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Finger Picking Lessons; Patterns #10 – 13

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Note this about your Anchor.

As you improve in your finger picking skills please don’t feel that you must keep your little finger (anchor) stuck to the top of your guitar at all times. The “anchor” is for the purpose of orienting your picking hand to the guitar strings.  That’s it job!  Once that job is accoplished it’s done.  In fact to have better rhythm you’ll find that having your hand “loose” will help.  Once you “find” your right hands position in relation to the strings that’s all you really need . After you’ve done that then just use your little finger every once and a while to orient yourself to the strings as you change positions.  You can “float” your hand as much as you would like in order to have GOOD rhythm. 

When I play I put my little finger out there to touch the top of the guitar from time to time. I don’t have it “glued” (so to speak) to the guitar top or the bridge.  Just a slight touch or so with my little finger when making position and pattern changes or when skipping strings, is usually all that I need to get oriented again.  This takes time but I just want you to understand that we are attempting to make music here.  The rhythm of your finger picking is very important.  So please don’t compromise your rhythm because you feel you must keep your anchor “fastened” to the top of the guitar.  Okay?   Good!

Move Your Finger Picking Hand

It’s also good to learn to move your picking hand “forward and back” along the strings while keeping the same hand position. What I’m saying is that you don’t have to have your picking hand over the sound hole at all times.

Notice that as you pick the strings with your right hand closer to the bridge it gets a different sound quality about it then when the strings are picked over the hole. The closer to the bridge that you pick the string the “higher, and brighter the overtones” will sound.  The closer to the hole the deeper the bass overtones.  So learn to bring out those different sound qualities in your music.  This will prove to be a desirable skill to have developed as you want to change the “mood” of a song.  You can change not only the force or volume with which you play but where you play on the strings will change the quality of the sound too. 

So you will want to learn to move your picking hand as you play. It’s part of making your guitar “talk and sing”.  We are learning to making MUSIC!  Please REMEMBER that!

Finger Picking Tab.
Picking Pattern # 10
(Travis finger picking)

Play a G chord as you learn this finger picking pattern. Now your using all six strings. This is when it really pays to have three finger picks.

   Audio samples / Pat.10.slow /

G Chord

      T  2  T  3  T  2  T  1     T  2  T  3  T  2  T  1


Finger Picking Tab.  
Picking Pattern
 (Travis pick)

This finger picking pattern is a variation that combines patterns #6 with #10.  The first measure being different than the second.   Learn to make these changes from one to the other smoothly, and continuously flowing as you pick.


G chord

        3    T   1    T   2   T   1        T   2   T   3   T   2   T   1


Finger Picking Tab.
Picking Pattern
  (Travis pick)

This finger picking pattern you’ll see is more different in the first measure than the second.

         Audio samples / Pat.12.slow  /
 C Chord   
II——3———————–I- –3————————————-II
        T   T   T   1   T   2        T   2   T   3   T   2   T   1  


Finger Picking Tab.
Picking Pattern
(Travis picking)

Now we are going to learn to “hammer” notes of the chord as you are finger picking.  This takes timing and practice with your chord playing hand.  It must be in sink with your finger picking hand. The “h” in the second measure represents “hammer”.  The actual hammering of the “d” string to the “e” note happens just before your thumb picks the “e” note.  Listen closly to the audio files to help you get the timing down.

This is a realy cool thing do do.  But it takes work.  So don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right out of the gate.  It takes some time but you can do it.


Audio samples /Pat.13.slow /

C chord

         3    T    T    1    T    2            T    2    T    3    T    2    T    1
         T                                                (hammer)

If you’ve gotten this far and have learned to play these 13 patterns of the “Travis” pick, you must be serious about learning how to finger pick  your guitar.  Now you will be wanting to put this new knowledge to use and incorporate it in songs.  

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