Country Guitar Lessons – 4 Essential Lessons

Country Guitar Lessons – Chicken Pickin’

One awesome aspect of country guitar is chicken pickin’, it has such a great snappy sound and is perfect for that country sound.

This is a technique used predominantly by players such as Johnny Hiland, Brent Mason and Albert Lee. It sounds great!

If you want to see some of the top country shred songs go here!

10 Essential Country Shred Guitar Songs |Guitar World

This technique is quite similar to finger style guitar, however instead of using our thumb, we’re going to be using our pick while still using our fingers!

This is also known as ‘hybrid picking’ because it’s a hybrid of playing with a pick and playing with the fingers.

This can be quite difficult to get down at first, so make sure you take it super slow.

To start with we’re going to look at some simple exercises to get into the groove of using our pick with our fingers.

Exercise 1

For this first example, we’re going to look at getting your picking hand moving.

Don’t worry if it isn’t doesn’t sound too “country” we’ll get to those classic licks soon!


country guitar lessons

When practicing this exercise you –

  • Use a downstroke on the A, D and G strings.
  • Use your 2nd and 3rd fingers on the B and E strings to grip the top half of the chord.
  • Make sure each note is as consistent as the other!

Exercise 2

This another exercise which is going to help get with the fluidity in your fingers. This time we’re splitting up each string though, this can be tricky so make sure you take your time with it.

country guitar lessons

When playing this exercise you –

  • Use a downstroke with your pick on the A, D and G strings.
  • In the previous exercise we used our fingers to pluck the B and E strings at the same time. This time, we’re going to pluck the B and E strings individually.

Now let’s take a look at some classic country licks which use chicken pickin’!

Country Guitar Lessons – Chicken Pickin’ – Lick 1

country guitar lessons

Check out this video lesson where I explain this lick further:

Country Guitar Lessons – Chicken Pickin’ – Lick 2

country guitar lessons

In this video I explain this lick in more detail:

 Country Guitar Lessons – Pedal Steel Bends

Pedal steel bends are a great way to get that country sound without learning a completely new instrument (the pedal steel).

This technique is very similar to actual bending, however there are subtle differences! Let’s get started..

We’re going to use the key of G in this example.

If you’re sure about the key of G, go here!

Chords in the key of G and tips for understanding keys

As we’re doing bending we’re going to need a scale to base our bends around, that scale is going to be the G major pentatonic.

country guitar lessons

Bending Technique

The idea behind pedal steel bends is that you bend a note, whilst simultaneously playing another. This creates a lovely texture and sounds great!

It’s vital that when we bend we reach the correct notes, if we’re not bending correctly and hitting the right note it won’t sound great.

To start with we’re going to focus on just bending up to the right note.

If you’ve never done bending before, it may be an idea to check out this video before you try to attempt it.

You may find this article helpful for some additional tips: How To Play Lead Guitar

We’re going to start with bending from the 15th fret, on this note we’ll bend up two notes.

country guitar lessons

I’d suggest using your third finger for this, and using your first and second finger as a support for the bend.

To help you hear how it sounds, i’d suggest you play the 17th fret before you bend, as that’s the note you’re trying to target!

Adding An Extra Note

Now the trick with pedal steel bending is to add an extra note, this gives it that classic country sound.

We’re going to add the 15th fret on the high E string.

When we actually bend the string, we bend the 15th fret on the B string, but keep the the 15th fret on the high E string exactly the same.

Don’t bend the high E string!

country guitar lessons


Country Guitar Lessons – Pedal Steel Bends – Lick 1

For this first lick we’re going to mix a few bends together using the G major pentatonic scale.

Watch out for those bends on the 14th fret of the G string! They can be tricky!


country guitar lessons

Country Guitar Lessons – Pedal Steel Bends – Lick 2

This one’s a little trickier as there’s a bend on the start of each phrase, if you find it difficult, try practicing each individual bend first.

  • 15th fret of the B string, whilst playing the 15th fret of the E string.
  • 14th fret of the G string, whilst playing the 15th fret of the B string.

If you can nail that, you’ll be rocking this lick in no time!
country guitar lessons

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