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Electric Country Guitar Lessons: Tones and Controls

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Country Guitar with Guthrie Trapp. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Electric Country Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Okay, we're going to get into some
introducing the tones and
the controls of the guitar, and
we'll cover some different things here.
We'll cover the mechanics of the guitar.
And we'll also cover a little more
in depth of how your pick attack and
area of the guitar affect
the sound as well.
So, this will be a fun and informative
section here that we're going into.
I already touched a little bit about
picking back behind the bridge and
some things like that when I was
talking about holding the pick.
But I'll try not to repeat myself.
We'll try to get into some
different things there.
So and I know everybody here might
not have the same kind of guitar.
But this will work for
pretty much every guitar that you have.
Unless it's really, really packed full
of a lot of controls, and switches, and
pick ups, and different things like that.
Which honestly if you're playing
this kind of style of country music
which is kind of like a traditional
style a little bit up to this point.
And we'll get into some more other
kind of stuff but you know for
me being a little bit more
traditional when it comes to my gear.
You know playing wise we can branch
out into a bunch of different things.
But I love playing the Telecaster
because it's a solid guitar,
there's not many moving parts,
there's no tremolo or vibrato.
There's just not a lot moving parts.
It's a nice solid bridge,
it strings through the body.
And you've got a back pick up and
you've got a front pick up.
And that's it.
Tuners, back pick up, front pick up,
or back pick up, front pick up.
Three way switch, volume and
a tone control, and your jack.
So your cord jack.
So that's the only stuff on here.
Other than that, it's wood.
So obviously here we'll
go to the front pickup.
And that's with the switch
all the way forward,
that means this pickup is by itself only.
And this is gonna be your warmest,
roundest,
fattest sounding pickup that
you have on the guitar.
Because it's close up to the neck.
And you'll see,
if I was to pluck these strings,
[MUSIC]
that's a pretty warm sound up there.
And as I move back,
[MUSIC]
that gets brighter as I get back towards
the bridge cuz the string
tension is tighter back there.
So when the pickup was put here,
that obviously is going to be
a brighter sound cuz it's back where
the string tension is tighter
back there by the saddles.
So with that being said,
with your front pickup,
you can get these different sounds,
you can make the front pickup sound
brighter by playing back by the bridge.
But it's still gonna be your warmest,
fattest tone of all these pickups.
So that's great for nice single
note lines in like a slower song or
a country shuffle or
you know depending on what your doing.
Now you can switch through these different
pick ups in one song and that's okay.
If you're playing rhythm
[MUSIC]
and you wanna play a solo,
you can go to your back pickup,
take the solo, and then go back to
your front pickup for your rhythm.
And you can do that, you can go all three,
you can do this, there's no rules really.
There's taste but there's no rules.
So and we'll get into more of that
like what songs to use these on,
actually with Folsom Prison I mentioned
that it's probably a pretty good idea
to use your middle pickup for
the rhythm part.
And then on the melody you can use any one
you want, whichever one feels good to you.
But for that intro and that kind
of style that Luther Perkins style
the middle pickup is the most percussive.
It's a nice blend between
the back pickup and the front.
So when you go to the middle position
it's both of these pickups together.
So you're getting the front and the back
which give a nice Nice percussive sound.
Then when you go to the back pick up
it's just the back pick up by itself
there's no front there's not split.
So here's what the front
pick up sounds like,
I'm going back to the front pick up which
is this only and it's a nice warm tone.
So I'll give you just a little few,
you don't have to play these
licks I'm just gonna give you
a nice little idea what this sounds like
[MUSIC]
so, that's the front pick-up.
Great for chords.
And little two note stuff
[MUSIC]
which we're going to get to in the future.
Don't worry about playing those licks.
I'm giving you some ideas of
what the tone sounds like here.
So with that being said.
This is great for playing up
around here an getting this nice,
warm sound
[MUSIC]
but with that pickup you can still
play back by the bridge and
get more of a biting tone.
So if I move my hand back here and I used
the bridge to anchor this I can still
[MUSIC]
more like for blues style, or
something like that.
Or if you're doing things
[MUSIC]
now you don't have to play that lick.
I'm just showing you what this
sounds likes when move back there.
It still works on the front pickup so
there's a lot of tones you
can get from here to here.
Personally I find it comfortable
to hold my hand about right here.
Sometimes I'll anchor this bridge,
out of might be a bad habit but
that's kinda what I do, I've dug
a hole here with my little finger.
But I think it sounds nice right in here
[MUSIC].
And that's about right there
is where my pick lands, and
then I end up playing right
in this little sweet spot.
That's for the front pickup.
Now when we move to the middle pickup,
we get this sound
[MUSIC].
Which is a great sound and
it's a little bit brighter,
it has a little bit more top end on it.
Still has a nice clear,
super clear, low end
[MUSIC].
And this pick up makes me want
to play back by the bridge,
because it is such a bright, tight,
fat sound and very percussive.
It's a great pick up for doing lines
like in a country shuffle maybe.
Which we're gonna get to
later on down the line.
But if I was doing a rhythm
pattern like this
[MUSIC].
It's very percussive for
that to where the front pickup might
have a little too much low end and
not the snap that this pickup gives you.
So great for
[MUSIC]
great for chords also,
nice clear pickup combination.
So now to go to the back pickup,
and this is,
all of these pickups that I am going
over now, they're all, I am going
over all of them with the tone all the way
up and the volume knob all the way up.
So that is what I recommend.
I get the best sound when my pick up
volume is all the way up and the tone
control is all the way up and you can
manipulate this tone control a little bit.
But if you go too much down it's
just going to get real dark and
I'll show you what that
sounds like in a little bit.
But basically these are up all the time.
Some people use a volume pedal or
something like that if they
need to manipulate the volume.
But I like them wide open.
To me, when the pickups
are working at full blast,
they sound the best to me.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
So this is what the back
pickup sounds like.
[MUSIC]
Very bright and
a real kind of a little harder sound.
[MUSIC]
That's
the back pickup.
Quintessential Telecaster
back pickup sound and
that's just kind of what the chicken
picking style was built on.
[MUSIC]
Just gives you that real nice snap.
A great rhythm sound.
[MUSIC]
That kind of sound.
So very clear for
doing two note things like the double
stops that we're gonna get into.
[MUSIC]
And when you snap with your hybrid
technique, which we're gonna get more and
more involved in.
[MUSIC]
Really, really great for that.
It's an inspiring sound for
this style of music.
So that's your back pickup and
then moving down here to the volume
controls like I said,
I like the volume all the way up.
Now, you can do volume swells and
stuff with this too which we're
gonna get into a little bit later.
But basically, for me, I like to
turn the volume all the way up and
there's, let's see, just hit a chord.
[SOUND] That's just what that knob does.
I mean, that's just your volume.
[MUSIC]
If you like having a little less,
maybe [SOUND] you can do that.
I personally I like to
have mine all the way up.
So then with the tone knob on the front
pickup, we'll do a little thing here.
So here is your single note line
with the tone knob all the way up.
You don't have to play this any of these.
These are just example, so
can you hear what these sound like.
So this.
[MUSIC]
Is a nice clear warm tone.
But when you back the tone
knob down a little bit,
let's go about a quarter the way down.
[MUSIC]
Still sounds nice just getting a little
darker.
You're taking a little of that sheen and
then highs of of that.
And then if you go all the way down.
[MUSIC]
Very dark and
almost unusable in my opinion.
So I would say, turn these up.
Don't be afraid to turn
your volume all the way up.
If you feel like they're too loud,
turn your amp down a little bit.
But the pickups are going to sound
their best in my opinion when you have
the volume all the way up.
I keep saying that.
But the tone,
you can manipulate that a little bit.
I like mine, usually all the way up and
I'll make the adjustments on the amp and
that works usually for
all three pick ups fine.
So when you go to the back pickup, you
wanna have that little bit of brightness
to cut through and
that's kinda the point of having this.
You want that bright kinda sound to cut
through when you're playing a solo.
So but if you're playing like something
that might be a little more jazzy or
you want that little darker tone,
don't be afraid.
You can get back there and
just roll that tone back a little bit,
even in the middle of a song
you can adjust these.
So there's really no rules, but there are
some taste things that go along with that.
So with that being said, I mean,
that kind of covers a good little basic
rundown of what your controls do if
you have a telecaster like this.
And yeah, we'll get into some
more in depth things with this.
We'll get into some volume swells and
stuff like that further
on into the curriculum.
So that's it.
[MUSIC]