Blues

John Wheatcroft brings you a big plate of hot coun­try with a gen­er­ous help­ing of blues on the side, cour­tesy the Tele-tot­ing Brad Pais­ley.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

John Wheatcroft looks at the blue­sier side of coun­try pick­ing wiz­ard, Brad Pais­ley.

coun­try gui­tarist who’s no mean blues picker ei­ther.

Brad Pais­ley has had a re­mark­able ca­reer. the 42-year-old singer, song­writer and picker has sold over 12 mil­lion al­bums, gained three Gram­mys and is a bona fide mem­ber of the Grand ole opry. if we also take into con­sid­er­a­tion over 30 top ten Bill­board sin­gles, over a dozen CMA awards and a sta­ble fam­ily life with film star wife Kim­ber­ley Wil­liams, it’s fair to say Brad has made quite a good job of things so far.

it’s not for no good rea­son, ei­ther, as Brad is a fan­tas­tic singer and an in­tel­li­gent and pro­lific song­writer. What we’re in­ter­ested in here though is his gui­tar play­ing - he’s no slouch here ei­ther.

Ac­tu­ally it’s not the first time that we’ve looked at a coun­try gui­tarist in this col­umn. Play­ers such as Danny Gat­ton and Roy Buchanan ef­fort­lessly move be­tween gen­res, some­times within the same song. in fact you can of­ten hear coun­try, blues, jazz, rock’n’roll and rock­a­billy in­flu­ences all mixed up to cre­ate one huge hy­brid lan­guage. Brad is most def­i­nitely open to all of th­ese in­flu­ences. While his writ­ing style, im­age and much of his vo­cab­u­lary comes from clas­sic coun­try, you can eas­ily de­tect traces of jazz, blues and rock in his play­ing - even the odd bit of tap­ping makes an ap­pear­ance. His open-minded ap­proach is re­fresh­ing, and if you’d like to know more about the in­flu­ences that make up his style you should check out his 2011 book, Di­ary of A Player: How My Mu­si­cal He­roes Made A Gui­tar Man out of Me.

there are two com­plete 12-bar so­los this month, in the blues and coun­try-en­dorsed keys of A and e re­spec­tively. one of the things i had to get my head around when ap­proach­ing learn­ing some coun­try-based ideas was the con­cept of key-spe­cific phrases, mean­ing that a spe­cific lick in the key of G may not nec­es­sar­ily have an iden­ti­cal ver­sion in the key of A. there might be a sim­i­lar idea, but, due to the abun­dance of open strings, cer­tain ideas only work in one key; whereas in jazz the con­cept of trans­pos­ing each and ev­ery idea through all 12 keys is ac­cepted pro­to­col, and open strings only rarely make an ap­pear­ance. With this in mind, most coun­try

cold­play, My chem­i­cal ro­mance, jazz, and in­stru­men­tal mu­sic that’s ob­scure - I have a very well­rounded iPod. Brad Pais­ley

play­ers stock­pile ideas and or­gan­ise them around their re­spec­tive open chord, so an ex­pe­ri­enced player will have dozens of C,A,G, e and D form ideas. Coun­try mu­sic is quite of­ten a ‘sharp’ key mu­sic, with loads of tunes found in G,D,A, e and so, whereas jazz is most of­ten as­so­ci­ated with flat keys, F, Bb and the like. Of course, there are ex­cep­tions and many artists pur­pose­fully blur th­ese def­i­ni­tions. Re­mem­ber that you can al­ways use a capo to ac­cess new keys and it’s not un­known for a player to com­pletely re­tune the gui­tar a half-step or more lower to fa­cil­i­tate familiar fin­ger shapes in new keys, so it’s good to re­mem­ber the old say­ing, ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion. While we’re at it, an­other good one is prac­tice makes per­fect, so what are you wait­ing for? NEXT MONTH: New blues tu­tor Les David­son looks at Car­los San­tana ’s bluesy side

Brad Pais­ley with one of his Bill Crooke Tele style gui­tars

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