Help me country

ArdeliasTele

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Alright, folks, I need some help, and figure there are people here who can direct me.

I want to start learning and playing some country.

I've never really listened to country...I've always been a rock/hard rock/metal guy (or classical/orchestral); grew up with the Stones, Queen, and Zeppelin, took a hard right turn into metal around the time Master of Puppets and (especially) Rust In Peace dropped, and never looked back.

I've accidentally heard some country or country-ish noises, of course....the Stones had their country-ish period (Little Red Rooster, even Wild Horses to a degree), and of course I love me some Johnny Cash (because it's Johnny Cash and I'm not a monster). I'm also a child of the 80s and early 90s, so I was in high school when the Garth Brooks "arena country/rock" thing happened, and I couldn't help but hear some of that.

Outside of that, I'm not sure where to start. What I'm trying to do is get that "shock" of motivation and inspiration from jumping into the deep end of a genre I know nothing about, and country is the modern genre I know the least about. I'm comfortable truly going deep end....don't feel like you have to bridge the gap for me and make it an easy entry.

Any and all suggestions on where to start, both listening and playing, are appreciated.
 

moosie

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Little Red Rooster was blues, not country. For the Stones / Keith, check out Dead Flowers, Faraway Eyes, Sweet Virginia, Country Honk, Dear Doctor, Torn and Frayed....

Bakersfield. Buck Owens and the Buckaroos (Don Rich on Tele). It's a more 'direct' approach than the often overly instrumented Nashville stuff.

Other players: Albert Lee, James Burton, Luther Perkins (Johnny Cash's Tele player - well.. Esquire). Roy Nichols.

Clarence White / Byrds. The seminal album Sweetheart of the Rodeo is arguably the start of "country rock". Amazing album. But don't get too hung up trying to match Clarence's bendy technique: he pioneered the B-Bender.

For something current, check out Jason Isbell.


While you're exploring some of this, you may notice some bleed over into things like Rockabilly. Scotty Moore was one of Elvis' guitarists (Burton another). Cliff Gallup played with Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. Grady Martin. For a modern take: Brian Setzer.
 

ArdeliasTele

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Little Red Rooster was blues, not country. For the Stones / Keith, check out Dead Flowers, Faraway Eyes, Sweet Virginia, Country Honk, Dear Doctor, Torn and Frayed....
That's fair...I guess I tend to lump LRR in with Dead Flowers and the like. To the point you made later, there's a lot of bleed over. To me (someone who does listen to a lot of blues, and basically no country), it comes off with a very country flavor....but that could be my lack of familiarity with country. I'd forgotten about Dead Flowers and Sweet Virginia though, and those are inarguable.
 

moosie

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I recently discovered this youtube educator, who does a fair amount of country, as well as a very eclectic selection of other stuff. He's intelligent, and takes time to explain the relevant theory, without boring me to death. And he's not a showoff lightning fast chicken picker, like so many on YT. Might be worth a look.

 

Jazzcaster21

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Alright, folks, I need some help, and figure there are people here who can direct me.

I want to start learning and playing some country.

I've never really listened to country...I've always been a rock/hard rock/metal guy (or classical/orchestral); grew up with the Stones, Queen, and Zeppelin, took a hard right turn into metal around the time Master of Puppets and (especially) Rust In Peace dropped, and never looked back.

I've accidentally heard some country or country-ish noises, of course....the Stones had their country-ish period (Little Red Rooster, even Wild Horses to a degree), and of course I love me some Johnny Cash (because it's Johnny Cash and I'm not a monster). I'm also a child of the 80s and early 90s, so I was in high school when the Garth Brooks "arena country/rock" thing happened, and I couldn't help but hear some of that.

Outside of that, I'm not sure where to start. What I'm trying to do is get that "shock" of motivation and inspiration from jumping into the deep end of a genre I know nothing about, and country is the modern genre I know the least about. I'm comfortable truly going deep end....don't feel like you have to bridge the gap for me and make it an easy entry.

Any and all suggestions on where to start, both listening and playing, are appreciated.
I started getting deep with the Bakersfield stuff because I have been playing it with a friend of mine for the last few years and I was tired of sounding like a half-assed country guitar player. Roy Nichols has some great lines and they are relatively easy to pick out. His solo on "Working Man Blues" from the Merle Haggard "Okie from Muskogee" 1969 Live record is a good, fun one to learn for some basic country blues licks. The Austin City Limits 1978 version is another good one. Really, anything that Roy plays is worth transcribing.

I have also dug into Don Rich, who played with Buck Owens, Ray Flacke (Ricky Skaggs), Albert Lee, Brent Mason and Redd Volkaert. I haven't really listened much to the newer guys: Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, etc. other than Vince Gill and the guitar player who is on Sturgill Simpson's 2nd and 3rd records: Laur Joamets. Right now I stay firmly in the traditional, honky-tonk country stuff and probably will.

If I am listening to a specific country song, hear a lick I like, I may transcribe it and then learn it in all 12 keys before trying to come up with my own variation.

I have also used a few books to get some basic vocabulary under my fingers and they are:

"Country Licks for Guitar" (Steve Trovato)
.

Lots of useful stuff here and enough to get you started.

"The Musician's Institute Country Guitar Method"

Everything you need to know about the style and plenty of examples.

"25 Great Country Guitar Solos"

A nice range of solos from the early days of country to the modern era.

Redd Volkaert also has a course on True Fire, "Redd Hot Guitar" which is extremely helpful and fun to work through.

Also, if you don't know your CAGED major guitar shapes like the back of your hand now, you will by the time you spend some time playing country because it's all about the shapes and so many of the licks you play come directly from them. If you are metal guy, then you probably know your minor pentatonic, other minor scales and minor arpeggios well because so many of those solos use those elements. You will see that country is a lot of major pentatonic, major blues, minor blues and mixolydian based ideas.

Have fun!
 

Jazzcaster21

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Little Red Rooster was blues, not country. For the Stones / Keith, check out Dead Flowers, Faraway Eyes, Sweet Virginia, Country Honk, Dear Doctor, Torn and Frayed....

Bakersfield. Buck Owens and the Buckaroos (Don Rich on Tele). It's a more 'direct' approach than the often overly instrumented Nashville stuff.

Other players: Albert Lee, James Burton, Luther Perkins (Johnny Cash's Tele player - well.. Esquire). Roy Nichols.

Clarence White / Byrds. The seminal album Sweetheart of the Rodeo is arguably the start of "country rock". Amazing album. But don't get too hung up trying to match Clarence's bendy technique: he pioneered the B-Bender.

For something current, check out Jason Isbell.


While you're exploring some of this, you may notice some bleed over into things like Rockabilly. Scotty Moore was one of Elvis' guitarists (Burton another). Cliff Gallup played with Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. Grady Martin. For a modern take: Brian Setzer.
I forgot all about Clarence White!
 

Jazzcaster21

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Check out the Grateful Dead playing old country tunes if you like: "Big River", "Race Is On", "El Paso", Mama Tried". Jerry Garcia has some cool lines and then you can't forget about Dickey Betts from the Allman Brothers Band. "Blue Sky", "Jessica", Rambin Man", etc.

I would say that those two bands were probably my first exposure to country style guitar playing in a non "pure country" style. Like someone mentioned above too, I can't forget the Stones. Keith Richards hung out with Gram Parsons who turned him onto old "good country", like George Jones. In return, Keith turned Gram onto heroin.
 

Boxla

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Just go to the number one country artists ever, even bigger and better than the great Johnny Cash--Waylon Jennings! Pretty much anything but especially his 1970's output. As good as country, singing and guitar slinging gets.

New stuff-- i recommend Whiskey Myers. They'll definitely satisfy your rock and country itch.
 

Double Stop

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All of the aforementioned suggestions are great, but if you just go to YouTube and search "Country Guitar Lessons", that would be a fantastic place to start. You'll probably find a couple of guys on there whose videos you dig, and you'll soon be on your way. That's the beauty of YouTube. There's lots of horrible crap on there, too, like guys that obviously are playing something "wrong", but you don't have to dig too deep before you find some keepers.

Like the Blues, Country guitar is simple in structure but quite challenging to make it sing. You'll soon discover the beauty of chromaticism, half-step slides, and tricky "pedal steel" type unison bends. Happy trails.
 




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