Country Music. Lead Licks

author: mccabe24 date: 08/13/2008 category: music styles
rating: 8 / votes: 26 
We'll start with an example of the kind of country licks we will be playing. This is extremely simple, and is meant to be played at a moderately fast speed. It is in the key of G Major:
e|---------------------|
B|---------------------|
G|-----------------0---|
D|---------0-2-0-2-----|
A|---0-1-2-------------|
E|-3-------------------|
Notice the notes in this scale are the same as an E blues scale, but with the root of G. Basically, it is a major blues scale. A lot of country licks are based on this principle. Here is the same lick, but an octave higher. You can use the shapes of both of these licks to figure out the same licks in A, C and D.
e|-----------------3---|
B|---------3-5-3-5-----|
G|-0-2-3-4-------------|
D|---------------------|
A|---------------------|
E|---------------------|
Notice that both of these licks contain open strings. This is key trait of country lead. Here we have another lick in G Major that is built around open strings. Again, this lick is not meant to be played at blinding speed. It is more of a laidback country lick.
e|--------------------|
B|----------0---------|
G|-0----------0-----0-|
D|------7/8-------0---|
A|--------------7-----|
E|--------------------|
Now lets get into the fun stuff. This next example is a faster one in E Major. Don't worry if it sounds awkward played slow. Work it up to speed and experiment until you find the feel of this lick.
e|-----------0-----0---0----0-3p2p0-----------0-|
B|-5p3p0-4/5---4/5--4/5--4/5--------2p0-------0-|
G|--------------------------------------0h1---1-|
D|------------------------------------------2-2-|
A|--------------------------------------------2-|
E|--------------------------------------------0-|
Here is another fast lick in G Major. This is one of my favorites.
e|-------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------|
G|-5p3p0-3p0-0----------------------------0-|
D|-------5---5-5p3p0-3p0--0---------------0-|
A|-------------------4----4-4p3p0-3-1/2------|
E|-------------------------------3-3---3-----|
This open string lick is in E and is also played fast.
e|-0-----------------------------0-|
B|---0----0----------------------0-|
G|----7p6--7----0----------------1-|
D|----------8p7-------0----------2-|
A|----------------7p6------0-----2-|
E|-----------------------6---3-0-0-|
Another fast lick in A Major. This one should be played with smoothness.
e|-8p7-----0------------------------|
B|----10p8--7-----------------------|
G|-----------5h6----0-------------2-|
D|--------------7p6-------0-------2-|
A|--------------------7p6---3/4-0---|
E|----------------------------------|
This nice sounding A Major lick should be played moderately fast.
e|-------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------|
G|------2p0-0----------0---------|
D|---------4-4p2p0----0----------|
A|-0h3h4----------3h4---2b1/2--0-|
E|-------------------------------|
Here we get into a banjo-inspired lick in G Major that should be played at moderate speed.
e|------------------|
B|--------------0---|
G|---0-------0----0-|
D|-------0----2p0---|
A|-----0h1h2--------|
E|-3----------------|
We'll end this lesson with a neat little ending in A Major. This should be played pretty fast.
e|---------------------------|
B|---------------------------|
G|-2p0--0------------------2-|
D|-----4-4p2p0---0---------2-|
A|-------------3---3p2p0---0-|
E|-----------------------3---|
Well, there you have it. Ten country licks to add to your solos. Like I said before, the purpose of this lesson was not to make you into the next Johnny Hiland, it was just to give you a few new options for you solos. With these 10 licks, I'm confident you will be able to add more than your fair share of country into solos.
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