10 Standard Left Hand Patterns for Piano Explained

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piano playing


There is a fantastic video on youtube that Ken Larkin put together that breaks down 10 standard left hand patterns for piano. All of the patterns are played in the key of C, progressing from the C chord, to the F chord, to the G chord, back to the C chord. There is a bit of variance, but only the C, F, and G chords are used (I, IV, and V chords). He plays the left-hand only pattern first, then he incorporates a melody in the right hand together with the left hand pattern. The melody stays the same through all ten patterns, adjusting for the tempo of the left hand pattern. This is great, because it allows you to see just how much the rhythm affects the music.

**Per y’all’s request, the sheet music for the 10 standard left hand patterns for piano is now available here.**


However, this is a visual only video. So many people are blessed to learn by visual only, but I am a technical learner, so for all of you other techies out there, I watched the video over and over and wrote down the numerical pattern, according to the chord. The chord number pattern that is established is the same pattern that is used in all 3 of the chords throughout the rhythm pattern that is being played.

For instance, the first left hand rhythm pattern that is show is the Basic Walking Pattern #1. He plays the C chord like this: C, E, G, and A. He plays this four times in a row. Then he switches to the F Chord, and so he plays F, A, C, D twice, then switches back to the C chord, then he moves up to the G chord and plays G, B, D, E. Therefore, the chord’s number pattern that is used is 1, 3, 5, and 6.


C Chord

F Chord

G Chord


**Another Update: I have finally created a free printable that has all of the below information in an easy to read, 1 page layout.  Click the image below to go to the post that has this new printable.**




Here are the 10 Standard Left Hand Patterns Explained

I am not documenting how many times he played each chord. This documentation only gives you the notes that were hit when he changed chords.

Basic Walking Pattern #1

1     3     5     6

C    E    G    A

F    A    C    D

G    B    D    E

Basic Shuffle Pattern #1 (comma means play at the same time)

1,5     1,5     1,6     1,6

C,G    C,G    C,A    C,A

F,C    F,C    F,D    F,D

G,D    G,D    G,E    G,E

Basic Shuffle Pattern #2

1,5     1,5      3b     3     1,5     1,5     1,6     1,5

C,G    C,G    Eb    E    C,G    C,G    C,A    C,A

F,C    F,C    Ab    A    F,C    F,C    F,D    F,C

G,D    G,D    Bb    B    G,D    G,D    G,E    G,E

Jerry Lee Lewis

1     1     3     1     5     1     6     1

C    C    E    C    G    C    A    C

F    F    A    F    C    F    D    F

G    G    B    G    D    G    E    G

Fats Domino #1

1     8     3     5     3     5

C    C    E    G    E    G

F    F    A    C    A    F

G    G    B    D    B    G

Fats Domino #2

1     3     5     5     3     5

C    E    G    G    E    G

F    A    C    C    A    C

G    B    D    D    B    G

Bumble Boogie (Don’t let the sharp throw you. The 4 of the F chord is Bb, so the 4 sharped will be B.)

1     8     3     4     4#     5     4     5

C    C    E    F    F#    G    F    G

F    F    A    Bb    B    C    Bb    C

G    G    B    C    C#    D    C    D

Basic Country Pattern (the negative means down an octave)

1     3,5     -5     3,5

C    E,G    G    E,G

F    A,C    C    A,C

G    B,D    D    B,D

Country Swing Pattern

1     5     6     5

C    G    A    G

F    C    D    C

G    D    E    D


1     1     3     3     5     7b     7b     5

C    C    E    E    G    Bb    Bb    G

F    F    A    A    C    Eb    Eb    C

G    G    B    B    D    F    F    D


Hopefully, some of you found this helpful. I believe that in order to be truly successful on the piano (or any musical instrument) that you must learn the foundation of this musical language. If you need help transposing these rhythms into another key besides C, you may be interested in the free 12 Major Keys with Chords Diagram.

Please let me know if I made a mistake any of my documentation.

Before I learned to play piano, the keys made no sense to me. Having ABC Keyboard Stickers really do come in handy!