Country

Rig Rundown: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff and Jaime Hanna

Checking in with one of the first families of country-rock.

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Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Develop an understanding of how to approach chord tones with bends.
  • Learn to think and phrase like a pedal-steel player.
  • Create old-school, honky-tonk lines with a twist.
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Let’s face it folks, pedal-steel is a pillar of the country music sound. It’s one of my favorite instruments—not just in country, but all music genres. The ability to play complex chords, the range of the instrument, the way you can manipulate bends (with knee levers and pedals), and the lyrical quality and tone add so much to the country sound. The textures and chord voicings can really beef up a rhythmic part, but also can make you cry in your beer with a single-note line that includes so much articulation and manipulation it can make your head spin. We are going to mainly focus on a one element that really makes the pedal-steel guitar special and very difficult to emulate on guitar: bending notes.

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Caroline Jones’ current go-to electric is a cherry beauty named “Ruby”—a Collings I-35 Deluxe.

Photo by Tyler Lord

On Antipodes, Jones’ sophomore release, she pulls out all the stops, including a rack full of incredible guitars, a New Zealand-made Weissenborn-style lap steel, a lineup of special guests including Joe Bonamassa, and an impressive combination of fingerpicking and slide techniques.

Country singer-songwriter Caroline Jones names her guitars. Her current go-to, a Collings I-35 Deluxe, is “Ruby.” Her Taylor Custom GS 12-string is named “Big Mama.” There’s a 1963 Strat on loan from her coproducer, Ric Wake, that she calls “Heaven.” And you’ll also see her with a 1961 Fender Esquire—called, “Tenny”—that also belongs to Wake.

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Advanced

Intermediate

  • Learn how to incorporate open strings all the way up the fretboard.
  • Build velocity in your playing without practicing speed exercises.
  • Discover an easy way to steal licks from the pros using YouTube.
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It’s universally known in the guitar community that Brad Paisley isn’t just some guy that strums a guitar and sings country songs. He’s widely respected as one of the best players in the country music scene and takes an unusual approach to achieve the sonic insanity that spills out of his guitar. From Telecasters, G-benders, and cranked Dr. Z amps to instrumental records and wild guitar solos getting mainstream country radio airtime, Paisley has solidified his place in the discussion of all-time greats, and not just in the country world. In this lesson, we’ll dive into one of the cornerstones of Brad’s playing that makes him so unique: open strings.
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