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FENDER PLAYERS CLUB COUNTRY BASICS
WHAT:
The earliest form of American country music can be traced to the storytelling of Celtic ballads and fiddle songs of the
early British immigrants. Since that time, country music has had an ongoing battle between its traditionalists and
modernizers. Traditional country music has very little percussion, borrowing its roots from jug and mountain music. The
modern country idiom incorporates rock, blues, and gospel music styles.
WHEN & WHERE:
In the early part of the 1 9 3 0s, the Grand Ole Oprey broadcast performances from Nashville, Tennessee which became—
and remains today—the center of country music. By the 1 9 4 0s and 1 9 5 0s, despite strict standards by the traditionalists,
improvisational elements were incorporated into the style and country music became known as “country and western.” In
the 1 9 6 0s, the popularity of the honky tonk style broadened country music’s listening audience. However, despite the
clear rock influence in the country styles which emerged in the 1 9 7 0s, country music never lost its characteristic twang,
steel guitars, and simple storylines. In the 1 9 8 0s, a new group of traditionalists emerged. In the 1 9 9 0s, country music
became bigger and more popular than ever.
WHO:
Hank Williams, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings,
Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Reba McEntire, and Garth Brooks are all
prominent country artists. In addition, renowned country guitarists include Albert Lee, Steve Warner, Chet Atkins, and
Carl Perkins. Sitting on the fringes of the country music category are such artists as Steve Earl, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda
Williams, Jimmie Dale, and Townes Van Zandt.
HOW:
The country sound can be partially traced to the major pentatonic scale. Other important factors include basic major-key
I–IV–V chord changes in simple and fairly predictable patterns. But the single most dominant factor is the country vocal
style, with its characteristic sour twang, strong melody, and common storylines of love and loss.
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FENDER PLAYERS CLUB COUNTRY BASICS
THE MAJOR PENTATONIC SCALE
The major pentatonic scale is a five-tone major scale consisting of a root, major second, major third, fifth, and major
sixth. In the key of G major, the notes are G–A–B–D–E. In the key of C major, the notes are C–D–E–G–A.
FIG. 1
COUNTRY RHYTHM, RIFF AND INSTRUMENTAL MELODY
FIG. 2 begins with C7, G, F, and D7 chord variations. In the riff section, G, C, and D major pentatonic scales are played
over their respective chords. Then G, C, and D major pentatonic solo variations follow in the higher octaves.
FIG. 2
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FENDER PLAYERS CLUB COUNTRY BASICS
! AUDIO-CountryRiff.mp3
ESSENTIAL LISTENING AND STUDY
Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler: Neck and Neck (1 9 9 0, Sony/Columbia)
Chet Atkins: Guitar Country (1 9 6 4 LP, RCA), It’s a Guitar World (1 9 6 7 LP, RCA)
Garth Brooks: Ropin’ the Wind (1 9 9 1, EMD/Capitol)
Willie Nelson: Always on My Mind (1 9 8 2, Sony/Columbia)
Hank Williams: 4 0 Greatest Hits (1 9 7 8, Uni/Mercury Nashville)
The Country Guitar Method (Hal Leonard, book)
Pedal Steel Licks for Guitar (Hal Leonard, book/CD)
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FENDER PLAYERS CLUB COUNTRY BASICS
This lesson is from:
The Dictionary of Guitar Styles: 25 Essential Lessons for the Complete Guitarist
by John Tapella.
Take a crash course in 2 5 guitar styles. Learn the who, what, where, when and HOW
of: alternative/grunge, blues, Celtic, classical, country, flamenco, folk, funk, fusion,
jazz, ragtime, reggae, rockabilly, surf, thrash and much more.
The CD includes 4 8 full-demo examples.
Inventory # HL 6 9 5 1 6 2. Book/CD pack $16.95 (US).
Other books mentioned in this lesson:
Pedal Steel Licks for Guitar
by Forest Rodgers.
Take a lesson with super picker Forest Rodgers! In this video that supplements
Forest's book, Pedal Steel Licks for Guitar , you'll learn how to play 3 0 classic
beginnings, endings, turn-arounds, and fill-ins to popular pedal steel licks on the
guitar. Forest plays them at regular tempo and then at a slower tempo for easier
learning. Watch the fascinating interaction as pedal steel master Doug Stock plays the
licks then Forest copies them on guitar.
Features tips for the best steel guitar sound reproduction and steel guitar voiced
chords. You'll make the band pay attention when you learn these 3 0 pedal steel licks!
6 0 minutes.
Inventory # HL 1 8 3. Book/CD pack $16.95 (US).
VIDEO: Inventory # HL 2 3 3. $19.95 (US).
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