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STYLES FOLK

NOTES

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STYLES COUNTRY

STYLES: COUNTRY
Country music has a broad appeal and many songs that are traditionally played in other styles can be easily
adapted to the country style. Also, country music has been from its inception, a music designed to be
played by musicians in all skill ranges. A typical country rhythm pattern can be seen in Figure 2.1.
FIGURE 2.1

Note: The down stroke is on the first strum and then the down/up on the next two notes. Also, be
aware how the pattern repeats itself.
Strum using the down, down/up, down, down/up pattern.
When you are comfortable with the rhythm, try playing the chords for the key of C. This will include
C, F, G, Dm, Am, Em. Figure 2.2 - A shows a practice exercise.
FIGURE 2.2 - A

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STYLES COUNTRY

NOTES

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STYLES COUNTRY

Now as a variation, try playing this standard chord progression for a typical country tune.
See Figure 2.2 - B.
FIGURE 2.2 - B

After you are comfortable with the rhythm and chords in the key of C, try a more complicated version
of the strum pattern. In this variation you will play the bass line along with the chords. You will pick
the root and the fifth note of each chord. This style is also very common in bluegrass and early or
traditional country music.
To begin, place your fingers in the full C position.
Use the pick to play the bass note of each chord. So, when playing a full C
chord, play the 2nd lowest string (the 5th string, the C note) by itself on beat
one, and then strum down/up across the rest of the strings on beat two. On
beat three play the lowest string (6th String, the G note) then strum down/up
on beat four. The strum pattern for this variation is pick, down/up, pick,
down/up. On the F chord, initially play the bass line by alternating the fourth
string on beat one (the F note) and fifth string (the A note or 3rd) on beat
three while strumming on beats two and four. Once you become confortable
with the pick/strum it is better to use the 5th (C note) on beat three of the F
chord by moving your 3rd finger back and forth between the 4th string to the
5th string.
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STYLES COUNTRY

NOTES

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STYLES COUNTRY

Finally, on the V chord or G, play the bass line by picking the sixth string on beat one and the fifth
string on beat three. Remember to strum on beats two and four. See Figure 2.3.
Another way to say it could be: pick, strum down/up, alternate pick, strum down/up.
A I, IV, V progression in the key of C will look like Figure 2.3
FIGURE 2.3

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STYLES COUNTRY

NOTES

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STYLES COUNTRY

COUNTRY PROGRESSION

IN

C #1

COUNTRY PROGRESSION

IN

C #2*

with a slight swing feel on CD

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STYLES

COUNTRY

NOTES

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STYLES COUNTRY

Try the same progression in the key of E. To play the bass notes for an E chord, play the 6th string on
beat one and the 5th string on beat three, (the E bass note, then the B). For the A Chord its just the
opposite; play the 5th string on beat one and the 6th string on beat three (the A note, then the E
note). On the B chord play the 5th string on beat one and the 4th string on beat three (the B note and
then an exception, the D# or 3rd of the chord). Remember to strum on beats two and four.

COUNTRY PROGRESSION

IN

E #1

COUNTRY PROGRESSION

IN

E #2*

with a slight swing feel on CD

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STYLES

COUNTRY

NOTES

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STYLES COUNTRY

COUNTRY
SUGGESTED SONG EXAMPLES
On the Road Again
Redneck Women
Its Better All the Time
I Love This Bar
Just To See You Smile
Long Gone

Willie Nelson
Gretchen Wilson
Brooks and Dunn
Toby Keith
Tim McGraw
Dixie Chicks

HINT:
Place capo on 2nd fret and play the country progression in the key of C.
In pencil above the printed chords, transpose the chord progression up a
whole step. The C becomes D, the Am becomes Bm and so on. Now,
choose a pal, a friend, a buddy. Play the progression together; one person
plays the chords written in C with the capo on the 2nd fret and the other
plays it in the key of D with no capo.

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