Acous­tic

Yee-haw! This month Stu­art Ryan ex­am­ines how one of Nashville’s hottest Tele­caster pick­ers trans­fers those scary skills to the acous­tic gui­tar.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

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

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