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Keep On Truckin': Introduction

 

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Keep On Truckin'

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Hey y'all, this is Caren Armstrong for Guitar Tricks. We have a great finger-picking lesson for you today, "Keep On Trucking" by Jorma Kaukonen and Hot Tuna. This sixteen bar chord progression has been a standard blues/ragtime form for nearly 100 years. The Travis style of finger picking has its roots in the playing of the blues icon Rev. Gary Davis. Jorma's lyric was inspired by the line "Keep on Truckin'", a phrase from the 1930s song "Trucking My Blues Away" by Blind Boy Fuller.

We are going to take this song apart and create a stand-alone version that will be playable by beginners, with some extra licks for the more advanced picker. The original version of "Truckin'" played through the 16 bar form nine times, with Jorma improvising freely the whole way. We'll take a more progressive approach, learning a basic theme with added variations that you can feel free to use at your discretion to create your own version of what is really a very traditional song.

This tutorial will be based in Travis picking, which we will discuss briefly, but we will presume you are familiar with using your thumb to rotate the bass in a Travis picking style. We'll learn to count our pick, and use our rhythmic savvy to add some bass runs, and some slick yet easy riffs to decorate this classic chord progression. There's even a bonus riff at the end so you can go out in style!

We're in the key of C, in 4/4 time, at a tempo of approximately 160 bpm.