Open D - Paul Davids picking pattern (fingerstyle)


anyone here loves Paul Davids picking pattern as much as me? I know I probably should not be here, because I did not even finish my Grade 1, but I really like the sound and fingerstyle is way I would like head to. If you were learning this, how long did it take?
If you can, give me some sample. Also do you think its gonna sound better if I use Fender Acoustatonic 15? I got my eye on that one. It is gonna be my 1st amp. :slight_smile:

Original video by Paul:

My first day of picking:


Something gets me he is only using thumb and 1 finger for that, why not 2 fingers…

Well I did not notice… I am gonna re-learn it. :smiley: He is using middle and index finger… I am using middle and ring. :smiley: Thanks for catch. :smiley:
Edit: Is it really problem that I am learning it with this fingers? I know why I started like this… because in theory this is correct picking style… and I would like to memorize my fingers on correct strings. Not some hybrids. I am not that far…


I was working with one of my guitar students recently with open D tuning - he was inspired and wrote two songs in as many weeks by using it. It is a beautiful tuning and can be accessible with some simple chord shapes and patterns.
To do what Paul is doing you need to be able to play really steady 1/4 notes with your thumb and simultaneously pick melody notes in 1/8s. You will need to know the D major scale on all strings as they are tuned. You ideally will know some simple chord shapes in that tuning.

You won’t need an amp for this to sound good.
Acoustic is what acoustic does best. Let it ring out naturally.


Thank you for informations. I am gonna check some D major scales and chords. :slight_smile:

It varies from person to person, depends how long you have been playing fingerstyle. Just add it to your practice routine at slow speed and play only open strings. 5-10 min daily should be enough, when you feel confident move on with the chords.


Yes. Even though it may not make any difference for this song, on the long term you will pick mostly with middle and index finger, so it is better to use this opportunity to learn it properly. Holding a complex pattern over many minutes can get very exhausting for the right hand. This is why it is better to involve index and middle finger, as they have more strength.

Also, you learn to associate the “correct finger to the corresponding string” which will lead to you being able to pick without looking at your right hand.

If I could give a suggestion; practice with a metronome. You will need to have a very steady pace when picking Fingerstile, so you can focus on the left hand because the right went to “auto-mode”.
In my opinion you played too fast in your recording, it is better to play slowly and very even, because then you learn to play without thinking about it (and that is the goal with Fingerstile patterns)

As Justin says, practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent. So practice perfectly (especially when we talk about Fingerstile patterns) :smile:


Thanks for reply. I will try to learn pattern how Paul is doing it… I hope that this pattern wont mess my finger memory (dont have much yet) and I wont be able to pick “correctly with fingers”. :smiley: Yes, I agree I was too fast… this was just for show what I am learning, but if I have to say… I really dont like metronome and I know I should use it.

If you are really into fingerstyle, there is a segment on JG dedicated to folk fingerstyle. Alternatively you can look into outside sources and start from the beginning with basic patterns and gradually get into more complex stuff.

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Thanks! I am not jumping from my Grade 1 school on JG, but I will find this one. I think it could be really nice beginning to start with Justin than with Paul Davids, because Justin is more like to teach. :slight_smile:

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Open D and BAM, Paul sounds instantly like Jose Gonzalez’ Heartbeats"


I can see he is using different angle for fingers… or does it just look like? Is it good angle?
He plays great. :slight_smile:

This is classical position where your picking hand is almost horizontal to the strings. It is not good or bad but more like where you coming from (what’s your background). Mind he plays classical instrument.

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Hello, I would like to ask you for quick look on my progress. I can see there is problem when I go on frets 9, 4, 5 and 2 my finger pattern breaks. I dont know how to fix it… is it caused because my fingers dont remember pattern? I am trying to watch TV and doing pattern. Seems like it works that time… but when it comes to the note changes it breaks. Do you have any idea how to fix it? Do you see any other problem? Would like to hear any negative fact. Only this can make me better.

Hi Michal,

a few things I noticed and advice:

  1. Slow down until you get it right with the note changes. I mean awkwardly slow.

It takes some time to put both hands together doing what you want them to do. As long, as only your picking hand is going, you get it quite good, but at the very moment, the fretting hand enters the game it falls apart a little. This is due to our brains that need to calculate both these actions at the same time. The faster it has to do this, the more cumbersome it is. So when you practice both together, cut down speed at least to half, if not even slower.

  1. Practice with metronome, in case you don’t.

Once you got the pattern and note changes down on slow speed, practice along with metronome or drum beat. Whatever helps you to notice if you stumble. If you stumble a lot, slow it down even more.

  1. The position of your picking hand seems a little odd to me, but this is maybe more a matter of what feels good for you. Normally, the thumb is in front of the other picking fingers (you see it, when you watch e.g. Justin play). But maybe @Richard_close2u or @DavidP can give more profound advice on this. :slight_smile:

Coming along nicely for a start.

Learn and practice any and all fingerstyle patterns S—L–O–W.
Really, really slow.
Learn them correctly and train your fingers to play correctly.
And do it all at a very, very slow speed.

Once you learn it correctly and repeatedly at a slow tempo, then speed and being able to play faster will simply take care of itself.

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Not sure I am the best tag for profound advice, Lisa :grin: That said, I think what is key is to be deliberate and pay close attention to if the thumb and index finger are impacting each other negatively, impeding the picking action. If they are not getting in each other’s way then all good, if they are then an adjustment, such as ensuring the thumb is more advanced, is required.


Lisa is correct on this.
You need to adjust the angle of your wrist a small amount so that your thumb is a little further towards the fretboard and out of the moving space of your fingers.



Thank you for answers… I am gonna slow down as much as I can so I can develop better accuracy. Maybe I am too greedy for this, because I wanna to play is asap. I love it.

I dont practice with metronome… its really big enemy to me. I know its bad… I will try to do it again… :frowning:

Gonna react on answers bellow, thanks for good eye on my playing. :slight_smile:

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So only putting my thumb more to fretboard is ok? Because when I play like this I dont feel any tension or misplace… the thumb is not in the way for other fingers. I feel pretty comfortable picking like this. Do you think it could be problem in future?
What about point finger and middle? Am I using them correct? In this angle, in this position I can play really long session… as I do.