Lesson 1     Lesson 2     Lesson 3     Lesson 4     Lesson 5     Lesson 6     The Song


How to Play Fingerstyle Guitar

Tony's Totally Free Fingerpicking Guitar for Beginners Course

You’ve found the most direct route to playing your first fingerstyle song (also called fingerpicking).

When you complete these 6 fingerstyle guitar lessons you’ll be prepared to play an easy beginner arrangement of Freight Train, probably the most popular and widely known classic fingerpicking songs ever!

So stick with me over the next 7 days. Take your time with these guitar lessons. Put in a few minutes each day, and play your first fingerstyle song by the end of the week. Lets go have some fun! – Tony


You’ll need the necessary tabs for each lesson. Click here to download them all at once. 

Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 1

Finger Familiarity and Technique (6 min) How to use your fingers when fingerpicking so you can become familiar with the strings and hit the correct one when playing. This lesson will familiarize your picking hand fingers with the strings. You will learn the “golden rule” of traditional fingerpicking, which finger is responsible for which string, as well as learn how to read fingerpicking notation on the tablature staff.  Download tab for this lesson 

Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 2

All Thumbs (10 min) How to use your thumb while fingerpicking so you can maintain a steady rhythm over basic chords. Your thumb is the rock that your other fingers will lean on when fingerpicking. This lesson will show you how the thumb usually works when fingerpicking in the traditional three finger style. Your thumb will gain comfort in keeping a steady bass rhythm, as well as get a feel for some commonly traveled paths over the bass notes of some common chords. Download tab for this lesson 

Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 3

Pinching Pyrotechnics (10 min) How to use your index and middle finger to pinch so you can start adding higher notes to the steady bass pulse you have developed. In this lesson you will gain the power to add your index or middle finger to a thumb stroke so that you can bring in higher notes for interest and ultimately, the melody line of a song. This technique is at the heart of how you begin to integrate the melody of a song into the bass all at the same time. Download tab for this lesson 

Know about Tony's Acoustic Challenge?

Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 4

Staggered Pinchers & Eighth Notes (13 min) How to stagger the quarter note pinch and introduce eighth notes for rhythmic variety and the all important syncopation. Introducing the staggered pinch (commonly referred to as playing eighth notes) is the very thing that makes fingerpicking sound so cool and catchy. This lesson will show you how to use this technique to bring rhythmic interest into your fingerpicking patterns as well as add that signature sound of syncopation. Download tab for this lesson 

Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 5

Mixed Note Values (9 min) How to mix up both the straight pinch and the staggered pinch (quarter and eighth notes) so you can create your own fingerpicking patterns. This lesson combines the alternating bass line, as well as the staggered pinch, along with the straight pinch to give you the power and authority to create your own fingerpicking patterns. After this lesson you will feel just as comfortable playing a series of quarter notes as you do eighth notes… AND you will be able to mix them up; transitioning from one to the other with ease. Download tab for this lesson 

Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 6

Making the Chords Work For You (14 min) How to add notes to chords so that you can marry both the bass line and melody line of a tune; the essence of fingerpicking. In this final installment of the Fingerpicking Jumpstart Course you will see what notes you can add to the common chords C, F, and G so that when necessary you can integrate melody notes. When you combine this chord knowledge with the patterns you have learned, you are officially a fingerpicker… in fact you are ready to take on a song with your newly acquired technique. Download tab for this lesson 

How to Play Freight Train – Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson 7

How to use the skills you have developed in a real world setting so that you can play the classic fingerpicking tune, Freight Train. This song is a perfect match to put your newly trained fingers to work. You will use your pinching technique, supplement it with the chord additions you have learned, to play through this must know fingerpicking song. Once you have this song nailed, you have opened the door to the world that is fingerpicking. Great job and a huge congratulations for transforming your playing!! 

Download tab for this lesson 

Heard of Tony's Acoustic Challenge?


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