Learn Any Travis Picking Song, Step by Step

Lesson #375 • Jul 11, 2021

Video lesson

Instructional PDF 9 pages

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Follow along with the print-friendly PDF!

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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