Fingerpicking chords

Is there chords that are especially well-suited for fingerstyle? There definitely is. Although you can use common open chords, there are tons of other possibilities. The purpose with this guide is to collect different groups of chords that can be used by anyone who likes to improvise on the guitar with fingerpicking.

In general (but not as a rule), the high e string is often avoided. For exempel, in the chord sequence C/G (3X201X) - D/F# (2X023X).

In D key on the bass string

These are a group of chords with similar shapes that match each other and can be exploited for fingerpicking patterns.

D/F#

  • D/F# chord diagram

G/B

  • G/B chord diagram

Aadd4/C#

  • Aadd4/C# chord diagram

Em/G

  • Em/G chord diagram

F#m/A

  • F#m/A chord diagram

Bm/D

  • Bm/D chord diagram

Comments

Notice that you only use two shapes for all chords. In some the D string is included as an open string. It is still possible to include the open D-string in all chord, although it isn't a part of the chords it is part of the D major scale.

Chord progressions

Some examples of progressions using these chords:

F#m/A - Em/G - D/F# - Em/G - G/B - Aadd4/C# - D/F# - Em/G (see tab)

tab chord progression

In E key with three-note chords

These are a group of chords which all include the two highest strings and all include three notes. They present ideas for effortless and beautiful fingerpicking music.

E/G#

  • E/G# chord diagram

Bsus4/F#

  • E/G# chord diagram

Emaj7/B (no3)

  • Em/G chord diagram

G#m/C# (no5)

  • G#m/C# chord diagram

G#m/B (no5)

  • G#m/B (no5) chord diagram

C#madd2

  • F#m/A chord diagram

Esus2

  • Esus2 chord diagram

G#m/D#

  • G#m/D# chord diagram

Comments

These group could be extended further with matching chords such as x2xx00, x4xx00, xx1x00, and xx2x00, xx1x02, xx2x04, xx4x05, x4x10x and x0210x.

C#madd2 is more correct written C#madd2 (no5).

Chord progressions

Some examples of progressions using these chords:

E/G# - Bsus4/F# - C#madd2 - Emaj7/B (see tab)

tab chord progression

In C key semi-open chords

A collection of chords suitable for fingerstyle guitar in the key of C.

G

  • G chord diagram

G7

  • G7 chord diagram

Am13

  • Am13 chord diagram

Csus2

  • Csus2 chord diagram

Cmaj9/G

  • Cmaj9/G chord diagram

G6/A

  • G6/A chord diagram

Em11/A

  • Em11/A chord diagram

Cmaj7/G

  • Cmaj7/G chord diagram

Comments

An option for Cmaj7/G is 33X000.

Chord progressions

Some examples of progressions that include some of these chords:

Fmaj7 - Cmaj9/G - C - Am

Em11/A - G6/A - Cmaj7/G


See also the Fingerpicking patterns.

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