30 Hot Bluegrass Flatpicking Licks

Genre and Style Guitar Course from Tyler Grant

You've been spending some time working up your flatpicking chops, but where do you go from here? A cornerstone of the Bluegrass flatpicking style, the hot lick originated with the genre and runs through present day songs and tunes. This lesson set of 30 hot Bluegrass licks is a great place to start in learning the vocabulary necessary to excel in this style!

31 Lessons

Complete course with step-by-step lessons and practice examples.

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Full Course Breakdown

Tyler Grant offers up 30 unique Bluegrass licks to get under your fingers. Paired with his Bluegrass course offerings, this material dots the I's and crosses the T's of your Bluegrass genre journey!

1

30 Hot Bluegrass Flatpicking Licks You Should Know Introduction

To kick off this series of 30 hot bluegrass licks for your repertoire, Tyler gives you a couple examples of what will be taught and what you need to be successful with this course.

4:41 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

2

Happy in the Country

This lick has a descending line that has just enough pep to earn its name.

6:16 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

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3

Tumbling Down the Hill

This descending G minor pentatonic lick borrows from blues in the open G position.

6:24 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

4

Look Up Here

This bluesy, bluegrass lick in G uses a combination of the minor and major pentatonic scales.

6:58 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

5

Blues in the Grass

This bluesy lick in G takes some standard pentatonic notes and grasses them up with repetition and loops.

8:41 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

6

Fiddlin' Around

Bluegrass licks often take inspiration from fiddle tunes. As a result, lots of flatpicking method mimics fiddle movement. This is certainly true of this lick in G.

6:21 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

7

Crosspicking Shuffle Lick in G

Crosspicking is a technique that uses a consecutive picking pattern on three adjacent strings. This at times leaves them ringing and sounding like a harp. Tyler uses this concept in this shuffle lick in G

7:32 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

8

The Big Run

A "run" in bluegrass is a lick that travels through a scale in a steady rhythm. This big run in G works all the way from the bottom to the top of the strings.

6:40 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

9

Fiddlin' Along

This is another fiddling mixture lick, this time in the key of C. This one has shades of C6 in it.

7:58 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

10

Big Run in C

There's a lot of action in this C major lick! Take this string of notes and run them around the fretboard.

6:50 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

11

Position Shifting Lick in C

This lick in C shifts postions using an open E string, sometimes called a drop string technique.

6:40 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

12

Floaty Lick in C

Sometimes cross string playing is called "floaties." Here is a floaty lick in C that will challenge you for a while.

7:41 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

13

Rollin' it Up

You'll find more crosspicking in this C lick which leans heavily on the three note forward roll.

9:37 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

14

Rollin' it Down

Now we're going to use that three note forward roll to descend in another C lick.

6:28 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

15

Bluesy Dog

This lick uses some classic bluesy language in the key of D, for dog.

6:56 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

16

Flying Dog

This bluesy lick in D descends into a D run.

5:49 Runtime

2.0 Difficulty

17

Floating Dog

Here's a lick in D that uses cross string techniques that Tyler affectionately calls "Floating Dog."

6:47 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

18

Chuggin' On Home

This lick is all about being able to navigate the IV to I chord. In the key of G, this lick uses a chugging rhythmic figure to help drive you home.

7:33 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

19

Lifting it up on the Shelf

This lick is an uplifting lick that gradually builds up then gently rests back down.

5:34 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

20

Bringin' it Home

Lick 19 takes a look at navigating the crucial V to I chord change at the end of a guitar break.

6:03 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

21

Really Bringin' it Home

Like the previous lick, this one again navigates the V to I chord change. This time we're gonna go harder with a chuggin', driving rhtyhm and alternate picking.

5:22 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

22

Sailin' On Home

This lick in the key of G is designed to help traverse from up the neck and down into open position on the V to I chord.

6:50 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

23

Sailin' 'Round the Hornpipe

This lick uses the same technique as the last lick, but this time travels around a Hornpipe progression.

5:27 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

24

Chuggin' 'Round the Hornpipe

This lick again uses the Hornpipe changes, but is centered around the chuggin' style.

5:55 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

25

Make it Snappy

Lick 24 is a quick and "snappy" Bluegrass lick in the key of A.

4:40 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

26

Big Run in A

Much like "Big Run" and "Big Run in C" this lick is all about that large run that traverses the guitar's register, this time in the key of A.

4:58 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

27

Easy Breezy

"Easy Breezy" is a bluegrass lick designed for the key of E, or more specifically an E chord.

7:04 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

28

Tag 1 in G

To wrap up the licks in this series, Tyler covers several "tag" figures that are often used as licks to end a song or tune. He starts with a tag in the key of G.

6:07 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

29

Tag 2 in G

The second tag in the key of G is a standard Appalachian fiddle tune tag, that also has a G run in it.

6:22 Runtime

3.0 Difficulty

30

Tag 1 in C

Lick 29 is another run style tag, this time in the key of C.

4:29 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

31

Tag 2 in C

To wrap up this lick series, Tyler provides a tag in the key of C that includes a beefed up version of the venerable "Shave and a Haircut" ending.

4:50 Runtime

0.0 Difficulty

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  • Playing since 1980
  • 300 lessons at JamPlay
Tyler Grant brings his Flatpicking expertise to JamPlay!

Tyler took first place honors at the Rockygrass guitar contest in 2003, the Wayne Henderson festival contest in 2005, the 2008 New England Flatpicking Championship, the 2009 Doc Watson Guitar Championship at Merlefest and became the National Flatpicking Champion for placing first at Winfield in 2008. He has been an instructor at CalArts, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, Rockygrass Academy, Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week and Grand Targhee Music Camp. He has been featured in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine. He lives in Lyons, Colorado, where he writes music, enjoys the outdoors, teaches lessons and records for Grant Central Records.

National Flatpicking Champion Tyler Grant is a versatile guitarist and multi-instrumentalist with a wide range of musical expertise. He is an internationally recognized guitar virtuoso with two solo albums and an impressive resume as a session musician, bandleader and sideman. He has shared the stage with such luminaries as Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, John Oates, Steve Kaufman, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band and The String Cheese Incident. Tyler showcases his powerful and original style of Flatpicking on his latest CD release, Up the Neck. His current band project, The Grant Farm, is taking root and growing fast.

Tyler graduated from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Guitar Performance. After moving to Nashville from Southern California in 2003 he joined Adrienne Young’s band and toured with her for nearly two years, acting as musical director and playing on her acclaimed CDs Plow the End of the Row and The Art of Virtue. In 2004 he joined Casey and Chris Henry and the Two-Stringers. In the fall of 2004 he toured China with Abigail Washburn and Friends and appeared on her Song of the Traveling Daughter CD. During the first half of 2005 he toured with phenomenal Canadian fiddler April Verch. Tyler revealed his talents as a singer and songwriter with his first solo album, In The Light, released in June 2006 on FGM Records.

From 2005 through 2010 Tyler made hundreds of appearances across the country as a member of the Drew Emmitt Band and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, featuring the frontmen from two of the world’s most popular jambands: Leftover Salmon and the String Cheese Incident. Tyler played on Long Road, the latest acclaimed Drew Emmitt release, which reached #1 on the Jam Band chart, and New Country Blues, the outstanding current release by the Emmitt/Nershi Band. In 2011 Tyler will focus his attention on solo dates, acoustic duet acts with Andy Thorn and Benny Galloway, and his latest band, The Grant Farm.

Tyler took first place honors at the Rockygrass guitar contest in 2003, the Wayne Henderson festival contest in 2005, the 2008 New England Flatpicking Championship, the 2009 Doc Watson Guitar Championship at Merlefest and became the National Flatpicking Champion for placing first at Winfield in 2008. He has been an instructor at CalArts, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, Rockygrass Academy, Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week and Grand Targhee Music Camp. He has been featured in Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine. He lives in Lyons, Colorado, where he writes music, enjoys the outdoors, teaches lessons and records for Grant Central Records.
Reviews & Feedback 100/100 with 77 ratings
gadlaw

Amiable fellow, he's easy to understand and quality dude.

Buckg73

Great stuff!

elementaldesigns

Tyler, I'm really enjoying learning all of these. I'm just not checking them all. You are a good teacher. Thank you!

Mike LeBleu

Tyler has a great way of instructing that keeps your interest and is very clear.