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Truck My Blues Away: Travis Picking


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Here we will discuss some of the fundamentals of Travis picking. I'll introduce you to what I call "the position" for your right hand, and encourage you to use it religiously. This means your thumb will control the bass strings (6,5,4) and your fingers the treble, using your 1st finger on the 3rd string, your 2nd finger on the 2nd string and your 3rd finger on the 1st string. This way you always have a finger for every string.

At the root of all Travis picking is thumb rotation, each chord will now have 2 basses that are rotated systematically which I will demonstrate in detail here. As we explore the concept of rotating basses, we discover that the basses always hit on down beats (1, 2, 3, 4).

We'll take a careful look at a beginning Travis pattern, and learn how to interpret the pick for each chord in the song. We'll also learn how to divide the pattern in half for the 2nd and 4th lines of the song where D7/F# and G share one bar. Keeping an oval shaped, relaxed right hand is the key to successful finger picking.
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