EDIT: 4/4/2022 - The video instruction was removed from my old channel. I will be republishing it on my music channel in the next week.

If you are interested in knowing when it is published, please contact me using my contact form or subscribe to my official artist channel here.



Simple Travis Picking Lesson

Travis Picking... finally

First: The video and downloadable PDF and graphics can be found below.

I am going to to provide some context for why I created this tutorial.

I avoided learning Travis for MANY years. I have plenty of finger-picking in my songs but had not taken the time to officially learn Travis Picking.

A little over a week ago, I decided to change that. I spent some time online and learned a couple patterns. The pattern I cover in this tutorial is taught in dozens (hundreds?) of YouTube videos.

Excuse the interruption
I am working to grow my Official Artist Channel on YouTube. I post songs/music, educational videos (recording, music business tech, etc.), BTS - Behind the Sage/Behind the Scenes, and other creative ideas.

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So, why another Travis Picking video?

In the videos I watched there is an emphasis on learning the thumb picking first. Then, each tutorial adds the alternating index and middle finger pieces in relation to the thumb pattern. This seemed confusing to me.

Then, the other night my girlfriend, a beginning player, asked me to show her how to Travis Pick. I wanted to avoid the focus on the thumb and look at the pattern more broadly and holistically. I came up with a spoken cadence of:


More accurately, it is really:

For example: in the case of an open C chord and limiting ourselves to just the 4 inner strings (2, 3, 4, & 5):

  • pinch - (thumb 5th string) (middle finger 2nd string)
    and - (a semi-beat pause)
  • in  (thumb 4th string)
    side (index finger 3rd string)
  • out (thumb 5th string)
    side (middle finger 2nd string)
  • in  (thumb 4th string)
    side (index finger 3rd string)


As in this graphic

She was effectively picking the pattern in about 20 minutes and has since gone on to use this pattern, learning Kansas' iconic, Dust in the Wind.

My hope is that the cadence and the graphics provided help a few of you learn this Travis Picking pattern and removes some of the confusion.

The video lesson and downloads

Download the patterns here:
PDF | Zipped JPGs

EDIT: 4/4/2022

Posted in Blog, Ideas.


  1. Finally,a technique for Travis style picking I could understand! The inside outside idea is helping and you put in the TABS!!!! The only tabs on this I could find! You’re my (guitar) hero¡

  2. Hi Mathew
    I watched your video on this approach to travis picking some time ago, and then never got round to actually trying it out. I have just managed to find your article again but the video is unavailable is it possible to watch it somewhere. I was intrigued by your approach.

    • Hi Eddie,

      I’ll save your email address and let you know when I’ve republished the video. Basically, I’ve had the video on my Arrogant Sage Media channel for the past year but that channel is primarily for tech related videos. Everything music related has been, or will be, moved to my official artist channel.

      I’ll let you know when it is published or you can go there subscribe. I’ll have the intro re-recorded in the next day or so and hopefully have it published by next weekend.


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