Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Country Guitar Tips!?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ecsong187, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. ecsong187

    ecsong187 Tele-Meister

    Jan 3, 2008
    Hey guys I really want to get into some country guitar playing. I love Brad Paisley and Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland, etc. I've immersed myself in the music, but when I go to play guitar I can't bust out any country licks. Anyone know any good sites with country licks, or tips on gettings into the country style guitar playing? I've always been a huge metal player so this is a whole new world to me and I don't even know where to start. haha
    thanks for the help
    edwin song

  2. JM in Va

    JM in Va TDPRI Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Edwin - if you are interested in learning the style I would definitely recommend learning songs first, instead of jumping into Brent Mason's lick catalog, lol although if you are a metal player you might already have the dexterity to do it!
    I would also add that to be a convincing country picker (or any style for that matter...) you really need to have a feel for the music, and in that sense you might start with some old Haggard records or Buck Owens, etc...and pick up the licks as you go. You'd be surprised how many licks from the 60's and 70's are regurgitated in today's country music.
    The problem I always encounter with aspiring country players is a lack of the 'feel' of the music. Jumping in head-first with blazing solos is fun, but really, 97% of the time you spend playing a song is rhythm
    better know what to do during that time! :eek:

    So, not to scare, but to encourage, I would say to try and learn to appreciate the early stuff. I can sit down and play Yngwie note-for-note too, but I can also fully appreciate some good ol' Cliff Gallup licks!

    rock...err Twang on!

  3. Brennantele

    Brennantele Tele-Meister

    Apr 18, 2007
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    try this (move it around too)

    Play the double stops with your ring and middle fingers.


  4. ecsong187

    ecsong187 Tele-Meister

    Jan 3, 2008
    thanks for the tips guys. Yea i know to learn the basics. i'm listening to a lot of chet and buck owens stuff. I just have the same problem of i can learn the licks and play a lot of them, but i can't make them flow over chord changes
    edwin song

  5. Valvey

    Valvey Tele-Holic

    Apr 5, 2007
    morgantown wv
    In blues or some kinds of progressive rock you can learn a scale or an arpeggio and start making up your own licks. In country lead playing you need to learn a grab bag of licks that people identify with the genre. These include double stops, pedal steel bends, chicken pickin' (a kind of rhythmic muting),etc.. Once you have enough of these in your head you can string them together to form a solo. It takes a while.

  6. ecsong187

    ecsong187 Tele-Meister

    Jan 3, 2008
    yea i'm in that phase of gathering licks and trying to assemble my solos. haha
    edwin song

  7. OzDoug64

    OzDoug64 Tele-Meister

    Oct 31, 2007
    Gold Coast - Australia
    Try this web site I made for guys like yourself.

    I am starting to realise I need to pick my speed up to get those Paisley licks working.

    Anyone have any recommendations besides Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert tutorials for speed training?

  8. jonitkin

    jonitkin Tele-Meister

    Oct 15, 2007
    New York City
    i consider myself an intermediate country player, defnitiely no fret-burning madman, but i'm working on it. a while ago i discovered coutnry and i was in the same boat as you.

    i'm 90% self taught, so making the jump from straight blues riffage to country was tough. i took a couple lessons, and this is what made it possible:

    CAGED Theory. I printed up posters of caged theory scale patters and put them on my wall. a lot of country licks originate in CAGED patterns, especially when you're using a mixolidian scale, which is just a major scale with a flatted 7th. When you're going for speed, it really helps to have those patterns down.

    Hybrid Picking: I still pracitice banjo rolls every day. schooling your right hand is crucial to playing country rhythm and leads.

    you can certainly get more advanced than that, but that's a good way to get rolling. also, getting ahold of some country jam-along tracks and a metronome is a fine idea.

  9. Grin'n'pick

    Grin'n'pick Friend of Leo's

    Agree with this. I wasn't getting anywhere until I got with a band doing older stuff. I found Merle Haggard songs especially helpful, and still do! They're like a dictionary of country guitar licks and the range is quite diverse.

  10. DavyA

    DavyA Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2006
    Longmont Colorado
    Something that may help is to try playing chord tones instead of thinking scales. In Metal or Blues we tend to "think" scales. Using that approach in Country it just sounds like you're playing scales.

    This will certianly help with double stops which are a country thing fer sure.

    Also try learning the melody and improvising off of that.

  11. CLAZ

    CLAZ Tele-Meister

    Apr 4, 2007
    fall in love with the steel guitar played right ;)

  12. jakesinclair

    jakesinclair TDPRI Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    Springhurst, VIC
    get on youtube, type in country guitar lessons... alot of the time seeing people play country licks is alot easier than listening to them... ive been lucky, sitting on the side of stages watching the pro guys do it since I was little... :)

    I think erik halbig published a book on country licks didnt he?

    buy some dvds... like the players live, albert lee, brad paisley... some great stuff out there... good luck!

  13. SatelliteOrders

    SatelliteOrders Friend of Leo's

    Mar 3, 2008
    Lafayette, IN
    Everyone has different things to get them in. Two points helped me: Going to major pentatonics by dropping blues licks back three frets, and playing to the chord, not the scale.

  14. brokenjoe

    brokenjoe Friend of Leo's

    Mar 1, 2009
    To learn the chicken's language, one must first start thinking like a chicken.

    -Chickens don't use vibrato much; the rare exception being the exotic Italian chicken.
    -Chickens have a very light touch, AND their walk is muted with both feet.
    -Chickens are fairly happy-go-lucky by nature, but sometimes they get the blues.
    -Chickens don't like too much sustain or distortion. It scares them and makes them think that they are talking to a penguin from the South Pole.
    -Chickens don't need a metal slide on their necks to sound like they're in heat.
    -Chickens love comedy -except for REDD FOXX!!!
    -Chickens get mildly annoyed when they're mistaken for a rooster, hen, or god forbid, a turkey. They'll be the first one to tell you that 'it's chicken picking NOT hen pecked!'

    There you go. Now grow some feathers!

  15. Onyx Z

    Onyx Z Tele-Meister

    Nov 8, 2006
    Lake Conroe, TX
    what exactly do yall mean by playing the "chord not the scale" and "playing chord tones"? im lost in this respect.

  16. HC

    HC Tele-Holic

    Dec 14, 2004
    In country you "have to" use different scales/note choices according to the chord you're playing over.
    In rock/blues you can stick to the G pentatonic exclusively in a G-C-D progression. This wouldn't sound right in country. Over the G chord you'd play the G major pentatonic(or major scale or mixolydian), the C maj pentatonic over the C and the D maj pentatonic over the D chord. You play over the chord changes much like a jazzplayer would.

    When playing chord tones you play the tones that make up the chord. A G major chord is made up of the notes G-B-D. C major is C-E-G.... The 1st, 2nd and 5th notes of the major scale.
    The notes can be found all over the fretboard so you can use them as startingpoint at different places. Link them together using chromatics, other scale tones, bends, slides etc etc...

    Hope this helps. :cool:

  17. Budda

    Budda Tele-Holic

    Apr 27, 2009
    Well, I bet you would do best by listening to ONLY Country Music for a month or two. To the total exclusion of every other type of Music. Just soak it up! As a Rock Player, you have probably spent uears listening to Rock. Well, it's the same here.
    I'd suggest starting with Carter Family, and move through the years (Musically) until you are well versed in "Country Music". Also, not just the Roots (Celtic and European Flok Musics too), but the Branches: Maybe some Jimmy Rogers, Johnny Cash, Doc Watson, etc.

    Maybe everyone here could compile a 100 Must Know Tunes that spell out the history and progression of Country Music? Might be fun! I'll start:

    Red River Valley
    Grey Speckled Bird
    Wildwood Flower
    Arkansas Traveler

    Anyway, closer to what you may want:

    Here's some very useful Chord Voicings:

     G     G/B   G/D        G   C   D     G   C   D     G   C    D    G    C      
     D      G    C    D        D G  D   C      G       D       C       D          
       G   Gm     G   Gm    G    Gm       G    Em    G     Bm                     
    I'd get VERY familiar with these.

    As far as playing with Chord Tones? Maybe think of Chord Tones (CT) as Targets to hit. When you hit a CT, it sounds "inside" and "Solid, safe". Non Chord Tones usually sound like a Transition, whereas CTs sound like a Resolution.

    Try playing a Solo using only the Notes of the Chords as the Chords appear in the Progression. No "passing" Notes or Scales. Limiting yourself like this, will help to give your playing some direction.

    When you can improvise a Solo/Melody that allows the listener to hear the Chord Changes even when there are no other instruments playing, you're on your way with CT Soloing.
    This takes some time. So, you would probably do well to "write" a few Solos like this. Memorize them, and they will help you to slowly transition to being able to freely do this "on the fly".

    These "Shapes" will also help:

     G7 (Using Key Of C Patterns)     C7 (Using Key Of F Patterns)                
     D7  (Using Key Of G Patterns)                                                
    Hope this helps!:cool:

  18. Mojohand40

    Mojohand40 Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 17, 2005
    good advice...but...
    Thats' "Great Speckled Bird" not "grey"...:)

    I'll add:
    "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy"
    "Blue Yodel #9"
    "If You Got The Money"
    "Walking The Floor"
    "Wabash Cannonball"
    "Under the Double Eagle"
    .... etc..

    And I'll second what others said about chords.
    Also really try and utilize the plain old Major Scale and figure out melodies/
    Personally, I try and play so I can hear some of the melody in every solo. I learned that from playing with old time/bluegrass guys. I was taught that if you couldn't hear the melody in the break (mandolin or banjo or flat top..) you weren't playing it right. (Not that that's necessarily true, of course! Just what a lot of old timers say.)
    Most modern players have gone away from this, and that's cool. It's just a question of style. Personally I miss the older styles of country.

    Anyway, I think a good grounding in playing simple, solid rhythm and more melodic solos would benefit a lot of those striving to make the move toward country, even if they eventually abandon that and move to the more flashy modern "chicken pickin" stuff.

    Just my 2 cents...

  19. SatelliteOrders

    SatelliteOrders Friend of Leo's

    Mar 3, 2008
    Lafayette, IN
    Foggy Mountain Breakdown
    Your Cheatin' Heart
    The Rodeo Song

  20. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    A Few More

    You Win Again (and just about any of Hank Williams's other songs)
    Will the Circle Be Unbroken
    San Antonio Rose

    I've been playing guitar for more than thirty years, and now I'm trying to learn how. . .och, tamale.

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