Travis Picking in C

Learn the technique of Travis Picking in the next 30 minutes – with audio!

Travis Picking is a wonderful guitar technique to learn.

Lets learn a travis picking pattern in C – these exercises help you learn it step by step

Bass Pattern - Travis Picking in C​

Fret a C chord. The starting point for any Travis Picking is to get the bass pattern working well.

So we play four bass notes

  • The first note is C (5th string at 3rd fret)
  • Then E (4th string at 2nd fret)
  • Then G (6th string at 3rd fret)
  • Then E again

Play this until it sounds smooth and your thumb is playing each note at solid, regular pace.

Adding note 1 - Travis Picking in C​

Then we add the first note. This time we will ‘pinch’ a note on the 2nd string. Pinching notes means playing them at the same time.

In fingerpicking speak, you are playing a bass note and high note at the same time – so if you looked at your left hand, you would see your fingers “pinch” these two notes when playing them at the same time.

Adding note 2 - Travis Picking in C

Now we add a 2nd note.

This note is “in-between” the 2 bass notes. Look at the tab below to understand this visually.

Whereas the first note is a pinch and played at the same time as a bass note, this one is played in-between two bass notes which gives it a certain feel.

When you do this, it makes the bassline and the high melody notes sound more “independent” from each other – so worth practicing


Travis Picking is an amazing guitar style to learn. It is worth putting some time in.

Make sure you learn the bassline first – and master it

Then add melody notes one note at a time.

Then add some melody notes at the same time as a bass note – and som melody (finger) notes off the beat – meaning in-between bass notes.

If you want to learn fingerstyle on guitar, this is a vital skill to learn.


Once you are comfortable with this lesson, the next lesson in the Travis Picking in C series is perfect for you

Travis Picking – Lesson 2

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