Learning guitar is easier when you learn licks. Guitar licks can help you to isolate troubled areas and work on them to make them strengths. Bluegrass guitar is no exception to this rule; the more licks you learn, the more you will be able to develop your bluegrass techniques.
In this article, we will go over some great bluegrass licks that will help you to develop your style and coordination as a guitar player.
All of the licks we will be talking about are from full songs and will require a fully developed sense of rhythm. If you have never sat down with a metronome and worked on your timing, we suggest that you do so in order to be able to play these licks fluidly.
While creativity has a large impact on guitar, so does timing and musicianship. Without the latter, you may struggle to learn these licks and get a handle on bluegrass guitar playing in general. Always use a metronome, and always allow yourself to approach songs in a relaxed manner.
The first song on our list of bluegrass guitar licks is the song Blackberry Blossom. This is one of the most famous of all bluegrass pieces, and has been played on every stringed instrument from a banjo, to a mandolin, to a violin.
Blackberry Blossom was originally written on the fiddle, and is referred to as a breakdown. The licks in this song are extremely fast, and involve a lot of open stringed hammer ons and pull offs. This will take some time to get used to, so start of slowly when approaching the licks in this tune.
This is another classic bluegrass tune originally written on the fiddle, and just like Blackberry Blossom, it is extremely fast. Red Haired Boy involves numerous open note hammer ons and pull offs, and will take time to learn properly.
It is suggested that you started off slowly, using a metronome, and build your way up to speed gradually. Don’t worry if it takes quite a bit of time; bluegrass songs are hard to learn as many of them originated as fiddle tunes.
As we’ve mentioned before with our previous song, the song is very fast and will take some time to learn. You want to develop proper coordination, so don’t rush your playing. Starting off slowly will allow you to develop muscle memory, which in turn will make your playing more fluid and allow you to play the licks with less effort.
Now that you have three songs full of speedy bluegrass licks to learn, get to learning! Once you can play the pieces mentioned above comfortably, try writing your own licks. Use some of the progressions you’ve learned from our three songs and create your own patterns.
If you are having any trouble with the songs above, or with any certain sections of the licks that they contain, try slowing down the tempo. Have fun, and good luck!
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