Helpful ReplyWhat makes country guitar sound 'country'??

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paulf707
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2017/07/16 10:52:01 (permalink)

What makes country guitar sound 'country'??

I've been lurking around the 'Kompoz' site recently - I really like the idea of random sharing and collaboration of ideas...
Spent a bit of time working on this project:
https://www.kompoz.com/music/collaboration/670226/file/772639
The original poster put up some lyrics which he'd sung (with only a drum track backing).
I took these and edited them (heavily) with Melodyne and built a track around them - great fun as a project (both musically and technically). He wanted the final track to be sung by a female, so I didn't worry about moving the key up significantly - which inevitably makes his vocals sound a little 'smurf like' :)
 
Anyway, I was relatively happy with my rough demo - I'm no guitarist (I'm a drummer!) but I put together some guitar parts which I thought sounded OK-ish.
 
The response (which I don't disagree with) was that it wasn't very 'country' sounding - and he wanted it to sound more like this track:
https://www.kompoz.com/music/listen/release/765454
 
Which again, I totally agree is far more 'Country' than mine. Obviously it sounds significantly better due to 'proper' vocals, but I'm trying to analyse the guitar parts (and other arrangements) to understand 'what makes it more country' ??
 
From my perspective, the track I worked on was much faster (and remember the original vocals were sung to a fast drum beat at that tempo) - so I tended towards a different type of country sound - more along these lines:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuBoUHU_UFk
I didn't put any rock and roll piano in mine (as the original poster had commented on a previous suggestion that he didn't like the piano so much).
 
I'm not offended or concerned about the feedback I got - but I would be grateful for any other opinions about the tracks.
I'm never going to be a great guitarist, but I would like to do some more 'country' stuff, so any thoughts on how to make my parts 'more country' would be appreciated.
 
I love Country Music (I listen to a lot of Big and Rich, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flats, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban etc.) - but find it hard to 'define' what makes a track 'country'..... Apart from any fiddle / banjo / pedal steel parts!
 
 
Any thoughts / comments greatly appreciated....
 
 
 
 
 
 

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#1
timidi
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/16 13:42:07 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby bapu 2017/07/27 22:59:16
Pretty sure it's the hat.

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#2
paulf707
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/16 14:00:21 (permalink)
timidi
Pretty sure it's the hat.


😁


Can I get a cowboy hat VST?

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Sixfinger
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/16 14:47:43 (permalink)
Hahaha on the hat.
 
One thing bends seem to be fast, get the the correct pitch straight off as opposed to a blues thing that may be a slow bend then vibrato.
 
lots of double stops usually using hybrid picking, pick and 2 or 3 fingers on the right hand often kind of pulled and snapped.
 
I'm more of a blues guy, those things I mentioned are things I don't do lol.

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paulf707
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/16 14:49:49 (permalink)
Good thoughts, thanks....

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Wayfarer
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/17 23:46:24 (permalink)
Rear pickup twang. Telecasters weren't invented for country music, but they sure fit with it. As was pointed out, double stops are all over country music, often with one of the strings being bent (up or down either one), along with chromatic scales. Chicken picking is very fashionable these days (while incorporating open strings in the runs). Search YT for chicken picking videos by Johnny Hiland or Vince Gill playing Liza Jane. But while chicken picking is helpful, it isn't really necessary. A Telecaster on the rear pickup through a Fender BF or SF amp will get you 70% of the way there. If you want the sound a bit dirty, use overdrive rather than distortion. A Tube Screamer is fine. Learn to play with a thumbpick so you can grab the double stops with your fingers and pull at them. That gives a nice twangy sound. If you don't have a Tele, you can use a Les Paul or any Gibson with full size humbuckers on the rear pickup with the volume rolled back quite a bit. That'll add some twang. Good country guitar is very difficult to master. Just about any video with Johnny Hiland will quickly attest to this, but as long as you've got some good twang factor, you can get by on a recording.
post edited by Wayfarer - 2017/07/18 17:01:56
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markno999
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/18 00:27:27 (permalink)
This does sound country stylistically, if you applied suggestion above from Wayfarer for a Tele through a Fender Blackface with a little grit, you would be 80% there.   Add a pedal steel or Fiddle and bring the LVOX up front more you would be 100% there.   I think it "doesn't sound country" because the vocals are buried and the guitar sounds like it is just recorded dry into your DAW.   Otherwise, really fine demo...
 
Regards
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paulf707
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/18 08:00:37 (permalink)
@Wayfarer - thanks for all your thoughts (and more importantly, thanks for reminding me about Little Liza Jane - haven't listened to that in ages  - superb track!)
I only have access to a Strat at the moment, but with the rear pickups I (think) I can get close to a twangy Tele sound - my struggle is that I like to play with the strings slightly dampened by the heel of my right hand - but then I can't get far enough 'back' with the pick to get that real 'twang'. I probably need to experiment more with finger style to see what sounds I can get from that - I obviously need to be playing more than one note at once!
I also think I need to be more confident in playing - I need to picking at the strings quite hard to get that twang. I think I tend to be more hesitant, which then ruins the sound....
 
@Marko - thanks for your thoughts on the recording. The guitar was recorded through amplitude using Silver12 (Ch2) and British Blue Tube amps - I'll try experimenting with a BlackFace and/or TubeScreamer to see what different sounds I can get
I tried to get a fiddle sound in there, but the samples on SampleTank didn't sound great. I'm still looking for ideas to get a half decent Pedal Steel sound out of SampleTank / Dimension Pro...
 
The vocals were always going to be week (as they are heavily pitch shifted).
 
Really appreciate all your thoughts / comments, and thanks for taking the time to listen and respond.
 
Cheers!
Paul

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#8
Wayfarer
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/18 17:08:27 (permalink)
The 4th pickup position on a Strat works fine for country too. (Speedy Haworth - When You and I were Young MaggieA volume pedal along with your Strat's whammy bar can mimic a steel guitar perfectly. You can do it.
post edited by Wayfarer - 2017/07/19 16:21:21
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eph221
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/27 22:48:32 (permalink)
I didn't read through the responses, but if single coil pickups hasn't been mentioned, I'll mention it (again).  Basically the signature sound of country music is the use of single coil pickups (the bridge position on tele's and on strats).  I realize I'll get push back for this, but getting pushback wont mean I'm wrong! :)

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Matron Landslide
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/27 23:31:55 (permalink)

What makes country guitar sound 'country'??

I would say a lack of testicles and a very unfortunate upbringing, not to mention bad taste. I realize I'll get push back for this, but getting push back wont mean I'm wrong! :)

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eph221
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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/27 23:35:09 (permalink)
Oh a troll! How lucky I am

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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/27 23:46:02 (permalink)
Not at all, I almost completely agree with what you said, just feeling a little silly today (I blame it on that Black Sabbath and Poi . . ., Black Sabbath and Poi . . .  still can't say it, video in the Coffee House thread) Strat's and Tele's and single coils in general do I think tend to lend themselves well to that style, thin sounding (comparatively) twangy type of sound easily produced by them. Although you can get it (and people do) with almost anything if twang is your thang.

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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/27 23:48:21 (permalink)
You kind of slammed Southerners. They're my people.

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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/27 23:50:45 (permalink)
Lynyrd Skynyrd for the win!!! (Molly Hatchet as well)

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Re: What makes country guitar sound 'country'?? 2017/07/28 00:22:25 (permalink)
Never mind.
post edited by Wayfarer - 2017/08/07 21:00:27
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