Travis Picking (Guitar Lesson)

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Don Ross

Travis Picking

Don Ross talks about fingerpicking patterns with a focus on Travis Picking. He explains the pattern thoroughly and at a step-by-step pace so that it can be picked up by fingerstyle players of any level.

Taught by Don Ross in Fingerstyle with Don Ross seriesLength: 22:55Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


Video Subtitles / Captions


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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


JohnMosesJohnMoses replied

Good instruction. Don rocks. A bit tricky, I found. I can do it no prob, but my fingers want to choose their own way rather than the finger-string assignments that Don presented.

Lefty70Lefty70 replied

Enjoyed your ending of this lesson in which you showed us where we’re headed.... with speed......

KeysmanKeysman replied

Very difficult to get tabs to match up with video. Would like an answer.

Davepb3Davepb3 replied

where are the tabs for the exercises lesson 3 ?

KingbirdKingbird replied

The first part of this series showed up on YouTube and got me hooked! Enjoy your teaching style Don and was pleased to see one of your recordings show up in my Pandora guitar channel. Still trying to get the fingers to cooperate with each other but it IS going to happen! LOL Thanks for the great lessons!

MarcomirMarcomir replied

Travis Picking, I love it! And we have the best teacher. And there are two more parts to go! Thanks, Don.

PatrissiPatrissi replied

Is the supplemental the same as what you taught. I got the lesson down but couldn't translate the sheet music.

KC49KC49 replied

Great stuff Don. More please and keep the humour coming!

BrewzerBrewzer replied

That was great Don. Always wanted to learn fingerstyle picking. Very informative.

randydrandyd replied

Very well done, great teaching style, thanks!

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

Having to watch this a second time...

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

Awesome lesson - now for some practice. Thanks!

jchwjchw replied

Since the video is so poor it would be nice to have a tab of what is being played as a drill, it is very difficult for me to pick up what is being played. JimBo

scottyconantscottyconant replied

Enter your comment here.

scottyconantscottyconant replied

never mind...sorry. problem on this end as it turns out. Thanks for the incredible description and great explanation!

scottyconantscottyconant replied

audio cuts out @ 1:15??

gabrielpeacegabrielpeace replied

FANTASTIC teacher!!! To have instrumental skills in the stratosphere like Don does, but still at each & every step to have understanding of what a raw novice needs to see & hear in order to encourage their patience with their own learning AND to make tiny incremental sub-skills be digestible... not all "teachers" have such a gift, but Don Ross has it in vast abundance!! THANK YOU!!! (& I just LOVE your music on iTunes & UTube, by the way!)

chas52chas52 replied

Don, am completely in awe of you. you play like a dream. most beautiful playing. and you are an amazing teacher. absolutely the best of the best. thank you so much. have just started your series. am extremely happy.

bens schecterbens schecter replied

what guitar model is that

clm123clm123 replied

per wiki: Don Ross played a Lowden S-10 in the beginning of his career, but since 1997 has played a Lowden O-10.[6] Today he plays custom-made guitars by Marc Beneteau, a Canadian luthier from St. Thomas, Ontario. The Beneteaus are equipped with a combination of microphone and K&K pickups. Occasionally he plays a baritone guitar and a harp guitar by Marc Beneteau, or uses a custom 7-string by Oskar Graf, a luthier from Clarendon, Ontario.

tbonetaylortbonetaylor replied

How do you print the tab for a particular lesson or can you ?

fridaysfridays replied

I;m going to play the G like this and then 2 seconds later you use different fingers does it matter

dabs1979dabs1979 replied

I just joined JamPlay yesterday largely due to the "intro to Don" video I saw about a month ago where he was playing in what looked like his living room. Maybe I don't get out much but I have never seen that type or finger picking, three note bending, harmonics, attack, speed, etc. etc. Totally blown away... I've only seen the video once and now can't find it, is it still out there on JP somewhere or what was the name of the song? Anyway... I'm just picking up on the Travis Picking lessons and love it. I can't imagine why any guitar player would not be a JP member, lots to learn from so many different perspectives!

mchaelmartinmchaelmartin replied

Don I'm past 76 yrs old and finally after all this time, about the only thing that I have on my bucket list, that amounts to anything is learning to play more than a few chords on the guitar,many yrs ago if you took lessons, you had to learn to read music and when you are young you want to learn to play the guitar not waste time on reading music, I was and still am very impatient,and thank GOD for you Don and your way of teaching I think I am going to learn to fingerpick this Martin that I have. I can't say thank you enough and GOD Bless. As Clint Eastwood says you make my day.

meshallplayguitarmeshallplayguitar replied

You are an awesome.. .Thank you for your style of teaching!

zuhlsmann1zuhlsmann1 replied

I'm so glad you have that lesson intro tabbed out!!!

seanturcoseanturco replied

Great lesson...Don is one of the reasons i joined Jam Play. Tight Trite Night would so love to learn that from you. Cheers

GlenBGlenB replied

Let me add my name to the list. I am really enjoying your style of teaching. I've played finger style for about 15 years and am getting a nice "booster shot" of teaching of the basics. Thanks Don!

jim6047jim6047 replied

Enjoying this series thank you

aquiguillermoaquiguillermo replied

Great lessons Don !!! Re-learning and expanding .... Thanks a lot.

Don.SDon.S replied

I really am enjoying Don's laid back non rushed style. Nice to have him on board. Heck, I'm even using a thumb pick.

J.RodJ.Rod replied

Awesome lesson and what a great instructor. Love his clear and concise way of teaching. Looking forward to learning more from this new series. Big ups to Don and Jam play! :-)

lewis02lewis02 replied

Really great lesson so far and Don is such a wonderful teacher

davewhitedavewhite replied

Great lessons - Thanks Don and JamPlay!

Canyon HikerCanyon Hiker replied

Great series so far! Getting Don on board here is another reason why I've been a loyal fan for 2+ years now and will be sticking around.

nessanessa replied

We loved working with Don! Nicest guy and such a pleasure to hang out with. I know I speak for all of us when I say we really appreciate you sticking around with us - you've been an awesome presence here at JP. There's plenty more Don Ross stuff coming and it's all great! Stay tuned :)

Fingerstyle with Don Ross

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Don Ross, an award-winning, Billboard-topping fingerstyle artist, will teach you everything you need to know to get started in fingerstyle guitar.



Don Ross Series IntroductionLesson 1

Don Ross Series Introduction

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

Length: 3:54 Difficulty: 0.0 FREE
Playing StyleLesson 2

Playing Style

Don Ross talks about the way he plays and how he got started in his particular style. He also brushes on right hand technique and thumb pick style.

Length: 14:09 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Finger AssignmentsLesson 3

Finger Assignments

Don Ross takes some time to talk about where he places each right hand finger while playing fingerstyle. This is a great lesson for those who wish to fix old habits, or are just starting out in this wonderful...

Length: 9:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Travis PickingLesson 4

Travis Picking

Don Ross talks about fingerpicking patterns with a focus on Travis Picking. He explains the pattern thoroughly and at a step-by-step pace so that it can be picked up by fingerstyle players of any level.

Length: 22:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Travis Picking Part 2Lesson 5

Travis Picking Part 2

Don Ross dives into Travis Picking once more. This time, he specifically focuses on patterns for chords that have a root note on the fifth string.

Length: 14:10 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Travis Picking Part 3Lesson 6

Travis Picking Part 3

This time, Don Ross demonstrates Travis patterns with chords that have a root note on the fourth string.

Length: 9:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Thumb and BrushLesson 7

Thumb and Brush

Having thoroughly explored Travis picking, Don Ross now takes some time to talk about the "thumb and brush" technique.

Length: 12:27 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Altered Vs. Open Tunings: AlteredLesson 8

Altered Vs. Open Tunings: Altered

Don Ross takes a couple lessons to talk about altered tunings and open tunings. In this lesson, he takes a closer look at altered tunings.

Length: 8:05 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Altered Vs. Open Tunings: OpenLesson 9

Altered Vs. Open Tunings: Open

Don Ross now discusses open tunings. Open tunings get their name because the open strings are tuned to a specific chord.

Length: 18:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open G TuningLesson 10

Open G Tuning

Don Ross talks more about open G tuning and how to make it more applicable to your playing by applying the Travis pattern you have already learned.

Length: 13:46 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open D TuningLesson 11

Open D Tuning

Don Ross talks about open D tuning, how it's similar to open C tuning, and how you can incorporate it into your playing.

Length: 17:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Open C TuningLesson 12

Open C Tuning

In this lesson, Don Ross explains open C tuning. As with the G and D tuning lessons, he explains how open C compares to other open tunings, how to tune, and what it can add to your playing.

Length: 26:48 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
DADGAD TuningLesson 13

DADGAD Tuning

Don Ross looks at DADGAD tuning in this lesson. He explores different ways to play, how to tune, and discusses why it has become so popular.

Length: 17:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Harmonic DADGADLesson 14

Harmonic DADGAD

Don Ross takes another look at DADGAD and how you can play harmonically in this tuning.

Length: 11:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
DADGAD and Travis PickingLesson 15

DADGAD and Travis Picking

Don Ross continues his discussion on DADGAD tuning and brings it all together with Travis picking.

Length: 10:58 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
DADGAD Chord VoicingsLesson 16

DADGAD Chord Voicings

Don Ross takes a final look at DADGAD tuning in this lesson. This time, he explores some great chord voicings that are sure to spice up your playing.

Length: 10:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
CGCGAD TuningLesson 17

CGCGAD Tuning

Don Ross takes a look at a unique and beautiful tuning, CDCGAD, or in Don's words, the "Fred" tuning, and explores what can be done with it.

Length: 14:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Brooke's Waltz Part 1Lesson 18

Brooke's Waltz Part 1

Don Ross takes a look at the first part of his original song "Brooke's Waltz". This song is in the CGCGAD tuning you learned about in the previous lesson.

Length: 17:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Brooke's Waltz Part 2Lesson 19

Brooke's Waltz Part 2

Don Ross moves on and covers the second portion of his original song "Brooke's Waltz".

Length: 12:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Brooke's Waltz Part 3Lesson 20

Brooke's Waltz Part 3

Don Ross finishes up the trio of lesson on his song "Brooke's Waltz". This time around he talks about the song structure, as well as the funky behind-the-nut vibrato he ends the song with.

Length: 15:43 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Extending HarmonyLesson 21

Extending Harmony

In this lesson, Don talks about how you can use simple music theory to add colorful extensions to your chords and also create new open tunings. This is a very useful lesson for all guitarists.

Length: 18:41 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Upright & Locked Position Part 1Lesson 23

Upright & Locked Position Part 1

Don Ross delves into one of his sweeter melodies - "Upright & Locked Position". In this lesson, he offers a short review on the tuning he uses and teaches the first portion of the tune.

Length: 18:22 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Upright & Locked Position Part 2Lesson 24

Upright & Locked Position Part 2

Don Ross teaches the B section of his song "Upright & Locked Position".

Length: 8:49 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Upright & Locked Position Part 3Lesson 25

Upright & Locked Position Part 3

Don Ross returns to his song "Upright & Locked Position" and teaches the C part. He then talks about combining the three major sections of this song, as well as how to end it.

Length: 18:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Harmonics Part 1Lesson 26

Harmonics Part 1

Harmonics sound awesome, and no player's arsenal is complete without this versatile technique. Don introduces harmonics and talks about playing both natural and artificial variations.

Length: 13:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Slap and Brush HarmonicsLesson 27

Slap and Brush Harmonics

Don Ross talks about "slap" harmonics and "brush" harmonics and how they can be used.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Ripple EffectLesson 28

The Ripple Effect

Don Ross teaches a harmonic technique he calls the "ripple effect". This technique was originally made popular by guitar legend Lenny Breau.

Length: 11:43 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
The Ripple Effect Part 2Lesson 29

The Ripple Effect Part 2

Don Ross builds on lesson 28 by discussing more ways in which the "ripple effect" can be used.

Length: 9:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Don Ross

About Don Ross View Full Biography

Don has toured regularly since 1989, across Canada, the USA, a dozen European countries, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India. He has played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany, and collaborated live and on recording with Andy McKee, Canadian singer/guitarist Brooke Miller, & Toronto bassist Jordan O’Connor. He also composes scores for television, radio and film, and does production and recording engineering for a variety of other musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, Don also plays electric guitar, slide dobro and lapsteel guitar, voice, piano, keyboards, bass guitar and drums.

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