I need help. I can finger pick very little. What I need to know is: When you finger pick a bass line and a melody, are you consciously doing one at a time, or is what you are playing with your thumb just in the picking pattern?

One of my guitar heroes is Dan Auerbach and he uses some technique where (I'm guessing) he just plays the bass line with his thumb as if he has two hands and he's just trained himself to multi-task it.

I would really love to incorporate something like this into my song writing.

Any feedback or suggestions would be great and much appreciated.
If you are playing flamenco style than you use your fingers for dgbe and you use your thumb for Ea. if you are simply doing a finger style picking you can take the pinky away and use the thumb for EAD and use your fingers for GBE with the respective fingers. You must simply practice using them seperately and usually you can count on your thumb to play on the beat or play on the and of the beat. and the fingers to pick out the lead. That's what i have always been taught.
This is called Travis picking. People like Tommy Emmanuel and Chet Atkins do it extensively.
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This is called Travis picking. People like Tommy Emmanuel and Chet Atkins do it extensively.

I looked up Travis Picking and it seems to be more of a pattern based thing. I don't think what I'm looking for is like that. It's more like this:


There's that droning like bass on the E string through the whole song.
Last edited by zachm07 at Aug 15, 2010,
What I'm doing right now is simply getting the timing down for every ong that has this slowly with a metronome. This is an easy way to do it, and works for one song at a time, but if you want to get good at the technique you need to find a way for it to become natural, and not think about both the bass and melody line at different times and put it together, like how I do it now.
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I always pick the E and A strings w/ my thumb and then use my other four fingers one per string on the other four strings.