How To Use Open Strings In Blues And Rock Guitar Solos To Create Unique Sounds

There are so much possibilities and methods to create a blues or rock guitar solo but this approach is certainly one that will evolve your guitar playing and give your solos a unique sound. The technique of throwing in open strings in blues and rock solos is an idea you find in some of the most iconic songs. Have a listen for example to ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ from Led Zeppelin and ‘Suck My Kiss’ from Red Hot Chili Peppers. This trick creates such a unique sound so be sure you have it in your pocket.

How To Define The Open Strings That You Can Play In Your Guitar Solos

While soloing in certain keys it’s possible to throw in open strings to create a different and unique feel in your solo. The method of knowing which open strings you can use in a specific scale goes like this: If the open string notes are part of the scale you can use them while playing the scale. Take a look for example at the G minor pentatonic scale. The scale contains the notes G, Bb, C, D and F. Two of the notes which are part of the G minor pentatonic scale are also open strings. We are talking about the G and the D note in this case. These notes are perfect to incorporate in your blues and rock solos.

Hammer-On And Pull-Off Technique On The Open String To Create An Exclusive Sound

The way to incorporate the open strings in a solo and create this special and rare guitar sound is done with hammer-ons and pull-offs. You can basically hammer-on from the open string to any note that’s part of the scale and pull-off to the open string again. Knowing the scale on one string will be a huge advantage in using this method.

The diagram below shows the notes you can pick from the G minor pentatonic scale to do the hammer-ons and Pull-offs from and to the open G and D string.

blues guitar playing

 

Now that you know what notes to play, it’s time to explore this little trick. To give an example you can listen and play along with this lick. It’s an example where open G string is used and it also incorporates the blue note of the G blues scale. This makes the lick even more bluesy so it fits perfect in a blues solo.

e|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G|- - 0 - - 0 - - 0 - - 3p0 - - 0 - - 5p0 - - 0 - - 6p3p0 - -
D|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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It’s very imortant to learn this lick with a correct practice method. The speed of this riff can be a bit tricky so be sure you check out my article on How To Practise Guitar The Right Way.

About the author
Antony Reynaert teaches blues guitar in Belgium as well as online. On his Best Blues Guitar Lessons website there are a lot of articles and a lot of tips to play blues lead and rhythm guitar