Learn Any Travis Picking Song, Step by Step

Lesson #375 • Jul 11, 2021

Video lesson

Instructional PDF 9 pages

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It includes all of my notes for this lesson, allowing you to follow along at your own pace. You're free to download, print, and share the PDF across your devices.

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! New lesson & PDF today where I walk through the process of learning any difficult song on guitar – specifically, using a Travis Picking song which requires complicated coordination of right thumb (bass notes) and right index finger (melody notes). This is a style of fingerpicking I’ve grown to love, but learning songs in this manner can be incredibly difficult. In my video, I’ll walk through the step-by-step process I recently used to learn a 17-measure John Prine arrangement that had eluded me for years. Since I finally got over the hump and learned it, I wanted to make this lesson to share my process. This will assuredly apply to any Travis Picking song you might learn in the future.

The arrangement I use in this lesson is inspired by “In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine.

Video timestamps for my lesson:

  • 0:00 Overview & lesson summary
  • 2:50 Learn the basic chord shapes
  • 6:44 Learn the chord progressions
  • 8:51 Right-hand melody notes by themselves
  • 11:38 Simple melody notes w/ single bass note
  • 12:43 Alternating bass notes, by themselves
  • 14:28 Simple melody notes w/ simple alt. bass notes
  • 16:43 Simple melody notes w/ advanced alt. bass notes
  • 18:15 Add final rhythmic complexity to melody notes

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Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

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