A Simple Way to Travis Pick Any Song (Key of C)
Lesson #509 • Aug 17, 2023
Today we’re looking at an audience question on the topic of Travis Picking, where I show how we can simplify any complicated picking pattern into something much easier to play. I’ll be focusing on the Key of C, which is one of the most approachable keys of Travis Picking. For the chords, bass notes, and melody line I’ll show you how to simplify things big time – which lets you jump into any song provided you know the chord progression.
At the end of my video I’ll demonstrate this simplified picking approach with Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt), Graceland (Paul Simon), Don’t Stop Believing (Journey), and Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd). Special thanks to Song Notes community member Marc for sending in the question that kicked off this lesson!
- 0:00 Overview
- 1:29 Simpler Chords
- 3:36 Simpler Bass Notes
- 5:30 Simpler Melody Notes
- 8:51 Song Examples!
Instructional PDF 2 pages
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Extended Video Lessons
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Play-Along Fingerstyle Cover of Pancho and Lefty
Here’s me playing Pancho and Lefty from start to finish, using the simplified Travis Picking approach I demonstrate in my main tutorial. It may not sound as intricate or fancy as Townes Van Zandt’s version, but in a pinch it does the job just fine!
Additional Picking Patterns (for Thinner Strings)
In my lesson I reference a few additional “melody” patterns you can try using on the 2nd and 3rd strings. Watch this video to see a playthrough of the extra patterns (which are included on page 2 of my PDF). Again, you can use any of these! It’s all about finding a groove that works for you.
“Pancho and Lefty” from Heartworn Highways
Other Helpful Lessons I’ve Made
Interested in a Lesson for Graceland or Don’t Stop Believing?
In this video I demonstrate some basic fingerpicking over Paul Simon’s Graceland, as well as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. If you’d like me to make a lesson for either of these classic tunes, let me know by clicking one of the buttons below!
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