Ready to tap into your inner musician? Why not challenge yourself and learn how to play country music today? With its catchy tunes and upbeat rhythms, country music is a genre that’s fun to play and even more fun to listen to. So grab your guitar, get ready to strum away, and join the countless people who have fallen in love with country music. Start your musical journey with these easy beginner country guitar lessons!
Country Music on Acoustic Guitar
The acoustic guitar was the primary instrument used in these early country songs, and its versatility and ability to be heard in small spaces made it the perfect choice for the genre. Over time, country music has evolved, incorporating elements of rock, pop, and even hip-hop, but the acoustic guitar remains a cornerstone of the genre.
From Taylor Swift to Miranda Lambert, many of the biggest names in country music use the acoustic guitar in their performances and recordings. The acoustic guitar is also used in modern country music to create a more stripped-down, intimate sound, as well as for its unique tonal qualities.
Easy Beginner Country Guitar Lesson
Discover the basics of playing country guitar with our easy beginner country guitar lessons. Learn about country guitar basic chords, chord progressions, and strumming patterns to get started on your musical journey. Perfect for beginners looking to play country music on guitar.
1. Country Guitar Chords for Beginners
- Major Open Chords: A, C, D, E, G
- Minor Open Chords: Am, Em
- Seventh Chords: A7, B7, C7, D7, E7, G7
Don’t let the thought of learning all these chords at once overwhelm you. Start by mastering the three open major chords and one minor chord, and then progress to incorporating two seventh chords into your playing.
- G, C, D
- C7, G7
The signature sound of country music stems from its plentiful usage of open major and seventh chords. These chords provide a joyful vibe with the use of major chords and a touch of drama through seventh chords, which feature an added 7th note that creates a sense of tension and movement commonly heard in country songs. The melancholic tone in some country ballads is achieved through the use of open minor chords.
After mastering the essential chords, push your skills further by attempting one barre chord. This added challenge can prove useful in playing your favorite country songs.
- F Chord
Barre chords can be a bit more difficult for beginners, but with practice, you’ll soon be able to play any country song you like. Remember to take your time and be patient with yourself as you learn and develop your skills.
2. Country Song Chord Progressions
Chord progressions are the foundation of any song, and country music is no exception. Understanding popular chord progressions can help you to write your country songs or play along with existing ones. Here are some of the most common chord progressions used in country music.
I-IV-V: This is perhaps the most classic and well-known chord progression in country music. It’s used in countless songs and is easy to play. The progression is built around the root notes of the tonic (I), subdominant (IV), and dominant (V) chords.
- Key of G: G, C, D
- Key of D: D, G, A
IV-I-V: This progression is similar to the I-IV-V progression, but the chords are played in a different order. It’s a popular progression in country music and is used in many classic songs.
ii-IV-V: This progression is a variation of the I-IV-V progression and is built around the minor second (ii), subdominant (IV), and dominant (V) chords. It’s often used in more upbeat and energetic country songs.
These are just a few of the many chord progressions used in country music. As a beginner, it’s important to understand that these progressions are just a starting point and you can always rearrange them to suit your musical preferences. Just make sure to keep all the chords within the key’s family chords to maintain its sound and coherence. The beauty of country music lies in its versatility, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find your unique sound.
3. Country Guitar Strumming Patterns and Techniques
Country music boasts a distinctive rhythm and style, but don’t let that intimidate you. There are simple strumming patterns to help you get started playing right away.
Here are a few essentials to get you started:
A basic down-up strumming pattern is a great place to start for country guitar beginners. Simply strum down on the beat and up on the off-beat, and you’re already on your way to creating a simple country rhythm. This won’t be anything new for those already familiar with playing the guitar. Chances are, you’ve already used this strumming pattern while playing one of your favorite songs.
- Down Down-Up Up-Down-Up (D D U U D U)
Easy Bass Note Strum
Now, let’s bring in some more country flair by adding a base note. Country music is recognized for its signature bass lines that enhance the overall sound and rhythm. In this method, we simply pick the root bass note, followed by a downward strum. Adding an upward strum can come later on in your playing.
Bass Note + Down Strum — Pick(Root), D
- P D P D
- P D D P D D
- P D P DU
- P DU P DU
- P D P UDU
Alternate Bass Notes
Incorporating alternate bass notes into your playing can be challenging at first, but with practice, it becomes easier. To get started, try alternating between the root and fifth of a chord while strumming. Then, gradually work your way up to incorporating the sixth and other alternate bass notes.
Bass Notes — Pick(Root) Down, Pick(5th note) Down
- G Chord – G(root), D(5th note)
- D Chord – D(root), A(5th note)
- C Chord – C(root), G(5th note)
- P1 D P5 D
- P1 D P1 P5 D U
4. Other Basics of Country Guitar Playing
In this section, we will delve deeper into the specific guitar techniques, time signatures, and tunings that help create the classic country sound.
- Country Guitar Bass Lines
- Single Note Riffs
- Common Country Music Time Signature
- Country Guitar Tuning
Country Guitar Bass Lines
One of the defining characteristics of country music is its bass line, which has a lively feel and showcases more movement compared to rock songs. These lines often provide a bouncy and rhythmic feel that sets country music apart from other styles like rock or punk rock.
When playing country guitar, the bass line helps establish a strong groove and rhythm that can bring a song to life. Whether it’s a simple pattern of alternating root notes or a more complex line with syncopated rhythms, the bass line is an important aspect of country guitar playing.
Single Note Riffs
Single note riffs are an important element in country music and are often used to create a memorable melody that defines the genre.
Single note riffs rely on one note at a time to convey the desired sound. It can often be more effective in conveying the classic country feel, and they add a unique character to the overall sound of the song. They are usually played in short bursts and repeated throughout the song, adding emphasis to certain parts of the melody.
These riffs can be created using a variety of techniques, such as slides, bends, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. The right combination of these techniques and the right timing can create a powerful and memorable riff that becomes the defining feature of the song.
Single note riffs can be played on the guitar using both the lead and rhythm sections, and they can be used to play the melody or to create a counterpoint to the main melody. This versatility makes single note riffs an essential aspect of country music and a crucial element for any aspiring country guitarist to master.
Common Country Music Time Signature
The use of different time signatures in country music is an important aspect of the genre’s sound and can greatly impact the feel and mood of a song. Understanding the common time signatures used in country music can help aspiring musicians create their unique sounds and express their musical ideas more effectively.
- Common Time: 4/4 Time Signature
Country music often features a 4/4 time signature, also known as common time. This means that there are 4 beats in each measure and a quarter note is equal to one beat. This time signature provides a steady, straightforward beat that allows country musicians to add a strong emphasis on the downbeat and play with a strong sense of pulse. The 4/4 time signature is often used in up-tempo, upbeat country songs and is perfect for creating a driving beat that keeps the listener moving.
- Waltz Time: 3/4 Time Signature
3/4 time, which has three beats per measure, is sometimes used in country waltz songs to create a sweeping, romantic feel.
- March Time: 2/4 Time Signature
Another time signature commonly used in country music is 2/4 time, which has two beats per measure and is often used in slower, ballad-style songs. The 2/4 time signature allows for a more relaxed, laid-back feel that is perfect for conveying a melancholic or sentimental mood.
Country Guitar Tuning
Country guitar tuning is an important aspect of achieving the signature sound of country music. The most commonly used tuning for a country guitar is the standard EADGBE tuning. This tuning provides a bright and clear sound that is perfect for strumming chords, fingerpicking, and single-note riffs. However, there are other alternative tunings used in country music such as Open G, Open D, and Drop D tuning, each providing a unique sound and feel.
When it comes to tuning your guitar, it’s important to make sure that each string is in tune with itself, and with the rest of the strings. This can be done using a tuning app, an electronic tuner, or by comparing each string to a reference note, such as a piano or another guitar.
Additionally, it’s important to regularly check your guitar’s tuning, as the strings can go out of tune over time due to changes in temperature and humidity, as well as the wear and tear of playing.
Embracing the Country Sound on Guitar
Embrace your inner country musician and follow in the footsteps of legends like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson by learning how to play country music on guitar.
Put on your cowboy hat and grab your guitar, it’s time to get into the country music spirit! Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the scene, there’s something for everyone in the world of country music. So, get your hats on and let’s play some country!