ACOUSTIC GUITAR 004: Travis Picking Accompaniment Style


Acoustic Guitar 004:
Travis Picking Accompaniment Style...

In this lesson we'll run through a collection of simple Travis patterns to help get you started with his approach. 

Since Travis picking is comprised of a very steady and recurring fingerpicked pattern, these simple ideas will be an excellent introduction. Merle enjoyed adding licks, runs and passing phrases around his chord plucking patterns, so we'll make a study of a simple way to incorporate that concept as well.

The amazing sound that music legend "Merle Travis" created using his steady fingerpicked pattern technique has become one of the 'must know' guitar concepts dating back to the 1940's, 50's and 60's era country guitar. The repeating plucking idea that he pioneered can be taken across any chord type and used over any chord voicing. The result is a solid and highly useful fingerstyle accompaniment pattern.

PART ONE: In example one, you'll discover how the format of a simple Travis picked idea can add consistency and structure to a plucking routine across a chord. In example 1a, the chords of "C and G" major are used to demonstrate a steady bass note groove that is simple in its pattern picking structure. In example 1b, an alternating bass note groove is included to add more motion to the down beat attacks.

Example two takes our simple Travis picking application a step further by bringing in a few scale lines to the mix. The alternate bass note groove is maintained across chords taken from "D Major." Each chord is covered using the steady eighth-note pattern and alternate bass approach. However, scale lines from the key of "D Major" are added to help connect the harmony and provide a more steady and even feel.


PART TWO: The second part of the lesson incorporates a more authentic Travis picking approach by altering the pattern rhythmically. Travis picking involves a combination of fast moving eighth and quarter notes that are often attacked with double-plucking on the downbeats. In example 3a, figure 1 demonstrates how the pattern functions in a simple manner. In example 3a, figure 2, the double-plucked concept occurs on the beat on one. Example 3b, takes the new authentic Travis pattern a step further by employing the pattern on two chords, (Em and G).

In example four, our technique of the Travis picked authentic pattern introduces a filler line melody passage in measures two and four. This example demonstrates how everything can come together to create a very connected and organized sounding plucking line across a series of chord changes. The key of "C Major" example is rhythmically sound and flows smoothly back to the top. When performing the passage up to speed, be mindful of the fretting-hand fingerings used on each melodic connection.



ACOUSTIC GUITAR 004: Travis Picking Accompaniment Style



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Travis Picking Accompaniment Style... 

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