Greg Koch's Lesson of Doom: Sixth Nonsense - GuitarPlayer.com

Greg Koch's Lesson of Doom: Sixth Nonsense

Sometimes I encounter curious souls who want to add some semblance of countrified funkification to their guitar-wielding activities, and they occasionally ask me for assistance in this regard.
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Sometimes I encounter curious souls who want to add some semblance of countrified funkification to their guitar-wielding activities, and they occasionally ask me for assistance in this regard. If the individual in question has some ability to play but has limited vocabulary in quasi-country stylings, I may start with some groovy morsels using sixths and open-string pull-offs. These give the fledgling barnyard-boogie enthusiast some poultry-flavored arrows in their quiver of lickery while also getting them on the road to utilizing some hybrid picking that is very effective without being overly challenging. I did include one particularly blazing iteration for veteran poultrygeists who may want another face-melter for the benefit of, well, “the kids.”

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For each of the following seven examples, the lower string involved in these descending sixth “licks” is played with the pick while the upper string is played with the meat of the middle finger on your picking hand. By slightly raising the upper string with your finger when plucking it, you get a “popping” type of sound, which elicits the illusion of the presence of a bold rooster on the prowl.

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With the exception of Ex. 5, all of these exercises are descending, but they can certainly be used in an ascending or incremental, sequential fashion as well. I really don’t know what that last thing I just wrote means, but it sounds good and is handy at utilizing more words for filling up this paragraph. But, I think I meant that you can break these into pieces and go back and forth as you please.

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All of these exercises can be used over an E7 tonescape, which is good for the bluesers as well as the rockers. I did include a few specific chords to play over for Examples 5 through 7, but they can all be used over a plain old E7 if you want. The open G string adds the glimmer of the minor third, which gives us the major/minor tension that I liken to the deliciousness of the sweet and savory snack. So, feast!

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You can transpose these to different keys as well. The more the open string involved is at odds with the chord you are playing over, the better. Then our friend “Mr. Dissonance” comes to call and, in my world, that means it’s party time.

A few performance footnotes: The end of Ex. 4 has an arpeggiated E7, ending with a whole-step bend on the G string, which is best executed with your 1st finger. You can employ a bit of palm muting to all of these to add a little bit of flavor, but you absolutely need to palm mute for the blazing thirty-second- note salvos in Ex. 7 (which are crumbs from the solo I did on a tune of mine called “Death of a Bassman” back in the day).

Other than that, I think you are good to go! See you next time.

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