Country String Bends Pt.2 | Guitargate

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Country String Bends Pt.2

In this masterclass, Lyle Brewer dives into the world of country guitar playing, focusing on the art of string bending and outlining chord changes to achieve that classic country sound. Lyle starts by sharing a bit about his personal life, mentioning his time with his kids and how touching his guitar an hour before the masterclass inspired him. He swiftly transitions into the heart of the lesson, drawing from the previous week's discussion on country string bands. The essence of his teaching in this segment is that mastering a few well-tuned string bends can significantly enhance one’s musical expression within the country genre, without the need for overly complex techniques.

Lyle emphasizes the musicality behind string bending, suggesting that a simple line executed with precision can be as effective as more complex sequences. He argues for focusing on the musical aspects of these lines, advocating for the mastery of a few bends to use them freely in playing. This approach, according to Lyle, aids in sounding authentic within the country music landscape. He then proceeds to demonstrate how to play country string bending lines, using triads in the key of A as a foundation. Lyle's instruction includes practical tips on achieving the right sound through bending, aiming to make the guitar outline the chord changes clearly and melodically.

Throughout the masterclass, Lyle provides hands-on examples, including playing techniques and exercises to help viewers grasp the concepts being discussed. He meticulously explains how to position fingers and execute bends to mimic the pedal steel sounds characteristic of country music, using triads to enrich the harmony. The lesson is packed with valuable insights on using string bends not just for embellishment but as a tool for defining harmonic context. By the end of the masterclass, viewers are equipped with a deeper understanding of how to incorporate string bends into their country guitar playing, enhancing their ability to convey musical ideas effectively.

Transcript Summary

  • Introduction to the Masterclass (00:00:06)
    • Lyle welcomes participants and expresses gratitude for being part of the Guitar Gate community.
    • Shares personal updates and his excitement about playing guitar.
    • Expresses the joy and inspiration he finds in participating in the streams.
  • Basics of Country String Bends (00:01:07)
    • Emphasizes that mastering a few simple bends can significantly improve sound.
    • Discusses the importance of playing these bends in tune and using them musically.
    • Illustrates with an example that even a single country string bend can be effective if it's from a country album and played in tune.
  • Playing Country String Bending Lines and Outlining Chord Changes (00:02:52)
    • Lyle talks about the use of triads and how they can be applied to create pedal steel-like stops in the key of A major.
    • He provides examples of how to play these lines, emphasizing the musicality and harmony they add.
    • Explains the technical aspects of achieving the correct sound through bending techniques.
  • Practical Exercise in A Major (00:04:27)
    • Demonstrates a bending exercise using an A major triad, focusing on the top two notes to simulate pedal steel sounds.
    • Offers detailed guidance on finger placement and bending techniques to achieve the desired sound.
    • Highlights the importance of keeping the bends in tune and suggests using a clip-on tuner for practice.
  • Conclusion and Further Practice Tips (00:15:07)
    • Summarizes the key points of the lesson, emphasizing the value of simple, well-executed bends.
    • Encourages practice with a clip-on tuner to ensure accuracy in tuning bends.
    • Concludes by reiterating the musical potential of mastering country string bending techniques.

Lyle has been one of my very favorite guitarists for the past few years, and I’m THRILLED to announce that he’s agreed to join the Guitargate teaching roster!

Lyle - if you didn’t know - is a big deal. He is a wildly respected member of the guitar community and is a monster player in what seems to be every genre. He is the lead guitarist of the band Neighbor, and also teaches at Berklee in Boston (so bring him the hard questions).

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