Les Robot

Armed with only a Les Paul, a Marshall half-stack, and a fistful of hypnotic mutant country licks, Les Robot took first place at this year’s North American Rock Guitar Competition in Buffalo, New York. “Buster B. Jones played in my area years ago, and he kind of blew my mind,” says Robot, who hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “He was doing all this Travis picking stuff that really inspired me to do a lot of different hybrid-picking things, including this fun, repeating phrase in A [Ex. 1], which I probably played at the competition. The notes are simple, but the picking/plucking sequence is a tad tricky.”
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If hybrid-picked pick-and-fingers patterns such as the one Robot employs here seem at all alien to you, or are hard for you to play fast, warm up on some basic banjo rolls in which the pick, middle, and ring fingers are each assigned to pluck one string [Ex. 2]. Then, evolve the approach—take inspiration from Jones and Robot by having your pick and middle finger trade off on plucking the same string within a phrase, as in Ex. 3. This technique is exactly what propels Robot’s trophy-winning lick in Ex. 1.