Chicken Pickin'

OK, first things first! I've always tried to take an idea and attempt to use it to death all over the place, and in a variety of different contexts. In many respects it boils down to mindset. Sometimes, just by learning something totally out of your regular set of interests, you change your skillset in a positive and creative way. Let me explain… About 6-7 years ago, I bought a 'GT' magazine, and it had a transcription of Albert Lee's 'Country Boy'. I was bored, and looking for something new in my playing, so I learned it.

Figure 1 illustrates the intro riff to the tune, and the basis of which is what we're going to study here in this column. The technique is simple; on the lowest string of the riff, use your pick. On all of the other strings of the riff, use your second and third fingers, respectively. Learn the 'Country Boy' pattern, and get a pattern down. Once you have that nailed, the same pattern applies, just to different chord shapes. Today, I hybrid pick all over the place, and find it to be an extremely useful tool, especially since it can be a lead or a rhythm playing device… Players like Greg Howe and Shawn Lane do it, so it must work in a 'shred' rock context, as well as country.

Figure 2 is a little A Major triad. Once you get the speed up, it sounds like a pretty wicked banjo roll! The best way to practice it is to play it on every fret, with a metronome. Remember, the same picking pattern applies (whatever works for you…). Figure 3 takes us out of the box, and has us playing an F Diminished triad. For all of you Yngwie/Lynch lovers out there, you'll find this to be a great way of sequencing a scary Yngwie-esque diminished arpeggio run. Figures 4, 5, 6, and 7 take us on an A minor triad rampage, again a la Yngwie. Be sure to play all shapes with a metronome, and all over the neck. There are lots of other ideas and many different directions this sequence can go, but hopefully this tutorial serves as a springboard with which you can really get a good start on the technique.

I play the technique like this; (Ala fig 2) Gstr =Pick&Hammer-on Bstr =M (Middle finger) and the high E str gets A (Third finger).

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