Magnatone Giveawya

September 2014
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Twang 101: Open String Licks

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Twang 101: Open String Licks
This month's lesson will be exploring licks using open strings. This is a technique that is not only rooted in country guitar playing but also has a history in classical guitar. Basically, if there is a note in your melody that can be played open, you do it. This accomplishes a couple things. It sounds great to have the extra resonance of an open string ringing into the next note, and it's more efficient than fretting and picking that note. Why is it more efficient? Because most of the time you're using hybrid picking to play the open strings. Anytime I have an open string in my lick I'm going to pluck it with my middle finger. The only exception would be if you're using a thumbpick, in which case you would use your index finger. Let's get started!

With all the examples, I will first play the lick fretting every note and then exchanging the pitches that can be played open with opening strings. I try to let all of the notes ring into each other.

Fig. 1
A major lick with fretted strings. Download example audio...




Fig. 2
A major lick with open strings. Download example audio...




Fig. 3
E major lick fretting every note. Download example audio...




Fig. 4
E major lick with open strings. Download example audio...




Fig. 5
G major lick fretting every note. Download example audio...




Fig. 6
G major lick with open strings. Download example audio...




Trying taking your favorite country or blues licks and see if any of them lend themselves to this concept. Sometimes they sound better at faster tempos, as the slower tempos tend to expose the dissonance too much.
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