Travis picking is an essential technique for anyone who wants to play folk guitar. It differs from arpeggio picking in that the right hand thumb swings between strings, creating an actual bassline underneath a tune. I?ll give you an example.

It uses these chords: Em A

----p m p amp i p i| p m p amp i p m
e|| ------0---------|------0--------- ||
G|| ----------0---0-|----------2----- ||
D|| ----2-------2---|----2----------- ||
E|| 0---------------|--------0------- ||


The thumb here swings between the bottom three strings, playing a bass line that is based entirely around the tonic and the fifth. This, once practised, rolls off the fingers nicely, and can give rise to variation, using pull offs and hammer ons and such, until you have a real bassline and tune going.
An example of where this really works is Simon and Garfunkel?s version of Anji. It is swung, and fairly fast paced (about 140bpm), but you should get the hang of it quickly; it is recommended that the bassline is palm muted. (capo 3)

It uses these chords: Am G F+11 E

e|| ----- - ----------|- - --------0----- ||
G|| --2-- - -2------2-|- - -2?-0h1------- ||
D|| ----- - ----------|- - -------------- ||
A||:0---0 - ----------|- - --------------:||
E|| ----- - --3---3---|1 - --1---0---0--- ||

beat1-+-2 - +-3-+-4-+-|1 - +-2-+-3-+-4-+-

So there you have it, with a bit of practise, you should be able to pull off a good Travis picking piece, and if you could always just get a bunch of chords and pick over them.
Last edited by smellyjosh at Jun 18, 2006,