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Steve Trovato - Country Style Guitar Part 6: Whiz Kid

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 31 **

Objective: In this country guitar lesson you will learn how to adjust or change a note in Country guitar licks to outline each chord or “play over the changes”. To play a guitar lick that demonstrates this technique.

Most Country chord progressions are fairly simple harmonically. Being mostly diatonic, many guitar players use just one scale to fit the entire progression. This scale being the major pentatonic.

Let’s look at a way of changing chord tones within a lick to fit each chord and learn 3 guitar solos.

Example 1.

This one is a Country two beat in the key of E. It’s a I, IV, V7 , I progression with each chord receiving two measures.

Picking direction is critical for this one.

The first lick is played over the E chord and is in the 12th position. Play a  G# at the 17th fret using a down stroke. Then bend it up a half step using and upstroke, release the bend without picking at all. The next three notes are played on strings one and two at the 12th fret. Play this phrase twice.

The third time play it but don’t bend at the 16 fret.

The phrasing is interesting because it contains two 6 note phrases and then one 4 note phrase. When the entire lick is played it comes out to exactly 8 beats or two measures.

The second chord of the progression is played over the A chord. To play it, simply play the same lick as you played for the E chord but lower the first note to G natural rather than G#.

The third chord is a B7. In order to capture the sound of a B7 chord all you need to do is move the top note of the lick down another half-step. This concept involves changing the top note of each phrase to outline the arpeggio of each chord.

The last note is a whole step bend from D to E on the second string with vibrato added at the top of the bend.

Example 2:

This one is a Country two beat in the key of E. It’s 8 bars long and the progression is E, A, B7 and E with each chord receiving two measures.

As in example 1, it features the concept of moving the top note within each phrase down in half steps to outline the chords. This rockabilly type lick is in the open position. Start by sliding into G# on the first string from a half step below. The remaining 3 notes are E (First string) C# and B (second string).

To outline the A chord play the same phrase but simply move the top note down a half step. To outline the B7 chord, move the top note down another half-step.

Example 3:

This one is a Country two beat in the key of A. It’s 8 bars long and the progression is A, D, E7 and A with each chord receiving two measures.

The riff is played on the top two strings. As the chords change, the notes within each lick change to outline the new chord.

Play the first lick over the A chord as described in the video. For the D chord, play the same riff but move the note on the second string from C# to D.

For the E7 chord move the top note down a half step to G#.

Use strict alternate picking throughout.

Practice slowly and have fun!

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