Country Lessons Roy Nichols Licks - Intro

Published on December 8th, 2014 | by Sam


Roy Nichols Licks – The Bottle Let Me Down Intro

Roy Nichols is one of the fathers of chicken pickin’ guitar.  His work with Merle Haggard set the standard (along with Don Rich and James Burton) for country guitar to follow.  The more Roy Nichols licks you can get into your chicken pickin’ playing, the better! In this lesson we’ll look at his iconic intro to The Bottle Let Me Down .  This recording is from the album Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down.

Roy Nichols Licks – Intro

The song starts with an extended A chord, first with pedal steel fills (which sound awesome) and then Roy comes in with some chicken pickin.  Notice that he bends up to the C# which is the third of the chord.  In the second measure he uses a prebend down to the b7 of the A chord (G).  He also uses an F natural which usually doesn’t sound great on an A chord.  But in this case it is leading us to the next chord.  Remember, music happens in context, so where you are going has a huge impact on the notes and their sound.

The tab shows so “X” notes on measures one and two.  These are the ‘clucka’ notes that give chicken pickin guitar its name.  Just lift your finger off the note, but keep it on the string.  In other words mute the string.  This example uses these in triplets.

Once we get to the D chord, which is the last 3 measures, we have a really great country lick that can easily be a blues lick.  Since he is tuned to drop D (low E string tuned down to D), he uses the same fingering for both licks.  First of all, the previous line resolves to D and then a bend on the 4th of the scale (G), b3, and open D.  Repeat the same fingering on the low E string.  Make sure to pull the strings down towards the ground when bending lower strings.

Roy Nichols Licks - Bottle Let Me Down Intro

So that’s the Roy Nichols lick for the intro !  Make sure to stay tuned to check out some of the fills later in the song.

Here’s a YouTube video of the tune so you can hear some of these yourself:

YouTube Preview Image

Make sure to check out some of the other Roy Nichols licks on the site.

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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