Country Chops & Double Stops

by Russell Cash

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  • Inro - Hello everyone. Welcome to the lesson titled Country Chops. In this lesson we take a medium tempo country jam and play a lot of double stops and triplets to create the chicken picking sound. Most of these types of double stops and phrasings are similar to a country style like that of Brent Mason. Remember most of the tone come from the right hand. I am hybrid picking using my pick and my middle and ring ginger throughout. Pay close attention to the slower videos if you need help with this.

    Chords & Scales - The lesson example is in the key of A. The chord progression is below.

    | A | A | A | D - G |
    | A | A | A | A | x2

    | A | A | A | D |
    | D | A | B | E |
    | A | A | A | D |
    | D | A | E | A | x2

    | A | A | A | A |

    Where it applies, most of the licks could come from the A mixolydian mode. We would also be using notes from the A maj and A min blues. It's more common in country to see licks using a combination of notes from all three scales. We'll save that for another lesson though.

    Hints & Help - Country players tend to think more in terms of chord positions and triads rather than scales and modes. One of the reasons is most of the difficult solos incorporate many chromatic notes and passing tones. So there really isn't one particular scale to emphasize this unless you want to practice a chromatic scale. Because many of the rhythms include double stops (two notes) triads, or chords in various positions up and down the neck, most players become familiar with where the outside tones (b3, b5, b7 etc) lie with respect to a particular chord position. It's concept that was probably carried over from Jazz. If you think in this manner over examples that use double stops such as our lesson you may find it easier to grasp rather than depending strictly on the tab. Most of these licks using double stops will pick out notes with respect to A7, D7, B7 and E7. Try and visualize this because after you learn it once you can use some of these licks over and over in other keys.

    Tone - I'm playing my G&L ASAT Classic through the Line 6 UX2 Studio console. With the Line 6 Amp Farm simulation software I choose the setting called "Country Standard" and then tweak it a bit. Essentially this setting includes a noise gate, Fender Tweed Bassman, compression and spring reverb. Ideally I like to use an effect called Tube Echo. Not only does it act as a delay but I think it helps tighten the sound a little making the tone similar to a recording artist. It sounds good on most high quality recordings but when rendered to mp3 or lower video formats it appears to shift pitches a little and sounds as if your guitar is out of tune. You might hear this a little in the recording. However, it is a good effect to experiment with if you have this software.

    If you need help or have a question please ask.


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