30 Easy Fingerpicking Songs

Fingerpicking sounds beautiful. There are so many picking patterns and even if you’re a beginner, you can wing it and find some success. It’s just a case of getting your fingers to move in a fluid and relaxed way and making sure you grab the string just right.

While you can change the sound of any song to something a little more delicate, poignant, and pretty by plucking the strings, there are songs that were written that way. These either get the melody out via the notes you pick or have a dedicated fingerpicking rhythm.

Here are 30 easy fingerpicking songs for you to try. Some may require a little more practice than others but beginner and intermediate guitarists should find these easy enough to play.

Everybody Hurts- R.E.M

This song is pretty well-known, at least by the millennial crowd and beyond. It’s a song that’s beautiful in its simplicity. The lyrics are also encouraging and everyone can relate to or at least has needed to hear these words at least once in their lives.

The picking pattern is pretty simple and uses just regular easy chords. You can embellish the bass notes a little if you get creative for something a little more intricate.

Here are the tabs and song:


House Of The Rising Sun- The Animals

I’ve chosen to share the video by The Animals because you can hear the picking nicely in this one. But this song has been covered by the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, bass singers like Avi Kaplan and Geoff Castellucci, Pink Floyd, Leadbelly, and more. The Animals’ version is a cover of the 1933 version by Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster.

It’s stood the test of time, and most guitarists know how to play this one. It sounds good fingerpicked, but also great when strummed. So you can make your own arrangement of this iconic song.

Here are the tabs:


Hey There Delilah- Plain White T’s

I enjoyed this song the first time I heard it, and then it got overplayed hugely. And even over a decade later, I still skip it if it comes on. But it’s a lovely song really. A guy speaking to his girl about their future and how she’s pretty and how he’ll take whatever mode of transport to travel to her. So if you’re in a long-distance relationship, this one may be extra special for you to play.

The picking pattern is quite easy with even the more intermediate chords played in simpler ways to compliment the overall style of the song.

Here are the tabs:


Good Riddance Time of Your Life- Green Day

While this song can be strummed in a way that isn’t too difficult but adds that little something, it’s every bit as good when fingerpicked. This song is about a break-up, but the words fit with any time you move on from someone or something in your life that once brought you joy. Green Day has a few songs that are a little on the emo side laden with meaning, but this is one of my favorites.

The chords are easy and so is the picking pattern used.

Here are the tabs:


Love Yourself- Justin Bieber

I suppose guitar music isn’t what most of us think about when it comes to Justin Bieber, I certainly don’t, but here we are. While the lyrics may appeal to some of you (exes who need to get over themselves are a thing), this song is interesting from a musical perspective too. The rhythm has a stop-and-go feel to it that just works. You may need to practice this one to get the hang of it, but don’t let that stop you.

Here are the tabs:


Behind Blue Eyes- Limp Bizkit

If you’ve heard some of their more slapstick songs, this one may pleasantly surprise you in its gentle heartfelt sentiment. Just shows, that even crazy rocker people have feelings too, just like the rest of us. It was originally sung by The Who and their guitar playing differs from this newer version.

The Limp Bizkit version was made popular for the modern mainstream crowd at the time on radio and in the horror movie, Gothika, with Halle Berry. It’s a nice one to play on the guitar. You can listen out for the strumming on the video, the quicker strums can take a bit of practice to get right, but the picking itself is pretty easy.


Here are the tabs to the original by The Who if you prefer that one:


Fast Car- Tracy Chapman

This song has a very repetitive picking pattern, much like some of the other songs on the list. But it’s just that good. If you can manage to pick it and sing it at the same, more power to you. I still can’t, although, that may be a lesson about the importance of practice, which I need to do more with this song. It can get tedious playing it without singing, or without someone singing with you. You can use strumming to alleviate that a bit.

This song is about escaping a bad life for a better one, and yes, the uphill climb that it can be, but also the lessons along the way.


Nothing Else Matters- Metallica

This is another popular song when it comes to fingerpicking. This song is about staying true to yourself no matter what happens or what other people say or do. It’s another favorite of mine. While it can sound a bit daunting, especially for beginners, it’s actually not that difficult and makes use of techniques that will only make you a better guitarist.

When you get to the solo, it’s much easier if you have a cutaway guitar as I can attest to after years of playing it on my dreadnought and then more recently, on my husband’s cutaway. But don’t let that stop you if this song sounds good to you.


Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright- Bob Dylan

I’ve heard this one a lot over the last few weeks since my husband took a liking to it. Bob Dylan himself took an easy-going attitude to playing this song. Basically, just have fun with it… despite it being a break-up song. The chords are easy enough and to get the right key, you use a capo. Personally, I think using a capo to go up in key makes the guitar sound really nice. Like using higher voicings but without too much finger gymnastics.

If you make a few errors with the picking, don’t sweat it. So did Bob on more than one occasion. Think of it as artistic expression.


Simply The Best- Noah Reid

If you’re a fan of the show Schitt’s Creek, you’ll have come across this version of the legendary Tina Turner’s song, Simply the Best. Noah Reid’s version took this song from being a 90s pop hit into a gentle folk-type song. I honestly felt his version was better in that you can actually feel the song instead of going into party/karaoke mode. If you have someone special in your life, this is a lovely version to play for them.

The picking pattern is really easy as are the chords so you’ll have this song down in no time.

Here are the tabs:


Here Comes The Sun- The Beatles

Whether you literally hate winter and feel joyful about the coming of warmer weather or you want to feel encouraged about your life or a situation getting better, this is a apt song for both those scenarios. Especially if you play it for someone else. The Beatles wrote and played it, the great Nina Simone did a rendition too, you can’t go wrong with this song.

The chords are simple but are picked in a way that weaves the melody into it so it has that extra something to it.

Here are the tabs:


Wreck Of The Day- Anna Nalick

This song is super easy to pick. Anna Nalick has the kind of voice where even if the instruments are playing simply, her voice really makes the song. So if you want to put your all into singing about walking away from a crush, here you go.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t at all believe that something needs to be intricate to sound good. It’s still nice on the guitar, it just won’t be one of those songs where singing is difficult because you’re concentrating so hard on playing it right.

Here are the tabs:


Perfect- Ed Sheeran

A love song that will make any girl’s heart feel warm and fuzzy, Perfect is a lovely ballad with uncomplicated picking. The biggest challenge is the odd hammer-on. This song comes together so well because of the melody, the guitar, and Ed’s sincerity and voice as he sings. I always enjoy it when it comes on and have unashamedly picked and strummed my way passionately through this one.


Dust In The Wind- Kansas

While this song may sound difficult when you first hear it, the picking pattern is consistent throughout. It’s emphasizing different parts of the chords with your fretting hand that gives it a bit of flare. And really, it’s a case of playing certain frets and then not. No hammer-ons or pull-offs. This song will either have you feeling quite nihilistic or seeing superficial earthly things for what they are. Either way, it’s a thought-provoking song.

Here are the tabs:


Landslide- Fleetwood Mac

A simple but beautiful melody, poignant lyrics about moving to new stages of life, and a steady picking pattern. Fleetwood Mac has written some great songs, and thanks to Lindsey Buckingham, some awesome guitar parts. This is one of their simpler songs, but no less awesome for it.

Here are the tabs:


Stairway To Heaven- Led Zeppelin

Out of the 70s comes this legendary song that sounds a bit like a mash-up of different genres. If you’re just starting out, you may be wondering why it’s on this list. The beauty of this song for beginners is that the first part is slow. So yes, it may be a little more intricate than your hands are used to, but you can take it slow, which is what I would suggest with all the new songs you’re learning to play anyway.

There can be a few different meanings to this song. If you’re feeling enigmatic and fantastical at the same time, give this song a go. There’s almost a whole 8 minutes of it to master so you’ll get plenty of practice.

Here are the tabs:


More Than Words- Extreme

Another classic, this song is simple to play, giving singers a chance to showcase their voices. I’ve always enjoyed it. The gentle fingerpicking, the melody, and words that encourage us to show with our actions, and not just words, when we love someone. It’s a great combination. The chords are pretty much the basic chords with a few different bases to add something to the bass line.

Here are the tabs:


Carnival Town- Norah Jones

Carnival Town by Norah Jones has a touch of melancholy to it that makes you think about where your life is going… or perhaps how carnival rides feel every day after everyone leaves… Whichever way you’d like to look at it, it’s a nice song for fingerpicking. It’s a little slower and the chords aren’t overly intricate, although it may take some practice for some chords. But no true guitarist lets that get in the way of jamming.

Here are the tabs:


We’re Going To Be Friends- White Stripes

A sweet throwback to childhood, hopefully, the carefree nature of the song is something we can all relate to and remind us of that friend/s that made school fun. The picking is straightforward with no frills. If you’re just getting started, this is one of the easiest songs to learn.

Here are the tabs:


Road Trippin’- Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is a song about getting away for a bit from the monotony and/or hustling of everyday life. If you can’t get away right now, this song will do. The picking is quick and sounds a little complex, but it’s just a case of starting out slow and then working your way up to the correct bpm as your fingers become used to what they need to do.

Here are the tabs:


Blackbird- The Beatles

This classic is about freedom, and specifically, breaking free in a poetic way unless you want to take it literally. It’s not a difficult song to play with some practice. It’s about getting used to where your fingers need to go. I’m specifically thinking about going from the first three frets and then to the 10th and 12th fret in a timeous manner. It’s a lovely song to play on the guitar.

Here are the tabs:


No Surprises- Radiohead

This is a rather emo song, about hating jobs and being unhappy in general. While I don’t advise taking a good portion of these lyrics to heart, it will definitely do when you need to musically vent when feeling down in the dumps. The scale used for the picking has a very intriguing sound that just works for me. If you enjoy something more exotic sounding, you may like it too.

The picking part is written for an electric guitar. Most of them have a generous amount of room below the 12th fret. The tabs recommend a capo in fret 15, but if you can’t manage, nothing wrong with making the key lower, in my opinion. Just remember that if you have someone strumming with you, that they must lower the key too. Other than that, it’s pretty simple.

Here are the tabs:


Let Her Go- Passenger

Working through feelings after a break-up? This song helps with that. Also, it speaks of not knowing what you have till it’s gone, which most of us can relate to at one point or another, somehow. It’s not a hard song to learn. It has hammer-ons and pull-offs throughout to give it some spice. You can incorporate these techniques into your own music if you’re into composing.

Here are the tabs:


Just Breathe- Pearl Jam

This song will take a bit of practice, but it sounds so good, it’s worth it. Speaking about appreciating the people you love, and specifically a significant other, it’s a great song to play and sing. It may take some time to get to the point where you can do both simultaneously, but all it takes is consistent practice.

Here are the tabs:


Don’t Cry- Guns N’ Roses

This song is about a break-up or being unfaithful, something along those lines. It’s one of those that tug at the heartstrings a little. Guitar-wise, the beginning is pretty straightforward, just a simple picking pattern played over basic chords. As the song progresses, more techniques are added, like bends and vibrato. Being introduced to these techniques in the setting of a song is a great way to upskill.

Here are the tabs:


Wherever You Will Go- The Calling

One of the most popular songs in the 2000s, this soft-rock ballad makes us think about things most of us would probably rather not. This song also lets your special someone know that you care about them deeply.

From a guitar perspective, it’s arranged with parts for picking and strumming, all of which are easy to play as they’re based on basic chords. The picking pattern is also easy to play.

Here are the tabs:


Tears In Heaven- Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton wrote this for his son that passed away tragically, but the words are applicable for the loss of any loved one and the reminder that one day, there will be no more tears. Although there are more complicated parts in the song, it’s one of those you can work your way up to without too much trouble thanks to the easy chord voicings and repetitive nature of the progression. It’s truly a beautiful song.

Here are the tabs:


April Come She Will- Simon & Garfunkel

This is a song about the beginning and end of something, a relationship, a season in your life, a job, your interest in something, etc. The guitar part is described by many as hauntingly beautiful. It will require a bit of practice, but once you get going it will become a lot easier.

Here are the tabs:


Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley

The late Jeff Buckley’s version of this song features beautiful guitar fingerpicking. Most people know this song, or at least of it since both Jeff Buckley and John Cale’s versions are popular. The picking pattern varies. The verses and choruses have a pretty basic pattern with the intro, solo, and bridge changing it up into something more intricate. But all in all, with some practice, it’s a song that’s easy to get the hang of.

Here are the tabs:


Ain’t No Sunshine- Bill Withers

This song about how gloomy it is whenever your partner is away is a pretty fun song to learn on the guitar, despite the nature of the lyrics. The picking pattern and chords are repetitive, giving you ample chance to practice and memorize this song for your repertoire.

The chords are easy enough, they’re just played in voicings that deviate from their basic forms, but aren’t difficult to play with your fretting hand and the picking pattern is simple.

Here are the tabs:



There you have it. 30 songs that are fairly easy to get you started. If you come across one of the harder ones and it frustrates you, don’t give up. Rather play a few of the easier songs until those skills are honed. Then go back and work on that more difficult song. While every new skill poses a challenge, when you have a solid foundation, it makes it easier or at least sets you up for success with some consistent effort.

When I encounter a song that I’m having a lot of trouble with and just want to walk away, I just remember that even the best guitarists have to practice and even play certain things over and over again until they get it right. We just don’t always see that process.

So have fun with these songs. That’s what playing music should be, enjoyable, and along the way, you’ll learn valuable skills that will set you up to play more difficult songs one day.

A quick tip before you go, growing the nails on your right hand (or left hand if you’re left-handed), is like having DIY picks on each finger. This lets your strings ring out louder and clearer. If you aren’t a fan of doing this (I kept shredding my contact lenses, unfortunately), you can buy finger picks. But if you don’t like either of these options, your fingers will still get the job done, just more quietly with a duller (but still pretty) sound.

30 Easy Fingerpicking Songs