Don’t let the word country fool you. A lot of people may confuse country guitar with easy guitar, and while you can certainly find plenty of easy country songs, a country guitar player will typically need to master the same music theory and guitar techniques used by guitar players in other genres of music.
There are a lot of websites and video websites that teach country guitar lessons ranging from music theory to country licks and strumming patterns. These videos and instructions are free and can be helpful in developing your skills as a country player.
As a country guitarist, you’ll want to learn the same basic scales as your rock counterparts. These scales include the major and minor scales, the blues scale, and the major and minor pentatonic scales.
As for chords, in addition to the basic major and minor triads, country guitarists rely heavily on seventh chords, and in particular the dominant seventh. The illustration below shows the additional note added to a triad to form the dominant seventh chord.
Country guitar lessons should also include a thorough discussion of the techniques used by lead country guitar players. Some of the most important techniques include note bending and the use of double stops and double stop bends (see the double stop pick below), slide guitar techniques, and playing arpeggios.
These are techniques that many guitar players use, but they are a staple for lead guitar players in country music. Country guitar lessons also feature picking exercises like the one shown below.
Many country guitarists read standard notation or use guitar tab, but there’s a special kind of music notation called the Nashville Numbering System that a lot of country players use, particularly if they play in a studio regularly. The Nashville Numbering System references chords by numbers to indicate the degree of the scale where the chords are built. Sometimes the number will have an indication of chord type as well.
Country guitar playing as become as sophisticated and complex as guitar playing in any genre. Some of it even incorporates elements of jazz. Advanced country guitar lessons are available that show you some of these advanced concepts and how to use them to bring your own country licks to life. Whether you choose written material or video lessons, there are enough country guitar lessons out there to teach you what you need to know to stand out as a country player.