Yee-haw! This month Stuart Ryan examines how one of Nashville’s hottest Telecaster pickers transfers those scary skills to the acoustic guitar.
Stuart Ryan continues his new country series with a look at the acoustic side of that genius Telecaster picker, the awesome Brad Paisley.
This month’s subject is that rarest of things - a bona fide chart-topping superstar and a modern day guitar hero. Brad Paisley’s electrifying, Tele-fuelled country chops are well known but he is also a fantastic acoustic picker whether he is using the acoustic to support the song or ripping out a terrifying intro lick.
The Stetson wearing country star was born on October 28, 1972 in Glen Dale, West Virginia and began to learn guitar at the age of eight. His first public performances were in the local church and began writing music in his early teens. By his mid teens he was performing regularly and opening for major country acts like Ricky Skaggs and George Jones. Unlike many musicians his entrance to the industry was very focused - he studied music business in college and worked as an intern at Atlantic Records. It clearly worked as he signed a publishing contract with EMI just a week after leaving college. This upward trajectory continued with the release of his first album, Who Needs Pictures in 1999, which spawned a number one single in the ballad We Danced. Since then he hasn’t slowed down, garnering multiple hit singles and acclaim with each album, as well as constantly touring around the arenas and stadiums of America and indeed the world. Amazingly he’s even found the time to write an autobiography, Diary Of A Player, a book of fishing tales and work as an executive producer on the hit TV show Nashville.
Paisley’s high-octane style can be daunting at first, whether you are approaching his electric or acoustic side. In many ways he is an amalgamation of all the great country players that have come before him, combining huge technical skill with great melodic sensibility while bringing his own off the wall approach to soloing along the way. His acoustic work can be solid strumming accompaniment or ferocious lead work; for this study I’ve focused on his detailed approach to playing through chord progressions with plenty of embellishments and runs and some subtle twists on the standard chord shapes. It’s also important to note that our study is the type of thing Brad would play with a pick so you are focusing on the classic country technique of cross-picking, which involves a lot of jumping across the strings. Derived from bluegrass banjo and guitar it’s a great way of working on your picking hand and general relaxation, so do start slowly if you are new to this!
NEXT MONTH Stuart delves into acoustic the world of Aussie country star Keith Urban
Brad’s first public perfomance's were in the local church; he began writing music in his early teen's
Brad Paisley: a master picker on both electric and acoustic guitar