Brad Paisley is one of today’s most influential country guitar players. His aggressive sound with Vox AC30 and Dr Z amps set him apart from the traditional country tone of a blackface Fender. In addition to his sound, Brad Paisley is very unique in his playing style. Paisley’s playing incorporates lots of open notes in his lines as well as many interesting rhythmic ideas. In this lesson, I will show how to play 5 Brad Paisley inspired lines over a train beat blues in G.

The first lick is a sixteenth note run grouped in threes. I play this using hybrid picking with the pick taking the first note, the middle finger playing the second, and the ring finger playing the third. In the second bar, keep the bent note held while playing the notes on the high E string and then release it to the original pitch.

The second lick is an idea inspired by Brad Paisley’s instrumental tune, “Nervous Breakdown”. I play the first bar with hybrid picking rotating each picked note (not the pull of note) between the middle finger and pick. In the second bar, the muted note (marked with an X) can be played either on the low E string or on the D string. I prefer the sound of the muted note on the E string, but at full tempo it can be hard to pull off cleanly each time.

The third lick is also played with hybrid picking. The pick plays the notes on the A string and the middle finger plays the notes on the G string. To get this lick sounding like Brad Paisley, really pop the string with your middle finger so it snaps off the frets a bit. I also tend to give the Bb on the G string a quick bend to give it a more aggressive sound.

This lick uses some of Brad Paisley’s interesting rhythmic ideas. He frequently uses small groupings of sixteenth note triplets at the beginning or ending of sixteenth note runs. This is an easy way to add excitement to your fast solos and also keeps long sixteenth note runs from sounding boring. In this lick, I begin the line with a sixteenth note triplet hammer-on from an open string. Then the lick climbs up chromatically using pull-offs to the open G string.

The last lick covers the move from the V-IV (D7-C7) and back to the I (G7). It begins with sixths descending the scale using pull-offs to the open E string. The second bar is a standard dominant scale run but replaces a fretted E note with the open string at the end of the line. I use my middle finger to pick the open E string while the lower notes are picked. The last part of the second bar features a quick slide from C to Bb. I like to play this with a strong upstroke, raking the B and G strings before the fretted note (muting them with a combination of my picking and fretting hand).

The second half begins with another sixteenth note triplet idea into a run of sixteenth notes. Using hammer-ons or pull-offs in ideas like this really make it a lot easier to play those lightning fast lines you hear on Paisley’s records. It also uses lots of ringing open strings which help make everything sound a bit smoother and also keep the solo sounding full. Everything ends with a common bluegrass run in G.

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