What to Remember When Performing Blackberry Smoke's "One Horse Town"

You’ll notice in the verse and chorus sections for “One Horse Town” that guitarists Charlie Starr and Paul Jackson play open strings at the end of each bar, just before each chord change. Sometimes referred to as the “all-purpose passing chord,” these brief, transitional open-string moments serve to buy a guitarist valuable time to move to the next chord without having to instantly switch fingerings, and they help produce a more relaxed, natural-sounding strum rhythm, while also lending a gritty, rock and roll vibe to a chord progression.

Starr begins his guitar solo (see section F) by fingerpicking his way through a series of melodic double-stops (two-note chords). As you play through bars 51–54, use your pick hand’s middle and ring fingers to pluck both strings simultaneously, as opposed to strumming them.

You could achieve the same effect using hybrid picking, whereby you pick the two strings with your plectrum and middle finger together. Either way, be sure to keep the pick handy for the chorus section that follows. To recreate Starr’s short, poppy-sounding double-stop articulations, momentarily rest your picking fingers on the strings immediately after plucking any of the notes with staccato dots appearing above them.

When playing through the solo’s climax in bar 57, fret the lower G note (D string, fifth fret) during beat three with the tip of your ring finger, then barre the finger across the G string as you move to the higher C note at the same fret. When returning back to the G note to perform the grace note slide on beat four, simply “stand” your finger back on its tip. This is key to recreating the fast chicken pickin’ sound of this definitively country-style lick!

For Jeff Perrin's tab of this song, pick up the July 2018 issue of Guitar World.

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