Hybrid Picking In Country Music: 5 Popular Songs For Guitar Players

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As a country music fan, you may have noticed the unique sound created by guitar players plucking the strings in rapid succession, resulting in a twangy and melodic tune. This technique is called hybrid picking, and it’s a popular style used in many country songs. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, fear not! In this article, we’ll walk you through what hybrid picking is, its benefits, and most importantly, showcase five popular country songs that utilize this technique. Plus, we’ll share some tips on how to incorporate hybrid picking into your own country music playing. So grab your guitar, and let’s get started!

What Is Hybrid Picking?

What Is Hybrid Picking?
Hybrid picking is a guitar playing technique that combines the use of a flat pick and fingers to pluck the strings. It involves using your pick to play the lower strings and your fingers to pluck the higher strings simultaneously, hence the name “hybrid picking.” This technique is very common in Country music, Blues, and Rock music genres.

One of the benefits of hybrid picking is that it allows for greater speed and accuracy when playing intricate melodies, arpeggios, and solos. This technique also enables guitarists to play more complex rhythms and create a fuller sound that is not possible with just regular flatpicking or fingerstyle playing.

If you are interested in learning more about hybrid picking, there are many resources available online that can help you get started. You can check out our comprehensive Hybrid Picking Guide to learn the basics of this technique, from how to hold the pick to different approaches to hybrid picking.

For those who want to take their hybrid picking skills to the next level, we recommend checking out our article on Advanced Hybrid Picking Techniques for Acoustic Guitar and Country Music. This article covers more complex hybrid picking exercises, such as string skipping, double-stop licks, and chicken picking.

Hybrid picking is an essential technique for guitarists in the Country and Blues genres, and mastering it can greatly enhance your playing ability. Check out our recommended resources above to help you get started on your journey to mastering hybrid picking.


If you’ve been listening to country music for a while, you may have noticed a technique used by many country guitarists, known as hybrid picking. Essentially, this technique involves using a pick in combination with one or more fingers to pluck the strings, allowing for a wide variety of sounds and tones to be produced. This technique can be challenging for some guitarists to master, but the rewards are well worth the effort. By incorporating hybrid picking into your playing, you can create a unique sound that sets you apart from other guitarists. If you’re new to hybrid picking, you may want to check out our hybrid picking guide for an introduction to the technique.

Benefits Of Using Hybrid Picking

Using hybrid picking in your country guitar playing provides several benefits that can elevate your technique and musicianship to a new level. Below are some of the key benefits of using hybrid picking:

Benefits Description
Greater speed and accuracy Hybrid picking allows you to pick faster and more accurately, as it combines the strengths of both pick and fingers. You can quickly switch between single notes, arpeggios, and chords with ease.
Enhanced dynamics and expression With hybrid picking, you have incredible control over the volume, tone, and feel of each note. You can use your fingertips to pluck strings softly or aggressively, creating a full range of dynamics and expression in your playing.
Added texture and complexity The use of hybrid picking can add a new layer of complexity to your playing, allowing you to create more intricate and textured arrangements. You can blend single notes, double stops, and chordal harmonies seamlessly, opening up new sonic possibilities.
Elevated musicality and creativity By expanding your technical skills and tonal palette, hybrid picking can also help you become a more musical and creative player. You can experiment with different voicings, progressions, and melodies, and craft your own unique style and sound.

If you’re interested in practicing and learning more about hybrid picking, check out our Hybrid Picking Exercises for Acoustic Guitarists article, which provides helpful exercises and tips to improve your hybrid picking skills.

Country Songs That Use Hybrid Picking

Country Songs That Use Hybrid Picking
Hybrid picking is a popular technique that is widely used by country guitarists to create unique sounds and styles. Many famous country songs use this method and have gained popularity for their distinct sound. Let’s discuss some popular country songs that use hybrid picking and analyze how the technique has been used to create those sounds.

“Jolene” by Dolly Parton

Released in the year 1973, “Jolene” by Dolly Parton is an iconic country song that features a perfectly-crafted guitar riff that uses hybrid picking. The song’s intro is played using this technique, and it forms a significant part of the song. The main riff is played using the second and third strings while the bass notes are played using the thumb. This combination creates a unique sound that is both melodic and rhythmic.

“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band

“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band is another well-known country song that features an excellent acoustic guitar riff, which uses the hybrid picking technique. The song’s intro is played using a combination of strumming, fingerpicking, and hybrid picking. The hybrid picking technique is used to create a melodic sound while keeping the rhythm of the song intact.

“Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis

“Forever and Ever, Amen” is a classic country song by Randy Travis, released in 1987. The song features an iconic guitar riff that is played using hybrid picking. The hybrid picking technique is used to create a smooth transition between the notes while keeping the rhythm of the song intact.

“Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton

“Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton is another popular country song that uses the hybrid picking technique in the intro. The song’s intro features a catchy riff that is played using hybrid picking, which creates a unique blend of melodic and rhythmic sounds. The hybrid picking technique is used to add punch to the melodic lines while keeping the rhythm tight.

“Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum

“Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum is a ballad that features a beautiful guitar intro that uses hybrid picking. The intro features a unique combination of fingerpicking and hybrid picking, which creates a warm and melodic sound. The hybrid picking technique is used to create a smooth transition between the notes while keeping the rhythm of the song intact.

Learning to play the hybrid picking technique can be challenging but extremely rewarding. It takes practice to master this technique, but once mastered, the possibilities are endless. Guitarists looking to learn and improve their hybrid picking skills can find many online resources, including videos, articles, and tutorials. Mastering Hybrid Picking: Tips and Tricks for Country Guitarists, Boosting Hybrid Picking Exercises, and Create Country Licks with Hybrid Picking are some of the many resources available online.

Hybrid picking is a versatile and essential technique for country guitarists. The aforementioned popular country songs prove it’s an essential technique for producing unique sounds that make country music beautiful. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced guitarist, learning hybrid picking is a valuable skill that can take your playing to the next level.

Jolene by Dolly Parton

There’s no denying that “Jolene” by Dolly Parton is one of the most iconic country songs of all time. Its catchy melody and heart-wrenching lyrics have captivated listeners for years. But did you know that it’s also a great example of how hybrid picking can elevate a song’s sound? By using a combination of fingerpicking and flatpicking, the guitar part in “Jolene” has a unique and dynamic sound that perfectly complements the song’s emotional intensity. If you’re looking to learn how to master hybrid picking like the pros, check out our tips and tricks for country guitarists at /mastering-hybrid-picking-tips-tricks-country-guitarists/.

Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band

One of the most popular country songs that incorporate hybrid picking technique is “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band. This song, released in 2008, became an instant hit and has since become a staple in country music.

The song starts with a simple yet catchy guitar riff that features hybrid picking. The intro sets the mood for the entire song and showcases the versatility of hybrid picking. As the song progresses, the guitar work becomes more elaborate, but the hybrid picking remains a prominent feature throughout.

Some of the benefits of using hybrid picking become evident in this song as it allows for a more dynamic and varied sound. The use of hybrid picking adds depth to the overall music composition and highlights the guitar’s natural tone.

The lyrics of “Chicken Fried” are reflective of the simplicity and joys of life, and the guitar work demonstrates that same message. The combination of Zac Brown Band’s vocals and the intricate guitar playing, including hybrid picking, result in a feel-good song that listeners can’t resist.

If you want to learn how to incorporate hybrid picking into your country guitar playing, “Chicken Fried” is an excellent starting point. Practice the song’s intro and incorporate hybrid picking into other parts of the song. Check out some external resources, like “Country Guitarists Who Use Hybrid Picking” for inspiration and tips on how to improve your hybrid picking skills.

To improve even further, try practicing exercises that target your hybrid picking skills. Boost your knowledge and learn more about hybrid picking through the various online resources available — check out “Boosting Hybrid Picking Exercises” for some tips.

In summary, “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band is an excellent example of how hybrid picking can take a country song to the next level. By learning to use the technique and integrating it into your playing style, you can create a unique sound that can become your signature style. So why not give it a try?

Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis

One of the most beloved country music classics, “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis, is a beautiful example of how hybrid picking can add texture and complexity to simple chord progressions. The song, released in 1987, was a number one hit on country charts and has remained a fan favorite for decades.

In this song, the guitar picking involves alternating between picking fingers and plucking strings with the pick. The hybrid picking technique creates a unique tone that blends a crisp attack with a warmer, more rounded note. Combining the two techniques results in a much fuller sound.

To play the song, guitarists should first focus on getting the chord progression down. The song uses G, C, and D chords throughout its entirety. When it comes to the solo, hybrid picking really shines. The guitar solo features a mix of single-note runs and double stops that make use of hybrid picking.

Here is a table showing exactly which hybrid-picked notes are used in the solo:

Hybrid Picked Notes Used in Solo Time in Song
G string, 2nd fret pulled off to open, then played with pick 0:53-0:54
B string, 3rd fret played with middle finger, then open G string played with pick 0:56-0:57
B string, 3rd fret hammered on, then G string and B string played together with pick 0:59-1:00
D string, 4th fret played with pick, then 2nd fret pulled off to open with hybrid picking 1:02-1:03
G string, 2nd fret played with pick, followed by an ascending hammer-on and pull-off sequence using hybrid picking 1:05-1:07

Aspiring guitarists looking to improve their hybrid picking skills can take advantage of exercises to develop their technique. Check out these exercises to improve your hybrid picking abilities and take your playing to the next level.

In summary, “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis is a classic country song that makes great use of hybrid picking to create a rich and full-bodied sound. Guitarists can add this song to their repertoire and use it as inspiration to develop their own hybrid picking skills. If you want to learn more about different guitar picking techniques, check out this article that compares hybrid picking to flatpicking.

Honey Bee by Blake Shelton

One of the most popular country songs that use hybrid picking technique is “Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton. This song was released in 2011 and quickly became a hit due to its catchy melody and sweet lyrics.

The song’s intro features a classic country guitar riff played using hybrid picking. The riff consists of short and precise notes that blend perfectly with the rest of the instruments. The use of hybrid picking technique in this song adds a unique flavor to the melody that makes it stand out.

Hybrid picking allows guitarists to alternate between picking and plucking strings with their fingers. It creates a more dynamic and versatile sound that is particularly suitable for country music. In “Honey Bee”, the use of hybrid picking elevates the song to a higher level, making it more interesting and engaging.

If you want to learn how to create similar country licks using hybrid picking, check out our article on “How To Create Country Licks Using Hybrid Picking”. You can also read our comparison article on “Hybrid Picking vs Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar” to learn more about different techniques used in acoustic guitar playing.

Blake Shelton is not the only country artist who uses hybrid picking in his music. Many other famous guitarists such as Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Brent Mason incorporate this technique into their playing. To learn more about these artists and how they use hybrid picking, check out our article on “5 Country Guitarists Who Use Hybrid Picking”.

Need You Now by Lady Antebellum

“Need You Now” is a popular country song by Lady Antebellum that was released in 2009. This song uses hybrid picking on the electric guitar to create a unique sound.

The intro of the song features a simple hybrid picking pattern using the G and B strings. The pattern involves plucking the G string with the pick and then plucking the B string with the middle finger. This creates a “chicken picking” sound that is common in country music.

In the chorus of “Need You Now”, the guitar plays a melodic riff using hybrid picking. The riff involves playing notes on the G and B strings while alternating between picking with the pick and plucking with the middle finger. It is a challenging technique to master, but it adds a lot of character to the song.

In the verse section, the guitar uses a more subtle approach with hybrid picking. The electric guitar plays a simple arpeggio pattern using hybrid picking on the G, B, and high E strings. This adds a layer of texture to the song and fills out the sound.

Overall, “Need You Now” is an excellent example of how hybrid picking can be used in country music to add a unique sound and flavor to a song. If you are looking to learn how to use hybrid picking in your own playing, this song is a great starting point.

To summarize, the use of hybrid picking in “Need You Now” showcases the versatility of this technique in different parts of a song. The following table highlights the key points:

Technique used: Hybrid picking on the electric guitar
Key features: Chicken picking sound, melodic riff, arpeggio pattern
Benefits: Adds a unique sound to the song, creates texture and fills out the sound, showcases the versatility of hybrid picking

Overall, “Need You Now” is a great example of how hybrid picking can be used in country music to elevate a song and give it a distinct sound.

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How To Use Hybrid Picking In Country Music

Once you know what hybrid picking is, it’s time to start using it in your country music playing. Hybrid picking offers a unique sound and adds depth and dimension to your playing. Here are some tips on how to use hybrid picking in country music:

Technique: The first step to using hybrid picking in country music is to master the technique. This involves using a pick and your fingers simultaneously to pluck strings. One common method is to use your pick to pick the lower strings while using your middle and ring fingers to pick the higher strings. Start by practicing this technique slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

Exercises to Improve Hybrid Picking: To improve your hybrid picking skills, you can practice using exercises. Start with simple exercises such as picking a single string with your pick while using your middle finger to simultaneously hit an adjacent string, then switch to using your ring finger for a different string. You can also practice playing arpeggios or picking patterns to improve your overall finger dexterity.

Once you have mastered the technique and improved your skills, you can start incorporating hybrid picking into your country playing. Here are some ideas:

– In a simple chord progression, you can use hybrid picking to play alternating bass notes between the root and fifth of each chord. This creates a driving rhythm and adds some variation to your playing.
– Use hybrid picking to play melody lines or licks. This can create a more complex sound and capture the attention of the listener.
– Try playing some of your favorite country songs using hybrid picking instead of solely using a pick. This can give the song a new sound and inspire you to be more creative in your playing.

Hybrid picking is a valuable skill to have in your country music toolbox. By mastering the technique and incorporating it into your playing, you can add a unique sound to your music that sets you apart from others. Keep practicing and experimenting to see how hybrid picking can enhance your country playing.


Mastering hybrid picking technique requires a certain level of dedication and patience. It may seem daunting at first, but with consistent practice and a thorough understanding of the mechanics involved, it is definitely achievable. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the nuances of hybrid picking and provide you with practical tips and tricks to elevate your playing to the next level. So grab your guitar, get comfortable, and let’s dive in!

Exercises To Improve Hybrid Picking

To improve your hybrid picking technique for playing country music, here are some exercises that you can incorporate into your practice routine:

  • String Skipping Exercise: In this exercise, you’ll alternate between notes on non-adjacent strings. Start by playing the 1st string with your pick, and then plucking the 3rd string with your middle finger. Then, play the 2nd string with your pick and pluck the 4th string with your ring finger. Go back and forth between these two sets of strings, gradually increasing your speed.
  • Chord Strumming Exercise: This exercise involves picking individual notes within a chord, while also strumming the remaining notes. Start by practicing a simple chord progression, such as G, C, and D. Pick the notes on the G and D strings with your fingers while strumming the remaining strings with your pick. As you become more comfortable with this, try incorporating more intricate picking patterns into your chord progressions.
  • Arpeggio Exercise: In this exercise, you’ll be picking each note in a chord individually, in sequence. Start with a simple chord, such as G, and pick each note in ascending order with your fingers. Once you’ve reached the highest note in the sequence, start over again at the bottom and repeat. As you become more comfortable with this exercise, try incorporating different chord progressions and picking patterns.
  • Hybrid Picking Licks: Learn and practice specific hybrid picking licks used in country songs. Start with easy licks that you can play slowly and accurately, and then gradually work your way up to faster and more complex licks.

Incorporating these exercises into your practice routine will help you improve your hybrid picking technique and elevate your country guitar playing to new heights. Remember to start slow and focus on accuracy before increasing your speed. Practice regularly and consistently, and before you know it, you’ll be playing your favorite country songs with ease and confidence.


After exploring some of the most iconic country songs that utilize hybrid picking, it’s clear to see the impact this technique has had on the genre. With its ability to create a greater range of sound and add a unique flair to a musician’s playing style, it’s no wonder why hybrid picking has become such a staple in the country music scene.

Furthermore, musicians who incorporate hybrid picking into their playing technique are able to showcase their individuality and unique sound. This not only adds depth and excitement to their music, but it also allows them to stand out in a crowded industry. Aspiring country musicians who are looking to make a name for themselves can take notes from the likes of Dolly Parton, Zac Brown Band, Randy Travis, Blake Shelton, and Lady Antebellum to hone their hybrid picking skills and create their own signature sound.

In conclusion, hybrid picking is a highly versatile and valuable technique in the country music genre. Its unique sound and benefits make it a crucial skill for aspiring musicians to learn and incorporate into their playing style. With practice and dedication, anyone can master this technique and join the ranks of some of country music’s greatest players.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes hybrid picking different from other picking techniques?

Unlike other picking techniques, hybrid picking allows the player to use their fingers in addition to the pick, creating a more versatile sound.

What are some benefits of using hybrid picking?

Hybrid picking allows for greater speed and accuracy in playing, as well as added dynamic range and tone variation.

What are some ways to incorporate hybrid picking into my playing?

Some ways include using hybrid picking for arpeggios, playing fast licks, and adding embellishments to chord progressions.

Is hybrid picking difficult to learn?

Like most techniques, hybrid picking takes practice to master. However, with patience and dedication, anyone can learn to successfully use hybrid picking.

Can hybrid picking be used in genres other than country music?

Yes, hybrid picking can be used in a variety of genres, including rock, blues, and jazz.

Do I need any special equipment to use hybrid picking?

No, hybrid picking can be done with any standard pick and guitar.

Are there any famous guitarists who use hybrid picking?

Yes, many famous guitarists including Mark Knopfler, Lindsey Buckingham, and Brent Mason use hybrid picking in their playing.

What are some exercises to improve hybrid picking?

Some exercises include practicing scales with hybrid picking, playing arpeggios and chord progressions using the technique, and gradually increasing the speed at which you play.

Can hybrid picking be used in acoustic guitar playing?

Yes, hybrid picking can be used in both electric and acoustic guitar playing.

What is the difference between hybrid picking and fingerstyle picking?

Hybrid picking involves using a pick and fingers together, while fingerstyle picking typically involves using only the fingers to pluck the strings.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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