How To: Start chicken picking

Start chicken picking

This video lesson introduces a basic philosophy on chicken pickin' or country playing. For country guitar playing, you don't need to use much in the way of effects, just a tiny bit of reverb and compression. Country isn't dependent on one set of scales, like rock or blues. To play country, you must play over the chords much like a bluegrass or jazz player. It is no coincidence that many country players are also jazz players and vice versa. Every chord has different lines, chord shapes, or riffs associated with it. The better the player, the more tricks he has for each chord. In country, there are a few basic chords you must be able to play over - C, D, E, G, and A.
Country also uses a great deal of first position playing, based on chord shapes like bluegrass. This means the riffs played revolve around the chord shape, not just the notes in the chord. To achieve the chicken pickin' sound (popping the strings with a percussive, quick sound)use a thumb pick. The thumb pick is important because it frees the right index finger to play strings and pop them whenever you feel like it. The index finger seems to be the perfect size and weight to achieve this sound. It also frees up the other fingers for quick playing. This takes some getting used to because every line and every scale can be played numerous ways with the right fingers.

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