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The Open E Position ‘Suzie Q’ Lick

This is one of the real “foundational” licks of rock guitar, created way back in the late ‘50s by the great James Burton while playing with Dale Hawkins, who did the first recording of this song. It was later popularized by John Fogerty with Creedence Clearwater Revival in the late ‘60s, and represents one of the great “hybrid” picking licks of all-time.

At the heart of this lick is the idea of a “constant” bass as an integral part of the pattern, with many of the higher licks played in perfect synch with the bass part, while certain left-hand pull-offs help propel it. It should also be pointed out that bends and slides can also substitute for the left-hand pull-off approach.

Burton played it in a more up-tempo “jump” style with Hawkins, while  Fogerty’s approach was much more direct and slowed down, without the use of any slides or pull-offs. You’ll find, as I demonstrate both styles, that they are equally effective, even though they are so different. Hope you enjoy both, and make them a part of your Rock and Roll repertoire!—Arlen Roth

Click here to check out the Les Paul Traditional from Gibson USA that Arlen is playing!
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