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Guitar Lesson: Play Country Licks In D

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever wondered about how to get that ringing country sound from your guitar. In this guitar lesson you will learn some country licks based on a combination of fretted notes and open strings.

We will first take a look at a D-major scale in one octave:

0/4 2/4 4/4 0/3 2/3 0/2 3/2

How do you read this guitar tablature?

The first digit indicates which fret to play. The digit after the slash gives you the string to play.

2/3 means that you are to play the second fret on the third string.

We will now try to figure out a way to play the previous scale with some ringing open strings. Let's try this one:

0/4 7/5 4/4 0/3 7/4 0/2 6/3 3/2

A little bit confusing at first of course. If you are used to the ordinary way of playing scales you have get used to finding higher notes on lower strings.

I suggest that you learn the scales and licks by heart by learning just a few notes at a time until you get a little bit more used to this new way of finding notes.

You can probably figure out a left hand fingering that works for you. The principle is to hold the notes as long as possible to let them blend together.

But, what about the right hand?

You can pick the notes with a pick of course. It's a little bit awkward, though trying to play notes on different strings in succession. Many country pickers use one of the following approaches:

1. Hybrid picking. This means that you hold the pick as usual but also use the middle finger and ring finger along with the pick. This opens for an easier way to play notes in rapid succession even if the are on different strings.

2. Finger picking. You can play the notes with your bare fingers using your thumb, index, middle finger and ring finger. You will miss the crisp sound from the pick but can compensate this with the freedom of having four finger to use and growing calluses on your finger tips!

3. Using a thumb pick. A little bit like hybrid picking but with the advantage of having four fingers at your disposal and a crisp sound from the thumb. Not bad! Not all guitarist like this approach though. But it has to be tested! I have bought a couple of these thumb picks but they have a tendency to dissappear! I guess it's because I can't keep them in my hip pocket because of the pain sitting down!

Let's test a few country guitar licks in the key of D:

I will put the suggested chord in front of the lick:

(A7) 9/6 0/4 7/4 0/3 7/4 0/2 7/3 0/1 6/3 0/2 7/4 0/3 (D) 4/4

Yes, you have to learn it by heart, a couple of notes at a time!

The last lick will use both hammer-ons and pull-offs.

I will put h and p between the actual notes.

(A7) 3/5 h 4/5 0/4 0/3 2/3 p 0/3 4/4 0/3 2/4 p 0/4 3/5 h 4/5 4/0

Don't play faster than your present technical skills allow you to but of course you have already figured out that the last lick is supposed to be played fast, maybe lightning fast!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free sheet music, guitar tabs, ebooks, guitar lessons and read his music blog at Capotasto Music.
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