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Electric Country Guitar Lessons: Alternating Bass: Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore Style

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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 gonna get into some what
I call the Chet Atkins and
Scotty Moore styles here.
And it's gonna be alternating bass and
I call it dead thumb,
which is like, sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
There's a lot of muting going on here.
We're gonna mute pretty heavily with
this style to keep these bass notes
kind of bouncing and grooving.
And it's all about the right hand
patterns, which some of these
patterns are, it's very hard for
me to articulate and convey to you.
Especially for,
one of things about these are,
it's very hard to play these slow, because
it's so much about these rhythm and
these groove and how this happens
naturally with these patterns.
So what we're gonna do, is we're gonna
play out of this A chord position.
And this might get a little tricky,
but just bear with me.
This is gonna be a fun lesson.
So what I'm doing is I'm
playing this A bar chord.
I'm playing it with these three fingers,
I'm playing the four notes here.
A, C sharp, E and A, so that's my chord.
Now I'm wrapping my thumb around
the top of this fretboard,
around this neck, and
I'm hitting this A string with my thumb.
I know this could be a little difficult,
but just try it.
And it's a pretty natural move.
I mean, I'm just wrapping
my hand around there, and
my thumb is catching this A string.
[MUSIC]
So try that, and it's not like this but
it's just catching,
like it's almost hitting right here.
And the the meat of my thumb
is catching that A string,
that A note on the low
E string right there.
And the low E string is the only
string you can do that with.
You're not gonna be able to do that
with the A or the D, it's just too much.
So this is kind of common
with this kind of stuff,
a lot of guys will use their
thumb to fret over the top there.
And that could be a little bit
more advanced technique, but
we're gonna do this.
So let's do the dead thumb.
So this pick,
the pick attack
is going to be
[MUSIC].
That's the sound.
So this is like a Memphis style,
almost rockabilly kind of approach,
but it's basically the Chet,
kind of the Chet style.
So this is really,
it's fun to groove on this and
it's fun to kind of have this whole sound
going where you've got the bass notes,
syncopation, and
your little melody line on top.
So what's gonna happen here,
is we're gonna keep this dead thumb going.
[MUSIC]
And then our middle
finger is gonna go,
[MUSIC].
And what I'm doing is, I'm hitting
the high E string with the A note fretted.
And then I'm hitting the six of the scale,
which is in this case F sharp.
[MUSIC]
Yeah, that's right, the sixth.
So I'm hitting F sharp,
[MUSIC]
and that creates this,
[MUSIC]
this sound.
So what that is,
is I'm barring these two and
then I'm just putting my little
finger right here on the 7th fret.
[MUSIC]
So what that sounds like is, and
don't forget now the little finger,
I mean, the middle finger, watch this.
[MUSIC]
Now this middle finger, it might feel like
your finger's out of control
when you try doing this.
But just keep it, I'm muting here,
that's your anchor.
And it's also for sound purposes, this is
because this whole style is kind of muted
with this kinda thing
that you're doing here.
That's the effect you want.
[MUSIC]
So that
is all
three
cords.
We went down to D and played a D7,
which is this shape and you're moving.
I'll show you how to play D7 up the neck,
so we're going,
[MUSIC]
just like we did C earlier.
We're gonna move that up to here,
so D with the ring finger on D.
Middle finger on F sharp,
little finger on C, first finger on D.
So that's,
[MUSIC].
So,
[MUSIC].
So that pattern is,
[MUSIC]
I'm pinching the D string and
the B string with my,
like this so,
[MUSIC].
Now you're gonna wanna reference the slow
motion video with this right hand,
because I can't play this riff slow.
I can't do it, it's crazy.
But it's gotta have that
bounce to engage this pattern.
So please watch the slow motion video, and
all the accompanied material
that goes with these lessons.
So we're gonna go here in A,
[MUSIC].
Now we're going to go to D,
[MUSIC].
Now when I'm doing that,
[MUSIC]
I'm doing that trick where we lift up just
enough to stop the strings, and
I'm doing it with all four fingers.
I'm going,
[MUSIC].
You almost can't even see it,
cuz it's such a subtle little motion.
And then E,
[MUSIC].
You can slide in with that thumb if
you want to give that a little kind of
an accent.
[MUSIC]
So there
I did
a little
walk up.
I did,
[MUSIC]
a walk down actually.
I walked down from D.
I went D, C, B, B flat, A.
So that was coming out of the D cord.
[MUSIC]
Sliding right back up to the A.
I walked up to E7, which is right here.
Same as E7, up a whole step.
I walked right up the scale,
[MUSIC].
I went,
[MUSIC]
right out of the chromatic,
just chromatically right up.
So from A, C sharp, D, D sharp, E.
[MUSIC]
And the more you can mute that with
a little reverb on,
it's really gonna sound cool.
[MUSIC]
So that's a little lesson
on just kind of that style.
And we'll get into some more complex
right hand stuff later on, but
that's a good one, thanks.
[MUSIC]