Watch the Finger Picking online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Acoustic Rhythm Survival Guide
We're going to use what is broadly termed, a 'Travis Picking' pattern. This pattern is named after country singer-songwriter and guitarist, Merle Travis and is based around an alternating bass pattern played with the thumb and then a syncopated rhythm played with the index, middle and ring finger that often times will pick out the melody.
Sometimes you'll see it with the thumb and only the index or just index and middle fingers. The example I've used here uses thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Guitarists such as Chet Atkins, Marcel Dadi and Tommy Emmanuel can give you some wonderful examples of this kind of picking.
NOTE: When using this pattern on the G chord – or any chord who's root is on the 6th string, you can chose from the 6th and 4th or 6th and 5th strings as your alternating bass notes... there are no hard rules here – just explore and find what works best for you in the given context.
TRY IT! Try using the Travis Picking pattern in a song or progression you know and usually strum. Notice how different it sounds and feels.