The Best Way To Learn Travis Picking On Guitar

by Simon Candy

 

Travis Picking Guitar Article PicIn this video, you learn how to get started with travis picking on guitar.

Travis picking is a great way to fingerpick guitar where your thumb plucks bass patterns on the lower strings, while your fingers play melodies on the higher strings.

The result is amazing as it literally sounds like there are at least two guitars playing together when in fact it is just one!

 

In this travis picking tutorial, I am going to show you exactly what to do to get started with this style of fingerpicking guitar.

I will present to you a number of crucial exercises that you need to master if you are to travis pick.

Too many people struggle unnecessarily with travis picking because they are going at it from the endpoint when everything has been put together and is happening all at once.

Not only is this an incredibly difficult way to learn the style of travis picking, but it will also leave you with zero understanding of what is going on, which means even if you learn the particular travis piking arrangement you are looking at, you won’t have a clue as to how to use travis picking in your own playing.

Watch the video below, and I will show you the most important thing above all else when it comes to travis picking.

It is literally the difference in understanding this way of fingerpicking your guitar and whether or not you are successful in getting it down.

 

 

Travis Picking Bass Patterns

The following are common bass note patterns applied to a variety of open chords.

For root 6 chords you will either pluck a 6, 4, 6, 4 bass pattern, or a 6, 4, 5, 5 bass pattern where the numbers refer to the strings you are plucking and in what order.

For root 5 chords you will either pluck a 5, 4, 5, 4 bass pattern, or a 5, 4, 6, 4 bass pattern: 

1.

Travis Picking Bass Patterns A

2.

Travis Picking Bass Patterns E 

3.

Travis Picking Bass Patterns C 

4.

Travis Picking Bass Patterns B7

 

Travis Picking Bass Pattern Application

The following is an 8 bar blues in E applying appropriate bass patterns to each chord. Isolating the bass like this is important in getting the overall travis picking technique down.

 

Travis Picking Bass Application

 

Travis Picking Thumb Independence Drills

The following drills are extremely effective in getting the independence between your thumb and fingers that are needed for travis picking:

These first set of drills have you playing the open first string on each beat of the bar while maintaining a steady quarter note bass pattern:

1.

Travis Picking Independence Drill1

These second set of drills have you playing the open first string on the off beats of the bar while maintaining a steady quarter note bass pattern:

2.

Travis Picking Independence Drill 2

This drill has you mixing patterns together all the while maintaining the quarter note bass pattern:

3.

Travis Picking Independence Drill 3

The following drills apply travis picking patterns to an open E chord:

1.

Travis Picking Independence Drill 4

2.

Travis Picking Independence Drill 5

3.

Travis Picking Independence Drill 6

4.

Travis Picking Independence Drill 7

 

Travis Picking Pattern Application

The following is an 8 bar blues in E applying a travis picking pattern throughout:

 

Travis Picking Pattern Application

 

Learn the very best way to master the art of fingerpicking on guitar