The pedal steel guitar

There is an amusing story attached to one of the first players of the electric steel guitar, Alvino Rey. This was back in the days when the instrument was at its experimental stage, at the end of the 1920s. Rey had practiced with the orchestra and everyone had been satisfied with the sound of the…

The Nashville Number System

The Nashville Number System Natural-born musicians, singers and songwriters do not necessarily have a sound grip of music theory. What they do comes from the heart, and being confronted with a studio setup can be intimidating. Neil Matthews understood this. He was born in Nashville in 1929, served with the US Army during the Korean…

The Big O

The Big O Roy Orbison is not country music, but Roy Orbison sure is Nashville. Just a few weeks ago the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened an exhibit commemorating The Big O and the 50th anniversary of Oh, Pretty Woman. Sun Records Along with Orbison’s prescription glasses and other memorabilia, the exhibit…

Scotty Moore’s world-changing guitar

Scotty Moore’s world-changing guitar One of Nashville’s most famous residents, Scotty Moore, also happens to be one of the men who changed the world. That happened 60 years ago, not far away, in Memphis. In 1954 Scotty, bass player Bill Black and a young singer with the unlikely name of Elvis Presley, got together at…

The licks of country guitar

The licks of country guitar Modern country guitar, Nashville style, has its origins in blues, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and way back, the courtly plucking of the lute in Medieval England and Europe. The characteristic is a picking style used with plectrum, fingers or both; and the use of open tuning to achieve licks…

The Fingerstyle Guitar Of Chet Atkins

The Fingerstyle Guitar Of Chet Atkins Chet Atkins is of course one of the great names of Nashville, and it is his name that is often affixed to the fingerstyle technique of guitar playing. Chet was from Luttrell in Tennessee and started out as a session player, going on to become a solo artist and…

Nashville Tuning Adds Jangle

Nashville Tuning Adds Jangle What is usually referred to as “Nashville tuning” and sometimes as “high-strung tuning” is a way of transforming your guitar playing by using the same chord fingering but changing the strings to create a jangling sound. Stones It was being used in Nashville in the early 1960s and might well have…

Floyd Cramer’s slip-note piano style

Floyd Cramer’s slip-note piano style Floyd Cramer was one of the architects of the Nashville sound. Born in Louisiana he worked for a while as a pianist on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and then in 1955 moved to Nashville, becoming a session musician and backing singers such as Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold…

How to get the tic-tac bass sound

How to get the tic-tac bass sound? During the late 1950s a very distinctive bass sound began to emerge on Nashville recordings. Players had begun to use a six-string bass guitar to double the acoustic bass lines, and the technique produced a distinctive click that became known as tic-tac bass. This sound can be heard…

How to Achieve Outstanding Mixes with Drum Recordings

The beat is the core of any great mix. If the drums are not on point your mix will be off kilter from the start. Oh, it will sound okay, and many undiscerning people will probably not notice but for the true aficionado will. This is the first in a series of posts designed to help…