Lesson 5 – Rhythm Fill Riffs and Lead Guitar Course
Lesson ID: A0093
In the previous lesson of this series, we learned the 5th position of the G minor pentatonic scale and I showed y’all some nice country and bluegrass riffs to get you started with your improvising. Now let’s make it sound even more country by adding in a couple extra “blues” notes. The blues scale is basically the minor pentatonic scale with one extra note added per octave — the sharp 4th or flat 5th degree. With the right combinations, these blues notes will really make your playing sound country and bluegrass. Let’s break down the blues scale, important fill techniques, and six country and bluegrass riffs with tablature.
|Video Start Time||Lesson Topic|
|00:00 min||Lesson Overview|
|01:48 min||Blues Scale Breakdown|
|05:31 min||Practice Tips|
|06:31 min||Fill Riff Example|
|09:15 min||Using Blues Fill Riffs with Chord Progressions|
|Video Start Time||Lesson Topic|
|00:00 min||Video Overview|
|00:17 min||Riff 1|
|03:36 min||Riff 2|
|05:43 min||Riff 3|
|08:03 min||Riff 4|
|10:05 min||Riff 5|
|13:04 min||Riff 6|
Awesome lesson! Thanks man.
Thanks Devin I learned a lot. The riffs sound really nice. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to watch the next lesson!
is it a good idea to memorize all the riffs? have been trying to learn one a day but its going to take forever
You could, but I’d say you don’t have to memorize them all note for note. Maybe memorize three of them…like Lick #1 so you’ve got one on the higher pitched strings, then maybe Lick #2 so you’ll have one on the bass strings, Lick #4 for one in between…or just take your pick. Then start wrapping your head around how the scales are used to play them and eventually you’ll be so comfortable with the notes right there that you can change them up as you please over a bunch of different songs.
Pretty good instructor
I am just learning how to play, you have really helped me grasp hammer-ons and pull-offs, thanks.
Devin, you are adding the blues notes to the minor pentatonic scale…. is there a specific reason that you do not talk about adding the blues notes to the major pentatonic scale? … since the G major pentatonic scale is the same notes as the E minor pentatonic scale…
Hi Bill, That’s a good question. There is a reason we’re adding blues notes to the minor pentatonic scale and not the major pentatonic scale. The formula for the blues scale is the minor pentatonic scale plus one extra note per octave: the sharp 4th of flat 5th degree. You are right that E minor is the relative minor of G major — same scale shapes and notes. If it helps you, you could think of the 5th position G major pentatonic scale as the 1st position relative E minor pentatonic scale shape…from there, in theory, you could add the… Read more »
Thank you, for the download riffs, it makes learning a lot easier. I am having some issues with hammer on( practically getting no sound with the hammer), and well pull offs, don’t really have a clue on doing that correctly, so any video with help tips on those? they are both kind of new to me. Thank you
Hey Lenny, For sure, glad you’re enjoying the downloads! Sure, I could put together a video with hammer on and pull off tips. It is tough to get sound out of the hammer ons and pull offs at first — especially on an acoustic guitar. For the pull offs, instead of lifting the finger straight up, you could try pulling off slightly up or down…kind of in a way that almost plucks the string. Maybe that will help a bit. I’ll add this to the lesson queue and plan on putting together some drills that will help. Let me know… Read more »
Looks like you are adding slide into F# in licks 2, 3 and 6 and slide into B on lick 4. Are these blues notes of the Gminor pentatonic scale or something else? You only mentioned the 2 C#s in the early part of the lesson. Very kool stuff, working on it!
Hey Lester, Thanks for the comment! There in Lick 2…the 5th note..we’ve got a slide into a C# (from the blues scale), and then the next slide into the B on the 3rd string there is from the G major scale. Here’s a helpful link of the open position scale charts https://countryguitaronline.com/open-position-guitar-scales/ There’s a link to print the charts at the top of the page. Licks 3 and 6 will be similar with the slides into the C# and B, and Lick 4 has the slide there into the C# on the 5th string. Hope that helps! A lot to… Read more »
Hey Devin- After about a month of practicing these riffs, I just realized I’m playing my up/down strokes opposite than I’m supposed to. My playing speed is basically on par with yours in the video, how important is it to get that right? Is that slowing me down?
Hey Patrick – So every time I do an upstroke, you do a downstroke? And vice versa? I usually recommend sticking to my pick stroke direction to be most efficient and get the fastest speed, but if you look at somebody like Tony Rice, he used some odd pick stroke directions in his licks and he worked it out fine. I’d say try to stick to mine as much as you can, but if you stray away in spots, probably no big deal. That’s my take on it anyways.
Haha yup! Good to hear it’s not big deal— at this point the muscle memory has put my picking on autopilot so was a little bummed to see I was doing it backwards from you. I’ll check out Tony rice, thanks for the recommendation. Thanks for the great lessons Devin!
Hi Devin – some advice on how to get the riffs speed up to your level – may be a step to far!. Can you advise as to what speed you play the riffs on the videos – in other words – what BPM are we aim to reach.
And the best approach to getting to this speed. Great lessons with very clear instruction and good quality videos. Your speed is so fast I sometimes do not see your fingers move and so cannot work out what the target should be. David
Hey David – I think the main key for building speed is to not play the riffs too fast too soon and get sloppy. That’s always my tendency when I’m learning new riffs and it’ll cause bad habits. When you start your practice on a new riff, I’d choose a slow BPM where you can play a riff clean without getting sloppy. When you practice at the slow starting speed, keep telling yourself to relax the grip on your pick, relax your wrist and your whole arm..forget about trying to play loud and just use really soft and quiet pick… Read more »
6 great licks I’ll be using at my next jam!
nice licks , thanks devin , i tried to make it more bluesy by insisting on the chord .. i like bluegrass but would be great to get it slow on put it on delta blues for example
what do you think
Thank you Devin, for showing the riffs so slowly that I can follow your fingers on the strings. This helps me a lot when I’m practicing hammer-ons and pull-offs And thank you for the helpful information on pull-offs, especially on upward pull-offs. I learned a lot.
Thanks Devin , for your detailed , simplified guitar lessons. Keep up the good work. Smitty
another good lesson. I like the way that they are building on each other. I have to really focus on the pick stroke on the hammer on, pull off and slides……I want to just continue each stroke with DUDUDU etc., So that is pretty challenging to count the hammer off, pull off or slide as a pick. I am hoping it will come more natural feeling where it just happens
Thanks Devin for the lessons. Is it neccesary to do the same up and down stroke patterns if I can play smoother and faster another way. Usually I stick to up down each time and sometimes I will take out pull offs or hammer ons and just pick them. Do you recommend sticking to. the picking pattern you gave or is it ok to mis it up sometimes?
Do you have a lesson that resembles the demo on the strings. I liked the little transition licks you were using.