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Travis-Style Guitar from Scratch

By Bruce Emery

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Instructional and Technique. Instructional book. 85 pages. Published by Skeptical Guitarist Publications (SG.SGP-011).

Item Number: SG.SGP-011
ISBN 0-9788609-0-X. Instructional and Technique.

Solo Travis-Style Fingerpicking is a tricky thing. You need to be able to keep a steady bassline going with your right thumb as you play melodies and harmonies with your index, middle and ring fingers. It's like patting your head and rubbing your belly, except that it creates music. Ragtime piano players do the same sort of thing when they split up these two functions between the left and right hands.It is NOT the purpose of this book to present actual transcriptions of the pieces that Merle or Chet or Leo have played. That way lies sorrow and disappointment (I know because I've been that way). We'll start-off simply and add complexity in a measured fashion. See this as an opportunity to take that knuckle-headed thumb of yours and whip it into shape before you try to take on the Travis-Style classics. And even if you've been playing this style for a while, I think some of the material toward the end may still quicken the pulse and knit the brow.

  • Travistown 
  • Solo Travis-Style fingerpicking 
  • Fifth-string bass: The Am chord 
  • Pinches 
  • Sixth-string bass: The G chord 
  • Scales over chords in the Key of G 
  • Quarter note scales over chords 
  • "Camptown Races" 
  • "Oh! Susanna" 
  • Scales over chords in the Key of C 
  • "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" 
  • "Red River Valley" 
  • Songs in the Key of Am 
  • "Amtrack Blues" 
  • "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" 
  • Triple alternating bass 
  • "House of the Rising Sun" 
  • Syncopation 
  • Exercises 
  • "Frere Jacques" 
  • "Camptown Races" 
  • "House of the Rising Sun" 
  • Picking patterns 
  • "When the Saints Go Marching In" 
  • Kicker notes 
  • Chord tones 
  • "Ode to Joy" 
  • Eighth notes 
  • "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho" 
  • "Buffalo Gals" 
  • "Simple Gifts" 
  • Bass runs 
  • Slurs 
  • Slurps 
  • "Jingle Bells" 
  • "Yankee Doodle" 
  • "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" 
  • "Battle Hymn of the Republic" 
  • Key of A 
  • "Mystery Tunes in A" 
  • Key of E 
  • Drop D Tuning 
  • Parting gift 

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Travis-Style Guitar from Scratch

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