Collin Hill

Fingerstyle Learning Pathway

Learn to fingerpick like a pro.

WHo it's for

All Levels

From beginner strummers to intermediate acoustic players, there's something here for everyone.


3 months

Collin Hill will guide you through 6 grades of instruction with daily practice plans and assessments.


Playing alone made fun.

No friends? No problem! This guided Learning Pathway will teach you how to play rich solo fingerstyle arrangements.

Keep going

Take the next step

Once you've built your fingerstyle foundation, take your skills to the next level with advanced acoustic lessons.

What you'll learn

In this guided Learning Pathway, you'll develop the skills to fingerpick like a pro and arrange your own fingerstyle songs.

  • Learn to play like Tommy Emmanuel
  • Music-first lessons – jam out & learn songs as you go
  • Sound like a full band – blend rhythm & lead playing
How it works

Your guided learning pathway

In this 3-month Learning Pathway, master guitarist Collin Hill will break down fundamental fingerstyle techniques and advanced concepts. With guided jams, daily practice exercises, and straightforward lessons, you'll know exactly what to work on at every step of the way.

Introduction to Acoustic Fingerstyle

To kick off the Learning Pathway, Collin will run you through the fundamentals of fingerstyle.

You'll start with the absolute basics then work your way through technical drills and play your first two fingerstyle compositions.

Fingerpicking Decoded

In this grade, you’ll strengthen your fingerpicking foundation with six must-know picking patterns.

These are perfect for spicing up songs you already know, learning new tunes that Collin will walk you through, and fueling your own songwriting.

How to Add Melody to Chords

If you don't often get to jam with other musicians, this grade is going to be a game changer.

In this grade, you'll work on turning your guitar into a 3-piece band by playing the bassline, chords, and melody to a song at once.

Grade 4. Intermediate Fingerstyle

Welcome to the big leagues! This grade is where you'll truly take your fingerstyle skills to new heights. You’ll quickly move from beginner to advanced chords, learn how to harmonize your melodies, and take a close look at 3rd, 6th, and 10th intervals.

Grade 5. How to Arrange Fingerstyle Songs

This is the final boss of our Acoustic Fingerstyle Learning Pathway. Grade 5 is all about having fun by putting everything that you’ll have learned together by learning some songs from start to finish. 

Grade 6. Advanced Fingerstyle

Ready to become a pro? This grade will teach you everything from tapping to artifical and natural harmonics, as well as percussive guitar techniques. Add some flair to your playing!


Stay focused with this step-by-step learning program designed by our expert team of music educators.

3-Month Plan

Grade 1. Introduction to Acoustic Fingerstyle

Get set up for success and start building your acoustic fingerstyle foundation.

We're with you every step of the way in this Learning Pathway. In every lesson, Collin will break down a new concept then run through drills with you so you can lock it into your muscle memory. To cap off each day's work, you'll put what you learned in a musical context so you can level up fast.

Day 1. Get Set Up

Before you start plucking away, it’s important to get set up for success. Establishing proper technique will help you avoid injury and make playing acoustic fingerstyle as easy as possible. Today, you’ll work on finding a default position for your picking and fretting hands so you feel comfortable every time you pick up the guitar.

Day 2. How to Feel Rhythm

Every great six-string slingin’ finger pickin’ player knows that rhythm is king. In today’s session, you’ll get to grips with how to feel rhythm and use it when strumming chords.

Day 3. Motor Skills 101

Fingerstyle guitarists rely on fine motor skills to bring out the secret melodies hidden in chord progressions.

Today, you’ll start on the first leg (or finger!) of your acoustic fingerpicking journey. To do this, it’s important to spend time training the motor skills in each of your fingers.

Day 4. Developing Motor Skills

Today we’ll continue building up your fine-motor-skill foundation by switching focus to your fretting hand. Your goal is to have clear notes ring out when you play, free of any buzzing sound.

Day 5. G Major Scale

Today, we’ll review some key points, then shift focus to making music by applying fingerpicking patterns to the G major scale – a staple for guitarists of any style.

Day 6. Stepping Stones

With some solid technical skills locked in, we'll start playing songs. Fun! This lesson is all about putting your skills to the test in a musical context. 

Day 7. Coffee Break

Recap what you learned and learn a final song to make sure you're ready for Grade 2.

Grade 2. Fingerpicking Decoded

Learn six essential fingerpicking patterns that'll fuel your playing for the rest of your musical life.

Days 1-3. T123, T321, and T213

Over the first three days of Grade 2, we’re going to get your fingers moving independently in all sorts of ways. You'll learn new chords as you drill various patterns into your muscle memory.

Day 4. 6/8 Fingerpicking

Today we’ll look at a fingerstyle pattern in 6/8 time. Fear not, it won’t take much to fit your techniques into this new time signature – you'll have done so much work with 4/4 patterns in previous days, adding two more plucks into the mix will be a walk in the park

Day 5. The Pinch

Feeling crabby? 🦀 Today, you’ll expand your bag of tricks with a new move, the pinch! This is a beautiful compositional tool that will add a strong sense of melody to your fingerpicking progressions.

Day 6.  Folky Thumbpicking

Today you’ll get familiar with folky thumbpicking technique. Don’t be surprised if this picking pattern sounds familiar. Songs like Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours and countless other hits have used this folky feel in recent years.

Day 7. Recap, Check-Ins, Star Gazing

Here, you'll review what you worked on in Grade 2, take a series of assessments to make sure you're ready to move on, and wrap up with a new song.

Grade 3. How to Add Melody to Chords

Turn your guitar into a three-piece band

Day 1. Key of C

The key of C major is perfect for incorporating open-string chords. We'll kick off the grade by exploring colorful extended chords, then tackle expressive hammer-on and pull-off techniques.

Day 2. Expanding the Key of C

Next, Collin will show you how to get more out of any major key by accessing its relative minor scale. You'll also build on what you learned in Day 1 by playing micro-melodies within a chord.

Day 3. The Keaggy Stretching Exercise

On Day 3, you'll hit the finger gym with a finger-stretching exercise that'll help you fret some seriously stretchy chords.

Day 4. Key of G

After that, we'll switch gears to G major as you identify different ways to incorporate a walking bassline into your playing with leading tones and triad inversions.

Day 5. Expanding the Key of G

Today is all about expanding your chordal vocabulary. Collin will guide you through lush extended chords that'll bring your rhythm playing to life.

Day 6. Capo Unlocked

On Day 6, you'll unlock the ability to play colorful open-string chords in any key with the help of your handy-dandy capo. We'll put today's lesson through the lens of CAGED system chord shapes to help you better visualize the concepts.

Day 7. How to Break Free From Patterns

In nearly every style of guitar, rhythm is king. Acoustic fingerstyle is no exception. Today, you'll work on shaking up the rhythm of your picking patterns with a series of drills and exercises that'll put your sense of groove to the test.

Day 8. How to Add Melodies to Chords

This lesson is a game changer – at this point in the Learning Pathway, you'll have developed a solid foundation for rhythm, bass, and chords. All that's left is the melody. Today, you'll work on adding this final piece of the puzzle into your playing so you can make your guitar sound like a three-piece band.

Day 9. Setting Sun

Today, we'll focus solely on taking what you learned and making it musical. You'll learn an original composition by Collin that'll cover everything you've learned in Grade 3.

Day 10. Composition Challenge

To cap off the grade, we'll review what you learned and challenge you to arrange your own fingerstyle tune within a set of creative parameters.

Grade 4-6.

Take your acoustic fingerstyle skills to the next level.

Grade 4. Intermediate Fingerstyle

Grade 4 is a big step up. In this grade, there's a lot for both your head and your hands to take in. Collin will introduce you to new picking patterns, colorful chords, and harmonizing intervals. You'll learn challenging songs and even work on composing your own.

Day 1. Palm Muting in A

We'll kick off the grade with a tonal technique that'll ramp up the rhythmic attitude in your playing: palm muting. This essential skill will serve you well in almost every style of guitar.

Day 2. Thumb Slapping in C

No drummer, no problem. Today, you'll learn how to mimic the crack of a snare drum with the percussive thwack of your thumb.

Day 3. 3rds in E

Today, you’ll explore 3rd in the key of E. This iconic interval will add a lush harmonic element to your playing.

Day 4. Harmonics and 6ths in G

We'll continue on our intervallic journey by exploring 6ths in the key of G major. Another key interval to learn, 6ths are easily accessed once you have 3rds in your toolkit. You'll also get an introduction to the crystalline sound of plucked harmonics – a perfect ornament for your playing.

Day 5. 10ths in D

On the last stop in our tour of interval land, we'll explore 10th voicings in the key of D. 10ths are an extremely popular intervallic voicing throughout all music, especially on guitar. This common sound has been used to great success by artists like the Beatles, Radiohead, Tracy Chapman, and countless others.

Day 6. Tremolo

Here, we'll borrow from the world of classical guitar to explore tremolo picking – a  technique distinctly known for its rapid-fire repeating cascades of notes. It takes the concept of a drone tone and adds a helicopter pulse to the note.

Day 7. Music Theory to Get Outside of a Key

Chord progressions feeling stale? Today, you’ll learn a variety of ways to step outside of a home key. Borrowing notes and adding passing chords can open up the doors to exciting new progressions.

Day 8. How to Incorporate Bar Chords

We’re going to incorporate closed-position bar chords into your fingerstyle playing today. These shapes, while difficult at first, will help you unlock more of your fretboard in a fingerstyle context.

Day 9. Rising Up

Today, we'll focus solely on taking what you learned and making it musical. You'll learn an original composition by Collin that'll cover everything you've learned in Grade 4.

Day 10. Composition Challenge

Cap off the class with another composition challenge. We'll give you creative parameters to work within, then you're off to the races using everything you've learned in Grade 4 to craft the next great fingerstyle tune.

Grade 5. How to Arrange Fingerstyle Songs

Tackle five different fingerstyle songs as you develop the skills to arrange your own.

Days 1 & 2. Danny Boy

To kick off the grade, we'll look at a classic ballad. Each song in this grade follows a formula that'll help you write your own fingerstyle arrangements. First, you'll learn the melody. Next, comes the bass notes. After that, we add in the chords. Once you get the bones of the tune down, we'll work on spicing it up with expressive techniques and modern songwriting concepts to create an advanced arrangement.

Day 3. Happy Birthday

Why learn such a simple song? Other than making you the star of your next birthday celebration, learning Happy Birthday will show you how simple melodies can be arranged into beautiful fingerstyle compositions using some easy-to-remember techniques

Days 4 & 5. Auld Lang Syne

This song dates all the way back to the 1700's! After tuning your guitar to drop D, we'll dive right into this tune, then spice it up with with inner-voice movement and a turnaround progression.

Days 6 & 7. Silent Night

Another winter classic, Silent Night is a great way to get comfortable playing in 3/4 timing. You'll harmonize the melody with major 6ths, swap in some colorful chord substitutions, and build tension with a secondary dominant chord.

Grade 6. Advanced Fingerstyle

Become a fingerstyle pro with the last grade of this Learning Pathway!

Day 1. How to play in DADGAD

Learn to play in the alternate DADGAD tuning.

Day 2. Tapping

Explore the world of the tapping technique.

Day 3. Percussive techniques

Start adding percussive elements to your playing.

Day 4. Natural harmonics

Revisit the beautiful world of overtones

Day 5. Artificial harmonics

Break out of the 12th, 7th and 5th fret.

Day 6. Tapped & raked harmonics

Combine a number of different techniques to get some really cool sounds.

Day 7. Recap

Recap the techniques from this grade and get ready to graduate this Learning Pathway!

Student stories

Learn how Fingerstyle Learning Pathway has helped real guitarists break through their playing plateau and realize their potential.

“My favorite part about Pickup Music is probably nerding out in the forum with everyone. Just knowing you have a creative community to reach out to if you have any questions or you're stuck in a rut.”

Vicki Huang

United States

"I would highly recommend Pickup Music to pretty much anyone who has been playing for a few years and doesn't feel like they are getting better any more."

James Harrod

United Kingdom

“One of the things that's been the most fun for me has been the SongSquad challenges... connecting with other people in the Pickup Music community on Instagram and just encouraging each other as we're learning songs and practicing.”

Vin Thomas

United States

"Pickup Music really helped me push my musical boundaries."

Wytse Hokwerda


REAL students

Don’t take our word for it, take theirs

What guitarists love about this course

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Included in your membership:

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Included in your membership:

All-access pass

Learning pathways that get results

Video feedback on your playing

Practice with a live band

Weekly live lessons

New releases every month

60-day money back guarantee

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Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions aren’t answered below, please chat with us.

Is Pickup Music right for me?

Are you a guitar player who feels like you haven’t made progress in a few months… years… or even decades? 

You’re probably stuck in what’s called the ‘intermediate plateau’. This is very common and can be very frustrating.

What’s the cause? Well, it’s pretty easy to learn the basics on guitar. Learn a few open chords and you can play Wonderwall and hundreds of other songs. Learn a couple of scales and a few licks and you can play some lead. 

But what then? Triads? Modes? Arpeggios? The phrygian scale?!

Without a clear plan and learning system you fall back to playing the same old chords and licks over and over again. Or you bounce around free lessons online but nothing seems to stick. It’s a recipe for a lot of practice without much progress. 

That’s where Pickup Music can help. We specialize in taking players stuck in a guitar rut and turning them into advanced guitarists.

We do this through Learning Pathways that take you on a step-by-step journey towards fretboard mastery. We give you a highly structured system that shows you exactly what to work on each week to make serious progress. 

These Learning Pathways take the guesswork out of your practice routine. You are guided through a proven grade-by-grade system with daily lessons, play-along practice exercises and interactive workouts. 

But it’s not all about theory. We apply everything you learn to real music. That’s why every grade of our Learning Pathways build up to performing a song with a live backing band. This simulates what it’s like to play a real gig, with real musicians. It’s the absolute best way to learn. 

You also get 1:1 video feedback on your playing from our expert instructors and can attend weekly live lessons. This personal feedback makes Pickup Music the closest thing to taking in-person lessons, but at a fraction of the cost.

So does this method actually work? Will you see results in your playing?

The most common thing we hear from new members is that they’ve made more progress with Pickup Music in a few months than in years of teaching themselves. As one member recently told us, “I'm finally seeing progress for the first time in many years”.

Want to hear about other members’ experiences with us? Read our independent Trustpilot reviews.

Is Pickup Music worth the money?

Private guitar lessons will cost you about $50 per lesson or $2,600 a year. 

Going to a music academy will cost you about $40,000 a year.

A Pickup Music membership will cost you  just $180 for the whole year. 

That works out to 50 cents a day! 

But it’s not just about the money. It’s about not wasting your precious time. It’s about making actual progress on this beautiful instrument. 

By following our proven Learning Pathway system, you can stop wasting your time and effort trying to guess what you should practice next. Our guided programs eliminate the guesswork so you know exactly what you need to focus on each day and week to make lasting progress with guitar.

What makes Pickup Music better than other guitar lesson sites?

Most online guitar lesson sites are very good at teaching one-off songs and licks. Or they get super famous guitarists to record one-hour video lessons talking at length about their particular style and career.

The problem is that these approaches don't stick. They don’t help you to actually get better as a guitarist. You can waste a lot of time bouncing around these types of unconnected, one-off lessons. It’s a recipe for a lot of practice without much progress. 

Pickup Music takes a different approach. We give you a highly structured system that shows you exactly what to work on each week to make serious progress. We take you beyond the basics through a step-by-step journey towards fretboard mastery. 

By following a Pickup Music Learning Pathway, you are getting the most guided way to learn guitar. Over 6 grades, you are taken through daily lessons and practice exercises that carefully explain what’s going on behind the music. 

Each grade then builds up to song performances that apply everything you’ve learned with a live backing band. These challenges - where we simulate what it’s like to play a real gig, with real musicians - is the absolute best way to learn. 

The Learning Pathway method takes the guesswork out of your practice routine. Most guitarists start to see a rapid acceleration in their progress in a matter of weeks.

You can also get 1:1 video feedback on your playing and weekly live lessons. This personal feedback makes Pickup Music the closest thing to taking in-person lessons, but at a fraction of the cost.

Want to hear about other members’ experiences with us? Read our independent Trustpilot reviews.

What exactly do I get from a Pickup Music membership?

When you become a Pickup Music member you get unlimited access to our huge library of lessons:

  • 13 Learning Pathways giving you step-by-step instruction over 3 months
  • 47 Master Classes going deep into different styles over 2 weeks
  • 500+ original songs from some of the world’s best modern guitarists 
  • 100+ essential lick packages to add new flavors to your playing
  • 200+ 5 minute lessons for bite-sized learning. 

You get to enjoy amazing features that create a premium learning experience:

  • day-by-day lessons
  • 1:1 video feedback on your playing
  • weekly live lessons
  • progress tracking
  • interactive TAB
  • multiple HD camera angles 
  • play-along practice exercises
  • downloadable course notes and diagrams
  • quizzes to test your understanding
  • jam tracks with the Pickup Music Live Band
  • exclusive members-only forum, contests and giveaways.

How do the Learning Pathways work?

Learning Pathways are kind of our special sauce here at Pickup Music. They take all the guesswork out of what to practice. 

You get day-by-day lessons, play along practice exercises with your instructor, interactive jams with the Pickup Music live band and you can submit videos of your playing for feedback from the Pickup Music team. 

We designed this system so that you will know exactly what to practice every time you pick up the guitar. This means that even if you only have time to practice with us once a week, you will still make great progress by following a Learning Pathways. 

How often do I need to practice to see results?

Ideally you would practice about three times a week for 30 minutes at a time. But we know that life gets in the way sometimes! So here’s the good news: deliberate practice matters so much more than how often you practice.

After working with thousands of guitarists, we’ve found that the most important thing is to know exactly what you’re going to practice before you pick up the guitar. Even if you can only use Pickup Music a few times a month, you will still make really good progress if you stick to the step-by-step structure of our Learning Pathways.

How long are the lessons? 

Pickup Music's lesson plans are designed to suit the amount of time you have available to practice.

  • Only got a few minutes? Try our 5-Minute Lessons to quickly add a new skill to your toolbox.
  • Got half an hour? Try one of our Essential Lick Packages or original Songs  to expand your vocabulary in different genres.
  • Got a couple of days? Try a Master Class with one of our world-renowned artists. Each class is broken up into short, digestible modules focused on one topic. 
  • Ready to really commit to a multi-week program? Try one of our Learning Pathways. Over 3 months and 6 grades of learning, these detailed courses will take you on a day-by-day journey to master each level in the genre. Learning Pathways include daily practice exercises so you know exactly what to focus on. These courses are the best way to make lasting progress.

Whichever approach you choose, we recommend building the exercises you learn into your daily practice schedule. The best way to improve as a guitarist is through a consistent practice routine rather than sporadic, longer sessions. Learning guitar is a day-by-day, life-long journey.

Can I take the lessons at my own pace?

Everything on Pickup Music is designed to be taken at your own pace. There are no deadlines, so you can work at your own speed. You can stay on a topic until you really understand it before you move on.

While we divide our Learning Pathways into ‘days’ - this is a suggestion only. Some learners might take a few days in one sitting, while others will spend a few sessions on a single day. You can go at the pace that feels most comfortable to you.

How does the 1:1 video feedback work?

We want our members to get the closest thing possible to in-person lessons but at a fraction of the cost. That's why you can now get individual video feedback on your guitar playing from our team of expert instructors.

Here's how it works:

  • Choose a performance piece to learn at the end of each grade of a Learning Pathway.
  • Upload a video of yourself playing the performance piece.
  • An expert instructor from our team will review your playing and send you back a detailed video on what you're doing well and what you need to work on.
  • Repeat for each grade of the Learning Pathway.

Want to see a sample? Check out this recent video feedback from Pickup Music instructor Jack Handyside.

Is Pickup Music good for beginners?

Absolutely! We make learning the guitar fun and simple – the way it should be.

Too many people get frustrated with guitar because they develop bad habits and poor technique. Avoid these costly and time-consuming mistakes by taking Pickup Music's structured and step-by-step approach to learning guitar.

You'll start with Pickup Music's introductory program Beginner Learning Pathway. Over three weeks, we break down everything from simple chords and melodies to rhythm and lead playing. By the end of the program, you'll be able to play any simple pop or rock song (and even write your own).

Most importantly, we make sure you don't get stuck in the beginner's plateau - a common pitfall for guitarists who are just starting out. You'll keep making progress through Pickup Music's guided Learning Pathways. These programs are designed to quickly take you from a beginner player to an intermediate one who feels comfortable across the whole fretboard.

Is Pickup Music good for intermediate and advanced guitarists?

Pickup Music is the best platform available for intermediate and advanced guitarists. Our courses take you beyond the basics to advanced concepts like the CAGED system, triads, arpeggios, modes and improvisation.

The biggest trap for intermediate players is bouncing around from lesson to lesson without a plan or structure to get to that next level. We are known for taking intermediate and advanced players who have hit a ceiling and busting through until they reach the next level.

Am I too old for guitar lessons?

Many of Pickup Music’s members are in their 60s and 70s and have seen amazing success with our programs. Our platform is designed to be user-friendly for all ages and skill levels. And our supportive community is made up of guitar learners of all ages, cheering each other on.

How does the 14-day free trial work? 

When you first sign up to a Pickup Music membership, you enter your credit card but it will not be charged for 14 days. That means that if you decide to cancel within 14 days of signing up, you won't pay anything. 

And we send you a reminder before your trial is about to end so you don’t forget about it. 

If you decide to cancel after that, you won't be charged at your next billing cycle. That means: if you’re a monthly member, you won’t be charged for the next month. If you’re an annual member, you won’t be charged for the next year.

How does the 60-day money back guarantee work?

In addition to the 14-day free trial, we offer a 60-day money back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your progress in the first 60 days of your membership, we will give you your money back - no questions asked.

Is it easy to cancel?

Absolutely! You can cancel at any time (although we'd be sad to see you go). Cancelling is easy, no tricks. Just go to your account page and click a button.

You won't be charged anything if you cancel during your 14-day free trial.

If you cancel after your 14-day trial, you won't be billed again at your next billing cycle. Your membership will remain active until it expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

Note: Once your membership expires, we'll save your progress on your Dashboard if you decide to rejoin at a later date.

What’s the difference between the annual and monthly plan?

The only difference is the price. The monthly membership is $29.99 charged monthly and the annual membership is $179.99 charged once a year. 

That means that if you select the annual plan you will pay 50% less and save $180 over a year compared to the monthly plan. 

We'll also send you reminders before we bill you each year so that you don't accidentally forget about it.

We give such a big discount for annual members because it aligns with our long-term vision to inspire and support lifelong guitar learning.

Can I buy lessons individually?

We don’t sell lessons individually. But the good news is you get access to every single lesson on Pickup Music through the one membership. If you’re only interested in one lesson, you could purchase a monthly membership and cancel when you’ve finished it – we have a hunch you’ll want to stick around though :)

How do I restart my membership?

It’s easy to rejoin Pickup Music and we’d be thrilled to have you back! We even saved all of your lessons for you while you were gone on your Dashboard.

To restart your membership, simply head to this page, select the plan of your choice, and sign up with the email address you used to sign up the first time around.

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