Today’s guitar lick is inspired by one that Mark Knopfler played in Sultans of Swing. Specifically, the lick in the second verse after the “jazz goes down” line. That lick is played over an A major chord, and if you dissect it, you discover that all of the notes in that lick are simply straight out of that chord, plus the fourth, which you’d normally use to create a suspended fourth chord.
Mark uses triads – small three note chords – a TON in his playing, but he rarely does it in such a way that it sounds like a chord. Hopefully this lick helps point you down the path towards that same playing style.
We’re looking at two different A major shapes – the first is an “open D chord” shape, but moved up so the root note is an A on the 10th fret, 2nd string.
The second A major shape is just a full root 6 bar chord, on the fifth fret.
Here’s the jam track, if you want to try it for yourself!
If you’re interested in going deeper with triads, and applying them to your licks and solos, check out my Secrets of Tasty Riffs and Solos course!