Looking for Country Guitar Lessons?
As an accessible genre for beginners, country guitar lessons are a popular way to get to grips with one of the defining movements in modern American music. Country has roots in folk brought over from early 20th century Celtic immigrants, and is quite simple from a musician’s point of view. Despite this simplicity, genre-specific lessons help you master country, and learn to incorporate the tricks and techniques employed by professionals. You can play country with an acoustic or electric guitar, but it’s generally associated with steel-strung acoustics.
In the past, aspiring guitarists had to spend hours in stuffy, uncomfortable rooms paying exorbitant hourly rates to private tutors to get to grips with the instrument. Now online and DVD based courses have taken over, offering a more affordable and convenient method of learning the guitar.
Check out the comparison chart below to see the results of our research and help you decide which classical guitar course is right for you.
Country Guitar Lessons: Buying Guide
Country is relatively simple for guitarists. Johnny Cash is an excellent example, as a legendary singer-songwriter who never really wowed anybody with his guitar skills. Country guitar is all about an effective accompaniment to lyrics, with the instrument taking a back seat. This makes a great genre for beginners, even if they aren’t particularly interested in country. The techniques and skills you’ll learn will also benefit anybody looking to become a singer-songwriter, so it is still a very rewarding genre to learn.
Some of the most important things you’ll need to play country are covered by any guitar lessons. Country employs a lot of basic major and minor chords, and any guitar course will teach you them. If you’re an absolute beginner, this is good news, because the chords and scales you learn anyway will be useful for your country playing. You should make sure the course you choose has a good run-through of the fundamentals, with lessons on theory, chords, scales, strumming patterns and the basics of holding and playing the instrument.
One of the key techniques for country is fingerpicking, and many courses will cover this as part of the core module. You should check out how many lessons there are on fingerpicking, including any on banjo-style rolls (which are essentially the same thing). Many courses will also have genre series on folk, and there will be some additional fingerpicking lessons there. This is a great way to spice up chords and make them more interesting for the listener.
More country-specific techniques will probably be given more prominence. Ensure the course you buy has lessons on hybrid picking, chicken pickin’ and double stops. The course should both teach you how to perform these techniques and how they are incorporated into songs. Generally, the more lessons offered on techniques the better. The course might also include lessons on things like country lead and song endings, which give you extra tools when you come to write your own songs.
Mastering the Subgenres
Country can be split into several different subgenres, and you should have a solid grounding in each if you want to be a great country musician. Ensure that classic country, western swing and modern country are covered in the lessons, and that some time is devoted to the use of the electric guitar in country. If you have a preferred subgenre, choose a course with more information on it, but don’t neglect the other styles entirely.
Subscription-based online websites and DVD courses communicate with you through video, so this is an important point to consider when you’re shopping around for a course. Ideally, you want high quality video, with plenty of camera angles so you can see what both of the instructor’s hands are doing. Split-screen views and close-ups generally help too, so you don’t have to squint to see the subtle movements you’re trying to master. Find a sample lesson of the courses you’re considering or at least look over some screenshots to see how good the overall presentation is.
Country Guitar Lessons: Conclusion
Overall, country is an accessible genre, which incorporates a lot of beginner-friendly techniques and has links to other genres such as blues and bluegrass. The best course for country lessons is JamPlay. It offers a genre-specific series with over 30 lessons, and can take you from being a beginner to an advanced-level guitarist. The videos are all HD-quality, make use of things like split-screens and close-ups, and only use top-quality instructors. They also have well-stocked chord and scale libraries which will become indispensible when you start to write your own country classics.