Top Fingerpicking Song Tabs

These tunes are a good way to start your fingerpicking education

After you've gotten comfortable using a pick on the guitar, you can tackle the basics of fingerpicking. One of the best ways to learn new techniques on a guitar is to practice songs that use them. Here is a list of popular song tabs that you can use to practice your fingerpicking technique, along with suggestions on how to learn to play them. A trick that might help you with fingerpicking is to keep your little finger on the guitar soundboard to stabilize your hand.

Photo of GREEN DAY
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"Good Riddance" is an easy tab to get you started. The fingerpicking technique is simple, and the chords are your basic open chord variety. 

02
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'Dust in the Wind' (by Kansas)

Steve Walsh
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"Dust in the Wind" might seem tricky at first, but the fingerpicking pattern is repetitive. If you can nail the initial pattern, you just need to focus on the chord changes. Take it slowly at first. Try staying on the C major chord and repeating the fingerpicking pattern over and over until you get it.

03
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'Stairway to Heaven' (by Led Zeppelin)

Led Zeppelin 1973

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You're going to have to learn "Stairway to Heaven" at some point, so you might as well do it now. The fingerpicking is pretty straightforward, but you might find that some of the fretting hand shapes and the memorization are tougher.

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'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You' (by Led Zeppelin)

Led Zeppelin 2012 (L-R) Jason Bonham, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page

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The fingerpicking pattern for "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" may be easier for novices, as the pattern is sequential and probably easier to remember.

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'Needle and the Damage Done' (by Neil Young)

Neil Young

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"Needle and the Damage Done"  is pretty straightforward. It's an eight-bar guitar part that repeats throughout the song. Once you learn those eight bars, you know the whole tune. There might be a couple of shapes here that beginning guitarists haven't played before, but there's nothing too challenging.

06
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'Blackbird' (by The Beatles)

Beatles At The BBC
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"Blackbird" is another must-learn song on the guitar, and the good news is that it's easier to play than it sounds. Again, the fingerpicking itself is pretty straightforward, though the fretting handwork will take some time.

07
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'Here Comes the Sun' (by The Beatles)

Happy Hearts Club
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This great tune by George Harrison can be learned by beginning guitarists. You'll need a capo to make it sound right, and it will take some practice, but "Here Comes the Sun" is definitely conquerable.

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'Vincent' (by Don McLean)

Don McLean
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With 'Vincent'  ("Starry Starry Night," if the title doesn't ring a bell), things start to get a little trickier. The chord shapes aren't difficult, but the fingerpicking pattern is all over the place, so a lot of memorization is required.

09
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'Tears in Heaven' (by Eric Clapton)

Eric Clapton In The Studio
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Here's another song that beginning guitarists will probably struggle with for a while. "Tears in Heaven" is more challenging for its chord structures than for its fingerpicking patterns. Give it a try, but if you're a newbie, it might be awhile before you can make this tab sound good.

10
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'Shape of My Heart' (by Sting)

Celebrating David Bowie
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This Sting tune might not be the first to come to your mind when you think "great guitar songs," but the fingerpicking part of "Shape of My Heart" is really gorgeous. It's not easy to play—there are many variations in the picking pattern—but your efforts will be rewarded. Note the use of a capo on the second fret.