Blackbird – Finger Picking Lesson – 1

I was getting a little burned out on the Open 'E' chord lessons, so I figured I would start you guys on this one, and then double back to a lesson on Yellow Ledbetter. Let's jump right into finger picking and learning the first picking part of this song!

Crash Course in Finger Picking

Let's get in starting position. Here's a picture while I explain finger placement.

Thumb rest on the 6th string.

Pointer rest on the 3rd string.

Middle rest on the 2nd string.

Ring rest on the 1st string.

Once you have all your fingers on the strings in their proper place, take them off just a little bit. This is known as resting position.

Notice how they are barely touching the strings. That's how you want them to be. Now that the basics are covered, let's dive into the song, shall we?


I want to start off really slow, as to not put too much at your feet and then have you guys tell me to, “Screw off! This is too hard, you're an awful, awful guitar instructor!” With that in mind, I'm going to cover just the first three beats of the song.

Beat 1

line your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the 6th string like so.

Now, with your picking hand, you're going to pick your thumb and middle finger at the same time.

Next, pick the 3rd string with your 1st finger.


I can't stress this enough. Learning how to finger pick can be overwhelming, to say the least. Start off very slow and take your time on training your fingers to go in the right places. I always tell every single one of my students...

I'd rather hear you play it slow and right, than fast and wrong. Speed comes with time.” -NickelNDime

**Beat 2

**Next you're going to place your 1st finger on the 1st fret of the second string.

With your picking hand, you're going to move your thumb down to the 5th string. Now you're going to pick your thumb and middle finger just like in the first beat.

...Followed by your 1st finger again.

Beat 3

For the last beat of this lesson, you're going to place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string, and your 4th finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string.

The picking pattern is exactly the same as beat 2.

That covers everything you need to play the first three beats to “Blackbird.” Get this picking pattern down, because in the next lesson I'm going to go over the more complex picking pattern. Good luck!

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