Chromatic Country Rock

November 1, 2010


HERE IS A CROWD-PLEASING LICK that changes directions so many times it will keep the audience guessing. It works great as a country/rock or bluegrass phrase with a clean tone, and it really sings with some sustain and grit. It’s in the key of G and is four measures long. Play it in the open position as straight eighth-notes and use alternate picking throughout.

The first two notes are played on the first string and then the lick immediately changes direction using a chromatic note on the second string. The first beat of bar 2 is an ascending chromatic run beginning with a Bb on the third string and continuing on to the second string. lick ends with a classic pedal-steel bend. Barre across the E and B strings at the 3rd fret using your little finger while bending an A up a whole step to B on the third string using your second finger. Pluck all three strings simultaneously using your pick, middle, and ring fingers and allow the ending chord to sustain. To help ensure correct intonation of the bend, support your second finger with your first finger. Try adding a compressor for sustain.

Steve Trovato is an instructor in the Studio Jazz Guitar Department at the University of Southern California. His past students include Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, and many others. His new CD will be released soon.

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