Is there a formula/theory for writing country licks/riffs, and where can I find it?

  • 11
    Go fishing frequently, patronize outdoor parties in rural locations, drink heavily, spend days driving a pickup truck, and most of all, hope that your woman cheats on you and leaves you for someone else. Then pick up a guitar, but be sure never to use more than three chords in one song.
    – user1044
    Mar 18, 2014 at 19:21
  • 6
    I have to disagree with you Wheat, I think it has to have a train, someone in jail, and a gun, but the rest sounds right like your woman cheating on you.
    – filzilla
    Mar 18, 2014 at 23:05
  • Your comments are hilarious Wheat, and filzilla, though filzilla's sounds more like a gunslinger ballad than a country song! :)
    – MrTheBard
    Mar 5, 2015 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


It's the same formula/theory to write any music: listen to it. Listen to as much as you can and get it in your head. I have been trying to write and improvise solos on guitar for country and it is really difficult coming from a rock background. Country guitarist use reverse bends, major pentatonics and play with the chord changes targeting notes of those chords in the songs. So I had to really listen hard and practice starting with Johnny Cash guitar licks.

Try http://www.countryguitar.com/

  • The major blues scale is also something to look into. Mar 20, 2014 at 14:53

The other thing they really like to do is hybrid picking, to get all those major sixth double stops, etc. If you learn that technique, it'll be a whole lot easier to sound like a country virtuoso.

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