Country 1 - Backing

Animated Country 1 - Backing tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

Here we are going to start a series of Country Guitar lessons in the Jamzone. Let's start with the rhythm guitar. What we play here is a fairly typical country chord sequence:

E Major - A Major - E Major - F# Major - B Major (Repeat)

The E Major and A Major chords are played through four times each. The F# major and B major are only played twice each. This effectively gives us 16 bars (each individual bar is 4 beats):

E Major (4 Bars) - A Major (4 Bars) - E Major (4 Bars) - F# Major (2 Bars) - B Major (2 Bars) = 16 Bars

If you switch to Tablature View you can see this quite clearly - For example, each single bar of E Major begins with the Low E (black 0 symbol). Notice there are 4 of these before switching to the A major. So that's 4 bars.

Chopping up the music into bars like this can be very useful. It helps you to mentally count through repetitive chords (or riffs) the correct amount of times so you make the upcoming chord changes at the right time.

We've already seen bars used elsewhere i.e. with the '12 Bar Blues' ActionTabs. After a while of doing such exercises you will subconsciously 'know' where the chord changes should be. That's because we naturally divide the music into bars when we are listening to it. When boiled down, it's all just a question of simple counting.

Alternating Bassline

If you want to play country music you MUST know about this. Alternating Basslines are very prevalent in country music and we use them in this ActionTab. In essence, you play a chord and alternate between the root note and the 5th of the same chord. If you play the ActionTab you can hear that distinctive bassline amongst the chord strums. That's the effect we're talking about. Let's take a closer look at it using the first E Major bar....

In this tune are 4 beats per bar. That would normally mean strumming on each beat - Downstroke / upstroke / downstroke / upstroke (repeat) i.e. 4 strums per bar. However, we don't do that. We do use the alternate stroke directions, but notice something VERY important:

1. We play the root note first (and just the root note!), use a downstroke.
2. Upstrum the chord (NB - only part of the chord, because that's easier than up-strumming the full chord).
3. Downstroke the B note, this is along the A string and is the next note along from the root note. You should already be holding it because it is a part of the E Major Chord (and happens to be the 5th of the chord).
4. Do another partial upstrum of the chord.

- Repeat.

This gives us that wonderful alternating bassline inbetween strums! And the Beauty of it is that you are already holding the chord with your fretboard hand, so no fancy fingerwork is required - all the work is with your strumming hand. So, hold down the first E major chord and just keep practicing getting it right with that chord first. Make sure you get into the habit of swapping between the right bass notes / strings. Then when you get it tight, build speed and apply it to the other chords. You'll find they'll be much easier now.

Don't worry if this takes time to get perfect - it can definitely be hard to get to grips with, but well worth it. Once you can do this technique you'll have one of the foundations of pure country playing - so it's well worth the effort!

NB - If you want to know about 'root notes' and '5ths' etc - click here.

Next we will start building on the bassline and start constructing country leads.

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