How To Create A Fingerpicking Arrangement On Guitar

by Simon Candy


Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement Article PicCreating your own fingerpicking arrangements on guitar can be challenging. However, it can be made a whole lot easier if you have a strategised way of going about it.

To begin, consider the components that make up a song:

• Melody
• Harmony
• Bass 

In a band, the singer takes care of the melody while either a guitar, piano/keyboard, or both instruments provide the harmony. Additionally, the bass guitar takes care of the bass part.

In a choir, the soprano voices sing the melody while the alto and tenor voices fill the harmony parts. The baritones take care of the bass.

Thinking of guitar fingerpicking arrangements the same way helps simplify things.

In this lesson, I take you through a melody from the ground up and run you through a process that works for creating fingerpicking arrangements on guitar.

The video below will help reinforce and further train this strategy, so bookmark it to check out after working through what follows:



Throughout this lesson, I will be using the tune “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”.

Step 1: Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement - Chords

Learn and memorise the chords to the tune:

Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement Chords



Step 2: Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement - Melody

Learn and memorise the melody to the tune:




Step 3: Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement - Chords And Melody

Put the melody and chords together: (I explain and demonstrate how to do this in the video above)

Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement Chords And Melody



Step 4: Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement

Once you have the chords and melody together, you can flesh things out a little and make the arrangement sound more musical.

Here is an example of this: 

Fingerpicking Guitar Arrangement



I have made some changes to the arrangement above to make the chords and melody flow more naturally. Specifically, I have arpeggiated the chords in bars 8, 9, 11, and 12 to add some richness to the sound.


Learn more ways to create fingerpicking arrangements on guitar