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5 Essential Country Guitar Licks You Should Learn

country guitar licks

You don't need to be a country guitar whiz to dazzle your audience. Sometimes all it takes is a few well-played country lead guitar licks to bowl over your listeners. Here's a few essential country guitar licks that will hold you in good stead at any country music gathering:

1. Traditional Country Licks

These are all go-to guitar licks for creating an instant country vibe. It works great on the A Mixolydian Mode with C in third minor second position thrown in as well. Be sure to make use of many double and single pull-offs, as you can see Guthrie Trapp do in the video. Start with a sharp attack on the notes to gather momentum for the hammer-ons and pull-offs to be loud and clear.

There's a bend at the end that takes time to get right. It's on the A string, so bend the string down and then pull it into your palm. The B note needs to be bent up a half step to C. If you're looking to check your pitch, it's similar to an unbent C note at the third fret. These licks can also be a handy end to a solo or song.  

2. Brooks and Dunn Style

The great duo Brooks and Dunn added a new 'cha-cha' twist to country music.  To play their licks, you need the first bar notes to be quick and sharp. This can be achieved by taking away your fret grip right after you play a note. To perform the picking, use a pick on the D string while strumming G string with your middle finger.

The B string notes should be plucked with the middle finger, while the G string will be picked using your pick to perform the double stops in bar 2. Near the end, you'll have to place the fifth-fret E note on the B string ringing while also bending the C# note on the fifth fret and then quickly releasing it.  

3. Open Low String in C

This is a nice single note lick which can be used to outline a C chord in the first position. The line has a dancing shape which employs open strings, hammer-ons and pull-offs. You can also add in the b3 and Eb in some place for a blues vibe. The move from F to Eb to E on beat three of bar 1 is classic hillbilly blues. For bar 2, jump to G string and then a tumble back down to C note. The addition of this lick will provide a bluesy vibe to your guitar solos.

4. Chicken Pickin'

For this classic country guitar sound, you'll make use of hard, fast picking and left-right hand muting for imitating a hen-like clucking. Fret the G string's seventh fret D note. The middle finger can be used to pick the string and bend it up a whole step.  

Now the bend needs to be held while the same note is plucked using the ring finger. The string needs to be muted using your fretting hand. For the next and final part, bend and keep a hold on the G string. The notes will all ring together until A root, the final note is sounded. Check out that great chicken pickin' from Johnny Hiland! 

5. Roll like Brad Paisley 

Among the country lead guitar licks with a bit more pizazz. The middle finger plucks G string while downstrokes are picked on the D and A strings. For the bar 2 finale, take the speed up a few notches by using double pull-offs to open strings. Put the last note in a half-step bend from F# on D's fourth fret to G root note. This can be done by pushing/pulling the string using your middle finger. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list, it's just the tip of the iceberg really. If you're really serious about playing country guitar, be sure to check out Guthrie Trapp's lessons at ArtistWorks! 

country guitar lessons at artistworks

Did you know you can learn all these great country guitar licks and more online at ArtistWorks? Click below for more info and free samples!

Learn more about country guitar lessons with Guthrie Trapp at ArtistWorks




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