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Twang 101

Photo by Franco Monsalvo

Open-string licks, hand-wrenching bends, blazing double-stops, and much more.

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Learn how to incorporate outside notes to a Mixolydian scale.
  • Understand how to phrase in both traditional and modern country settings.
  • Create a deeper vocabulary over dominant chords.
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How many times are you paralyzed by the sheer number of options you can play over a dominant chord? It’s probably one of the only chords where nearly anything works if you land correctly. One of the most common sounds to use is the Mixolydian scale, which is simply a major scale with a lowered 7. But let’s add on to this sound by expanding our musical Mixolydian palette with a few blue notes and some chromatic embellishments.

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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!

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Steal inspiration, vocabulary, and picking techniques from legendary acoustic players.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Improve your alternate picking.
  • Discover how to use the “country” scale.
  • Create a deeper understanding of chord shapes across the neck.
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Those who haven’t investigated bluegrass might write it off as simply another branch on the country music tree, but there’s so much more to dig into. Born out of the Appalachian mountain regions, bluegrass is the exciting meld of Irish and Scottish folk music with gospel, jazz, and blues elements. It’s a genre dominated by high-level playing on a variety of instruments, including flattop steel-string guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and Dobro.
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Tension is ubiquitous in music. It’s what makes the sound of the eventual resolution so satisfying and helps lead our ears when we are playing. Arguably, the most tension-filled chord in music is the dominant 7, which can be both complex and simple. There’s a wealth of vocabulary out there for dominant chords that can be applied to nearly every genre, but let’s focus on a few licks to demonstrate how deep the sound of these chords can be.
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It doesn’t have to be all cowboy boots and yee-haws!

Intermediate

Beginner

• Learn how to comp using hybrid picking.
• Add nuance to your playing by combining pick and finger string attacks.
• Add speed and fluidity to your lead playing.

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The first thing most guitarists think of when they hear the phrase “hybrid picking” is undoubtedly twangy Telecasters. While that may be the most common use of hybrid picking, it is far from the only application. Diving into hybrid picking opens a whole new world of control, timbre possibilities, ideas, speed, and more.

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