Learn How To Travis Pick With This Fleetwood Mac Riff

Check out this free lesson from Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman on how to do the Travis Picking technique using the classic Fleetwood Mac riff from landslide. Be sure to click the link for the tabs to go along with this lesson. So lets check out how to Travis Pick.

Travis Picking


Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with GuitarControl.com bringing you this video lesson and today I want to show you the Travis Picking technique and this is really aimed at beginners and first-time users of this technique. So we’re going to go over just like the basic bare bones of how to do it and in lieu of doing just a boring exercise, we’re gonna actually going to use the intro verse-main riff from the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac because it uses the Travis Picking technique. So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look at Landslide and the Travis Picking Technique.

Landslide Chords

All right, so the first thing we’re going to do, let’s just go over the three chords that we’re going to be using for this and by the way if you want to be in the same key as Fleetwood Mac you’re gonna need to put a capo on the third fret, but you can play this without the capo, it’s just not gonna be in the same key, it’ll sound a little different, but as far as practicing the technique and everything it’s not going to make any difference. All right so the first chord we have is C; so third finger on the third fret of the A string and this is relevant to the capo by the way, so third finger third fret of the A, string second finger second fret of the D string, G string is open and I’m on the first fret of the B string with my first finger. All right, so the next chord is B over G, so it’s like B/G, so to make this transition simple we’re just going to leave our first finger there on the first fret of the B string and we’re going to take our fourth finger and we’re going to put it here onto the third fret of the B string and we’re going to remove our third finger and move our second finger from the second fret of the D string to the second fret of the A string, that’s B/G. And then the next and final chord is A minor seven, so for this we’re just going to take our fourth finger back off and move our middle finger from the A string back to the second fret of the D string… and in the chord progression it just goes from C to G/B to A minor 7 and then back to B/G and then back to C. So the first thing you’re probably going to want to do is maybe just with making those chord changes, so you can just kind of strum if you want… you just want to get it so you can make these chord changes smoothly. All right so now let’s take a look at what we’re going to be doing with our picking hand.

Travis Picking Technique

All right so for our picking hand your thumb is going to be playing the A string and the D string and then your first finger; there’s two ways that you can do this, so one way you can have your first finger place the G string and then your second finger place the B string, but personally especially for this particular piece I find it much easier to use my thumb and my first finger, so if you’re relatively new to finger style guitar this is going to make it a lot easier. Anyway so put your fingers on the C chord and we’re gonna start off with our thumb on the A string and our first finger on the G string. So what we’re gonna do is pluck with our thumb and when we do this we want our thumb just to come to a rest on the fourth string like that and then with your first finger in the motion kind of like you’re pulling a trigger, you want to pull that, you don’t want where you’re pulling your whole hand back like this… see my arm isn’t really moving or my hand, in fact I’ve got my pinky just kind of right here on the edge of the where the sound hole is just to kind of rest my arm. So for this picking pattern we’re gonna go A string to G string and then we just shift up and we go D string to B string. So at first just practice this; A G D B A G D B, just like that. All right so this picking pattern we go A G D B A G D and you’re going to use your thumb to hit the D string just like that. Now you’re gonna do that sequence once per chord. So we’re starting with the C to the G/B to A minor 7 and back to G/B and then back to C.

All right, so with this if you look on the tabs you can see that that all the notes are equally spaced apart from each other on Landslide except that last D, it rings out for just a second longer to kind of give you that transition. Now I can’t remember how many beats per minute, it’s like 70 beats per minute or something, so it’s not really fast, but to be able to play it in that time with this technique is difficult. I played this song for a long time and just did it with regular finger picking style, but it there was always something that just kind of sounded a little bit off, it was like the right notes but something just didn’t quite sound right, there’s just something about that with the thumb in this style that just gives it its unique sound.


All right, so there you have it. That’s just a small little introduction to doing the Travis Picking technique. There’s lots and lots of material other than Landslide, lots and lots of country songs and stuff that use this, folk music that uses this style of playing. So this is just kind of a good exercise to kind of to get both your hands, well mainly your picking hand up to speed on doing this and practicing these chord transitions you know that’s a good exercise for your left hand. Regardless like I said it’s a little more interesting to play a song like Landslide than it is to play an exercise, but this just makes into a great exercise. So what I encourage you to do is just work on it slowly and build up your speed and even if you can work it up to playing it faster than they’re playing it, it might sound weird, might not sound like the song, but it’s just going to be good overall for your playing. Anyway if you like this video be sure to give it a thumbs up. Leave me a comment down below if there’s something you’d like to see in a future lesson either from myself or for one of the other instructors at GuitarControl.com and if you haven’t already, subscribe to the channel and hit that notification bell so that way you don’t miss any of the content that we upload throughout the week. Anyhow that is all I got for you today. Thanks for watching How To Travis Pick With This Fleetwood Mac Riff and have a great day.

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