightly muted tone. If you place your palm too far from the bridge, you will prevent the strings from ringing altogether. When practicing this technique, focus on imitating the palm muting sound that Jim is producing. Palm muting is usually applied to the three bass strings. However, there are many exceptions.

Left Hand Muting

Jim also applies some left hand muting to these rhythmic patterns. This is accomplished by very lightly lifting up the left hand fingers after a chord is played. Do not lift the fingers all of the way off of the strings. You only need to lift them enough to prevent the chords from ringing. This gives a marcato or slightly staccato feel to the rhythm. Practice all of these muting techniques with each of the chords that you know.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

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

rimsba1rimsba1 replied on June 17th, 2018

rimsba1 hi Jim, this is fifteen days with you and jam play and loving every second of your presentations. My thumb is almost ready to go down town by it self. Cheers for now

jerry24jerry24 replied on February 18th, 2018

I'm finding it helpful to say something like "yes"/"no" as I play - "yes" for the pinches and "no" for the single bass notes.... so for the second and third beat ones - it would be "no" "yes" "yes" "no" Enjoying these lessons. Thanks, Jim.

MISTMIST replied on October 24th, 2016

Hey i have a doubt.... For a fingerstyle - percussion... Which will b the right choice... Looking around 700-800 USD.... Let me know asap[email protected] replied on July 31st, 2015

[email protected] CAN YOU EMAIL THIS WHERE I CAN GET A PICK LIKE YOURS, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RobZohnRobZohn replied on May 12th, 2016

Strings and Beyond has them online for 1.99 each

pauldarcherpauldarcher replied on June 19th, 2015

Enter your comment here.

pauldarcherpauldarcher replied on June 19th, 2015

Being able to read music and tab < I find the supplemental material invaluable. Tnx

poppygopoppygo replied on December 27th, 2014

fun lesson

blackgretschblackgretsch replied on February 9th, 2014

I don't like thumb picks. I prefer to just use my thumb.

mare12mare12 replied on October 8th, 2013

Is it necessary to play all the exercises with the chord changes at the fast speed before moving to the next lesson?

blackgretschblackgretsch replied on February 9th, 2014

You should be able to at least play them smoothly at a slow tempo.

CobisCobis replied on July 9th, 2013

This is my first day at Jamplay and I ejoyed so much the class, is taught in a very easy way but requires a lot of practice. God bless you Jim.

marvellousmarvellous replied on February 21st, 2013

Thanks for this. AS someone who is fed up with Travis Picking, this gives me something to play with.

TampaTonyBTampaTonyB replied on July 31st, 2012

Been looking for a lefty thumb pick (yes...there is a difference) with no luck...the big stores laugh when you say lefty. Anyone else stuck in the wrong hand world? Any ideas?

chava meyerchava meyer replied on December 11th, 2011

I dont understand what bass strings you are picking because you didnt say the name of the strings every time, and every time it looks like you are picking different strings. If some body could type the sequence and order of the first excersize here that would help!

echochickechochick replied on December 30th, 2011

Chava,,,,, the rhythm patterns are available to view or print in the "SUPPLEMENTAL CONTENT"

poleonpoleon replied on September 22nd, 2010

Hi Jim and fellow students,I’ve been playing guitar for a while now and I never used a thumbpick.I can play most of the exercises without a thumb pick. I have a Dunlop thumb pick and I find it way to long.Do they make shorter picks or can a thumb pick be filed down and what is the best way to do that? Paul

rmwillard89rmwillard89 replied on January 1st, 2013

I know Jim uses a fred kelly slick pick, which are great. they are shorter and just so much better to play with.

kryaxis1kryaxis1 replied on September 13th, 2011

you can just trim it down with some scissors. i know a chap that did that and it worked.

dannyw7982dannyw7982 replied on February 6th, 2010

Another great lesson but am really struggling with the thumb pick, when i do the pinch im either making the d string sound too loud or if i lighten up on the d then my other fingers lighten up too to the point the g string makes no sound. Guess this is gonna take some practice.

porcupinemanporcupineman replied on March 1st, 2010

Hi dannyw7982.I had the same problems but believe me it will come to you suddently,just keep on practice and use your ears.Jamplay and mostly Jim motivate me so mutch that i pick up my guitar every time i`ve got a minute free and i can feel and hear that i am getting better,it`s a great feeling.The way Jim plays is fantastic and if i could just play a little like that i would be more than happy.Dannyw7982 this is hard work but if you think i`ts fun practice you will learn.Jim says that you should have fu during practice,very important i think.When i practice some of this hard stuff i do it 10-15 minutes and then i play something else or put away my guitar for a while,that works for me.To you Jim thank you for teaching so well and i have to buy your first fruits cd.Forgive my english,best regards from Denmark

mclovinmclovin replied on May 2nd, 2009

how much does your thumbpick go out from your thumb? cause the longer that is the higher you have to have the thumb so do you recomend some lenght or is it the same legth on all picks?

dagchristiandagchristian replied on April 20th, 2009

Its to hard :D What is 1-4-5?

capocapo replied on April 9th, 2009

I'm wondering this: in the end when I finally get my thumb to seperate from my fingers (if it ever happens) will I ALWAYS have to "learn" a song as to where the notes are with in the chords I'm playing or will that come naturally. For instance, one doesn't have to "learn" a song to strum it (you know, if you know the melody of it) so I wonder will I have to always learn a song as I said in fingerstyle?--Capo

doccnageldoccnagel replied on February 11th, 2009

Maybe this will help some folks. Find some folk songs in 1-4-5 and play them with these patterns. It's more interesting, it feels more like you're playing music, and if you have someone around who'll sing, it's a great way to practice. I've been playing Folsom Prison Blues to practice the syncopated pinch, Me and Bobbie McGee to practice the 1-4 pinch, and some others, too.

Sam.MichelleSam.Michelle replied on January 3rd, 2009

This lesson completly screws you up as it the total opposite of the last lesson, "throw the thumb a curve ball" your not kidding, but we love Jims lessons and the hard graft that goes with them as i've played guiatr before and i realise it takes hard work to get where you wanna go, rock on Jim..

doccnageldoccnagel replied on February 11th, 2009

Keep working! It gets easier. Muting is still tough for me, though.

jboothjbooth replied on January 4th, 2009

Jim loves to watch us writhe in pain as our thumbs swell up, blister and fall off :)

randydrandyd replied on December 1st, 2008

This is fun stuff! Excellent lesson and it's time for practice! Still trying to get used to the whole thumb pick thing...

malcmalc replied on October 15th, 2008

oh oh it's back to no substitute for slow practice and the metronome is your friend thanks jim i gotta work on this

chaspridgenchaspridgen replied on February 15th, 2008

I have been assuming that your tab is one measure long. But it make some sense it is actually two measure long. Is this correct/ It would help if you marked the measures on the tab. thanks

greenogreeno replied on November 27th, 2007

Great to see Jim getting into some gooood stuff! The chord exersizes were good but now it's starting to sound like something. Go Jim!

Fingerstyle Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Fingerstyle guitar allows you to play the bass, harmony, and melody of a song all within the context of a single guitar part.

Lesson 1

Intro to Fingerstyle

This lesson serves as an introduction for Fingerstyle Guitar with Jim Deeming. Come on in and get started!

Length: 24:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Basic Fingerstyle

Jim demonstrates a basic fingerstyle exercise that you can use with any of the chords you know.

Length: 16:05 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

More Picking Patterns

Jim expands on lesson 2 and teaches several different picking patterns. He also covers the basics of muting.

Length: 14:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Using Syncopation

Jim Deeming explains how to integrate basic syncopation into your rhythm playing.

Length: 17:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Picking Melody Notes

This lesson is all about picking melody notes. Fingerstyle guitar really gets interesting when you combine bass, harmony, and melody.

Length: 33:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Aura Lee

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic Civil War era song "Aura Lee."

Length: 43:23 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Chet Atkins Style

Jim explains key components of Chet Atkins' guitar style.

Length: 18:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

3/4 Time and a Song

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Bicycle Built for Two." He uses this piece as an example of 3/4 or waltz timing.

Length: 37:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Two Songs at Once

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie." Both songs are played simultaneously!

Length: 30:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Open G Tuning

Jim Deeming teaches the basics of open G tuning. He also teaches a song entitled "Spanish Fandango" to show how the tuning can be used.

Length: 39:58 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Carter Family Style

Jim Deeming introduces a playing style called "Carter Family Style." The technique is also referred to as "Frailing" or "Clawhammer" style.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 12


Jim Deeming teaches the many wonders of DADGAD tuning.

Length: 32:25 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Thumb Independence

Jim Deeming tackles the topic of thumb independence.

Length: 31:51 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 14

The JamPlay Song

Jim Deeming teaches a more advanced version of the aptly named "JamPlay Song."

Length: 7:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

The Wayfaring Stranger

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle version of the classic song "The Wayfaring Stranger."

Length: 31:27 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

The Official Thumbpick Guide

Jim Deeming answers one of the most common fingerstyle questions, "which thumbpick should I use?"

Length: 13:03 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Fingernail Guide

Jim Deeming presents his thoughts on how to properly grow and groom your fingernails.

Length: 7:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Entertainer

Jim Deeming teaches a fingerstyle arrangement of "The Entertainer," a classic piano song ported over to the guitar.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs

Jim Deeming teaches the skills necessary to transform any song into a solo fingerstyle masterpiece.

Length: 37:04 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 2

Jim talks more about arranging fingerstyle songs. This time around he discusses harmonization and chord inversions.

Length: 13:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 3

Jim Deeming demonstrates alternate ways to play the CAGED chords that can be very useful when playing melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

Length: 30:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Arranging Fingerstyle Songs Pt. 4

In this lesson Jim Deeming talks about a simple way to add harmony notes to the melody section of fingerstyle songs. This technique is quite simple and can add a whole new dimension to your playing.

Length: 5:51 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Jim Deeming View Full Biography Jim Deeming got his first guitar when he was only six years old. His Dad was taking fingerpicking lessons, and Jim wanted to be just like him. The Mel Bay books didn't last very long before he strapped on a thumb pick and added the Chet part to Red River Valley so it sounded better.

Most of Jim's early learning was by ear. With unlimited access to his Dad's collection of Chet Atkins albums, he spent countless hours decoding his favorite songs. They were never "right" until they sounded just like Chet. Around the age of 12, Jim heard Jerry Reed for the first time and just knew he had to be able to make that "Alabama Wild Man" sound. The styles of Chet & Jerry always have been a big influence on his playing.

More recently he has pursued arrangements by Tommy Emmanuel and Doyle Dykes, in addition to creating some of his own and writing originals.

Jim has performed in front of a variety of audiences, including concerts, competitions, weddings and the like, but playing at church has always been a mainstay. Whether playing in worship bands or guitar solos, gospel music is deep in his roots and is also the driving theme behind his debut CD release, titled "First Fruits".

Jim has been playing for about 38 years. He also has taught private lessons in the past but believes is an exciting and better venue with many advantages over the traditional method of weekly 30 minute sessions.

Jim lives in Berthoud, Colorado with his wife, Linda, and their four children. Although he still has a "day job", he is actively performing and is already back in the studio working on the next CD. If you wonder how he finds time, look no further than the back seat of his truck where he keeps a "travel guitar" to take advantage of any practice or song-writing opportunities he can get.

The opening song you hear in Jim's introductory JamPlay video is called, "A Pick In My Pocket". It's an original tune, written in memory of Jim's father who told him early on he should always keep a pick in his pocket in case he ever met Chet Atkins and got the chance to play for him. That song is slated to be the title track for his next CD, which will feature several more originals plus some of his favorite covers of Chet and Jerry arrangements.

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