Lesson 7 – Rhythm Fill Riffs and Lead Guitar Course
Lesson ID: A0095

Last lesson, we looked at the 5th position hybrid scale in the key of G. I talked about how this is the most important scale for making your guitar sound country and bluegrass. We also used this hybrid scale to add some bass line fill riffs over a simple progression.

In this lesson, we’re going to use this hybrid scale to improvise with fill riffs over the bluegrass song “Cripple Creek”. First, I’ll give you a quick recap of the hybrid scale. Then, I’ll teach you the “Cripple Creek” chord progression, some beginner fill riffs, and some more advanced fill riffs for the intermediate players. Everything we’re covering in this lesson will come in very handy at your next bluegrass jam!

Hybrid Scale

How to Play Country Bluegrass Licks over "Cripple Creek" Chord Progression - Beginner Guitar Lesson

Chord Progression

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Chord Progression
04:20 min Detailed Rhythm Breakdown
04:44 min Kickoff “G” Potatoes
07:00 min “A Part” Breakdown
09:38 min “B Part” Breakdown

Rhythm-cripple creek fills

Beginner Riffs

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min A Part – Line 1
03:28 min A Part – Line 2
04:49 min B Part – Line 1
06:35 min B Part – Line 2

Beginner Fills-cripple creek fills

Intermediate Riffs

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min A Part – Line 1
01:52 min A Part – Line 2
03:20 min B Part – Line 1
06:05 min B Part – Line 2

Intermediate Fills-cripple creek fills

Jam Track


Important Notes:

1) After you click play on this jam track, hover over the video player and click the “-” button at the lower center of the player. This’ll slow down the video for easier practice.
2) The first solo break starts on cue at 00:38 in this video. Try playing the beginner or intermediate fill riff progressions from the previous tabs over this solo break.


Your Homework

1) Learn and practice the progressions on the “Beginner Riffs” and “Intermediate Riffs” tabs. After you’re familiar with the riffs, study each one measure fill riff to see if you can recognize how the hybrid scale is used to create them.

Important Note: Like I mentioned previous lesson, even though we’re creating riffs with a hybrid scale (major scale + blues scale), it’s a good idea to keep the major and blues scales separate in your mind. I always visualize the major scale when I’m creating riffs, but then I know where I can reach to hit extra blues scale notes to add a little country and bluegrass twang.

2) Download the practice tablature attached to this lesson post. At the bottom of this practice tablature PDF, there are several one measure bluegrass fill riffs that I’ve tabbed out for you. Try applying these fill riffs to the “Cripple Creek” chord progression. Find a few that you really like and memorize them so you can use them later to improvise over different songs.
3) Find a different country & bluegrass song in the key of G (or use a capo if it’s in a different key) and see if you can figure out how to use these one measure riffs to play fills over that song’s progression. Also try creating your own bluegrass fill riffs using the hybrid scale. There aren’t too many rules on how to improvise. Experiment with different note combinations until you find something that sounds cool.