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Bruce Emery

Travis-Style Guitar
From Scratch

2006; ISBN 0-9788609-0-X
85 Pages - $16.50

Table of Contents

Sample Pages

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"Travis-picking" means that the thumb is responsible for laying down an alternating bassline while the fingers simultaneously add independent melody and harmony lines.  Here’s how we’ll achieve our goal: We’ll start with a simple alternating bass and we’ll work on it until it becomes comfortable. Then we’ll add small, successive complications that will feel uncomfortable at first, but we’ll work them it until they become comfortable, before moving on to the next.

After some preliminary exercises, we get right into Six Songs You Know, two in each of three keys: “Camptown Races,” “Oh! Susanna,” “Red River Valley,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “House of the Rising Sun” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” and much of the rest of book is devoted to revisiting these six songs at increasing levels of complexity (four levels in all). The first level is straightforward: All melody notes land squarely on the beat.

In the second level we add SYNCOPATION, where melody notes are shifted to the offbeat while keeping the bass ON the beat, and we tinker with adding a third alternate bass string. The third level introduces HARMONY in the form of picking pattern and other chord tones. And the fourth level throws in the faster eighth notes, walking basslines, slurs and other kinds of chord substitutions and tricks that will make your mother proud.

Sprinkled throughout the book are arrangements of other songs and song fragments: “Frere Jacque,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Ode to Joy,” “Simple Gifts,” “Buffalo Gals” and “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” "Jingle Bells," "Yankee Doodle," "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." I know they’re not very exciting, but at least you know how they're supposed to sound.

Table of Contents

Solo Travis-Style fingerpicking
Fifth-string bass: The Am chord
Sixth-string bass: The G chord
Scales over chords in the Key of G
Quarter note scales over chords
“Camptown Races”
“Oh! Susanna”
Scales over chords in the Key of C
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”
“Red River Valley”
Songs in the Key of Am
“Amtrack Blues”
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”
Triple alternating bass
“House of the Rising Sun”
“Frere Jacques”
“Amtrack Blues”
Second pass through our favorites
“Camptown Races”
“Oh! Susanna”
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”
“Red River Valley”
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

“House of the Rising Sun”
Picking patterns
“When the Saints Go Marching In”
Kicker notes
Chord tones
Third pass through our favorites
(same songs as the second pass)
“Ode to Joy”
Eighth notes
“Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho”
“Buffalo Gals”
“Simple Gifts”
Bass runs
Fourth pass through our favorites (same songs as above)
New material
“Jingle Bells”
“Yankee Doodle”
“The Caissons Go Rolling Along”
“Battle Hymn of the Republic”
Key of A
“Mystery Tunes in A”
Key of E
Drop D Tuning
Parting gift

Sample Pages

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