I was doing a bit of playing by ear the other night and I ended up listening to a great cover version of Cat Stevens’ The First Cut Is The Deepest which inspired me to do a really basic fingerpicking tab for any beginners out there.
It’s a really great song and a bit of a deviation from my usual alternative rock stuff but it makes a great start point for newcomers to fingerpicking.
A really simple set of chords, it’s just C G and F. Everyone knows those right?
Watch out for the chord changes as they happen half way through the bars. This means you get half a bar of C, half a bar of G, half a bar of F and then half a bar of G again. It sounds a bit fussy so if you’re not nailed down yet with your basic chord changes I’d recommend practicing the 60 second chord changes technique.
The good news is that the chord changes play right into our hands leaving us a simple 4 note picking pattern that we just repeat throughout the whole song. It’s basic but it’s pretty effective. Check this article out if you need help reading tab.
Play it slowly to begin with, however slowly you need it to be to keep it fluid. Once you get comfortable making chord changes whilst fingerpicking you can slowly increase the tempo, although it’s not the fastest song in the world anyway.
It’s a big help when playing anything fingerstyle to work out which fingers you should use on which strings. If you get this down early on it will stop you getting into difficult positions mid-song.
I’d highly recommend using your thumb for the C string, your index finger for the E string and your middle finger for the A string on this one. That should allow you to take it nice and steady. There’s more information on fingerpicking for beginners here.
A tip for finger stability
It can be quite difficult to have the stability with your picking hand to fluidly pick anything. If your hand is moving around, in and out of position then it’s going to be pretty tough. A lot of players (myself included) rest part of their hand somewhere on the ukulele to give that extra stability. On this song, with this picking pattern we’re not using our pinkie so we can simply rest it on the body of the ukulele, just below the strings where it feels nice and comfortable. If you’re not already doing this you should find that it will help your fingerpicking by quite a lot.
That’s about it, not too challenging but it works really well.