Ukulele Picking Patterns in 3/4 Time

In the comments of the fingerpicking patterns post post Gretchen requested picking patterns for 3/4. Which was an excellent idea.

If you’re not familiar with it, there’s a guide to fingerpicking notation here. And there’s a beginner’s guide to fingerpicking here.

What is 3/4 Time?

Most pop songs are in 4/4 time. So you’d count along with them “1, 2, 3, 4” Joey Ramone style. But there are many songs in 3/4 time i.e. you count “1, 2, 3” along with the song.

Some well known songs in 3/4 time: Happy Birthday, Hallelujah, The Times they are a-Changing.

Thumb and Two Finger Patterns

Three patterns using the thumb and two finger method of picking.

PIMP Pattern

A very straight forward pattern with the thumb on the C-string.


PIMIPI Pattern

Similar to the last pattern but now you’re going up and down the strings (and up a bit again).


Unison Pattern

Here you’re playing the E and A-strings at the same time. There’s a bass note then the rest of chord. It’s something you hear a lot in 3/4 time.


One Finger Per String Method

Now for three patterns using the One Finger Per String Picking Method.

PIMA Pattern

Going straight up the strings. But the first two notes are eighth notes and the second two quarter notes.


Unison Pattern

Similar to the third pattern except this time playing the g-string alone. This example is a bit Beirut-y.


IMP Pattern

Another example with strings being played in unison. But this time the g and E-strings being played at the same time.


View Comments


  1. Shelby November 11th, 2013 1:51 am

    It hurts my brain, how can I make this easier to learn?

  2. Woodshed November 11th, 2013 5:00 am

    Shelby: Start slow. Just hold a chord down with your left hand so you can concentrate on the picking pattern.

  3. Gretchen November 15th, 2013 3:33 am

    Thank you very much for this post! Really helpful and will keep me busy for months!

  4. Woodshed November 15th, 2013 8:40 am

    Gretchen: Thanks! Happy playing!

  5. Gail in Florida November 20th, 2013 3:05 pm

    This is great Woodshed, Thanks! And such beautiful tabs. Btw, how do you create your tabs, with photoshop or some kind of tab software?

  6. Woodshed November 21st, 2013 8:46 am

    Gail: Thanks! I use Guitar Pro.

  7. Jessica jones November 28th, 2013 3:45 pm

    WONDERFUL tutorial. I was searching how to pick The First Noel. Not sure if I can any of these, but it’s nice to have a base of picking patterns like I do strumming! I thank you thank you thank you!

  8. Woodshed November 29th, 2013 2:43 pm

    Jessica: You’re very welcome!

  9. datajammer July 9th, 2017 4:42 am

    I have repetitive concussion syndrome and I discovered the fingerpicking and singing eases my symptoms dramatically…. I find it very difficult, even frustrating at times but I do fingerpicking during commercial when watching baseball etc… just do 10 min and put it down and slowly u develop what I think they call muscle memory for the chords on left hand and fingerpicking pattern on the other… when u have that then do singing… the amountof brain activity you generate is amazing and I feel what I can describe as the opposite of a headache foir hrs afterwads!!!… thank you for a excellent BRAIN DEVELOPMENT TOOL!!!

  10. Woodshed July 10th, 2017 10:49 am

    datajammer: That’s fantastic! Really glad it’s helping you.

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