1. Tunefox.com
  2. Lessons
  3. Jam Essentials - Salt Creek
  4. Creating Variations in the A Section

Creating Variations in the A Section

New Techniques, and Classic Moves

Let's check out a couple variations and talk about ways to practice the new licks. First, use the lick switcher to select Bluegrass #2 in measure 5. This lick is often played by using the G and B string, but string crossing are like speed bumps at high speeds until you master the technique. Playing the notes on one string is a way of driving around that speed bump. The caveat: you need to work on fretting hand technique. Make sure your arm is relaxed and hanging naturally, not stuck out like a chicken wing. Watch the video to work on the fretting hand and arm posture. Remember to practice the lick repeatedly at a tempo where you have control over your movements. When you can play it several times in a row try it in context by playing the a part as a whole.

For the second variation, let's put two licks together. But before jumping in and playing everything at once, let's analyze and practice them separately. Use the lick switcher to select Bluegrass for measure 4. In this lick we're using pull offs to play sixteenth notes smoothly without having to switch strings quickly with the picking hand. The caveat: you have to work on fretting hand technique! practice your pull off slowly. Pull your finger so it snaps into the wood of the fret board. This will help you develop control, strength, and muscle memory for the "feel" of the pull off. This helps you build great foundational technique. When you start playing a lot faster it's ok to pull off into the air.

Now check out the Bluegrass lick for measure 5. The slide from second fret of the D string to the 5th fret is a classic bluegrass guitar lick, especially when you add the open G string note right after. Make sure to maintain the pressure you had when first fretting the note as you slide, and maintain the pressure once you reach the 5th fret. You want the note to sustain. After you get these licks down individually, try them both with the whole A section.

Let's get to work on the B section melody next- up the neck.