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Country 101...basic chord progression?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Pott, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Pott

    Pott Member

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    Yep I'm bored of the Blues, Punk, Metal... I want to learn some country. I usually use pick + first finger style picking but I want to use more.

    What's a very standard, basic country sounding chord progression I can just take and try different picking/strumming techniques on..? Keep it simple, keep it real, and I'll work on the harder stuff after. But it's time I put my Strat to the paces she was built to walk :D
    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Elektrik_SIxx

    Elektrik_SIxx Member

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    Get Chord Chemistry first and then work your way up thru all three volumes of Harmonic Mechanisms.....then, and ONLY then can you begin to try the following:

    C (leave out all 9's, #11s, b13s, b9s and maj7ths / / / | F (same rule applies here)/ / / | C/ / / |G (leave out all alterations except maybe b7th) / / / |

    This is only an harmonic option, we haven't even gotten to the rhytmic possibillities yet!

    Repeat above 4 bars and after a week or two you're ready for the B part.
     
  3. Pott

    Pott Member

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    I have no clue what you first meant.... I never had a music lesson. Otherwise got the progression down, thanks!
     
  4. JonR

    JonR Member

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    "Country" progressions are really the same as very basic pop progressions.

    You get the I, IV and V of the key (as Elektrik Sixx outlined), and you also get the minors pretty often, at least vi and ii.
    So, in the key of G (maybe the most popular country key, because it suits fiddles, banjos and mandolins as well as guitar), you would have G, C and D, with Em and Am for extra colour. All triads, no 7ths or other extensions - except maybe on the V chord (ie, D7 instead of D).

    Country very rarely uses any outside chords (like rock does), such as bVII or bIII chords (that would be F and Bb in key of G).
    Except, one you might find is the major II chord - A in key of G, usually going to D or D7.

    Check out some Hank Williams songs (yep, the first Hank, not his offspring). He basically wrote the book on country songwriting, between 1947-53. (There were good folk before him, like Jimmie Rodgers, but HW made it commercial and popular. All modern country begins with him.)

    Here's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (see, the titles are important too ;) ). It's in 3/4 (waltz) time:

    |E / / |E / / |E / / |E / / |
    |E / / |E / / |E / / |E / / |
    |A / / |A / / |E / / |E / / |
    |E / / |B7 / / |E / / |E / / |

    And here's "Hey Good Lookin'", in jaunty 4/4 swing feel:

    |C / / / |C / / / |C / / / |C / / / |
    |F / / / |G / / / |C / / / |C / / / |

    |C / / / |C / / / |C / / / |C / / / |
    |F / / / |G / / / |C / / / |C / / / |

    |F / / / |C / / / |F / / / |C / / / |
    |F / / / |C / / / |D / / / |G7 / / / |

    |C / / / |C / / / |C / / / |C / / / |
    |F / / / |G / / / |C / / / |C / / / |

    The D chord in the bridge (middle section) is an example of the "major II" I mentioned - technically known as a "secondary dominant".
    Otherwise these are all I-IV-V (major chord) sequences, in keys of E and C respectively. (Hank did use minor chords, but he tended to base whole songs around them, rather than insert them in major key songs.)
     
  5. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Try Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison, or early Elvis, early Hark Williams Sr (like JonR mentioned). That will help you get your bearings. Then move onto some Rickie Skaggs, Dwight Youkum , Alabama, Judds, etc...to get some of the better modern country. And DON'T forget to learn some Bluegrass and Country/Mountain Folk like Bill Monroe or The Carter Family.

    Then once you have an idea of how a bunch of tunes are played, chord wise and maybe solo wise...then listen to some Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Glen Campbell, Les Paul, etc...and see how master players adapt all these classics to the world of guitar...you'll find some amazing stuff!

    If you have a hard time learning songs try a Country Songbook or the "3 Chord Songbook". Usually the country rhythms aren't much more than straight open chords or basic movable chords, so the books are usually pretty close just showing the basics.

    I've played rock, metal, jazz, etc..gigs but I think the funnest ones were when I was playing country gigs. Something about the guitar just having to BE country was a riot to play and pull off.

    If you want some country licks you can visit my Advanced Pentatonic Tutorial. It'll show you a lot about playing the chromatic style of country we are all accustomed to terming "country playing". http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/AdvPent/AvdPentTOC.htm

    It'll give you some good building blocks and more.
     
  6. Mark Wein

    Mark Wein Member

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  7. Eskimo_Joe

    Eskimo_Joe Rocker, roller, way out of controller Supporting Member

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    Great thread! I've been wanting some help with this myself.
     
  8. Pott

    Pott Member

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    WOA! THANKS guys! Awesome stuff. I'm French and live in the UK, so I probably don't have the country stuff in my blood heheh... I'll work on this tomorrow. Today I actually learnt bits off Ticks by Brad Paisley. Surprisingly cool little song with some great playing.
     
  9. glendrix

    glendrix Member

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    Check out Pete Anderson on recordings with Dwight Yoakum. I am a blues/rock guy but have been playing country gigs for last 4-5 years and helped my playing tons. Pete was a blues guy that plays country licks. Very easy transition for me and I copped tons of his licks. Learn to love maj pentatonic, learn the shapes anywhere on neck. Work the 1-4-5 progression in G or A. Then listen to guys like Roy Nichols from early Merle stuff to get the classic licks down. One thing about country that was hard for me at first, make sure your bends are precise (think pedal steel), can't just bend until you hit the right note like you can in blues, get you kicked off the stage quick. Hybrid picking is a must so if you don't have that down, I'd start there. Once you got a good handle on that, then learn Paisley stuff. David Grissom for a rock player who incorporates country licks and feel, that is what i dig at the moment.

    oh yeah forgot you need to have some open string licks down for g, a, d, e, c etc...
     
  10. gennation

    gennation Member

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    Yeah, Pete's one of my favorites too. Him, Ricky Skaggs, and Ray Flacke were a couple of my early influences moving form rock to country playing.

    Actually my tutorial I posted has quite a few Anderson type examples as well as the Guitars and Cadillac solo tabbed out with audio. It includes all the cool Maj Pent riffs, Relative Min Pent riffs, as well as some killer double-stop steel bends that from his style.
     
  11. scoob

    scoob Member

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    C, G, C, G, C, G, C just one beat per chord in a galloping rhythm. Then low G note, open A note, B note and back to the C chord. :D I play this when the singer has to use the bathroom.
    Sorry couldn't resist.
     
  12. glendrix

    glendrix Member

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    Guitars and Cadillacs, Long White Cadillac and 1000 miles from nowhere, 1st three I learned note for note and really heped me start the transition.

    your site is great, btw!! The indian sliding tech and melodic minor stuff, I need to check that stuff out
     
  13. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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