OK, now we're going to train your fingers and you're going to learn your first picking pattern. This is what it's going to sound like. That's not it. There we go.
So let's grab an E chord again, and I want you to plant your thumb on the sixth string. And then let's plant again on the middle tier, so first finger planted on the third string (that's your pointer finger). And your middle finger planted on the second string and check your hand positioning. Hold a lemon. Tilt your wrist. Make a cross. Nag, nag, nag. And now let's practice picking with our fingers. And what you want to hear is a nice, crisp sound. No slicing. And what it looks like is your fingers kind of snapping toward the palm of your hand. Like this motion. So, keep that thumb planted on the sixth string and let's practice picking the second string with your middle finger so you can let go with your first finger, so that it's not in the way. And pick that second string with your middle finger like that. Focus on snapping the finger toward your palm a little bit. Just a quick little flick. Whoops, I hit the wrong string. I just did that to make you feel better.
OK, now let's try it with the first finger. Let's plant again with your first finger on the third string. You can get rid of your middle finger now. Don't need to plant that. We're not going to use it. And now pick the third string with your first finger. Check in with your hand positioning. Hold a lemon. Tilt your wrist. Make a cross. And again, you want to be hovering on that third string--hovering above it--only touching it when you pick it. The rest of the time, it's ringing out like a bell.
OK, now let's try alternating our two fingers. Let's go, first finger and then second finger like that back and forth. So plant again. Check your hand positioning. Hold a lemon. Tilt your wrist. Make a cross and you've got your fingers planted, as I told you before. Thumb on the sixth. Pointer finger on the third. Middle finger on the second. And this time, pick with your first finger on the third, second finger on the second. Back and forth. Hover as you play, your thumb can stay planted. That helps stabilize you. Some welcome help here in your first steps at learning how to Travis pick.
Doing great! We're almost there. We're almost about to learn your first picking pattern. Train these fingers for a little while longer. Be sure to listen to your notes. Each one should ring out like a bell. Try to get the best sound you can possibly get, even at this early stage. Try to sound your very best. Always try to get good tone.
OK give your fretting hand a rest for a moment, and now this pattern that we're going to play--I like to call name patterns by the strings we hit. It's going to be a six, two, four, three pattern, which means, we're going to be playing the sixth string, then the second string and then the fourth string and then the third string. And the way our thumb and fingers work together is, we're going to do a thumb note, then a finger note, then our alternate thumb note and then the other finger note. So it's like thumb, finger, thumb, finger, alternating back and forth, and the thumb is also jumping around between two different strings, right? So it's thumb on the sixth, finger, thumb on the fourth, finger. Six, two, four, three. And the fingers are thumb, middle, thumb, pointer, thumb, middle, thumb, pointer. See how that works?
OK, let's plant here, and then I'm just going to call out the string numbers as we play this. Here we go. One, two, ready, go. Six, two, four, three. Six, two, four, three. Six, two, four, three. Six, two, four, three. Hold a lemon. Tilt your rest. Make a cross. Don't plant as you play. But the strings ring out freely. Should only touch the strings while you're picking them. Thumb, middle, thumb, pointer, six two, four, three. This is the picking pattern we're going to use in the upcoming song. So get to know it well. Try to make each note sound fantastic.
Let's take a little mental break here. And while we rest our hands, I want to show you how eye diagram picking patterns. This is what you'll see in my chord charts for songs that are Travis picked. So what you're looking at here is a kind of a modified version of tablature. So if you know how to read tablature, this will be somewhat familiar. If not, don't worry, I'll explain it all. OK?
So first of all, you'll notice that there are six horizontal lines or there are these series of dashes, and those six horizontal lines represent the six strings of the guitar. And I've labeled the numbers of the strings along the left edge so that one through six means strings one through six. And so, looking at these six lines is kind of like looking at your guitar. If you had your guitar, like sitting on your lap facing up, you know how the first string, which is the smallest string, would be highest in your field of vision? Sixth string, the fattest string, is down low in your field of vision. That's how you're looking at this diagram here. Now, when you're actually holding your guitar, normally the first string is the one closest to the floor, right? And so, you know, half of my students think that tablature is written upside down. Hopefully, you're not in that category. If you are, it just takes a little longer to get used to this way of looking at a picking pattern.
So next, I want you to look at along the bottom of the diagram: the one and two and three and four and are the beats of a measure. So what you're looking at here is one measure of music. And actually those vertical lines are bar lines. They show the beginning and end of a measure, just like in standard music notation.
Then along the right edge, you see the fingers of your picking hand, labeled. T represents your thumb, and so you'll see that the thumb is in charge of the sixth string and the fourth string in this pattern. And then one represents your pointer finger and two represents your middle finger. I use the same number system that's used for the fretting hand.
Now let's look at the X's. So the X's show that you're playing a note. So if we look at the first beat of the measure, we see that we play a note on the sixth string and we know that by looking over to the left of the X. And we know we're playing it with the thumb because we look over to the right, and we see a T there. So if we grab an E chord, that first note is going to sound like this. Bear in mind, this is the same picking pattern I just taught you, so you already kind of know how to play this. So the next note on the and of one is on the second string because we look over to the left of that second x as we are reading from left to right and it's played with the second finger. Then the next x on the second beat....it's with our thumb on the fourth string. And then the first finger plays the next note on the third string. And then the second half of the measure is played just the same as the first half, three and four and.
And the reason why I used X's is that I wanted this picking pattern to be kind of generic that it would apply to any chord you were fretting. So if this were actually tablature, this is what you'd see for an E chord, the chord that we've been using learning this picking pattern. If it were a G chord, it would look like this, right? Where you have the sixth string, third fret played as the first note, and then open strings for the other three notes. But I used X's so that it would apply to any chord.
Now this doesn't actually apply to any chord because some chords have a fifth string route instead of a sixth string. So that first note and our picking pattern would be played on the fifth string. And so often in a chord chart, I'll have two different diagrams--one for sixth string root picking patterns. And one for fifth string root picking patterns, so that I cover all the bases so that it will apply to any chord that you're playing in the song.
OK, I think this would be a good time to stop the video and practice this picking pattern more on your own. You know, if you can play this picking pattern for five or 10 minutes today, and you know, if you're fretting hand gets tired, you could grab a G chord instead of an E chord...that also works well. G and E are best because they both have six string root notes, and so starting on that sixth string in the pattern is appropriate for those chords.
Just try to drill great muscle memory here. You're building muscle memory. A lot of you are going to be starting from 0 here learning how to play finger style, and it really helps accelerate your development, if you can build good muscle memory from the get go. And that means trying to avoid mistakes, if at all possible. And the two tools we have in our toolbox for doing that are playing slowly. If I was playing too fast there, pause the video and play at your own speed and then also to simplify things.
You know, if your left hand is distracting you because you can't get that E chord to ring clearly, you know, just hit open strings, for example. Kind of a strange sounding chord there. But, you know, we're not trying to make great music here, we're just trying to train the right hand and so do what you need to do to set yourself up for success in not making mistakes and not picking the wrong strings or picking them badly. If you can do that, you'll build muscle memory more quickly and you'll play more cleanly down the road.
How's it going?
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