Get your country rhythm, lead and hybrid picking chops up to speed with our comprehensive feature
I thInk It's fair to say that country music has received a bad rap in the Uk over the years. the very word 'country', for many, has tended to conjure up images of line dancing classes being held in run-down village halls and social clubs. however, across the Atlantic country is no laughing matter, but in fact the most popular musical genre, boasting a radio audience of 70,000,000 every day. In recent years we've seen country music grow in popularity on this side of the pond, too. We're now hearing more country on mainstream radio; artists such as Lady Antebellum and taylor swift spring to mind, not to mention home-grown country stars such as the shires, and Ward thomas.
With this in mind, the purpose of this article is to hone your country skills. You may have been asked to dep in a country outfit; or a demanding bride and groom have requested your band learn some Nashville flavoured numbers for their big day. Whatever the scenario, familiarising yourself with the information in this article will afford you a significant head start and, perhaps more importantly, add some cool, countryflavoured ideas to your technique repertoire - pulling out a flashy country run in a rock or blues situation can be a real eyebrow raiser!
Over the following pages I will be introducing you to some of the scales,
arpeggios, chords and techniques that feature frequently in this style of playing.
It's important that you do lots of listening when learning a new genre. Doing so will ensure that its nuances become engrained on your subconscious, and inevitably find their way to your fingers. Or, to put it another way, if you are what you eat, then you are also what you listen to. With tools like spotify and Youtube it's never been easier to source the music of your persuasion - and they even make suggestions for other, related artists.
this article is divided into three sections: a rhythm boot camp, a lead boot camp and finally a full piece that combines the rhythm and the lead. I could wax lyrical about the theory, the many techniques and the truly fabulous players that make up the world of country guitar, but that would go beyond the limitations of this article and could potentially overwhelm from a learning perspective. so, instead I have targeted material that can be heard regularly on country records - this will definitely help to get you up and running.
If you're new to country, you're likely to be pleasantly surprised by how much of a platform is granted for the musician to flex his or her musical muscles. In an age where celebrity has sometimes become more important than ability, it's refreshing to find a musical community that still shows respect and admiration for the individuality and talent of the musician. I hope the following examples will enthuse you to delve even more deeply into the wonderful world of country music, and check out some of the simply amazing players that populate the genre.
Country music is some of the best-written music in the world. So yeah, one day i would keep my mind open to doing a country record.