One Finger Per String Picking

The One Finger Per String Method is the most logical way of arranging your picking hand. Each string is allocated a finger. Each string is only played with one finger and each finger only plays one string.

They are arranged:

Thumb – g-string

Index Finger – C string

Middle Finger – E string

Ring Finger – A string

Like this:

As you can see, I use my little finger as an anchor. Don’t copy that! It’s a bad habit. This stabilizes the hand but there is a trade off. Letting you hand hover over the strings will give your fingers greater flexibility and make it easier to switch between picking and strumming.

And it means my hand always falls into that position. So whenever I’ve chugging a beer in a manly fashion I’m also raising a delicate pinkie.

An Example



Learn some fingerpicking patterns using this technique
Thumb and Two Fingers Method
Fingerpicking Notation

View Comments


  1. gunnee September 26th, 2013 5:30 am

    that was cool

  2. Clifford September 26th, 2013 8:16 am

    This is exactly what I wanted when I mailed you the other week. Thank you, it’s excellent

  3. Woodshed September 26th, 2013 8:34 am

    gennee: Thanks!

    Clifford: I’m very glad it helped.

  4. tooney November 16th, 2013 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the tip about not anchoring that pesky pinky. Now I have to try not to let BOTH of them flail around when I play. Not a pretty picture. But I shall endeavor.

    On a happier note, we’re seeing the UOOGB at Longwood Gardens in PA this Saturday. They sent us Tom Petty’s “American Girl” to practice for the play-along. Hope no one hears me hitting the wrong chords since it’s in key of A. Lots of E chords I can’t quiiiite hit. :)

    Keep up your good work. We appreciate you!

  5. Woodshed November 17th, 2013 8:49 am

    tooney: Have a blast!

  6. bk February 7th, 2014 6:48 am

    Am I reading it wrong or is that not really a C7 shown in the tablature? I’m reading it as having fingers on the 3rd fret of the G, E, and A strings. It doesn’t sound like a C7 to me (which I normally play with only the first fret of the A string held down)

  7. Woodshed February 7th, 2014 6:52 am

    bk: It is C7 but a different inversion. It doesn’t have an E in it so it does sound a bit different.

  8. John Majerle October 16th, 2015 7:36 pm

    It has always felt more natural for me to use my 4 fingers instead of thumb and 3 fingers. Does it make any difference?

  9. Woodshed October 16th, 2015 8:02 pm

    John: If you can get the same dexterity out of it I don’t think it does. It’s always nice to have options though.

Sorry, Comments Are Broken Right Now