Add Fingerpicking Fills to Melody Lines

by Andrew DuBrock

The goal of good fingerpicking accompaniment is to support the song you’re playing the best you can. Short fills between vocal lines, like the one in Example 9, can be a nice contrast to straight pattern picking. 

ARB.Ch12.Examples 9-13
Click to enlarge.

During intros, interludes, and instrumental sections, you may have a melody or fill in mind that you want to play along with the accompaniment. The key is to know the melody you want and construct the accompaniment appropriately. For instance, let’s take the rhythmic melody line in Example 10, which uses rhythms similar to James Taylor’s “Country Road,” and add a fill on the end. We could add bass notes on the beat, as in Example 11, but this sounds a bit stiff, so let’s try following the chords more closely, playing a bass note with each chord, as in Example 12. It’s still a bit underwhelming—I often find that bass lines sound best when they’re rhythmically independent from the melody, but accent the melody by coming together at key points, as in Example 13. Here, every note in the bass is played independently of the melody except during the resolve to the A chord on the and of beat two, just before the fill.

Excerpted from Acoustic Rock Basics

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