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Cool Guitar Fingerpicking Songs

Fingerpicking invokes a different sort of guitar player inside when compared to using a pick. There’s a sense of connection to the instrument that you just don’t get with a pick, and it inspires a different rhythm and feel to playing. In this lesson we’ll take a look at some cool fingerpicking songs that are fun to play and offer a variety of picking patterns.

1. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac

This Fleetwood Mac classic comes from their self-titled, Fleetwood Mac, album released in 1975. Landslide is pretty straightforward in its picking pattern and chord progression, making it rather easy to play. It’s played using a capo on the 3rd fret, so the tab below is relative to the capo.

The chords used in the progression are: C – G/B – Am7

Guitar tab for Landslide fingerpicking riff

Listen to the track: Landslide

2. Don’t Follow – Alice In Chains

From the EP Jar of Flies, “Don’t Follow” seems to be an Alice In Chains song that doesn’t garner much attention. However, it’s an excellent fingerpicking song, particularly for those just starting out with the technique.

The riff uses the following chords: D – D/F# – G6 – A7

Guitar tab for Don't Follow by Alice In Chains fingerpicking riff

Listen to the track: Don’t Follow

3. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Led Zeppelin

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is from Led Zeppelin’s 1969 album, Led Zeppelin. I just love the way this one rolls off your fingers. Once you get the pattern down, the riff essentially plays itself.

The chords used in the progression are: Am – Am7sus4 – C/G – D/F# – Am6 – F – E

Guitar tab for fingerpicking riff of Babe Im Gonna Leave You by Led Zeppelin

Listen to the track: Babe I’m Gonna Leave You

4. Blackbird – The Beatles

“Blackbird” by The Beatles was released on The White Album in 1968. The picking pattern on this one is interesting and some of transitions are a bit quick, making this song a little more tricky to play if you’re just starting out with fingerpicking.

The chords used in the progression are: G – Am7 – G/B – G

Guitar tab for intro blackbird riff by the Beatles

Listen to the track: Blackbird

5. Dust in the Wind – Kansas

“Dust in the Wind”, from the 1977 album Point of Know Return is another must-learn fingerpicking song. It’s very similar to “Landslide” in terms of the chord progression and repeating fingerpicking style. These types of songs are always fun to play, because once you have the pattern down you pretty much have the song down.

The chord progression in the tab consists of: C – Cadd9 – Am – Csus4

Guitar tab for Dust in the Wind fingerpicking riff

Listen to the track: Dust in the Wind

6. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

This song appeared on the Rush movie soundtrack released in 1992. This song offers up various fingerpicking patterns over a beautiful chord progression.

The chords used in the progression in the tab are: A – E/G# – F#m – A/E – D/F# – E7sus4 – E7

Guitar tab for fingerpicking riff Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

Listen to the track: Tears In Heaven

7. Why Georgia – John Mayer

This was probably the first John Mayer song I learned to play. It has such a great groove to it. The rhythm and percussive play can take a bit to get used to, but once you have the feel it’s fun to play.

The chords being played over in the tab are: G – D

Guitar tab for fingerpicking riff Why Georgia by John Mayer

Listen to the track: Why Georgia

8. Is There Anybody Out There? – Pink Floyd

From their 1979 rock opera The Wall, Pink Floyd’s “Is There Anybody Out There?” is another song that rolls off the fingers. For the most part it’s simple chord arpeggiation, but does offer some rhythmic twists as well.

The chords used in the progression shown in the tab are: Am – Am/F – Am/F#

Guitar tab for Is Anybody out there fingerpicking riff by Pink Floyd

Listen to the track: Is There Anybody Out There?

9. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley

From the 1994 album Grace, Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the all time greats and a must-learn fingerpicking song on guitar. While the main riff is straightforward, the song does offer some variety in the picking style and rhythm.

The chords used in the tab progression are: G – Em7

Guitar tab for fingerpicking riff of Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

Listen to the track: Hallelujah

10. Silent Lucidity – Queensryche

Silent Lucidity is a classic song from Queensryche off of their 1990 album, Empire. It’s a simple picking pattern that’s great for beginner players.

The chords used in this riff are: G – Em9

guitar tab for ingerpicking riff silent lucidity by queensryche

Listen to the track: Silent Lucidity

Bonus: Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

What list of fingerpicking songs would be complete without Stairway to Heaven? Nothing fancy about this one either. The song uses a similar picking pattern throughout, making it easy to catch onto.

The chords used in this riff progression are: Am – Eaug/G# – C/G – D/F# – G/B – Am

Guitar tab for stairway to heaven fingerpicking intro by Led Zeppelin

Listen to the track: Stairway to Heaven

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