Country Music. Lead Licks

In this lesson, I'll be walking you through some fast country licks. This lesson was designed for guitarists that are already have a bit of speed in their fingers. For those of you that do have a little bit of speed, you will probably enjoy this lesson and find it easy as none of these exercises require you to use a metronome.

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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.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    killtrend
    that's awesome! I'm gonna learn all of these over today and tomorrow. I really like John 5(country/bluegrass/shred god) and I hope this helps me add some country flavor to my shred
    Axeman25
    killtrend wrote: that's awesome! I'm gonna learn all of these over today and tomorrow. I really like John 5(country/bluegrass/shred god) and I hope this helps me add some country flavor to my shred
    Yeah John5's Country stuff is amazing its where I get my Main influence from for upbeat country/hillbilly shred. Does anyone know of any other artists that play a similar sorta thing?
    pibestone79
    Nice lesson! love country music! Check out Scott Henderson - Hillbily in the band, some country fusion
    NormH3
    Really enjoyed leaning this. Put a few together for fingering excercises
    mccabe24
    Holy smokes! I think I submitted this over a year ago, but I've never checked to see if it was up or not. Glad to see you guys enjoyed it.
    MitchP
    Sweet, time to go back to beomcing a super huge John 5 fanboy, excellent country and bluesgrass player