Help me country

Flat6Driver

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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.


Why?

Not to be a jerk but I see threads like this and I'm like, what are you trying to accomplish.

Open your browser and look at YouTube. Pick a song, if you like it listen again and learn it. Or turn on Pandora.

I'm hard pressed to learn a new genre if I don't like it unless I'm being paid to do so.

You'll get a list of bands people here like, but you might not.

I played with a guy that liked "country". I'm like cool, Willie, Waylon and the boys. No, it was that gawdaful crap they play at the beach and call country.

Have fun.
 

brindlepicker

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You can click on some of the pics of him with guitar to get some fill and run recordings of Brent Mason in studio
 

teletail

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I've never really listened to country...
That's where you start. Saying you want to learn country is like saying you want to learn rock music. What country? Traditional, Outlaw Country, Bro Country, Country Rock? The first thing you need to do is identify what genre of country you want to learn. The second thing is to start listening to it. The third thing is to start transcribing it and learning it. It's like learning a new language. You aren't going to learn a few random licks and all of a sudden sound like a country player.

I'd also suggest lessons with a good country player. You can get lessons with world class players via Skype. I've had some lessons with Johnny Hiland, Daniel Donato and a DC guy name Dave Chappel who is probably one of the best guitar players you've never heard of.

Good luck
 

JL_LI

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There are more country sub-genres than you can imagine. The stuff I play is mostly ‘90s to ‘10. I was never into the “Let’s get drunk and hook up in the back of my truck” stuff. All I can suggest is listening to streams or SXM channels to find what YOU like. There’s no bad country music. Just stuff that some of us don’t like. But don’t let that stop you from listening to what you like.
 

ArdeliasTele

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I'm hard pressed to learn a new genre if I don't like it unless I'm being paid to do so.
Because not everybody is this way.

I've learned a ton as a musician...particularly as a composer...from listening to music I hate. I can't stand listening to Phillip Glass, but I recognize the innovations he was chasing, and I've learned a ton from listening to and studying his work. It also stimulated a burst of "here's how I would have done it instead", which is exactly the kind of inspiration I'm looking for.

I could say the same thing about Handel, Haydn, Chopin, the Beatles, and pretty much every jazz piece I've ever heard.

I've already gotten suggestions from people I'd have never considered, and the best suggestions haven't just suggested artists, but pointed out what I'm likely to learn from them...that kind of thing is gold.

I totally respect that's the way you approach music, and a lot of people are that way, but I'm also not the only person who approaches it my way, either.
 

Ajs91

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Why?

Not to be a jerk but I see threads like this and I'm like, what are you trying to accomplish.

Open your browser and look at YouTube. Pick a song, if you like it listen again and learn it. Or turn on Pandora.

I'm hard pressed to learn a new genre if I don't like it unless I'm being paid to do so.

You'll get a list of bands people here like, but you might not.

I played with a guy that liked "country". I'm like cool, Willie, Waylon and the boys. No, it was that gawdaful crap they play at the beach and call country.

Have fun.
I have to agree to a point^

"Teach me country" is sort of like someone saying "teach me rock"

The easiest thing for me sometimes when I am trying to get into a new genre is to go onto Spotify and make a new playlist. I'll add the songs from that general genre that I know I like. Then I will see if there are any artist or era overlaps to explore. Then I will look at Spotify's song recommendations below my playlist and see if I like any of those songs too based on their algorithm.

It can be a fun way to go down the rabbit hole of a certain sub genre!

That said... if I personally want to introduce someone to a legit musician that is a guitar master of the country world (regardless of what their definition of country is) then I am flat out recommending Redd Volkaert. But, YMMV, you may like someone else more - and that is what makes music pretty great imo!

 

teletail

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Why?

Not to be a jerk but I see threads like this and I'm like, what are you trying to accomplish.

Open your browser and look at YouTube. Pick a song, if you like it listen again and learn it. Or turn on Pandora.

I'm hard pressed to learn a new genre if I don't like it unless I'm being paid to do so.

You'll get a list of bands people here like, but you might not.

I played with a guy that liked "country". I'm like cool, Willie, Waylon and the boys. No, it was that gawdaful crap they play at the beach and call country.

Have fun.
+1
I don't know the OP so I'm NOT talking about him, but many times, this is code for, "I want to learn a few [insert genre of your choice] licks and sound like an authentic [insert genre of your choice] guitarist. To learn a new genre that you've never even listened to before takes a lot of time and a lot of work.
 

ArdeliasTele

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That's where you start. Saying you want to learn country is like saying you want to learn rock music. What country? Traditional, Outlaw Country, Bro Country, Country Rock? The first thing you need to do is identify what genre of country you want to learn. The second thing is to start listening to it. The third thing is to start transcribing it and learning it. It's like learning a new language. You aren't going to learn a few random licks and all of a sudden sound like a country player.
Yes. Which is why I said "listening and playing". What you describe is precisely my intent. :)

But (also like "rock"), it's a huge umbrella, and some starting points are appreciated. It would be different if I'd been listening to it (even casually) my whole life...I'd at least have a starting point. I haven't.
 

ArdeliasTele

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I have to agree to a point^

"Teach me country" is sort of like someone saying "teach me rock"
And if I'd said "teach me country" (or something similar) outside the title of the thread, I'd totally get where you're coming from.

I guess...I thought I was pretty clear what my intentions were and what that road looked like. If not, that's cool....but I'll admit it's a little disappointing to have whether the question was even legitimate suddenly be the discussion, you know?
 

ArdeliasTele

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+1
I don't know the OP so I'm NOT talking about him, but many times, this is code for, "I want to learn a few [insert genre of your choice] licks and sound like an authentic [insert genre of your choice] guitarist. To learn a new genre that you've never even listened to before takes a lot of time and a lot of work.
Totally respect that, and no...that's not what I'm after. I'm not even sure who I'd be trying to fake my authenticity to...the vast majority of my playing is for myself anyway.

It does take a lot of time and a lot of work...as well as making sure you're not being too narrow in what you absorb to learn from. Hence me asking for suggestions.

Honestly, without asking this question, I'd be listening to and trying to learn from Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, and whatever happens to be in the top 20 this week. And I'd probably learn a lot...but I also don't know what I'd be missing.
 

OlRedNeckHippy

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As the singer/band leader in country bands for the last 30 years or so, I've seen a lot of Rock players try to "Go Country" and fail miserably. Especially drummers. It is not easy.

I'd suggest getting very comfortable with Major scales.
Listen to Brooks and Dunn. Get their greatest hits album, put it on, and play along.
Most of the lead work will be Brent Mason. He is amazing.
Mason is credited with over 1000 recordings.
We are currently working on putting this one in our set list, per our lead player's request.
 

Ajs91

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And if I'd said "teach me country" (or something similar) outside the title of the thread, I'd totally get where you're coming from.

I guess...I thought I was pretty clear what my intentions were and what that road looked like. If not, that's cool....but I'll admit it's a little disappointing to have whether the question was even legitimate suddenly be the discussion, you know?
Far from it, I think the question is super legit. I felt the same way when I wanted to start learning country. I just had no idea though that there was so much to the genre when I was first getting into it though. That said, I wasn't a big fan of the gatekeeping tone of the comment that I was replying too, but, I was agreeing with their sentiment.

I think people answering the thread might look at Rolling Stones vs. Johnny Cash vs. Garth Brooks and see that you already spanned what they may see as a diverse range of the country genre to start with. Nothing wrong with that, but I think we would all push you in different directions depending on which one of those styles you wanted to learn and focus on first.

If you are going for the most general levels of what country is and are trying to start there then you might become pretty amazed at how diverse the world of the 1 4 5 chord progression can be haha! 😄 Focus on major and minor scales and learn how to change the key of your solo to correspond with the chords you are soloing over. I think that's why country music is so "licks" oriented and an artist's style tends to get defined by how they use those licks in a song or how they use a certain lick to transition between different chord transitions, etc. Then you get to decide how to use all that stuff for your waltzes, shuffles, polkas, western-swing, 12-bar blues, rock, etc... You get to decide what you are in the mood for.

I think it's a fun road that you are starting down - but I think a lot of people would aim you in different directions depending on what area you felt a good spark for. That's why I like Redd Volkaert for this sort of recommendation because he is a legit master of his craft and he covers tons of artists - albeit he does tend to stay within certain realms of the country world and not veer too far off in other country genre directions.
 

elihu

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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.

Hey ArdeliasTele…

Everybody has an opinion and here’s mine. Don’t start by trying to learn the styles of the hottest country pickers. Instead approach it like learning a language. Listen to the pioneers like the Carter Family with Maybelle-she was the first big country picker. Her thing was playing cowboy chords and picking out the melody on the bigger strings. Guess what? That is still valid today. Listen to Hank Williams who was likely the best country songwriter ever. What makes those songs work? Come up with your own theories. For a Telecasters role in country Buck Owens with Don Rich is a good primer. Getbent had a good long thread about teaching Don’s style to a guy who was in your situation so do a thread search. Merle Haggard, George Jones and Lefty Frizell are pretty essential. But concentrate on the song-that’s everything imo. Ask yourself what can I do to make this song work and make this song country.
 

moosie

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That said... if I personally want to introduce someone to a legit musician that is a guitar master of the country world (regardless of what their definition of country is) then I am flat out recommending Redd Volkaert. But, YMMV, you may like someone else more - and that is what makes music pretty great imo!


Redd is an inspiration to me, not just because of the amazing playing, but the fact that he does it with those little sausage fingers. :lol:
 

Charlie Bernstein

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All good advice! Here are a few more ideas:

- Listen to the pre- and anti-"Nashville Sound" folks — folks like Roy Acuff, Jimmie Rogers, Loretta Lynne, Lefty Frizzel, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Patsy Montana, Hank Williams III, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins . . .

- Listen to some of the sixties and seventies hippie acts that introduced a younger generation to country, like the Dead, the Byrds, Graham Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Buffalo Springfield, the Lovin' Spoonful, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, Asleep at the Wheel . . . . There's a ton of inspiration in there.

- I'd be hard-pressed to call "Little Red Rooster" country: Blues doesn't get any bluesier than Howlin' Wolf! On the other hand, there's plenty of country blues out there. Doc Watson, John Hurt, Ry Cooder . . . .

- Pay attention to the go-to sidemen and sidewomen, like James Burton, Cindy Cashdollar, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Amos Garrett . . . .

- Listen to some hot-licks innovators — Merle Travis, Danny Gatton, Roy Clark, Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss, Pete Anderson . . . .

- Check out some country singer/songwriters — Guy Clark, John Eddy, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Mary Chapin Carpenter, David Allen Coe . . . .

(For what it's worth, Garth has never sounded like country to me. He's a great pop artist, but there ain't no twang in his thang!)
 




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