kenny greenberg

Behind every radio hit is a group of guitarists who've created ear-catching parts. Check out these tips and tricks used by some of Music City’s most in-demand sidemen.

Intermediate

Beginner

• Learn how to use "box" patterns to create licks in different keys.
• Understand how to use open-string drones to create signature parts.
• Hone your ability to play melodic slide-guitar textures.

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I feel a little embarrassed when people ask me about my guitar influences. I can't claim expertise of Hendrix, I haven't spent hours woodshedding Eric Johnson, and I couldn't tell you the first thing about how to play like David Gilmour. My influences are more behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows of the music industry. They don't have big names, but they are monster players. I'm talking about the number one, most honest influence on my guitar playing: Nashville session guitarists.

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Rig Rundown: Derek Wells

PG’s John Bohlinger joins Derek Wells in the studio to check out the decorated Nashville hit-maker’s recording rig, which includes a custom-built pedalboard and a six-pack of tube amps.

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Kenny Greenberg with his main axe, a vintage Gretsch 6118 Double Anniversary that he found at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville for a mere $600. “It had the original pickups, but the finish had been taken off and the headstock had been repaired. So, it’s a great example of a ‘player’s vintage instrument,’” he says.

On his solo debut, the Nashville session wizard discovers his own musical personality in a soundtrack for a movie that wasn’t, with stops in Africa and Mississippi hill country.

Kenny Greenberg has been Nashville’s secret weapon for decades. He’s the guitarist many insiders credit with giving the Nashville sound the rock ’n’ roll edge that’s become de rigueur for big country records since the ’90s. It’s the sound that, in many ways, delivered country music from its roots to sporting events.

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