This week I decided to do something a bit different and made a lesson showing how I approached creating guitar parts for a chorus of a modern country track I worked on recently. The chorus features four guitar parts total, two acoustic and two electric guitar parts. The song is in the style of top 40 country music like Keith Urban or Brad Paisley. This lesson will teach you an easy way to build a pop country chorus using 4 simple guitar parts.
The first acoustic guitar part is simple open chord strumming. This sets up a foundation for the guitar parts that the rest of the guitar parts can build upon. This part is doubled and panned hard left and right.
The second acoustic guitar doubles the rhythm of the first guitar but voices the chords much higher up on the neck using a capo. Doubling an acoustic guitar part with a capo is something I use often because it helps beef up the acoustic guitar sound. I also find it gives it a mandolin or twelve string quality especially as you get up on the neck. Another common technique is to use a high strung guitar (also known as Nashville tuning). This is where the wound E, A, D, and G strings are replaced with a light gauge string that is tuned an octave up.
The first electric guitar part is big, sustained open chords. The rhythm follows the first acoustic guitar track where every other chord is pushed (in this case played on the and of 2). This helps add to the fullness of the rhythm guitars while not just doubling the strumming of the acoustic guitars. Too many instruments doing the same idea will cause everything to get more muddy than full.
The final guitar part is a single note lead line that heavily uses delay. This sound is all over Keith Urban’s recordings and is very influenced by the kind of guitar lines played by U2 and just about every CCM recording artist. The basic line is notated above and I add muted notes in between to add a bit more rhythmic interest.