Posted by Andrew DuBrock
Excerpted from Acoustic Rock Essentials
It’s common to play alternating-bass fingerpicking patterns by starting with the root bass note of each chord no matter what string it falls on, as in Example 4a. Here we start with the C note on the fifth string for the C chord, then jump down to play the G note on the sixth string to start the Gm7 chord.
You don’t always need to start on the roots, though—John Lennon added an interesting twist to this pattern in the Beatles’ “Julia” by playing the same bass strings in the same order for each chord, regardless of which string held the root. Example 4b shows a similar treatment, in which the bass notes for each measure fall on the fifth, fourth, sixth, and fourth strings, in that order. Notice how this places the fifth of the Gm7 and G7 chords—the D note on the fifth string—on beat one of measures 3 and 4.