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Rhythm Fill Riffs and Chord Embellishments

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Lesson 1 – Intro to Rhythm Guitar Fill Riffs

This is the first video in a series of lessons where I’ll be teaching y’all how to play country and bluegrass rhythm guitar fill riffs, chord embellishments, and more! We’re going to start this series with the most basic beginner concepts and work our way up to more advanced techniques each lesson. As we discuss these topics, I’m going to highlight the note combinations and other progressions that’ll give your guitar playing that country and bluegrass sound.

Lesson 2 – Fill Riffs with the 5th Position G Major Pentatonic Scale

The 5th position of the G major pentatonic scale is the most important scale position in country and bluegrass. It’s used all the time to play open licks and open chord rhythm embellishments. In this guitar lesson video, I’ll show you how to learn and practice the 5th position G major pentatonic scale. Then we’ll go over an easy way you can apply this scale to a basic country and bluegrass chord progression.

Lesson 3 – Adding Fills Between Chords with the G Major Scale

In the previous lesson of this series, we learned the 5th position of the G major pentatonic scale and I showed you how to apply this scale to a basic country and bluegrass chord progression. In this lesson, we’re going to start breaking out of the pentatonic scale box using five additional major scale notes. Adding these extra notes is the first step towards making your fill riffs sound more country and bluegrass. I’ll give you some pointers on how you can use the G major scale to create riffs and we’ll also have a tablature download with several nice major scale riffs to get you started!

Lesson 4 – Fill Riffs with the G Minor Pentatonic Scale

Up to this point, we’ve studied how you can use the 5th position major scale notes to create country and bluegrass riffs. Next, to make your riffs sound even more country, you need to mix in the 5th position G minor pentatonic scale. In this lesson video, we’re going to learn the 5th position of the G minor pentatonic scale and I’ll show you how to use it with your fill riffs and chord embellishments. In my opinion, the 5th position of the G minor pentatonic scale is the second most important position of the pentatonic scales when you’re playing country and bluegrass.

Lesson 5 – Makin’ It Country with Blues Riffs

In the previous lesson, 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.

Lesson 6 – Chord Fills with the Hybrid Country Bluegrass Scale

Now let’s make your fills sound even more country! In the previous lessons of this series, we’ve seen how the 5th position key of G major and blues scales overlap. The next step is to combine these scales into a “hybrid” country/bluegrass scale. See the Charts tab below for a diagram of this hybrid scale.

In video #1 of this post, I’ll break down the scales and give you some extra pointers on how you can start to combine the major and blues scales. In video #2, we’ll go over several nice bass note chord transition fills that use this hybrid country scale.

Lesson 7 – Country Bluegrass Riffs over “Cripple Creek” Progression

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 handy at your next bluegrass jam.

Lesson 8 – Honey, You Don’t Know My Mind

Last lesson, we used the hybrid country and bluegrass scale to improvise with fill riffs over the song “Cripple Creek”. We went over the chord progression, some beginner nice fill riffs, and some more advanced fill riffs for the intermediate players.

In this lesson, we’re going to practice the 5th position key of G hybrid scale over the song “Honey, You Don’t Know My Mind”. First, we’ll break down the song’s chord progression and strumming. Then, I’ll teach you three different variations of the song’s instrumental break — we’ll have a version for the beginner pickers, a more complicated intermediate version, and an advanced version for the experienced pickers. This is another great song to play at your next jam!

Lesson 9 – Country Bluegrass Chord Embellishments with Triplets

Till now in this series, we’ve learned the 5th position scales in the key of G that are used to create country and bluegrass style fills. We combined all these scales into one “hybrid” scale and applied it to different chord progressions. Most of the riffs we studied were played with eighth notes and sixteenth notes.

In this lesson, we’re going to add a bit more rhythm variety to our country and bluegrass fills with triplets. I’ll give an overview of triplets in the first video below. If you’d like to read more about triplets, you can head over to our triplets music theory page. In the second video of this post, I’ll teach you six nice triplet style chord embellishments that you can play over the G, C, and D chords. In the third video, we’ll run through a chord progression example you can use for practice.

Lesson 10 – Country Fill Riffs Up the Neck with 1st Position Scales

In this lesson, we’re going to travel up the neck in the key of G using the 1st position hybrid country guitar scales. I’ll teach you the four main scales you need to learn in the 1st position and I’ll show you how to use these scales to get a country and bluegrass sound out of your guitar. Then I’ll show you some of my favorite country and bluegrass fill riffs in the 1st position key of G.

Lesson 11 – Country & Bluegrass Rhythm Fill Riffs in D

In this guitar lesson, we’ll take a look at how to play country and bluegrass rhythm fill riffs in the key of D. I’ll teach you six of my favorite fill riffs in the key of D and we’ll practice them with a nice country and bluegrass rhythm progression. We’ll also talk about the guitar scales we’re using here in the key of D to get this country and bluegrass sound. Download the practice progression tablature below the video.

Lesson 12 – Adding Fills Between Your Chords with Key of D Scales

In this guitar lesson, I’ll show y’all some fun ways to use key of D guitar scales to play country & bluegrass fill riffs. All of the licks we’ll cover today are great for transitioning between chords, and they’re also useful for playing country & bluegrass guitar solos. First, we’ll cover the main scale shapes that you need to memorize. After that, I’ll teach you ten of my favorite country fill riffs in the key of D. My main goal for this lesson is to show you how I visualize key of D scale shapes when I’m improvising key of D riffs. This should be a useful lesson for the rhythm guitar folks and also for the country & bluegrass lead guitar pickers!

Lesson 13 – Coming Soon!