Chicken Pickin' Roy Nichols Branded Man

Published on April 13th, 2015 | by Sam


Roy Nichols Branded Man


I’ve put up quite a few Roy Nichols pieces here lately – so you can tell he’s one of my favorite country guitar players.  His style is so iconic and memorable, he influenced maybe the most-heard guitarist of our day, Brent Mason.  Nichols may not have the same flash, but he created a succinct style that changed chicken pickin’.  Here’s we’re looking at one of his iconic signature licks from the Merle Haggard tune, Branded Man.  Roy Nichols Branded Man intro and short solo are great examples of his economical, perfect-for-the-song playing.

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Roy Nichols Branded Man Intro

The intro really belongs to the pedal steel in this tune.  But then Roy Nichols completely steals the spotlight with this hilarious tritone lick.  Pre-bend the A to a B (10th fret B string), release the bend and jump to the flat 7th.  Who cares if the chord isn’t dominant!?

 Roy nichols Branded man



Roy Nichols Branded Man Solo

This solo is a short, chicken pickin’ masterpiece.  Make sure to get the ‘x’ notes by lightly lifting off the string. Keep your finger on the string, just stop pushing it all the way down.  This is a signature sound in chicken pickin.  Another cool feature of this little solo is the last ‘chord’ – just the open 3 bottom strings.  Harmonically we are in the G mixolydian scale.  The ending on the flat 7th really helps to drive this sound home.
Roy Nichols Branded Man

So there you have some of the cleanest, but most influential notes played with Merle Haggard.  Make sure to check these out in detail, but then to transfer it to more keys so you can get even more use from these chicken pickin licks.

Make sure to check out all of my country guitar materials on Amazon and for sale here! Chicken Pickin’ Basics is available on Amazon, and Chicken Pickin’ Vocabulary is available here and on Amazon.

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