The Skeptical Guitarist

Fingerstyle Guitar From Scratch

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The first part of the book concerns regular, plain old arpeggios, or broken chords, and the second part introduces the alternating bass, or Travis-Style, approach to playing arpeggios. You should recognize many of the examples used, as they come from popular music: rock, folk and country. There is even a smattering of classical music and bossa nova; something for everyone. Even if you don’t recognize a tune, I make it pretty clear, through tablature and fretboard diagrams, exactly what you’re supposed to do and how and when. Maybe even why.

Both the Arpeggio and Travis-Style sections start from scratch, so if you’re working along in the Arpeggio section and you find that you’re getting overwhelmed, feel free to skip ahead to the simpler first pages of the Travis-Style section. At the end of the book, you’ll see the 20 main arpeggios and the 20 main Travis patterns summarized for easy reference.

Table of Contents


The Picking Hand
Picking Philosophies 
The Overlapping Tier System 
The Fretting Hand 
Bass/Tier Combinations 
Practice with Arpeggio #1 
The Continuity Principle 
The Indiana Jones Principle 
More Examples 
Worst-Case Continuity Scenario 
The Challenge 
Other Meters: ¾ Time 
Other Meters 6/8 Time 
Back to 4/4 Time: “Estudio” 
Meet the Twins 
Other Simple Arpeggios 
Arpeggios with Longer Sequences 
20 Arpeggios: A Retrospective 
Mixing Quarter and Eighth Notes 
Meet the Threesome 
More Samples from the Field 
Game Show: “Scarborough Fair”
Bossa Nova: “Girl From Ipanema”


Travis #1: Inside-Out Mechanics 
Practice: “City of New Orleans” 
Travis #2: “Landslide” 
Travis #3: Outside-In 
Variations: Travis #4 and #5 
Picking Pattern Potpourri 
Triple Alternating Bass
Walking Bassline 
Travis #6: The Pinch Pattern
“Dust in the Wind” 
Pinch Variations 
Adding the Ring Finger 
Drop D and the Ring Finger
More Variations 
20 Travis Patterns: A Retrospective 
“Leader of the Band”
“Garden Party” 
“Helplessly Hoping” 
Travis-Style Departures
“The Dance”
The Next Level: Melodic Lines 
Final Exam 
Our 20 Arpeggios at a Glance 
Our 20 Travis Patterns at a Glance

SKU: FingerStyleScratch ISBN: 9780966502961