Learn To Play Country Guitar
Guitar players who have reached a certain level of skill in rock and roll guitar usually think about trying their hands on country guitar. So let's take a look at where your knowledge and experience might need some reinforcement when it comes to playing country guitar.
Country music has been with us longer than most popular music genres. Country guitar players have evolved from guys in white cowboy suits strumming and singing about life on the trail to serious guitar virtuosos.
Lots of guitar players find themselves attracted to country music even though it may not be their original favorite style. A lot of guitarists find that country is a completely different way of playing guitar which gives their overall musicianship a big boost. So is country music difficult to learn after you have been playing rock for a while? Are there special chords or scales a country guitar player should know? And which country guitarists should I be listening to? Well, let's take a look.
First, let's deal with which country guitar players are regarded as the ones to listen to. There are many country artists who are not technical virtuosos, so if you have been watching Brad Paisley and Brent Mason, take comfort in the fact that you do not need to play up a storm. There are the originators of the chicken pickin technique, Don Rich and Roy Nichols, and don't forget to check out Chet Atkins and Hank Williams.
If you are wondering which scales you need to know, major pentatonics are a great start but one thing that's not set in stone in country music is which scales to use. You can use major AND minor pentatonics, and be prepared to be very flexible. You can play a different scale over every chord change. Whatever sounds good is the way to go.
As for country guitar techniques, chicken pickin is a good one to put on the top of your list. Hammer-ons and pull-offs are standard techniques in country music. You also need to get your string bending up to speed to get that pedal-steel sound. Probably you would be well advised to work on your sound before getting too deeply into country guitar technique. Your picking is near the bridge and you will need to be able to use your string muting to good effect.
If you are a guitarist with some experience and chops already, you could try just playing along with some country CDs. Just play along and try to get into the country groove. If you can get hold of a book called Country Solos For Guitar by Steve Travato. Steve gets very analytical over the licks to ensure we understand completely how to play them.
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