Watch the Fingerpicking Patterns online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Acoustic Rhythm Survival Guide
In this example really listen to the difference in 'vibe' between a basic strum and basic finger-picking pattern. If you're new to finger picking, take the time to practice this slowly. You can use a thumb pick if you like, but use your 'bare' index, middle and ring fingers.
Also – if you're used to finger picking with just your thumb and one or two other fingers, take the time now to educate all 3 fingers and get this under your belt! From this simple pattern, you'll be able to expand into endless finger picking patterns over time – and who knows – maybe someday you'll be able to play this version of Greensleeves by Alex Degrassi
(ok, it's a 39 string harp guitar, but you get the idea – right?)Body Awareness:
Make sure you are NOT holding excess tension in your right hand!!! If you find that you are, take some deep breaths and play the pattern very, very softly. Gradually increase the volume – without 'excess' tension. You may feel tension from your fingers and hand moving up into your forearm and even your neck and shoulders. Take the time to notice this NOW... you will save hours of unlearning time later!
For those who are already good fingerpickers – try doing this very simple pattern with a metronome and gradually take it to faster tempos...always watching out for unnecessary tension. For a real challenge and dexterity exercise, try accenting different notes in the pattern... for example; play the pattern accenting each thumb stroke. Do this for a while. Monitor tension.
Then do the same thing accenting only the second stroke or INDEX finger stroke. Do the same for middle and ring fingers. This is a GREAT workout for the small muscles in the fingers and hand and for your overall rhythmic and musical co-ordination. Relax your belly and relax your jaw... good work!