I ask this question tentatively, because I know next to nothing about the guitar in general, but have picked up classical guitar on the side. Actually, I've always loved classical guitar, and found a neat "teach yourself" book at guitar center while shopping for over-priced violin strings, so I picked up a copy and have been self-teaching.

On top of the classical music that I love, I've recently taken an interest in hymns and church music. I think it would be awesome to be able to figure out the chords for a good hymn and play them using classical guitar-technique. Like, roll them out and stuff. No melody, just, uh... "Fingerstyle?" Is that what it's called? Ahdunno, guitar jargon...

Basically, I like classical guitar, but would like to play chords written out for the acoustic with a classical twist. However that would work.

My point is, given a finger chart for an acoustic guitar, how can I use my fingers to play them out in a way that sounds fundamentally classical guitar. I've tried just choosing two or three strings with pitches that sound nice to cycle through, but I feel like it could be embellished, and if there's another right way to do it, I'd like to do it that way. Are there... "finger patterns" or something that I can practice so that I can just plug them in where it sounds good?

Once again, pardon my guitar illiteracy.

  • Sounds like you'd like something along the lines of Pachelbel's canon? That can be played simply as a series of arpeggioed chords on a guitar; it loses some of the melody, but keeps the general feel of the piece.
    – user18490
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 5:05
  • @Evert Sure. I'm not really certain what I want, but that sounds right. I think the most important thing would be if it's a technique that's applicable to different songs with minimal effort. Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:16

3 Answers 3


Since you already know arpeggiation on strings as a violinist, I suspect you are looking for right hand "picking patterns", akin to a harpist. If you explore any classical guitar method, such as the Carcassi Method that my teacher used, you will find the right hand digits annotated as p-i-m-a -- p=thumb, i=index, m=middle, and a=ring finger.

One of the easiest techniques may be the simple alternation between p-m-p-m-p-m... If you hold a full six string chord with the left hand, you might pick the strings 6(p)-4(m)-5(p)-3(m)-4(p)-2(m)-3(p)-1(m) and back again.

Experiment with different patterns, different string skips, rolls, etc. Above all, enjoy yourself!

Imho, a good teaching method will illustrate the rest stroke and free stroke techniques. The above description assumed a free stroke. The rest stroke is the way to achieve volume dynamics. However it dampens the neighboring string (which stops the stroke) and will not work well for sustaining arpeggiation, but it is generally the best for playing the melody.


I can really recommend Guiliani's 120 Arpeggio Study. It gives you a very thorough and systematic way to develop the finger picking technique.

Here is a link.


My guitar master thought me of these hand exercises:(1423)(1243)1st(1324)(1342)2nd... I wonder if you guys did these hand exercise patterns that my guitar master taught. You know this hand stuff is really true; when I discovered that, while playing the guitar often, I found out that I can hit some notes often through the use of Hammering or which is called in a book "hammer on." Some guitar skills include tremolo, hitting a note with a tremolo lick or raising a note through hand release. Because of these, my guitar playing has improved. There is also "Vibration where a note is struck and allowed to vibrate...

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