Must-Know Folk Strokes

To become a versatile player, there are some approaches you just gotta have down. This simple and folksy plucking pattern is found on more platinum albums than you can shake an iPod at.
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Stevie Nicks/ Lindsey Buckingham-era Fleetwood Mac is just one of the supergroups who have employed this timeless alternating thumb/index technique on FM radio mega-hits (such as the Nicks perennial, “Landslide”). Even rebel folkies such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and, more recently, Steve Earle (shown here) rely on this form of “poor-man’s Travis picking” to give chords a full, rippling texture. And yes, that’s Travis as in Merle Travis—he’s the guy to go back to if you want to hear the spectacular ways this thumb-and-fingers approach can be evolved.

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