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Twangology 101

marcus-photo Hi all! I’m Marcus, a Swedish musician/teacher/tele-freak who likes to play twangy music on telecasters. I’m working as a music/guitar-teacher for 16-20 year olds and I´m very happy to see an increasing country-music scene in Europe. On a monthly basis at the TDPRI I’ll post lessons in the country/bluegrass style right here, and you are welcome to join the school of Twang! There will be video clips to each lesson and feel free to ask me questions right here on each article. In this first lesson we´ll take a look at open string runs in the key of G.

The key of G is a great key to start in when learning open string runs. All of the six open strings in standard tuning are found in the G major pentatonic, the G mixolydian scale (major scale with flatted 7th) and in the Ionian scale (regular major scale). When playing fast country/bluegrass-licks the open strings are very helpful either when using alternate picking (up and down) or hybrid picking (commonly referred to as chicken picking). A great warm-up exercise is to play the G major scale with as many strings as possible. The first octave can be played like this: G (third fret), A (open), B (7th fret), C (third fret), D (open) E (7th fret), F# ( fourth fret) and G (open).

Click here for Full speed MP3 File

Click here for Slow Tempo MP3 File

Click to see a PDF of the Tab for this lesson: The Tab for this lesson

Hybrid picking is a great way to develop a fluid and percussive sound. When I started using this technique some years ago I found it hard to find a consistent way to play in this way. Finally I found a way that worked fine for me and it’s really not that complicated at all! This is how it works: The pick mostly plays on the down strokes, while the middle and ring finger play the upstrokes. Try it on these licks, check out the fingerings and you´ll get what I mean! Be sure that you are able to play these licks very slow before you speed them up. Be patient, have fun and keep it country!

Next month we´ll take a closer look on the right hand technique and learn more hot licks and tricks.

On my youtube-channel there are some clips where I explain these and other licks closer:

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