In his previous lesson, Happy taught this song in the thumb-lead style, playing the melody in the bass with rhythm back-up learned from the playing of Mother Maybelle Carter. In this session, you’ll learn how to play Will the Circle Be Unbroken using the alternating-thumb fingerpicking style made famous by Merle Travis and many other country, blues and folk guitarists.
In this picking method, the thumb keeps the rhythm going on the bass strings while the fingers pick out the melody in the treble. You’ll play the notes first on the beat, then off to create the syncopated bounce that typifies this infectious style. The basics are covered for novices, but the lesson quickly advances as Happy shows you the embellishments that give this, and many songs, the full-on “Travis style” effect.
Learning this iconic tune will be the gateway to innumerable other songs with similar chord and melodic patterns, so this lesson will be the key to much musical fun in your future.