Bossa Nova Basics

With the sound of great fingerstyle bossa nova guitarists like Charlie Byrd or Paulo Bellinati in your ear, you might think that the style is difficult to play. But bossa’s sultry rhythm and jazzy harmonies are easier to fingerpick than you might imagine.
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To play a basic bossa nova pattern you will need to pick with the thumb and three fingers. This produces the four-note chords required in jazz (most often the root, 3, 5, and a color note). The melody is plucked in the highest voice by the ring finger and is harmonized by notes picked simultaneously by the middle and index fingers. The thumb provides the bass. It occasionally picks simultaneously with the fingers, but more often fills in the rhythmic holes between melody notes.