Fingerpicking question

Hi all, So, when you play an Em chord, am I correct in saying we pluck the low E as the base note, then the normal pattern I am using is to pluck strings 3,2 and 1. But, when you do this, you do not actually pluck any of the strings you are fretting. Am I missing something ?
Thanks in advance.


Depends entirely on the song and the finger picking pattern I’m using. All 6 strings are candidates. Do what sounds good. Yes, the low E is plucked as the bass note.

Thanks Tony

I think early on it is best to fret the full cord, even if the finger picking pattern hits few or none of the fretted strings.

As time goes on, learning to be more efficient and fretting fewer strings of the cord (or none I suppose) will help with transitions.

In some of the classical tunes I am learning, partial fretting is used so the other fingers can get ready to go where they need to, but it is still important to recognize the cord being played for sight reading and ease of playing.

Peter, the Em chord consists of the notes E G B. Looking at the 6 strings of the guitar, you’ll see that after fretting the Em chord and plucking each string, each string is sounding one of the three notes. Strings 3 2 1 are the notes G B E, and the open 6 string is an E. So even though you are not playing one of the fretted notes you are still playing the notes from the chord. You could also choose to play a pattern on strings 5 4 3.

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The strings played depend completely on the song, the pattern, etc. So there is nothing wrong in playing only empty strings while playing the ‘Em Chord :wink: