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Hybrid Picking (Guitar Lesson)


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DJ Phillips

Hybrid Picking

In this lesson, DJ discusses some of the finer points of the hybrid picking technique.

Taught by DJ Phillips in Classic Country Guitar seriesLength: 15:05Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (03:09) Hybrid Picking Technique Chicken pickin' is characterized by the hybrid picking technique. When hybrid picking is employed, the pick is used to pluck select bass notes. Additional accented notes are plucked by the middle and ring fingers. When these fingers are added to the mix, the resulting tone is twangier and more percussive. These tonal elements are key to the modern country style.

Picking Practice

The best way to familiarize yourself with the chicken pickin' technique is to apply it to familiar chord voicings. For example, DJ demonstrates some chicken pickin' with a D7 chord played in fourth position. An alternating bass pattern is applied to the chord. The D root note is struck by the pick on beat 1. On beats 2 and 4, the middle and ring fingers pluck the notes on the fourth and third string. On beat 3, the pick plucks the fifth of the chord, A, located at the 5th fret of the sixth string.

Practice this exercise along with DJ at 01:00 in the lesson video.

Note: Fretboard diagrams to all chords discussed in the lesson video can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Exercise Variation

Syncopated rhythms can be added to the basic alternating bass line. The bass line remains unchanged from the previous exercise while additional double stops are played by the middle and ring fingers. Refer to the tablature / notation listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab to learn the appropriate rhythm to this variation. When you feel ready, practice the variation along with DJ at 02:14.
Chapter 2: (03:45) Hybrid Picking Licks D7 Lick

This lick is played out of the basic fretboard shape for the "open" D7 chord. Lift the third finger from the first string when performing the lick.

The lick features a double stop played on the second and third strings. The second finger pulls off from A to open G within this figure. The motif concludes with the major third, F#, played on the 4th string. This three note motif is superimposed over a 4/4 time feel. Pay careful attention to the rhythm in which the lick is played. Play the lick along with DJ at 01:25 to make sure that you are playing the rhythm properly.

Right Hand Fingering

The pick is used to pluck the F# note on the fourth string. Respectively, the middle and ring fingers are used to pluck notes on the second and third strings.

D7 Lick (5th Position)

A new D7 lick can also be played out of the fifth position barre chord shape for D7. This barre chord is based on the basic shape of the basic "open" A7 voicing. While the third and pinky fingers remain planted, the first finger performs a pull-off from the note C at the 5th fret back to the open G string. The lick is played in the same rhythm as the previous D7 based lick. Practice the rhythm along with DJ at 02:35 in the lesson video.

Since both of the licks presented in this scene feature the same rhythm and imply a D7 sound, they can be used in conjunction with each other. DJ demonstrates this idea at 02:58.

Right Hand Fingering

The same right hand fingering used for the previous lick is also used for the second D7 lick.

Tempo

Chicken pickin' licks are often played at blazing fast tempos. Consequently, you must be able to play them at a variety of tempo ranges. Begin with a slow tempo such as 70 beats per minute. Then, gradually work your way into faster tempo ranges as you become more comfortable.
Chapter 3: (02:33) Chicken Pickin' Lick The lick demonstrated in this scene is played out of an A5 chord shape. It utilizes notes from the A minor blues scale. Use this lick to convey a bluesy sound when playing over an A major or A7 chord.

Right Hand Fingering

The pick is used to pluck the bass notes on the fifth and sixth strings. The middle finger plucks accented notes on the fourth string. Use the third finger to pluck the the initial A note on the third string.

Rhythm

A steady sixteenth note rhythm is applied to the lick. Make sure that all of the sixteenth notes receive the exact same value. Do not cut any notes short by slurring improperly. Practice along with DJ at 01:27 in the lesson video to nail down the rhythm.
Chapter 4: (02:41) Chicken Pickin' Using the Hybrid Picking Technique The chicken pickin' technique is not just limited to lead guitar applications. It can also be quite effective in the context of a rhythm part. DJ demonstrates a bluesy riff in E major that demonstrates this concept.

A low E pedal tone is used in conjunction with the riff. An additional E pedal tone is played at the 2nd fret of the 4th string. A pedal tone is a note that remains constant while changing material is played over top of it. While the E notes remain constant, notes from the familiar blues shuffle pattern are played on the fifth string.

Right Hand Fingering

The pick is used to pluck the low pedal tone on the sixth string. The middle and ring fingers are used to pluck the fifth and fourth strings respectively. To keep the tone of the lick tight and punchy, apply some light palm muting to the low E string.

Practice Time

At first, practice the riff on your own with a metronome. Then, return to the lesson video and play along with DJ at 01:56.

Transposition

The riff can be transposed to all 12 keys with some slight fingering adjustments. Transposing the riff to A major and B major will allow you to play an entire 12 bar blues progression in the key of E major.
Chapter 5: (02:53) Descending Chicken Pickin' Lick The lick presented in this scene works well over a G major or G7 sound. It begins with inverted versions of the G and F major chords. The lick concludes with some double stops played out of the third position pattern of the G minor / G major pentatonic scale. Notes from both scales are blended in this position.

Right Hand Fingering

The pick is used to pluck bass notes on the third string. During the first half of the lick (G to F change) the middle and ring fingers pluck the second and first strings respectively. During the final portion in third position, these fingers pluck the third and second strings.

Practice Time

At first, practice the riff on your own with a metronome. Then, return to the lesson video and play along with DJ at 01:39.

Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

Select

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


JeroennlJeroennl replied on August 24th, 2016

Second jpg is not working

mdaudetmdaudet replied on February 15th, 2016

second jpg is a dead link since august 2014... Jamplay please see feedback from your customers...

bigDguitarbigDguitar replied on August 18th, 2014

The second jpg for the last few licks is a dead link.

camo1902camo1902 replied on January 1st, 2012

Awesome lesson!

jimbeanejimbeane replied on June 19th, 2010

Hey DJ, When I was learning to play guitar I used a flat pick, and did so for years. After I retired, I learned a few songs using my fingers for picking. I'm having a little trouble learning to hybrid pic. (Using my fingers and a flat pick) Do you think I can learn the Chicken Pickin' method that you teach with just my fingers and bare thumb?

dj.phillipsdj.phillips replied on June 21st, 2010

In a word: absolutely. You can do all the hybrid picking stuff with thumb and fingers if that works better for you. I default to the "claw" with thumb and fingers a lot. It has a slightly different sound, for sure, but the idea remains the same.

normanrice3normanrice3 replied on March 9th, 2010

sweet guitar faces, DJ!

gotatelegotatele replied on February 20th, 2010

hi DJ good stuff that i have been around and these are good variations for me, wondering if you ever got around to the "big bends" elsewhere

mkorsmomkorsmo replied on February 9th, 2009

Cool lesson.

Classic Country Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Having roots in Folk, Celtic, and Gospel music, Country and Country Western evolved rapidly in the 1920's. This genre of music has spawned two of the top selling solo artists of all time. Elvis Presley, and Garth Brooks.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Country

This short lesson will introduce you to the country style of playing and provide some necessary background information on how the genre got started.

Length: 2:04 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Western Swing

DJ gets to the roots of the country music genre with a lesson on Western Swing.

Length: 5:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Roly Poly

In lesson 3, DJ teaches a short song called "Roly Poly." If you ever find yourself jamming in a country circuit, you'll need this one in your repertoire.

Length: 5:22 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Classic Country

DJ discusses the classic country style. He explains the rhythmic and structural differences between this style and western swing.

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Chicken Pickin' and Modern Country

With lesson 5, DJ starts to discuss elements of the modern country style. This includes the technique known as "Chicken Pickin'."

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 6

Hybrid Picking

In this lesson, DJ discusses some of the finer points of the hybrid picking technique.

Length: 15:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Electric Country, Western Swing

In this lesson, DJ begins to talk more in depth about modern electric country guitar. He starts with the western swing style.

Length: 11:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Eldon Shamblin, Western Swing

Lesson 8 continues to cover the western swing style of electric country. Eldon Shamblin and his musical efforts are discussed further.

Length: 13:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Twin Guitar Boogie's Twin Lead

This lesson covers the twin lead section of the song "Twin Guitar Boogie."

Length: 17:59 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Twin Lead Solo: Part 2

DJ breaks down the second part of the twin lead solo from "Twin Guitar Boogie."

Length: 14:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Twin Guitar Boogie's Guitar Solo

Finalizing his teaching on the Twin Guitar Boogie with emphasis on Eldon Shamblin, DJ brings you this lesson on the guitar solo.

Length: 21:55 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Twin Guitar Boogie Techniques

Lesson 12 covers all the techniques involved in the previous lessons on the Twin Guitar Boogie.

Length: 7:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Solo Building

DJ takes the techniques he discussed in lesson 12 and helps you create a solo over a standard country rhythm.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Fingerpicking

Lesson 14 delves into the realm of fingerpicking.

Length: 17:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Solo and Improvisation

In lesson 15 DJ demonstrates the techniques used by Merle Travis to build a solo, and improvisation technique.

Length: 12:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Guitar Boogie Pt. 1

Lesson 16 starts a 3 part series on Arthur Smith's "Guitar Boogie."

Length: 47:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Guitar Boogie Pt. 2

In lesson 17, DJ completes his note for note demonstration of "Guitar Boogie."

Length: 30:39 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Guitar Boogie Concepts

In this lesson, DJ takes a look at some of the country guitar concepts used in the song "Guitar Boogie."

Length: 16:13 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Whistle Stop

In this lesson, DJ teaches the song "Whistle Stop" by legendary guitarist Jimmy Bryant.

Length: 19:41 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Yodeling Guitar

DJ demonstrates the song "Yodeling Guitar" by Jimmy Bryant.

Length: 32:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Joy Ride

DJ teaches the song "Joy Ride" as performed by Jimmy Bryant.

Length: 30:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Jimmy Bryant Concepts

Now that DJ has covered "Whistle Stop" and "Joy Ride," he'll be looking at some of the concepts used to play these songs.

Length: 23:05 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Got a Lot of Rhythm

This lesson covers the tune Got a Lot of Rhythm which features the playing of Hank Garland.

Length: 10:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

I Need Your Love Tonight

In lesson 24, DJ takes a look at an Elvis Presley song "I Need Your Love Tonight."

Length: 19:55 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Sugarfoot Rag

In lesson 25, DJ continues his in depth look at Hank Garland's playing with a demonstration of Sugarfoot Rag.

Length: 32:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Walkin' the Floor

DJ takes a look at "Walkin' the Floor" by classic country guitarist Leon Rhodes.

Length: 29:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Honey Fingers Pt. 1

DJ Phillips teaches the progression, structure and melody of the song "Honey Fingers."

Length: 35:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Honey Fingers Pt. 2

In lesson 28, DJ demonstrates the entire guitar solo for the song "Honey Fingers."

Length: 27:13 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 29

Applying Concepts and Skill Building

Looking back on the lessons on Leon Rhodes' playing, DJ offers up a lesson on applying the new concepts.

Length: 11:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Luther Perkins

DJ discusses the tic-tac techniques used by Johnny Cash guitarist Luther Perkins.

Length: 18:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Tic-Tac Rhythms Applied

Looking at guitarist Luther Perkins, DJ helps you to apply the tic-tac rhythms in your playing.

Length: 7:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Style of James Burton #1: Open String Licks

DJ returns to his country lesson series to profile legendary country guitarist James Burton! In the first lesson of this mini-series, DJ takes a look at open string licks that are common in James' playing.

Length: 16:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Style of James Burton #2: Chicken Pickin'

DJ is back with the second lesson in his James Burton mini series. For this one, DJ takes a look at how James Burton started the Tele sound with the use of hybrid picking and chicken pickin'.

Length: 13:21 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Style of James Burton #3: Double Stops

In lesson 34 of his country series, DJ is expanding on his look at James Burton. In this lesson you'll be taking a look at double stop and partial chord concepts utilized by this country great!

Length: 12:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Style of James Burton #4: Bends

To finalize the concepts and techniques portion of his mini-series on James Burton, DJ offers up a look at bending technique.

Length: 11:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Style of James Burton #5: Combining Elements

Now that you have all the lick based elements and concepts under your belt, it's time to apply them. In lesson 36, DJ plays all of the licks you've learned with a backing track.

Length: 4:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About DJ Phillips View Full Biography Like many guitar players who began playing around the same time, DJ began plunking out Nirvana and Soundgarden tunes when he first picked up the guitar in the mid-nineties. While these grunge-y roots certainly have their merit, it wasn't until DJ's eldest sister took him to a Led Zeppelin laser light show that the full potential of the guitar began to come into focus.

With Jimmy Page's Les Paul pyrotechnics as his inspiration, DJ began fervently practicing for hours on end in the suburban jungle of Southwestern Ohio. This newfound passion (combined with his complete lack of athletic prowess and physical coordination thus completely ruling out all sports) led him to form rock bands in junior high and high school. He grew to love the performance aspect of music and soon decided on it as a career path.

College led him to Nashville, Tennessee where he began to pursue a degree in Commercial Music at Belmont University. He also started another band and got his first professional theater gig the following summer. Since that summer, DJ has spent nearly every waking hour finding ways to play music and avoiding a real contribution to society in any other way.

He moved to Minneapolis after college, rocking out between theater gigs with his current rock band Brother Big Bad. He has now convinced the band to move to Nashville where music flows like water.

DJ is elated to be a part of JamPlay and is thankful for everyone's warm welcome and says "Now, let's ROCK, people."

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