Check out these free guitar lessons from Muriel Anderson’s Take 5: Travis Picking, which is an accelerated curriculum designed to help get your Travis Picking technique up and running quickly without having to struggle through a lot of tedious exercises and boring etudes. Work through the course and you’ll have a basic but solid Travis Picking technique under your belt and five Travis Picking pieces in your repertoire!

Travis Picking – Overview

This version of “I Am a Pilgrim” gets close to how Travis might have done it in concert. We’re going to fill in some of those melody notes and add some of Travis’ signature riffs.

Travis Picking – Performance

Download the tab and notation for this Travis picking lesson on TrueFire.

Travis Picking – Breakdown

We start with a little syncopated intro that starts on the “and” of the first beat (the offbeat).

I show you a very typical riff on the E chord that hammers on with the pinky to the C# note on the 2nd string — you can use this and the other riffs I show you in lots of other songs as well.

Now that you’re more comfortable with syncopation, you can decide on the fly whether to play on the beat or syncopated.

I keep my fingers in position, but I only actually squeeze them when I need the notes so my hand won’t get tired.

A couple other cool things:

  • A little slide you can do from the 2nd fret up to the A chord at the fifth position.
  • Using the open strings to give yourself time to switch positions.

Dig these free travis picking guitar lessons? Check out Muriel Anderson’s full course, Take 5: Travis Picking, for more including tab, notation, and jam tracks!