Guitar Lick: Steel Guitar

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Howdy everybody, Crawford Smith here with a sweet little country lead guitar lesson. Today’s lick showcases a technique that country lead players use quite a bit to emulate the sound of lap or pedal steel guitars. To mimic the fluid sound of steel guitar players sliding between notes, country lead players will often do a full-tone bend on the B string while holding a note on the high E string. This not only mimics the motion of the slide but also somehow captures a little bit of the bell-like tone of steel guitars.

This lick can be played in any major key, but I think it sounds best when it’s played a little bit higher on the fretboard. For the example, I have presented it in E major. Here’s the lick:


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You’re going to want to play the first three notes of this with your ring finger on the B string and your pinky on the high E. Bend the 14th-fret B string up one full tone and let it ring when you hit the 14th-fret note on the E. Let that note ring while you relax the bend on the B string to bring it down to the normal C# note on the 14th fret. The pitch of the higher note staying the same while the note on the B string bends up and down is what gives this lick a shimmering, slide-like tone. Play the rest of this lick as it is written, but repeat the bending pattern from the beginning in the pickup to the third measure. I like to play this lick in a swing feel.

Check out this CHICKEN PICKING LICK IDEA

Remember, this lick is just one example of how to use this kind of bend. You can experiment with incorporating the country bend in your own major-key lead lines. Just remember that it sounds best when you start with the sixth of the key you’re playing in as the initial B string note. (The example is in E, so it starts on a C#).

Also, I want to recommend you to check out our:

BEST SELLING LEAD GUITAR COURSE