Playing arpeggios is a great way to practice proper finger picking technique

In fingerstyle guitar, the right hand is responsible for plucking the strings. In this blog post, we will explore three exercises that can be used to develop fingerpicking technique for the right hand. 

To create beautiful, flowing music with fingerstyle guitar, you must have the correct finger picking technique. Here are three exercises you can use to practice proper fingerstyle technique.


Arpeggios are a great fingerpicking exercise because they require you to use all of the fingers in your right hand.

You can start by playing simple arpeggios, such as those which do not change the shape of the left hand. Then you can progress to playing arpeggios while changing chords with the left hand. This is more challenging as it requires coordination between both hands.

How to Play an Arpeggio

To play an arpeggio, simply pluck each note in a chord individually. For example, if you are playing a C major chord, you would pluck the fifth, third, second and first strings one at a time. This would produce the notes C, G, C and E. You can start slowly and gradually increase the speed as you get comfortable with the pattern. 

Next you can practice playing one measure or four beats of the arpeggio. Once the measure is completed, move the hand up two frets and continue the same picking pattern. You must coordinate your movements for this to sound smooth.

Don't forget that you must have the proper right hand technique for these exercises to work properly.

A proper neutral right hand position for fingerstyle guitar

Alternating Bass Notes

The alternating bass technique involves playing a bass note with your thumb, followed by a higher note with one of your fingers.

If you are not using the correct right hand technique, your fingers will potentially collide with each other.

An alternative technique which is commonly used in folk and blues music is called Travis Picking. This type of picking commonly involves the thumb switching between several strings as you play. This is called string crossing, and it can help improve your ability to switch between different strings with your thumb.


Scales are another excellent fingerpicking exercise. They help to develop alternating right hand fingers, which is an important skill for fingerpicking.

To fingerpick a scale, simply pluck each note in the scale using a different finger. For example, you could use your thumb for the first note, your index finger for the second note, your middle finger for the third note, and so on. Again, start slowly and gradually increase the speed as you get comfortable with the pattern. 

Do not repeat the same finger over and over again

One of the most important things to keep in mind when fingerpicking is to avoid using the same finger over and over again. This can lead to strain and discomfort in the hand, and can also make the sound less clean and loud. Instead, try to use all of the fingers in your right hand, and alternate between fingers as much as possible. 

These three exercises will help you to develop the coordination and strength in your right hand that is necessary for fingerpicking guitar. Start with slow speeds and gradually increase the tempo as you become more comfortable with the patterns. Remember to alternate between fingers as much as possible!