There is more to country artist Brad Paisley than cowboy boots, Stetson and a southern twang. When you pay attention to his guitar playing you will notice a ferocious player! The country music style is often overlooked by budding guitarists, many country guitar players in Nashville have incredible technique as well as amazing control over bends. It is a style that you can learn an awful lot from. In this article we see the use of Pre-bends, bends, slurs, use of open strings and position shifts which makes up for a challenging style of guitar playing. All of the elements mentioned are applicable in all styles of music, so even if you don't intend to become a full on country player, at least take ideas and techniques from the style. I suggest you try and take a lick and break it down into its note choice firstly and secondly the technique used, this way you can really analyze why it works over the chord as well as learn a cool new technique that you can use in your guitar playing arsenal for years to come.
Here we see the use of pre-bends and also using the bend to play a rhythm. A lot of control in the left hand is essential here as it is all too easy to over-bend notes, resulting in a real din. Ensure you use a strong finger group to ensure good control (we suggest you use the 3rd) and support with the unused fingers.
Again, we see the prominent use of bends to create an almost pedal steel effect. Notice the use of an open first string in this example, this makes use of the guitars natural tonal variance. You could play 5th fret second string instead but the lick would loose its lively sound at that point.
Yeee haw! The final example shows us a possible country riff/rhythm feature, notice the use of subtle bends (curls) as well as some interesting fingering to vary the tone of the notes. Try incorporating more open strings into your playing for a livelier, more twangy sound.