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The Thumb Foundation

 

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Travis-Picking – Laying The Foundation

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In this lesson we'll apply the most basic thumb pattern to our E chord.

First let's grab our open E major chord. Now, with your thumb you'll strum the low E string on the 1 and 3's. In between that, on the 2 and 4, you hit the D string. It's okay to get a little bit of the G string in there as well, but try to be as precise as possible here at first!

Now, the bass notes on 1 and 3 mimic the bass drum in a basic drum kit, and the D and G string mimic the snare drum. That's how we get that basic boom-chick feel going.

With that in mind try to emphasize the downbeats and let the upbeats in between be a bit more subtle.

This is very simple, but it can be surprisingly tricky to get your thumb independent enough to do this in a relaxed manner.

Make sure your arm, wrist and hand is relaxed and make sure the rest of your fingers aren't cramping up.

If you do this with a thumb pick, it's the same basic thing, but you notice that you get a bit more articulation on the lower notes. Plus the angle of the pick, matches the angle of the rest of your fingers.

You can also do this with a flat pick, which presents some other challenges that we'll come back to later.
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