Watch the Lesson 1 online guitar lesson by David Hamburger from Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 2
In Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 1
, I introduced you to the world of solo instrumental blues guitar with twenty progressive lessons in the essential steady-bass style. Now, with Fingerstyle Handbook 2, I'll guide you through a step-by-step method for playing solo fingerstyle blues guitar in the equally important "alternating thumb" or "Travis Picking" style used by countless contemporary and classic blues guitarists.
Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 2 shows you how to achieve the finger and thumb independence to go far beyond basic "pattern picking" so that you can set up a groove and play melodies, blues licks and chord fills over an alternating thumb bass. You'll learn how to keep your thumb going like clockwork while incorporating hammer-ons and pull-offs, ragtime-style syncopations and chord rolls into a variety of eight, twelve and sixteen bar blues in the keys of E, A, D, C, A minor and E minor. Each of the twenty lessons features a new fingerstyle blues tune that you learn and add to your repertoire.
Let's dig in with the first lesson!
The alternating-thumb style is often referred to as "Travis Picking," after Merle Travis, the country music singer, songwriter and ace guitarist who popularized the approach in the 1930s and 1940s. While many people have been influenced directly and indirectly by Travis over the years, there's nothing like getting a good shot of the real thing to see what it's all about. You can hear him live and acoustic on the 1959 recording In Boston.