Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson - Acoustic Guitar
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- Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson 1
- Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson 2
Here we have the beginner version of Aransas Traveler. This is a great song that I had my first exposure to through my very first bluegrass album, Norman Blake's Whiskey Before Breakfast.
Norman Blake's CD Arkansas Traveler: Norman is one of the most fascinating and talented guitar players out there. This was the first flatpicking guitar album that I purchased and I still love it and play the songs constantly.
Other songs include: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane; Under the Double Eagle; Six White Horses; Salt River; Old Gray Mare; Down At Mylow's House; Sleepy Eyed Joe/ Indian Creek; Arkansas Traveler; The Girl I Left in Sunny Tennessee; The Minstrel Boy to the War Has Gone / The Ash Grove; Church St. Blues; Macon Rag; Fiddler's Dram / Whiskey Before Breakfast; Slow Train Through Georgia.
This lesson is available in the following formats:
Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson - Guitar Pro File - Note: This is a free download for you!
Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson - PDF File - Note: This is a free download for you !
The rhythm for this song is located on the second track of the Guitar Pro file above. It lists all of the chords, chord diagrams and timing for the song. You can use that file to practice your lead for this song.
All of these files were authored in eMedia's Guitar-Pro. This is the favorite tab and notation authoring software for us here at Ultimate Guitar OnLine. It is filled with features and is simple to use - even without a manual. It is compatible with PC and Mac. We use it on the Mac here and it is a pleasure to use. To see a full review click HERE. Otherwise if you would like to try a free copy of it, you can download the demo HERE and use it for 15 days.
The First Break:
Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson - The First Break: Get the basics down first on this break. It is necessary to lay down the fabric of this song first, with this beginner version. Once you have memorized it, can play it smoothly and can play it at about 160 to 180 beats per minute, you will be ready to play the intermediate version.
This is a very straight forward break and it shouldn't pose too much of a problem for you. Just play along with the Guitar Pro file, which you can download for free, above and use the speed trainer, to slowly and steadily build your speed and before you know it you will be playing this at 180 bpm.
In the second measure, be sure to play the double note clearly by following through with your guitar pick. These are all quarter notes through this section so it is all downbeats here. Here are the links to the different LESSON versions to ArkansasTraveler Beginner Lesson.
The link to the First Break is: Arkansas Traveler Beginner Lesson .
The link to the Second Break is: Arkansas Traveler Intermediate Lesson .
The link to the First Break is: Arkansas Traveler Advanced Lesson .
Note: If the links are not active above, then this version of the lesson is in the editing stage and will be published shortly - check back often.
If you are not familiar with reading Guitar Tab, click HERE for a quick tutorial. If you are not familiar with reading notation click HERE for some online lesson material we have put together. Otherwise will be give you hints along the way by hovering your mouse over certain keywords in this text.
Having trouble with Crosspicking technique. We have a great article on Learning How to Crosspick.
The first thing you should do is download both the PDF and Guitar Pro File for this break. They are free download files and are published in a very professional manner. None of that HTML TAB will be found on this site.
I want to should you the right way, with timing, real notes, left hand fingers and chord forms you should use.
This song is almost always played in the key of D Major with the Capo being placed on the 2nd fret. This means you can play in the key of C Major and it will really be D.
All chords that are used for rhythm are shown under the title of the song. There will be exceptions to these when I am cramped for room, but you will usually see them there.
Even though this is a rather simple break, when you play it up to speed, it will definitely present you with some challenges. This will especially be true for any eighth notes that we have to use Crosspicking Technuques.
Watch your Down-Ups of your picking. These are designated by the vee and the bridge symbols beneath the TAB on EVERY NOTE.
Pay close attention to your left hand fingering. The fingering is shown right next to each note head.
This song has First and Second Endings. These are used to reduce the amount of real estate the song takes on the sheet music. It is kind of like sheet music short hand. Just play through the first ending, head back to the first set of repeat signs, play through again. The second time through skip the first ending and play the second one and continue through the ending for the rest of the song.
Just about any Flatpicking Bluegrass Song that has eighth notes has crosspicking. This is where you will encounter most of the down-up pick stroks as well.
There is only one Hammer-on and it is the only ornamental in this whole break. I did that o be kind to you beginners. Don't worry there are more coming.
It is important if Flatpicking Guitar that you try to let notes (especially open strings) to ring through other notes. This gives a bit of a harp-like sound to the guitar and makes your picking sound much smoother and cleaner. Give it a try where ever it says 'let ring' you do this.
You will note the chord designation that I located above the notation. These are the actual rhythm chords for the song. By placing them in the notation, they give you a guide as to where the song is going and some visual hints as to what is coming up.
The reason for this is important as you will see in future lessons and as you grow into the more advanced picking breaks. The lead often reflects chord forms that are used in the rhythm and these 'visual clues' will help you improvise and even give you hints when memorizing a passage. They are very important.