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Focussing on Travis style guitar this month

Posted by kenhunt on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I made a decision to concentrate on Travis-style guitar for at least a month. I've always been a flatpicker, but found myself wanting to be able to at least comprehend what guys like Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Brian Setzer and other fingerpickers were doing. I'm about a week into it, and am just over halfway through Bruce Emery's Travis Style guitar from Scratch book. It has a lot of good exercises to get that right-hand thumb playing steady rhythm while the other fingers do something different but interesting.

I miss the time with my banjo... I pick it up and play a song or two every day, but not really pushing myself like I usually do. I feel a little guilty.

Also, I needed an avatar but couldn't find any pics of me with the banjo. Since I'm picking on the guitar a lot right now, I decided to go ahead and upload something until I remind somone to take my picture when I have the banjo out! (Since people aren't exactly hiding in the bushes hoping to snap a pic of my mug. )

3 comments on “Focussing on Travis style guitar this month”

Sid Langley Says:
Wednesday, September 12, 2007 @6:12:46 AM

I find the guitar picking feeds straight into the the banjo right hand, although I've had to abandon guitar for a while to get all the new five string  chords and scales into my hands and head - love the way Doc Watson does all the styles on both instruments!

kenhunt Says:
Wednesday, September 12, 2007 @11:39:24 AM

I'm a huge fan of Doc as well - he was my flatpicking inspiration since I was teenager. I bought a Homespun video of him playing both flatpicking and fingerstyle. He explained his fingerstyle is non-conventional in that he uses the thumb for rhythm (as in Travis style) but mostly only one finger for the lead / melody. I'm trying to learn a little more traditional Chet / Merle approach of thumb for rhythm and three fingers for the rest. But Doc is definitely the man. He is so smooth and clean in all his playing.

I had hoped the banjo playing would help with Travis style guitar. Maybe it has, but getting the thumb to pound out the steady rhythm independent of the other fingers has been challenging. My prior attempts at fingerpicking the guitar were mostly my own made-up roll-like patterns, so when I first started rolls on the banjo it seemed fairly straightforward to me. Mostly I'm enjoying a fresh challenge. Keeps life interesting!

mrphysics55 Says:
Friday, September 21, 2007 @11:49:42 PM

Hey Ken, Why not get a picture of a good-lookin girl playin a banger and use that for your avatar? I don't dare use my own image after pickin on others, as much and my banjo, as sorry, as I do! ;>) With a banger on my knee in Birmingham-Alabam. Eddie

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