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  4. Creating Variations in the A section

Creating Variations in the A section

Spicing it Up

After you’ve gained a hold on the A section, you might want to learn some new licks to add some variation to what you already know. Let’s take a look at a few examples. Checkout the lick labeled Bluegrass for measure 3. It starts out simple enough, with a couple of eight notes. Leave your third finger down on the 3rd fret of the B string as you play the open G. This creates a nice, chordal, ringing effect. After that the sixteenth notes come in. Don’t tense up. Keep a fairly relaxed pick grip and arm. If you are tensing up the tempo is too fast and you need to slow it down with the tempo slider.

The best way to practice the pull offs is to pause and practice them one at a time. Try and pull your finger down into the wood of the fretboard. Although pull offs are what’s written it’s ok to go off script. If you want to stick to alternate picking you could do that. Pick down beats where marked, and up beats where the pull offs were. The double stop is a bit tricky because it’s an upstroke and you have to cross a string to set it up. It’s ok if you accidentally catch a bit of the D string as long as you are still holding down the 3rd fret note. This gives a very nice chordal ring. This is also another spot where you could vary your pick direction. The suggested marking maintains the steady alternate picking, but if you did two down strokes you could get a much more powerful double-stop.

Let’s check out another option for creating variation in the A section. Select the Bluesy lick for measures 2 and 3. Some people think that bluesy and chromatic licks should be avoided in the often happy sounding major based fiddle tunes. Tony Rice did not get this memo, and it’s ok to break the rules now and again.

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In measure two when you place your 3rd finger down on the third fret, try and land your leave your first finger down, and land your second finger down at the same time. This makes the descending chromatic lick very efficient, because all you have to do is lift fingers, instead of lifting one and placing another down. The partial chromatic walk lead right into the next measure. Watch the video for a demonstration.

In measure 3 we have more pull offs. Again these are an option. Pull offs can make your playing sound very smooth, but if you are missing the sound and power of the consistent pick attack, just add it back in. In this case you’d add downstrokes where the pull offs were.

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Make practicing fun with interactive tablature.
Subscribe to unlock all lessons, songs and licks.