#1
I usually just play rhythm guitar, so I thought I'd switch things up a little and dive into some finger picking. (or fingerstyle?) I'm by no means an expert at either but I was curious as to how quickly others found themselves getting comfortable with it. I can play basic exercises and good riddance but I'm having trouble with songs like dust in the wind and landslide. Any tips or advice on my own progression? Are there any common patterns you guys would recommend? Any general info/input is very much appreciated.
#2
My best advice is to never break the "thumb, thumb, thumb, index, middle, ring" rule. It will only serve to confuse you if you do. Only do it if you have no other way around it.

As for common patterns.. pretty much all of Nothing Else Matters is common patterns and in general is very good practice.

If you feel you're up to a challenge then I would HIGHLY recommend giving this a go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbb2AvqmhLQ

The chords from 0:45 onwards in particular.

It helped me so so much. I recommend it to absolutely anyone who wants to improve their fingerpicking/barre chords. If you're relatively new to guitar then the chord changes will unfortunately be much too difficult, so I wouldn't recommend it to beginners.
Last edited by vayne92 at Jun 13, 2015,
#3
Thanks a lot vayne! I'm gonna pull up the tabs to nothing else matters right now, I'll check out the video too. I appreciate it man.
#4
Alternating bass (Travis) picking is the mainstay of my style, and is widely used in blues, folk and country. Here's a simple example, without syncopation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKPfhQ0R10A

Listen to some John Hurt and Merle Travis to get an idea of its full potential.
#5
Learning Landslide was the first step for me. I broke the pattern down into string numbers:
5, 3, 4, 2, 5, 3, 4, 2
Practice that enough and you're sorted, you'll soon be able to do that without thinking much about it and you'll be able to keep the thumb going whilst changing melody notes.
#6
I started to learn basic "Travis picking" (pattern picking) in the 70s because thats what folk musicians did. It took a while for that basic pattern to click, but once it did I realized that you could alter it, throw in bass runs, and that sort of thing.
I stayed at that level for rather a long time because I got into bluegrass flatpicking....

However I then (more recently) got into playing blues and now jazz fingerstyle, using primarily a classical guitar technique for jazz.
#7
As Vayne said, the thumb, thumb, thumb, index, middle, ring rule can be very helpful. To explain, that basically means that you should try whenever possible to have the thumb pick the lowest three strings and then index picks G, middle picks B, and ring picks E. Though this isn't always possible (particularly if you get into doing rolls, especially on the lower strings) and doesn't work for three finger picking styles, but it is a good guideline and it means that you don't really have to think about your right hand as much.

Quote by Tony Done
Alternating bass (Travis) picking is the mainstay of my style, and is widely used in blues, folk and country.


To clarify, Travis Picking refers to picking with a set pattern that doesn't change regardless of what chords you are playing. Alternating bass wasn't specifically a part of his style, though it is very commonly incorporated in many patterns, particularly root-fifth on the 1 and 3 beats to give a strong 2 step pulse to either lock in with bass (which plays precisely that in many styles of country, bluegrass, etc) or fulfill that role in the absence of a bass.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#8
Quote by theogonia777


To clarify, Travis Picking refers to picking with a set pattern that doesn't change regardless of what chords you are playing. Alternating bass wasn't specifically a part of his style, though it is very commonly incorporated in many patterns, particularly root-fifth on the 1 and 3 beats to give a strong 2 step pulse to either lock in with bass (which plays precisely that in many styles of country, bluegrass, etc) or fulfill that role in the absence of a bass.


Yeah, I've never been clear about the difference between alternating bass picking, as done by say John Hurt and the like (my main influence) and what Merle Travis did. I've always thought it was a mostly semantic difference. - The Americans tending to call it Travis picking, and the Brits alternating bass.
#9
Travis picking is anything with a set pattern, alternating bass is... anything with an alternating bass. One doesn't need the other, but most Travis picking patterns have the alternating bass because it's very effective in terms of rhythm and harmony.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#10
OK, my use of the term alternating has been pretty sloppy then, because a lot of what John Hurt did isn't strictly alternating either - it often goes 6454 strings on the thumb. It's hard to know what I should be calling mine, but it's all shades of grey as far as a can see. I admit I'm not keen on the term "Travis" picking, because a lot of those old blues fingerpickers with related styles predate him.

EDIT. I'm currently trying to get to grips with Bert Jansch's style - now that's challenging.
Last edited by Tony Done at Jun 14, 2015,