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Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n

HarleySpirit 25 May 08 - 08:09 AM
HarleySpirit 01 Jun 08 - 09:20 AM
oombanjo 01 Jun 08 - 09:31 AM
HarleySpirit 02 Jun 08 - 11:18 AM
PoppaGator 02 Jun 08 - 12:15 PM
HarleySpirit 02 Jun 08 - 03:34 PM
HarleySpirit 09 Jun 08 - 10:19 AM
PoppaGator 09 Jun 08 - 11:43 AM
HarleySpirit 09 Jun 08 - 07:07 PM
The Sandman 10 Jun 08 - 03:47 AM
Lowden Jameswright 10 Jun 08 - 10:11 AM
M.Ted 10 Jun 08 - 01:27 PM
HarleySpirit 10 Jun 08 - 04:11 PM
M.Ted 10 Jun 08 - 06:56 PM
M.Ted 10 Jun 08 - 07:12 PM
HarleySpirit 10 Jun 08 - 08:36 PM
M.Ted 10 Jun 08 - 10:54 PM
HarleySpirit 10 Jun 08 - 11:34 PM
The Sandman 11 Jun 08 - 08:05 AM
HarleySpirit 11 Jun 08 - 08:41 AM
Lowden Jameswright 11 Jun 08 - 09:52 AM
M.Ted 11 Jun 08 - 11:32 AM
HarleySpirit 11 Jun 08 - 12:28 PM
The Sandman 31 Oct 08 - 01:58 PM
The Sandman 31 Oct 08 - 02:10 PM
Murray MacLeod 31 Oct 08 - 05:25 PM
Mark Clark 31 Oct 08 - 08:25 PM
bankley 31 Oct 08 - 08:46 PM
GUEST,Arkie 31 Oct 08 - 09:24 PM
The Sandman 01 Nov 08 - 05:15 AM
The Sandman 20 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM
Murray MacLeod 20 Nov 08 - 05:32 PM
M.Ted 20 Nov 08 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 25 May 08 - 08:09 AM

Sorry, but I had to change the thread title, so here is a new thread:

Hi,
As a novice acoustic guitar Travis/fingerstyle player, I was frustrated trying to pick faster, sometimes
resorting back to "the good old days", when I was only using a plectum for any fast music... until now!!

Scroll down this page to learn how you may become the next super fast "fingerpick shredder!"

Give it a try!!
Harley
(not quite a shredder yet... but getting there!)


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 09:20 AM

Refresh!


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: oombanjo
Date: 01 Jun 08 - 09:31 AM

got it and thanks


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 11:18 AM

Hi!
My "fast" finger picking pattern was developed primarily for use on acoustic or electric guitar.
Whether it is useful for banjo playing, I couldn't really say.
This picking pattern follows the natural approach to playing the guitar. Note the differences:
In 4/4 time, when playing the guitar, the THUMB is picked on the "ONE" count, bass string,
NOT the "&" count, as is used in banjo or "guitar clawhammer" techniques.
This finger picking technique, enables the novice guitarist, to produce very fast melody riffs.
This is more than just another modified Travis picking pattern.
It uses a basic, natural approach to finger picking. This has become a versitle FINGER STYLE for me.
This style lends itself so well to all types of music (rock, jazz, ragtime, swing, etc.) including bluegrass.
So, check out the above link! and have fun!

Harley


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 12:15 PM

I consider myself a fairly advanced fingerpicker, but know little or nothing about non-standard tunings, so I expect to find more use for Harley's complete set of alternate tuning chord-charts than the fingerpicking instructions. They look to be very complete and very useful.

Years ago (1969), when I began singing on the street, I had some songs in my repertoire that I could fingerpick in a fairly deliberate and delicate manner, and other more simply-arranged numbers that I could simply strum, nice and loud. The too-quiet, almost-parlour-style fingerpicking pieces were too meek for the street, and the simpler stuff was too boring for me, so I had to adapt my playing to the circumstances.

After a brief period during which I would swap between fingerpicks and a flatpick, I began wearing the fingerpicks all the time (plastic thumpick, two steel fingerpicks) and gradually (and half-consciously) developed a technique whereby I would "strum," or pick very hard and loud, with the finger- and thumb-picks, hitting either a single string or a number of strings with each stroke. What had ben two very separate techiques (fingerpicking and strumming) gradually came together to create a single, seamless, versatile personal style.

Downstroking with the thumb followed by a quick upstroke with one or two fingers, much as Harley describes, was of course a major and basic feature of that evolving style.

Thirty-plus years on, after long periods of very gradual evolution interspersed with periods of not playing at all, I'm still a fingerpicker, and can use my techniques to play almost anything that others normally flatpick. (Really fast bluegrass guitar is an exception; I can't play in that style with my picks, or barefingered ~ but then, it's not my favorite genre and I'm not motivated to play that way too often, anyway.)

I find myself picking barefingered more and more of late, although I still wear my picks on the relatively rare occasions when I actually perform. I can get sounds with the picks that I can't produce otherwise, and definitely produce higher volume with picks than without. On the other hand, I can play with a bit more subtlety and flexibility barehanded, and find myself better able to come up with new licks and arrangements for newly-learned songs by practicing without the picks. (For one thing, bare hands allow you to pluck down with the thumb and up with the fingers, just as with picks, but also to downstroke with your fingers, brushing your nails across the strings to get another nice sound.) Once I arrive at an approach or arrangement for a new number developed by barefingered picking, I'll then begin to play it with the picks. There may be a few passages where I have to adjust and play a note or two differently than I had done without picks; then again, there are also usually a few places where I find something I can play differently ~ better ~ with the picks than I had earlier in the course of developing the arrangement.

Perhaps I've gone on too long, but I basically just wanted to endorse the concept of fingerpicking fast and hard, which is what I believe Harley began this thread to promote.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 02 Jun 08 - 03:34 PM

Wow! Thanks PoppaGator!

You have gone full circle a few times. Amazing!
For years I used to flat pick, used picks playing pedal steel, and now find myself using none.
"Barefingered Picking" is the way to go.
"Fingerpicking fast and hard" is definately attainable.

Harley
PS Glad you found my alternate tuning chord charts useful as well!


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 10:19 AM

Refresh!


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 11:43 AM

Just curious: do you pick pedal steel barefingered these days? I've only seen that instrument played with standard fingerpicks (plastic thumb, metal fingers). When I've noticed, that is...

I'm sticking with my picks when "playing out," at least as long as I continue to play a purely acoustic (no pickup) guitar. I turn to the pick-less option to play quietly at night at home, and find myself a bit better able to play freely and come up with new licks, etc., but I'm not completely satisfied with the sounds I can produce with my bare hands. (For one thing, I can't keep my nails at a consistent length or even thickness, and couldn't be arsed to devote my attention to maintaining them.)

I not only get greater volume with the picks than barefingered, I also manage to produce brighter tones and a wider variety of tones, and also to play with greater precision at speed. Now, I think I might feel less limited working barefingered if I were playing an electric, or at least an electro-acoutic, instrument ~ but I'm not.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 07:07 PM

Back in the 'good old days', I always used picks, to play pedal steel and electric guitar, except for when I played my classical guitar. Having sold my steel many moons ago, I now prefer to concentrate my efforts on acoustic bare-finger styles, eg. classical & Travis (without picks) etc. Sound wise, metal picks /w plastic thumb are definately louder, but I do like the thumping sound I get with my thumb, without using anything else. Natural nail and finger flesh can also produce volume if you develope the right touch.
I tried playing with long nails, but find I have better control and speed, when keeping my nails somewhat shorter. It's all a matter of personal taste doing whatever suits you best, which is exactly the point, to play music your own way.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 03:47 AM

I cant grow my nails anyway,so have to manage without,also I need short nails for playing the concertina.
Nic Jones always used his fingers I believe.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 10:11 AM

I only ever use a plectrum when I need extreme volume. I tried fingerpicks but was frustrated by the one-way pickin' required. The only way for me really is the flesh n' fingernail method - using the nail of my first finger with (thumb in support role) to provide the volume and drive akin to using a plectrum. Speed and versatility, combined with impressive volume are the dividends; occasional sore fingers and broken nails the only downside - but superglue, tissue and nail file make for great repairs.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 01:27 PM

I've been mostly playing a Brazilian classical guitar, works well for Travis picking and other fingerstyle stuff, and, because of the ample space between strings, also lends itself to "Slap/Pop Bass" style picking--

I do use an up and down technique with the index finger for single note playing, can't quite see how it would work for speed picking with travis style thumb movement. When I need a lot of notes against a bottom line, the classical two and three finger trills seem much more workable.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 04:11 PM

Two or three finger trills are ok, where applicable.
For Travis, Bluegrass, Swing, Blues, or Rock music, try using very fast "down/up/down/up"
index or middle finger strikes, much like you would if you were using a flatpick for single note "speed picking".
I find this works best with barefingers, and somewhat shorter nails.
Works well on classical guitar too!
To get you started, practise the pattern indicated on this page! Give it a try!
You jus might like it!

Harley


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 06:56 PM

I probably know how to do what you're talking about--it seems like you mean frailing, not Travis picking--especially if you are connected in any way with Patrick


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 07:12 PM

(sent too soon!) Costello, who is big on frailing. I am curious as to how "shredding" sounds, or works against Travis-thumbing--if you have any YouTube videos of this, or know of any, I'd definitely like to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 08:36 PM

Sorry, I'm not connected with Patrick C, other than a link on my page. But, I do like his approach to "sharing" music knowledge with all.
I'm just tryin to do the same.
When I refer to "shredding", I'm really referring to very fast runs or licks that are attainable by using this fast "down/up" picking style, nothing more. It differs from "frailing" in that you primarily pick single melody notes, not just chord rhythms. The two styles can be mixed in a piece, along with anything else you choose to add.
I don't have any videos...I've searched... and can't find any on the web either using this style, except down/up thumb picking. So I figure, it might be unusual to use index or middle fingers this way... although I'm not sure.
Again, you should simply try it, speed things up, and you'll hear it for yourself.

Harley


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 10:54 PM

I believe that I actually do what you describe already, I was just confused because the kids use the term "shredding" to describe that frantic heavy metal picking, and I was trying to fit it with that Travis thumb style, without success.

If I am right, in the technique you describe, the index finger is relaxed and natural, slightly curved, and the thumb and fingers move from the axial rotation of the arm. You move your arm as if you were flatpicking but had let go of the pick and were hitting the strings with thumb and finger.

This is a great way to play, because it allows you to play melody against a solid rhythm without fudging the melody, and it is pretty easy to embelish it, and improvise. From what I understand, it is pretty strongly connected a technique that was used to play rags on the banjo in the 19th century--


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 10 Jun 08 - 11:34 PM

I believe you GOT IT! Hurray! I'm not alone!
It may very well indeed, be a rediscovery of a old banjo (reversal) technique. It certainly suits finger pick'n guitar very well.

Harley

PS. Spread the word!


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 08:05 AM

but why limit yourself to index finger.
I normally melody pick three finger style.eg thumb index ring middle,ring covers first string,middle second string,index third string.
if the melody falls on the first string why not pick it with ring.or do you think Iwould be better off using your method even though my ring finger is pretty strong .
one other question if the melody falls on third beat do you pinch it as you would do, with first beat.anyway thanks for passing this on.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 08:41 AM

To get used to the pattern, start with your index finger.
To save wear and tear of your nails, you can vary the fingers. Pinch with the thumb when it suits the melody. Improvise where desired... this pattern is not written in stone. You can drop the thumb bass line, change your picking to very fast single passages using your finger, and immediately switch back. It all fits!
I personaly favour using my middle finger, which for some reason, gives me more accuracy and stronger volume when needed. I find, I shape my hand, like a loose fist.

Harley


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 09:52 AM

"but why limit yourself to index finger.
I normally melody pick three finger style.eg thumb index ring middle,ring covers first string,middle second string,index third string"

I have to agree with the Cap'n here - it's more versatile (especially if you can do up & down strokes as required) and makes for very fast picking. I sometimes throw the pinky into the mix too so it can sound like there's two guitars playing.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 11:32 AM

You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to the index finger in this particular technique--but you use both down and up strokes with the index finger while playing down strokes only with the thumb, so the other fingers can get in the way.

In this picking style, the thumb/bass plays once on every beat(down), while the index finger plays twice on every beat(up-down). You can also do 16th notes- Thumb/Bass down with the index playing updown-updown--


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: HarleySpirit
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 12:28 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Thanks,
Harley


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 01:58 PM

refrewsh


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 02:10 PM

so why is the melody never played on the third beat?the thumb bass does not appear to pick on ever bass but only on 1 or 3 beats,is that right?


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 05:25 PM

I use three fingers as well when picking, but I have to say that I am in total disagreement with those who perceive thumb and index finger as being somehow limited.

the reason for my disagreement is This

I have tried for over two years to duplicate Doc's fingerpicking on this song , and just cannot do it.

furthermore, I do not believe anybody else can either. There are a few wannabees on Youtube who attempt it but none of them come even close.

strange how something which looks so simple can be so damn difficult...


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: Mark Clark
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:25 PM

I tried for years to play Doc's Guitar the right way and never could get it quite right. My fingers always seemed to trip over each other. It was only when I went to strictly thumb and index that I finally got it. It's much easier to do that way.

Doc patterned his pickin' after this guy. Named his son for him too.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: bankley
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:46 PM

Jayto might show up and share a few Kentucky thumpicking tips and tales... he's a hot picker, 100% authentic and is full of great stories

Hey JT, where you at ?


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 09:24 PM

Mark, thanks for the link. Nice to see some footage of Merle from the early days. Thanks to Thom Bresh also for making videos of Merle available to Youtube. Most folks here at Mudcat are probably aware that Thom is a great picker in his own right and the son of Merle Travis.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Nov 08 - 05:15 AM

thanks for all your comments,its always good to try and keep an open mind.I must try Docs Guitar, thumb and index.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 05:15 PM

ok, can you play in jig 6/8 time,using this.


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 05:32 PM

Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: Mark Clark - PM
Date: 31 Oct 08 - 08:25 PM

I tried for years to play Doc's Guitar the right way and never could get it quite right. My fingers always seemed to trip over each other. It was only when I went to strictly thumb and index that I finally got it. It's much easier to do that way.

Doc patterned his pickin' after this guy. Named his son for him too.

      - Mark


Yeah, "Doc's Guitar" is one thing, (I make what I consider a half decent stab at it myself) but "Deep River Blues" is something else entirely.

I would be astounded if anybody on here could claim to have duplicated Doc's picking on this one ...


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Subject: RE: Fingerstyle Fast/Shredding Travis Pick'n
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 06:40 PM

You could play a jig--easily, but you have to remember that this is a syncopated style, so, to do it right, you'd play it in what amounts to a jazz 4.


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