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Merle Travis Style Alternate Picking

Luke Mergner (303) · [archive]
Style: Bluegrass · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3

Merle Travis plays country style fingerpicking. His style uses a combination of chords against an alternating bass line. This is a very common sound in Country music.

First, we need to understand how the alternating bass line is created. It uses the I and V note of the chord. If you don't understand this review some of the lessons on the major scale. This can be played several ways. I will review two and describe two different ways to play them.

The first is with an open chord. The sequence uses C and F. The bass line hits the C then G, runs up to F and C. For each chord the bass hits the I then V of the chord. This is the most important aspect of this style of playing.

The second way is with bar chords. Everyone should know by now how to switch from open chords to bar chords. Take a look at both positions. Contrast the position of I and V notes and how you would play them.
Merle Travis Style Alternate Picking
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