Song of the Day: Merle Travis, “Nine Pound Hammer”

Country music singer, songwriter, and guitarist Merle Travis was born on this day in 1917. His style of guitar playing, a form of ragtime in which the bass and chord notes are played with the thumb while the melody is played with the index finger, is called "Travis Picking" and has inspired fingerstyle guitarists from Chet Atkins to Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel and countless others. "Nine-Pound Hammer" is one of his songs; this performance is from 1951.

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Merle Travis, “Nine Pound Hammer”

    1. I remember his Hot Tuna days with Papa John Creech. I ran into someone at the National Guitar Workshop who participated in a master class with him and he said it was quite an experience…


      1. Hot Tuna still tours! They were in Boston last night, but I missed them. Used to see them, and the ‘plane, back in the Fillmore East … he was my guitar hero in my college days. He teaches now at his Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio (


        1. Sometimes the comments get delayed, and no one knows why…. Anyway, it’s good to know they’re still out there, and that he’s passing his knowlege on to others…


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