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Chicken Pickin' Styles

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Chicken pickin' is still used in many genres of music, not just country. Blues, rock, and metal players also chicken pick and you might be surprised to find out who they are. Zakk Wylde, Steve Morse and Mark Knopfler are great chicken pickers, just to name a few. They say finger rolls are chicken pickin' too, but I've always considered them hybrid picking. Country chicken pickers will tell you that it's making the clucking sound, and this is true, but that's not the only way. There are many ways to do this, and everyone has to figure out the way that works best for them. I encourage you to learn all the chicken pickin' tricks you can because they are all useful techniques.

James Burton says he created this back in the 1950s. His concept for chicken pickin' was to pluck with the middle finger and choke the note after playing it. He would also repeat this and use it while bending strings. Another interesting thing about his style is that he uses a steel pick on his pick hand's middle finger.

This position works with an A and C chords if you bend the 3rd string up a whole step. I would practice holding the bend, then work on picking and plucking the string. The muting in this case is automatic since it's all happening on one string.

This can also be used in other fretboard positions and strings. You can use the musical alphabet and play it anywhere.

Lesson Info
Instructor J.D. Jarrell
Chicken Pickin' Styles