Fingerstyle Guitar Songs: 30 Finger Picking Songs To Learn

Do you love playing guitars? If yes. this might be the perfect time tor you to learn some fingerpicking songs!

Generally, fingerstyle is a popular term which also refer to fingerpicking. This is a technique of playing guitar which is done through plucking the strings with your finger or fingertips. This is commonly found in variety of genres such as in folk, country jazz, and blues.

Listening and playing some fingerpicking songs are definitely relaxing and hypnotic which will make you forget about everything. With beautiful fingerstyle arrangements, you will be able to feel the joy from playing guitar for the people you love and making them in ease while listening to you.

Of course, learning this technique might be difficult at first, but when you have already overcame the hardest part, it is guaranteed that your efforts are worth it.

fingerpicking songs

Top 10 Easy Fingerpicking Songs

1. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley – Leonard Cohen

This song was written by Leonard Cohen, a Canadian singer. The song was released on 1984 through his album entitled “Various Positions”. Jeff Buckley has a big contribution to the popularity of this song as he made a cover of it during 1994.

He made some unique arrangements on the song which made his vocals a standout, which also inspired other singers to do their own song covers.

This song is considered an easy fingerpicking song as it includes fairly easy left hand positions which can be easily learned and played by starting guitarists. When your goal is to be familiar with fingerstyle arpeggios, this is a perfect song for you to practice.

Through constant practice, this song will certainly help you build a solid right hand technique.

2. Dust In The Wind – Kansas

Dust In The Wind was released on 1977 through Kansas’ album entitled Point Of Know Return. This song is considered a classic fingerpicking song which can be learned by starting guitarists.

This incorporates a Travis’ pick which may create a mindset to people that the song is hard to play. However, it has been said that beginners can actually learn to play pick this song even in just short amount of time.

This is due to the fact that this song includes some basic open chords which are simple to understand and memorize. Thus, guitarists might experience difficulty in the beginning of the learning process, but it is guaranteed that this song will surely help them become more familiar with fingerpicking.

3. Wherever You Will Go – The Calling

This song is definitely one of the most popular songs before up until now. This was released on 2001. through a debut single which was entitled Camino Palmero by the popular band, The Calling.

This is known to have an easy straightforward fingerpicking pattern which will certainly help people to practice and evaluate their fingerstyle skills. Through this song, guitarists will be able to constantly memorized basic chords pattern which will help them to easily move forward to the next level.

4. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

House of the Rising Sun is a classic blue song and was covered by The Animals, which was released on 1984. Their version of the song paved a way for its popularity as the song was arranged beautifully.

This is considered one of the easy fingerpicking songs as it can be played by the same straightforward ascending and descending patterns which only includes basic open chords. Thus, the song can surely help to effectively practice fingerpicking technique.

5. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers

Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers became one the most popular blue songs which was released on 1971. Since the genre of the song is blues, learning its fingerstyle technique is considered a fun moment to play with.

Although it includes some irregularity on its pattern, it is still easy to learn because it has a straightforward and slow-paced structure. Therefore, even the beginner guitarists will be more familiar with fingerpicking technique.

6. We Are Going To Be Friends – The White Stripes

This song was released on 2002 by The White Stripes which was then became popular as it was being used on various international movies and shows. We Are Going To Be Friends established a rhythmic and melody which is easy to be played by starting guitarists.

Expert Tip: The tune of the song is played with a bass note which can be easily picked by the thumb while the melody note can be played by picking the lower strings, making the guitarist comfortable in fingerpicking.

7. Everybody Hurls – REM

Thing song is considered the top hit song of the band REM which was released on 1992. It has a soft melody and slow-paced fingerpicking arpeggios which made the song easy to play. Although it requires some barring technique, it is ensured that guitarists won’t encounter difficulties familiarizing the pattern.

8. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

Fast Car was written and recorded by Tracy Chapman which was released during 1988. This song has a subtle folk-rock tune which can be played in a melody of legatos and triads, with a little bit of strumming. This makes the song easy and fun to play as its pattern is undemanding that even a beginner can easily remember.

9. Good Riddance – Green Day

This song was released on 1997 and became one of the most popular acoustic songs by Green Day. This is considered a fun son to play by those who aspires to learn some fingerpicking songs.

This is due to the fact that Good Riddance has actually basic open chords as well as basic fingerstyle pattern. Practicing your skills through this song will surely make your hand comfortable in fingerstyle picking.

10. My Way – Franks Sinatra

Among all other song covers of My Way. Franks Sinatra’s version became the most popular as he released his own adaptation of the song during 1969.

This belongs to the easy fingerpicking songs as its pattern only includes slow-picked arpeggio which was being played all throughout the song. Therefore, this song is a great fingerpicking song to learn and practice more skills.

Top 10 Medium Fingerpicking Songs

1. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton

Wonderful Tonight is a well-known romantic song by Eric Clapton which was released on 1977. It is considered medium fingerpicking song as involves various unconventional legatos and chords, which made the fingerpicking pattern indeed complex.

Thus, if you really want to learn this popular romantic song, it is necessary to have some commitment and practice. In that way. you’ll be able to play the song for your special one.

2. Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

This song was released on 1992 and became one of the most popular songs of Metallica. The song has its iconic introduction and outstanding guitar solo which indeed help to make the song memorable for listeners.

This is considered one of the medium fingerpicking songs as it has a complex structure divided by various sections. When you want to learn the fingerpicking style of this song, you must be comfortable with using a fret

3. Never Going Back Again – Fleetwood Mac

Never Going Back Again was specially written by Lindsey Buckingham for the album of Fleetwood Mac during 1976. This song became a popular hit around the globe, which also made the song one of the famous medium fingerpicking songs which many guitarists chose to play.

This song requires the guitarist to memorize basic chords pattern which will surely help them easily play the song. This also includes some skills on using the bass notes and higher strings which made the pattern somewhat complicated to play, specially if you consider yourself a beginner.

Therefore, with constant proper practice, this song will certainly make the guitarist more confident on his skills and fingerstyle techniques.

4. Leaving On A Jet Plane – John Denver

This song by John Denver is considered a medium level fingerpicking song as it includes basic open chords which are familiar to both beginner and advanced guitarists. What made the fingerpicking style of the song complicated is the fact that although it presents basic chords, it has some progression which might be difficult to learn.

Expert Tip: This song also includes some strumming that added to the complexity of the entire song. However, Leaving in A Jet Plane can indeed make your fingerstyle practice more effective and efficient, thus, it will surely teach you some unique techniques you can also use on other songs.

5. Every Breath You Take – The Police

When you hear the band ‘The Police”, most of the time they are being remembered by their popular song entitled Every Breath You Take which was released on 1982.

This song is considered easy to play since its chord shape is not complex and the pattern always stay the same all throughout the song. Thus, practicing the song constantly will help guitarists to learn not just this song, but the fingerstyle as well.

6. No Surprises – Radiohead

Radiohead is a well-known artist when it comes to fingerpicking, as they became a fan of releasing this kind of music that will surely suit the audience. In fact, their song No Surprises, which was released on 2017. became one of the most popular fingerpicking songs since then.

This is considered a medium-level fingerstyle song as it features a fast paced arpeggio melody. Although this pattern is repetitive throughout the song, many have seen this song as a challenging one.

Therefore, it is recommended that if you will play this song, you must start in a very slow paced melody so you could memorize it then you will certainly get more familiar with its complex chords.

7. The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel

If you know the classic American duo Simon and Garfunkel. then you should be familiar with their top hit song The Boxer, which was released on 1969. This became popular as many have felt the theme and message of the song.

This includes simple picking patterns but have different variations, which made the song complex to learn. This song requires guitarists to learn legato and barring techniques in order to successfully play it.

8. What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

What A Wonderful World is a famous jazz song which was sing by various singers in different parts of the world. This was released by Louis Armstrong during 1967 and became indeed popular since then.

This is considered a medium fingerpicking song as it has various unconventional chords which also lead to complexity in fingering positions. Nonetheless, this song needs more attention to details, patience, and commitment which will surely help make the guitarist became familiar with fingerpicking.

9. Tenerife Sea – Ed Sheeran

This song was released by Ed Sheeran on 2014 and became a pop hit since everyone loves the song. What makes the song a medium fingerpicking song is the fact that it has a nice arpeggiated riff which is present all throughout the song.

It has a quick melody which can be played by almost all fingers in the entire pattern. However, with constant practice and determination, beginners will be able to familiarize the song and advance their skills on fingerstyle technique.

10. Don’t Cry – Guns N’ Roses

Don’t Cry is a popular ballad song by Guns N’ Roses which was released on 1986. In fact, this song made it to the top hit and most well-known song of the band.

This song includes a traditional descending and ascending fingerpicking pattern which supposedly considered a simple and fun song to play, but since it also features some difficult techniques such as arpeggios, legatos. and transitions, this made the song a medium- level fingerpicking song.

Therefore, this song is also said to be one of the most effective songs to play in order to be familiarized with various fingerstyle songs.

Top 10 Advanced Fingerpicking Songs

1. Shape Of My Heart – Sting

Shape of My Heart is a well-known song by Sting which was released on 1993. This song has an iconic guitar riff which added some complexity on its fingerstyle pattern. Although it is considered a complex riff advanced guitarists won’t have to learn various patterns as the song has repetitive riffs.

However, this song also requires excellent fretting hand which is exactly the reason why the song is considered one of the advanced fingerpicking songs. Thus, it also needs commitment and patience to learn the fingerpicking style of the song.

2. Let Her Go – Passenger

This song was undoubtedly one of the most popular songs until now. This song was released by Passenger, an English singer, on 2012. This includes complex riffs and its tune was played through triads, legatos. and complex fingerstyle patterns.

The song also requires patience as it has time signature and odd transitions. All these complexity in the entire song made it one of the most advanced fingerpicking songs. Thus, beginners might encounter really difficult time to play Let Her Go.

3. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

Tears in Heaven is one of the popular saddest songs composed by Eric Clapton which was released on 1991. This became a memorable song since it was written by Eric, following the death of his son. The feeling of sadness and mourning can be felt through every section of the entire song.

This song was considered an advanced fingerpicking song since it includes double-stops, legatos. and complex fingerstyle patterns which can easily be learned by advanced guitarists as well.

4. Brain Damage – Pink Floyd

Through listening to this song of Pink Floyd which was released on 1973. it is noticeable that Brain Damage portrays some excellent advanced fingerpicking patterns that made it more wholesome.

The core pattern of this song is considered easy to play, but the embellishments and variations added to it made the fingerpicking pattern more progressive and complicated. This song also includes some unconventional chords which is placed in variety of positions and barring techniques.

These made the entire song challenging to learn and play. Thus, it is recommended for advanced guitarists to enjoy the uniqueness of this song.

5. Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Playing the fingerstyle technique of the song Romeo and Juliet which was originally written by Knopfler will surely make the listeners in awe of how beautifully it sounds. The song tune noticeably features some advanced fingerpicking techniques which made the song complicated to play, specially if you consider yourself a beginner.

This song has a core pattern which should make it simple and fun to play, but it is necessary to keep in mind that the tune of this song is played progressively, thus, you should keenly learn the details of the variations on every verse.

6. Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin

This song is considered the most played song in every guitar shop as it became a controversial and famous rock song by Led Zeppelin which was originated in 1970 . Stairway To Heaven includes not just outstanding lyrics, but great riffs, transitions, and outstanding solos as well.

The tune of the song is indeed great, which made the fingerpicking pattern a challenging part. The song has variety of chord positions fingerstyle patterns which is easy to play for those advanced rock guitarists.

7. Hotel California – The Eagles

Since the song has indeed beautiful lyrics and exciting story, there is no doubt why Hotel California became popular before, even up to this day. This was released by the rock band The Eagles, on 1976.

What made the song an advanced fingerpicking song is the fact that its famous intro cannot be learned easily. This song has a straightforward arpeggios on its verse, with exciting guitar riffs and solos which is considered less challenging for advanced level guitarists.

8. Fire and Rain – James Taylor

This romantic song was released on 1970 by James Taylor which became popular as it has its well-known cool fingerpicking patterns all throughout the song. Fire and Rain is said to have two variations of the riff which are repeated in the entire song.

The riffs are also said to use various slides, legatos. and arpeggios patterns which added to the complexity of the fingerpicking. Aside from these riffs, the song also includes some minor strumming which made the technique more complicated and difficult to learn.

9. The Heart of Life – John Mayer

The Heart Of Life by John Mayer is indeed a popular hit song during 2006. When you heard it. you will certainly notice that The Heart of Life is a challenging song.

What more if it was being learned in fingerpicking, right? The pattern of this song is considered a straightforward technique but what makes it a challenging one is the fact that it includes various barre chords, ghost notes, and mutes.

The song also used chords which are in different positions on the fretboard which made the fingerstyle more difficult. Thus, it is advisable to learn this fingerpicking song once you have already advanced your skills and techniques.

10. Mister Sandman – Chet Atkins

This song was originally written by Pat Ballard during 1994. but it was Chet Atkins who paved a way for the popularity of Mister Sandman. This is considered one of the advanced fingerpicking songs as it includes funky rhythmic foundations as well as outstanding guitar partitions.

Specifically, the song used various advanced techniques such as fretting stretches, legatos. staccatos, and many unconventional chord positions and shapes which made the pattern indeed complex. However, it is guaranteed that once the guitarist have already memorized the rhythm of the song, it will be easier for them to play it every time.

Can you sing while fingerpicking?

Since fingerpicking requires the utilization of more than one finger on the right hand, it very well may be somewhat more troublesome than straightforward playing. It’s truly not that difficult to do however and the outcomes are definitely worth the training it takes to become familiar with it.

In my way of playing, I utilize my thumb, pointer, and center finger. The center finger consistently plays the first string; the forefinger normally plays just the second string (some of the time the third); the thumb consistently plays the third and fourth strings however can likewise play the second string, simply relying upon what’s happening in the melody at that point.

Expert Tip: The 3-finger way of picking has been usually utilized by fingerstyle guitarists like Chet Atkins and numerous others. Obviously, the picking designs must be adjusted a piece as a result of the distinctive number of strings on the uke.

You can play fingerpicking designs as backup while you sing as opposed to playing, or you can stir it up by playing in certain spots in a tune and fingerpicking in different spots.

You can likewise play fingerstyle courses of action that incorporate the song alongside fill notes. This kind of game plan will fluctuate from one tune to another on the grounds that it depends on the tune and rhythm of the tune.

Conclusion

Generally, most guitarists have struggled to learn their favorite fingerpicking songs during the beginning of their journey, but with commitment and patience, they have finally succeeded.

Keep in mind that if they can do it you can absolutely do it too. Do not hesitate to learn fingerpicking techniques as it will certainly lead you to experiment and expand your skills along with various unconventional patterns. Knowing these techniques and styles is not just fulfilling, but can also make you feel more confident.

Therefore, if you really love playing guitars and acoustic, it is now the time to level up your skills by learning some fingerpicking songs

About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!