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Published on March 3rd, 2014 | by Sam


Albert Lee Licks

albert_lee8Albert Lee has long been considered one of the fastest players in country music.  He’s really more of a rockabilly player than pure country – but man, he can really shred the typically tele vocabulary.  He plays blazingly fast (did you see my Facebook post
?) and has one of the most recognizable tones in country music.

He plays a Music Man Albert Lee guitar these days which is really based on more of a strat sound than the tele.  Still, many tele players can glean a ton from Lee’s playing.

You can check out more Albert Lee Licks in this previous post.

He’s using a scale in many of these licks that I tend to call a ‘hybrid scale’ meaning it’s made up from the blues scale mixed with the mixolydian scale – major with a flatted 7th.  While those are the notes included, it’s not a true scale because the chromatic notes within the scale are not played ‘in order’ but as small pieces of vocabulary.  The formula would be:

R 2 b3 4 #4 5 6 b7

So it basically adds the 2nd and 6th of the scale to the blues scales.

Albert Lee Licks

Lick 1

The first lick we’re going to check out is over an A chord (actually the first 3 are!).   The ending of this lick is really cool with the sliding down to the 3rd position and using the open strings.

Albert Lee Lick 1

Lick 2

Our second Albert Lee lick uses the same basic scale, again in the key of A.  Using the 6th as a bending note up to the flat 7th is really effective here.

Albert Lee Lick 2

Lick 3

This lick is a beast.  He really gets into to some chicken pickin’ in the third bar.  He chromatically weaves his way down to the low A string.  Check out how he uses the hybrid scale.  This scale works really well in A because of the open G and D strings.  You can incorporate those into pull off licks and to get nice half-step sounds happening with the open G and the F# on the D string.

Albert Lee Lick 3

Lick 4

The last Albert Lee lick we’re looking into is in the key of Eb.  This one uses a pretty typical position in chicken pickin’ and country playing.   He’s outlining the chord here.  He also uses the muted note on the G string to give the lick that chicken pickin’ feel.

Albert Lee Lick 4

Going Further

Albert Lee is one of the best chicken pickers out there.  He plays frustratingly fast sometimes, but is well worth diving all the way into to get as much of that vocabulary as possible.  His solo albums have a ton of guitar playing on them., so give those a listen.

Also – I am putting the finishing touches on my new Chicken Pickin’ book!  It’s scheduled to be released later this month.  If you would like to know more about it as it comes out, make sure to sign up for my email list (to the right) and follow me on Facebook.  I’m going to be doing a special Lick of the Day feature on Facebook leading up the release so you won’t want to miss that.  PLUS you will get a discount on the book if you are on my mailing list!  Until then, check out these other great chicken pickin’ lessons.

James Burton

Roy Nichols

Brent Mason  


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One Response to Albert Lee Licks

  1. Pingback: Chromatic Country Licks | Fundamental Changes

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