Chicken Pickin - where to start?

Phantasmonaut

Silver Supporting Member
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183
This has probably been discussed here before, but my half-assed search didn't turn up much.

Where's a good place to get started in terms of players and bands to get into to learn about the music? I don't want to start at Danny Gatton or Brent Mason, etc, that's way advanced. I've listened to metal and rock my whole life, so this is all new to me. What's the country/twang equivalent of starting at the beginning, to learn the roots, and eventually learning some basic licks and techniques?

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
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11,860
merle haggard {james burton, roy nichols}, buck owens {don rich}, dwight yokam {pete anderson}

there's a ton going on, even the simple licks. a 30 second solo can have a lot of info.

a great place to develop rolls & finger pick stuff is to learn to travis pick, and from there you'll easily morph to the country stuff / chop busters.

get a good teacher or go to true fire and start with an intermediate or beginner course.
 
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Birddog

Member
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3,116
I did a YouTube search several years back when our (rock) cover band decided to do "Mercury Blues". There was ONE video that opened up a whole new world for me of chicken-pickin combined with parallel thirds.

Did a quick search for you, but I cant find it. Just keep looking. That stuff is very useful in a blues-rock context too, and I still find myself using it in my newer band, even though it's not in a country context.

Major scales, parallel thirds....a good Tele, or even a clean Les Paul on the Treble pickup....you'll get there.
 

Rumble

Instrumental Rocker
Gold Supporting Member
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2,512
Rumor has it Link Wray could empty out a nightclub when he played his "Run Chicken, Run". Not sure if that's true or not, but it is true that the song was recorded in an old chicken coop, as that's what the Wray brothers used as a recording studio (they musta had some big-ass chickens!). From around 1963/64:

 

buddaman71

Student of Life
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12,898
More of the modern style, but Doug Seven on YouTube has excellent tutorials and is a blazing player.
 

Thinsocks

Silver Supporting Member
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2,442
merle haggard {james burton, roy nichols}, buck owens {don rich},
This.

Then check out Jason Loughlin's Country Guitar Survival Guide on Trufire. He's a great teacher and presents everything in a very musical and logical way. By the end of that course, you'll have a strong foundation in Country guitar styles. I've checked out a bunch of other books, online lessons & dvd courses for Country style guitar and nothing comes close to the Country Guitar Survival Guide. Most of the other stuff out there just shows you a bunch of licks with no context, or in the case with a lot of the Doug Seven stuff he can't really explain the theory behind what he's teaching you, which is fine for some people, but bugs me.
 

fender tele

Member
Messages
661
Excellent suggestions!!!

But since you mentioned you are new at it, I did a couple youtube searches for ya:

"beginning country guitar"
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=beginning+country+guitar

"beginning chicken pickin"
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=beginning+chicken+pickin&sm=1

Don't be afraid to look at some of the more advanced stuff also. Since you've been playing metal & hard rock, you've no doubt got a lot of dexterity already. Most of what you will need to work on is your right hand technique. Most country guys (myself included) grow their nails on the middle & ring fingers of the right hand, as they become extra picks. Brent Mason uses a thumb pick & all 4 extra fingers to pick.

Have fun!!!!
 

mtperry85

Member
Messages
758
The master of writing simple but profound country songs was Hank Williams. Always good to start with the classics! My all-favorite country album, however, is Honky Tonk Heroes by Waylon Jennings. Plenty of tasteful but not too complex Chicken Pickin.
 

c_mac

Gold Supporting Member
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4,140
Being a country picker, I understand people throwing out Johnny Hiland, Albert Lee, Hellecasters, etc. but that would be like me asking about where to start with metal and people throwing out names like John Petrucci and Steve Vai. Let's face it, if you are new to this then starting with the best of best is quite daunting.

When I first started playing the chicken picking stuff Pete Anderson was big for me. While Pete can go crazy and play some fast, insane stuff, a lot of the time he plays simple stuff that fits the songs really well. "Guitars, Cadillacs", "Fast as You", "Honky Tonk Man", etc. are all cool tunes with tasty licks that aren't crazy hard. Also, Brent Mason did some work with The Mavericks in the mid-90s that was super tasteful and very accessible. I'd start there and as you get better then start looking into the true greats of the genre.
 

Marc Roy

Member
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13,685
Being a country picker, I understand people throwing out Johnny Hiland, Albert Lee, Hellecasters, etc. but that would be like me asking about where to start with metal and people throwing out names like John Petrucci and Steve Vai. Let's face it, if you are new to this then starting with the best of best is quite daunting.

When I first started playing the chicken picking stuff Pete Anderson was big for me. While Pete can go crazy and play some fast, insane stuff, a lot of the time he plays simple stuff that fits the songs really well. "Guitars, Cadillacs", "Fast as You", "Honky Tonk Man", etc. are all cool tunes with tasty licks that aren't crazy hard. Also, Brent Mason did some work with The Mavericks in the mid-90s that was super tasteful and very accessible. I'd start there and as you get better then start looking into the true greats of the genre.
Very good suggestions. I learned a lot of stuff off of Guitars, Cadillacs when I was getting into country guitar. Pete Anderson is a master at nailing the old country vibe in the right context.

I tend to listen to guys like Pete Anderson, Guthrie Trapp, Kenny Vaughan, Vince Gill and Eddy Shaver over guys like Danny Gatton and Johnny Hiland. Don't get me wrong though - those players (among many others) are absolute monsters and a lot of fun to listen too as well. You can learn a ton from them. It's just that I prefer a less flashy approach for my taste. Your mileage may vary though.
 
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15,367
Pete Huttlinger's new fingerstyle course on TrueFire has a lot of country-pickin licks. He breaks down each one in detail. Just about every one can be played with a pick too.
 

woof*

Member
Messages
8,488
Being a country picker, I understand people throwing out Johnny Hiland, Albert Lee, Hellecasters, etc. but that would be like me asking about where to start with metal and people throwing out names like John Petrucci and Steve Vai. Let's face it, if you are new to this then starting with the best of best is quite daunting.

When I first started playing the chicken picking stuff Pete Anderson was big for me. While Pete can go crazy and play some fast, insane stuff, a lot of the time he plays simple stuff that fits the songs really well. "Guitars, Cadillacs", "Fast as You", "Honky Tonk Man", etc. are all cool tunes with tasty licks that aren't crazy hard. Also, Brent Mason did some work with The Mavericks in the mid-90s that was super tasteful and very accessible. I'd start there and as you get better then start looking into the true greats of the genre.
Excellent post
 

gwr

Member
Messages
542
I think in order to learn country first you have to get your right hand in order,whether you use hybrid method(pick and fingers) a thumbpick or just you're fingers that's a big part of it,pulling up on the strings and slapping them against the fret is part of it.I was playing at a club once that had us,a country band,in the ballroom and a rock band in the lounge and during breaks we would check each other out.At the end of the night both bands got together at the bar and the guitar asked me"how did you learn all those licks" and I responded "it's just a frame of mind".You have to think like a country picker and then it'll come to you after you get the technique down.Check out Doug Seven on YouTube,it"ll give you some ideas that you just tailor to suit yourself.
.
 

Kitten Cannon

Member
Messages
4,697
Wow, this is an unusually good thread for TGP lately. I second everything. No bad advice here (yet).

I'll also add to the list of guys who might be fun to pick apart, Marty Stuart. However, he uses a ton of B-bender, so if you don't have one, i guess that makes it a little tough. But still, from a technique standpoint, there's plenty to work with there.
 




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