Playing Through the Changes Country Style

April 22, 2011


WHEN I STARTED PLAYING COUNTRY guitar, I used the major pentatonic scale as the basic sound. I played it over every chord in a country progression. When I learned about arpeggios, I began to see that I could play chord tones to better define and outline the changes.

Here’s a rippin’ country solo that is played over an eight-bar progression in the key of A. Check it out. It’s played in the second position. It’s a two-bar arpeggio riff that uses the open-E string as a pedal tone. I outline each chord by using arpeggio notes. To do this, I set up the phrase and continue it over each chord in the progression. When the chords move, I change only the necessary notes to best match the chord tones. The second ending is a classic twang chicken-pickin’ lick mixing the major and minor pentatonic scales. Try it with a compressor and some overdrive. Use alternate picking and watch the left-hand fingerings. You know the drill: Practice slowly until you master it. This riff is a surefire crowd pleaser!

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