Chicken Picking: Unraveling the Story Behind the Craftmanship

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There’s something captivating about the sound of a country guitar. It’s an art form that has evolved over time, with each new generation of players adding their own unique style and techniques. One such technique that has become synonymous with country music is chicken picking. But what exactly is chicken picking, and how did it come to be such a prevalent style in country music? In this article, we’ll dive into the history and evolution of chicken picking, analyzing its roots, key techniques, and the impact it has had on country music as a whole. Get ready to unravel the fascinating story behind this one-of-a-kind playing style.

The Roots of Chicken Picking

The Roots Of Chicken Picking
Music genres always have their own roots, unique qualities, and influences. When it comes to chicken picking, it is no exception. This fingerstyle guitar technique that evolved in the United States has undergone changes and refinements through the years. Back then, chicken picking was a new trend of country music, but it never faded away. Its distinct sound has been as significant today as it was back in the day. Exploring the origin of chicken picking will help you understand the style’s development, the key figures who shaped it, and how it changed country music forever. Whether you’re new to chicken picking or you want to sharpen your skills, understanding the roots of this genre will take you a long way.

Early Influencers of the Style

The history of chicken picking dates back to the 1940s and has its roots in the southern United States. A combination of African American and European musical traditions led to the development of a style that utilized quick picking, string bending and unique chord progressions. Eldon Shamblin is considered one of the earliest influencers of chicken picking. He was a member of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, a western swing band from Texas, and used the technique in many of their songs.

Another early influencer was Cliffie Stone, a bass player who played with many artists in the 1940s and 1950s. He played a style of chicken picking that was more focused on bass lines and rhythm guitar. Stone was known for using his thumb to pluck the bass strings and his fingers to play the rhythm on the higher strings.

Another influential figure in chicken picking was Grady Martin, who played with many well-known country artists including Patsy Cline and Marty Robbins. Martin’s style was unique in that he often used a thumb pick instead of plucking the strings with his fingers.

These early influencers laid the groundwork for the chicken picking style and helped to create a sound that would eventually become synonymous with country music. Their influence can still be heard today in the playing of many modern guitarists.Advanced chicken picking patterns can be difficult to learn but studying the techniques of these early influencers can be helpful. In the next section, we will explore the emergence of the term “chicken picking” and how it became associated with this unique style of guitar playing.

The Emergence of the Term “Chicken Picking”

As the guitar became more prominent in country music, so too did the unique playing style known as “chicken picking.” The origin of the term “chicken picking” is somewhat mysterious, but there are a few theories.

One possibility is that the term comes from the way that the guitar strings are plucked, which resembles the pecking of a chicken. Another theory is that it comes from the idea of “picking” out individual notes like someone would pick through a plate of chicken.

Regardless of its origin, the term “chicken picking” became a popular way to refer to this distinctive style of guitar playing. And as more and more guitarists began to adopt this technique, the term became a ubiquitous part of the country music lexicon.

There is more to chicken picking than just a funny name. In fact, this technique has become one of the defining features of country guitar playing, and has influenced countless musicians over the years. To learn more about chicken picking and how you can start playing yourself, check out our guide to chicken picking for beginners. But before you get started, be sure you have the right guitar for chicken picking and avoid some common mistakes of electric guitar chicken picking. Also, don’t forget to check out the list of chicken picking country songs for inspiration and to learn from the masters. Finally, you might want to consider the benefits of chicken picking for your playing.

Chicken Picking Techniques – The Evolution Begins

Chicken Picking Techniques - The Evolution Begins
As country music evolved and grappled with new influences, a new style of guitar playing began to emerge. It was characterized by fast, staccato notes and a unique fingerpicking technique. This technique, now known as chicken picking, was responsible for a revolution in country music. It paved the way for new techniques, sounds, and styles that continue to shape the genre even today. In this segment of our article, we will unravel the origins and evolution of chicken picking techniques and explore the key influencers who were at the forefront of this movement.

The Gordon’s Technique

One of the key players in the development of chicken picking as a guitar style was Roy Clark’s long-time sideman, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, who was known for his quick picking style. Another pivotal figure in the evolution of chicken picking was Roy Nichols, who worked with Merle Haggard and was a master of the telecaster. However, it was the guitarist Jimmy Bryant who is often cited as being one of the first to fully develop a chicken picking sound.

While the term “chicken picking” had yet to be coined, Bryant’s style in the early 1950s was heavily characterized by his use of the thumb and fingers to pluck individual notes with a staccato, almost percussive sound. In the ensuing years, many guitarists would refine and develop this style, with one of the most influential being Roy Clark’s lead guitarist, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

Brown introduced what would come to be known as the “Gordon’s Technique,” named after the brand of gin he was reportedly drinking while developing the style. This technique involved using the thumb to play rhythm while the index finger plucked out melody lines, creating a complex interplay between the two that gave the music a distinctive “chick-a-chick-a” sound reminiscent of a chicken clucking.

Advantages of Gordon’s Technique:

– One of the advantages of the Gordon’s technique was that it allowed for a greater degree of rhythmic variation, with the thumb providing a solid, driving beat that could be accented and embellished with the index finger.
– Additionally, the use of the index finger allowed for greater dexterity and the ability to create complex, melodic runs that were still deeply rooted in the underlying rhythm.
– The technique also allowed guitarists to create a variety of different tones and textures, depending on how much pressure was applied or where the string was struck.

Impact of Gordon’s Technique:

The Gordon’s technique had a profound impact on the evolution of chicken picking as a style, inspiring generations of guitarists to expand upon and refine the sound. Guitarists like Albert Lee and Danny Gatton would go on to incorporate the technique into their own playing, while Brent Mason would use a similar approach in his historic session work, helping to define the sound of 1990s country music.

The development of the Gordon’s technique played a crucial role in the evolution of chicken picking as a guitar style. Its rhythmic complexity, melodic versatility, and tonal variability helped to define the sound of country music guitar playing for generations to come.

The James Burton’s Influence in Rock Country

James Burton, the legendary guitarist from Louisiana, played a crucial role in the evolution of chicken picking, especially in the context of rock country. His guitar playing style, which often combined elements of rock and roll with country, heavily influenced many future chicken pickers. Let’s take a deeper look at how Burton contributed to the evolution of chicken picking:

  • The “Sneaky” Technique: One of Burton’s most recognizable techniques was his use of the “sneaky” string bend. This technique involves bending a string just enough to create a subtle pitch change, typically using the third and fourth fingers. The technique added a degree of expressiveness to Burton’s playing and was quickly adopted by other guitarists in the rock country scene.
  • The Use of a B-Bender: Burton’s innovation also extended to his choice of equipment. He was an early adopter of the B-bender, a device that allows guitarists to bend the pitch of a string by depressing a lever with their palm. This allowed Burton to create a unique sound in his playing that was hard to replicate.
  • Incorporating Rock Techniques: Burton’s background in rock and roll also played a significant role in his guitar playing style. He brought elements of rock techniques such as palm muting, distortion, and tremolo picking into the country genre, effectively bridging the gap between the two styles.
  • Inspiring New Generations: Burton’s influence on chicken picking didn’t stop with his contemporaries. He continued to inspire new generations of guitarists, including Danny Gatton and Vince Gill, who went on to become celebrated chicken pickers in their own right.

It’s clear that James Burton was a key figure in the evolution of chicken picking, helping to shape the style into what it is today. His use of innovative techniques and equipment, combined with his unique background as a rock guitarist, pushed chicken picking into new territory and inspired countless other musicians to continue pushing the boundaries of the genre.

The Role of Telecaster and Small Amplifier

One of the key elements in the evolution of chicken picking was the introduction of the Telecaster guitar and small amplifiers. This allowed guitarists to experiment with a new style of playing that was not possible with the larger, heavier guitars and amplifiers of the time.

The Telecaster Guitar
The Telecaster, also known as the Fender Telecaster, was first introduced in the late 1940s as the first solid-body electric guitar. Its design was revolutionary because it allowed for better sound quality and reduced feedback, making it ideal for live performances. The Telecaster’s single-coil pickups and adjustable bridge allowed guitarists to achieve a sharper and more percussive sound, which is essential in chicken picking.

The Small Amplifier
The small amplifier also played a crucial role in the development of chicken picking. Prior to the 1950s, guitar amplifiers were large and heavy and were not ideal for live performances. The introduction of small amplifiers, such as the Fender Champ, made it possible for guitarists to play more quietly and achieve a cleaner sound. This allowed them to experiment with new techniques and styles which were previously impossible.

Together, the Telecaster guitar and small amplifiers became the perfect combination for chicken picking, allowing for a brighter and more energetic sound that was both unique and identifiable.

It’s interesting to note that even though the Telecaster and small amplifiers were widely used for chicken picking, the style was not limited to these instruments. Many guitarists also used other guitars and amplifiers to achieve their desired sound, reinforcing the idea that it was the technique and not just the equipment that made chicken picking what it is today.

A New Generation of Practitioners

A New Generation Of Practitioners
As the popularity of country music continued to soar in the 1980s and 1990s, a new generation of guitar players emerged, eager to master the intricate style of chicken picking. These young musicians were inspired by the legends who came before them and were determined to put their own stamp on the genre. With a renewed focus on technical skills and a willingness to experiment with new sounds and techniques, these practitioners breathed new life into the genre and helped to redefine what it meant to be a country guitarist. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key players who helped to shape the evolution of chicken picking.

Brent Mason’s Role in Reviving Chicken Picking

Throughout the 80s and 90s, country music experienced a shift towards a more traditional sound, largely thanks to the revival of chicken picking. One of the most significant contributors to this revival was the influential session guitarist Brent Mason. Here are some ways in which he helped bring chicken picking back to the forefront:

  • Reviving Interest in the Telecaster – Brent Mason’s preference for the Fender Telecaster helped bring the guitar back into the mainstream, along with the accompanying chicken picking style. His use of the instrument in popular recordings such as “Two Highways” and “Guitar Rock” helped bring attention to the classic instrument, which had fallen out of favor in the late 70s and early 80s.
  • Creating Signature Licks – Brent Mason’s inventive and unique licks have become popular among modern guitarists in the genre. His work on hits such as “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “Gone Country,” and “It’s A Little Too Late” have become reference points for other players who aspire to master the chicken picking style.
  • Collaboration with Other Notable Artists – Throughout the 90s and 2000s, Brent Mason collaborated with a range of musicians, both inside and outside of country music. His contributions were invaluable in spreading the style of chicken picking into other areas of music.

Today, Brent Mason is still renowned as one of the most influential guitarists in country music, and his contributions to the revival of chicken picking continue to be felt throughout the industry. He remains a sought-after session player and has inspired a new generation of guitarists to adopt his signature sound.

Modern Names in the Chicken Picking Hall of Fame

Modern chicken picking players have taken the style to new heights, with their intricate melodies and impressive technique. Here are some of the modern names in the chicken picking hall of fame:

  • Brent Mason: Known for his rapid-fire chicken picking and impressive solos, Brent Mason has won numerous awards and is widely regarded as one of the best chicken pickers of all time. He has played with some of the biggest names in country music, including George Strait and Alan Jackson.
  • Johnny Hiland: Johnny Hiland, a blind guitarist from Maine, has made waves in the chicken picking world with his lightning-fast playing and unique style. He has played with a number of country music stars, including Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs, and Hank Williams III.
  • Brad Paisley: Brad Paisley is known for his incredible guitar skills, which include some impressive chicken picking. He has won numerous awards and has sold millions of records. Paisley’s blend of traditional country music and modern flair has made him one of the most popular artists in the genre today.
  • Albert Lee: Albert Lee, a British guitar player, has been playing chicken picking since the 1960s. He has played with some of the biggest names in music, including Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, and the Everly Brothers. Lee’s unique blend of country and rock has made him one of the most respected guitar players in the world.
  • Ricky Skaggs: Ricky Skaggs, a bluegrass musician who has also played in country and rock bands, is known for his impressive chicken picking skills. He has won numerous awards and has played with some of the biggest names in music, including Emmylou Harris, Bruce Hornsby, and Keith Whitley.

These modern chicken pickers have all made significant contributions to the evolution and growth of the style. Their impressive skills and innovative techniques have helped to keep chicken picking relevant in the modern country music scene.

Unveiling the Secrets – Analyzing Videos of Famous Guitarists

Aspiring chicken pickers can learn a lot by analyzing the playing techniques of famous guitarists who have mastered this style. By watching their videos and scrutinizing their moves, we can unveil some of the secrets of this intricate playing style. Some of the things that we can learn from these videos include:

  • The importance of alternate picking: Alternate picking is a core concept in chicken picking, and allows guitarists to play fast and smooth phrases while maintaining a defined and rhythmic sound.
  • Hybrid picking: Some guitarists use hybrid picking techniques, which involve combining fingerpicking and flatpicking techniques to create complex and mind-bending solos.
  • The use of open strings: Chicken pickers often use open strings to create ringing and chiming sounds. By strategically utilizing open strings, the guitarist can create a fuller and more textured sound.
  • Slides, bends and vibrato: Sliding, bending and using vibrato are all techniques that can help chicken pickers create unique and expressive sounds. These techniques require a lot of practice, but can help to create a smooth and fluid sound that is characteristic of the chicken picking style.
  • Dynamic range: Many chicken pickers employ a wide range of dynamics in their playing. This means that they vary the volume and intensity of their notes to create a more expressive and musical sound.

By analyzing the playing techniques of influential chicken pickers such as Brent Mason, Danny Gatton, and Brad Paisley, we can gain a deeper understanding of this intricate playing style, and learn some new tricks that we can use in our playing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, studying the playing techniques of chicken picking masters is a fun and worthwhile endeavor that can help you take your playing to the next level.

How Chicken Picking Shaped Country Music

How Chicken Picking Shaped Country Music
When exploring the history of country music, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of chicken picking. This unique guitar playing style has left a lasting mark on the genre, shaping it in ways that continue to be felt today. From its early development to its current place in modern country music, chicken picking has played a significant role in making the genre more accessible to younger audiences and influencing subgenres such as country rock and country pop. In this section, we’ll delve into the ways in which chicken picking has shaped country music and explore its enduring legacy.

Chicken Picking’s Role in Making Country Music More Accessible to Younger Audiences

One of the defining characteristics of chicken picking is its lively and upbeat nature. This style of playing has played a significant role in making country music more accessible to younger audiences. Here are some key reasons why:

  • Rhythmic and Catchy: Chicken picking’s playfulness and upbeat quality have made it a hit with younger listeners. The infectious rhythms and catchy melodies of this style of music make it easy for young people to tap their feet and bob their heads along to the beat.
  • Integration with Other Musical Styles: Chicken picking’s versatility has allowed it to be incorporated into different genres, including pop and rock music. This has helped to bridge the gap between these genres and country music, making it more appealing to younger audiences who may not have listened to country music otherwise.
  • Adaptability: Another reason why chicken picking has appealed to younger listeners is its ability to adapt to new trends and styles. Contemporary artists have incorporated elements of pop and hip hop into their music, keeping the style of chicken picking fresh and relevant.
  • Online Presence: The rise of digital media has played a significant role in making country music and chicken picking more accessible to younger audiences. Platforms like YouTube and streaming services like Spotify have allowed younger listeners to discover and enjoy the music more easily than ever before.
  • Celebrity Endorsements: Finally, the endorsement of famous artists like Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, and Vince Gill has helped to bring chicken picking to a wider audience. Their influence and popularity have exposed a younger generation to this style of music, making it more appealing and accessible.

By making country music more appealing to younger audiences, chicken picking has played a critical role in keeping the genre alive and vital. Its infectious rhythms, catchy melodies, and adaptability to new trends have ensured that it remains relevant to younger listeners who may not have been interested in country music otherwise. As we look to the future, it’s clear that chicken picking will continue to be an essential part of country music and the broader musical landscape.

Chicken Picking’s Direct Effect on Subgenres such as Country Rock and Country Pop

Chicken picking is a guitar playing technique that is closely tied to the evolution of country music. However, its influence extends far beyond traditional country music, and it has even affected subgenres such as country rock and country pop.

Country Rock: In the 1960s and 1970s, a new sound emerged that blended elements of country and rock music. This genre became known as country rock, and chicken picking played a significant role in shaping its sound. Artists like the Eagles, the Byrds, and Creedence Clearwater Revival incorporated chicken picking into their music, using the technique to give their songs a distinct country flair. The use of chicken picking in country rock helped to bridge the gap between the two genres, making country music more accessible to rock fans and vice versa.

Country Pop: Country pop is another subgenre that has been influenced by chicken picking. This genre incorporates elements of both country and pop music, creating a sound that is both catchy and accessible. Artists like Taylor Swift and Shania Twain have used chicken picking in their music, helping to create a distinct sound that sets them apart from other pop acts. By incorporating this technique into their music, these artists have helped to blur the lines between country and pop, making the genre more appealing to a wider audience.

The Table summarizes the direct effect of chicken picking on country rock and country pop subgenres:

Subgenre Artists Effect of Chicken Picking
Country Rock The Eagles, The Byrds, Creedence Clearwater Revival Blended elements of country and rock music, making country music more accessible to rock fans and vice versa.
Country Pop Taylor Swift, Shania Twain Created a distinct sound that sets them apart from other pop acts, blurring the lines between country and pop.

Chicken picking has had a direct impact on subgenres such as country rock and country pop by incorporating elements of country music into other genres. This technique has helped to broaden the appeal of country music to audiences that may not have otherwise been interested in the genre. As a result, chicken picking will continue to be an important part of the evolution of country music and its subgenres in the future.

Influence of Regional Styles on Chicken Picking

When it comes to chicken picking, regional styles have played a crucial role in shaping the technique. Here are a few examples of how:

  • Texas Swing: This regional style, characterized by a strong emphasis on rhythm and a swing feel, has heavily influenced chicken picking, particularly in the use of double-stops and syncopation. Guitarists from this tradition, such as Junior Barnard and Eldon Shamblin, were known for their fast and intricate picking patterns that set the standard for chicken picking.
  • Bluegrass: Though not typically associated with chicken picking, bluegrass has had an impact on the technique, particularly in the use of crosspicking. This style involves playing notes from a chord in a rapid-fire sequence, often with a flatpick. Bluegrass guitarists such as Tony Rice and Doc Watson incorporated crosspicking into their playing, which has influenced chicken pickers such as Brad Paisley.
  • Bakersfield Sound: This California-based subgenre of country music was known for its twangy, electric guitar sound. Guitarists such as Roy Nichols and Don Rich were pioneers of this style, which has had a major impact on chicken picking. The use of palm muting, fast single-note lines, and pedal steel-inspired licks are all common features of Bakersfield-influenced chicken picking.
  • Oklahoma Red Dirt: This relatively new subgenre of country music developed in Oklahoma during the 1990s and was characterized by a fusion of rock, country, and blues styles. Red Dirt guitarists such as Jimmy LaFave and Tom Skinner often employed elements of chicken picking in their playing, but with a heavier emphasis on blues-inspired licks and chord voicings.

These regional styles are just a few examples of how chicken picking has been influenced and developed throughout its history. By incorporating different techniques and styles, guitarists have been able to push the boundaries of the technique and keep it fresh for generations to come.

The Future of Chicken Picking

As we gaze into the future of country music, one can’t help but wonder what the next evolution of chicken picking will bring. The intricate and unique style has endured for generations, influencing countless musicians and carving out a significant space in the genre. However, with each passing year, new techniques and innovations emerge, inspiring both seasoned practitioners and up-and-coming artists. In this section, we’ll explore the potential paths that chicken picking may take, and how it will fit into the constantly evolving landscape of country music. So fasten your seatbelt, as we take a journey to uncover the future of chicken picking.

How Artists are Implementing New Techniques

As with any musical style, chicken picking has evolved and continues to evolve over time. One way this evolution is happening is through the implementation of new techniques by modern artists. Let’s take a look at a few of these techniques below.

Technique Description
Hybrid Picking The use of the pick in combination with the middle or ring finger to pluck strings simultaneously. This technique adds speed and accuracy to chicken picking and allows for more complex patterns.
Double Stops Playing two notes at the same time on adjacent strings. This technique adds a fuller sound to chicken picking and allows for chordal melodies.
Bending and Vibrato Adding bends and vibrato to notes for a more expressive and dynamic sound. This technique adds emotion and flair to chicken picking solos and riffs.

In addition to these techniques, modern artists are also experimenting with different combinations of genres and styles, incorporating elements of metal, jazz, and blues into their chicken picking. These artists are also often utilizing new technology, like pedals and effects, to enhance their sound.

The implementation of new techniques in chicken picking is pushing the boundaries of the style and keeping it fresh and exciting for both practitioners and listeners. As the style continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more creativity and innovation in the years to come.

Chicken Picking’s Place in Modern Country Music

When it comes to modern country music, Chicken Picking is still a popular style among guitarists. Some of the most renowned country music guitar heroes feature Chicken Picking in their repertoire. Here are some examples:

  • Brad Paisley: Considered to be the modern king of Chicken Picking, Brad Paisley has taken the genre to a new level with his virtuosity and creativity. He often incorporates complex Chicken Picking patterns in his solos and has cemented his position as one of the greatest country guitarists of all time.
  • Kevin Fowler: Kevin Fowler is another modern-day country music artist who is known for his use of Chicken Picking. He has a unique style of his own that incorporates both traditional and modern elements of the genre. His use of double stops and hybrid picking techniques perfectly complement his baritone voice, adding depth and nuance to his music.
  • Brett Mason: A musician who has been actively involved in the evolution of the Chicken Picking style, Brett Mason is a revered guitarist. He is known for his unique ability to play complex solos while still retaining the melodic sensibility that is essential to country music.
  • Johnny Hiland: Johnny Hiland is an artist that has made Chicken Picking an integral part of his style. Known for his lightning-fast playing, he often uses his signature guitar technique to play both rhythm and lead parts, providing a unique texture to his music.
  • Albert Lee: Albert Lee, often referred to as the “guitarist’s guitarist,” has also played an important role in the development of Chicken Picking. He is known for his hybrid picking technique, which involves using both a pick and fingers to pluck the strings. Lee’s use of this technique has had a significant impact on the genre and has inspired many of today’s country guitarists.

Despite the emergence of new styles and techniques, Chicken Picking remains a vital part of modern country music. Guitarists continue to push the boundaries of the genre, incorporating new sounds and techniques while still retaining the essence of Chicken Picking. With its rich history and versatility, there is no doubt that the style will continue to inspire and influence musicians for years to come.

Will Chicken Picking Continue to Be a Prevalent Style in Country Music?

As with any musical style or technique, it is difficult to predict its longevity in the industry. However, there are some factors that suggest that chicken picking will continue to be a prevalent style in country music.

Continued Demand for Traditional Country Sound

While pop country and other subgenres have emerged in recent years, there is still a strong demand for traditional country sound. Chicken picking is a vital part of that sound, and as long as there is demand for traditional country music, chicken picking will likely remain a prevalent style in the genre.

Evolution of the Technique

While chicken picking has been around for decades, there is still room for growth and development in the technique. As younger generations of guitarists continue to pick up the style, they will inevitably put their own spin on it and create new variations. This evolution of the technique ensures that chicken picking will remain fresh and exciting for years to come.

Influence on Other Genres

Chicken picking has already had a significant influence on subgenres such as country rock and country pop. As these genres continue to evolve, it is possible that chicken picking will continue to be incorporated in new and exciting ways. This could open up new avenues for the style and ensure its continued prevalence in the industry.

To summarize, while it is impossible to predict the future of any musical style, there are several reasons to believe that chicken picking will continue to be a prevalent style in country music. The demand for traditional country sound, the evolution of the technique, and its influence on other genres all suggest that chicken picking is here to stay.


As we wrap up our exploration of Chicken Picking and its evolution in country music, it’s clear that this unique style has had a profound impact on the genre. From its earliest influencers like Merle Travis to modern-day practitioners like Tommy Emmanuel, Chicken Picking has been a defining aspect of country guitar playing and has helped to shape the sound of the entire genre.

Through analyzing the techniques of past and present guitarists, we can see how this style has evolved over the decades. From the unique plucking patterns of Gordon’s technique to the driving, rhythmic style of James Burton, Chicken Picking has become a dynamic art form that continues to evolve as new artists experiment with it.

One of the most significant legacies of Chicken Picking is how it has made country music more accessible to younger audiences. The driving rhythms and electrifying solos have helped to bring the genre into the mainstream while still preserving its roots. Additionally, Chicken Picking has had a direct effect on subgenres such as country rock and country pop, which continue to be popular today.

As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how artists continue to implement new techniques and push the boundaries of Chicken Picking. While this style may have had its peak popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, it still has a place in modern country music, and we can expect to see it continue to influence and inspire new artists in the coming years.

In conclusion, Chicken Picking is a vibrant and dynamic style that has become an integral aspect of country music. As we continue to explore its rich history and evolution, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the artistry and skill that goes into every Chicken Picking performance. Its legacy in country music is undeniable, and we can only imagine what innovative changes and developments the next generations of guitarists will make to this iconic style.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is chicken picking?

Chicken picking is a guitar technique commonly used in country music characterized by a quick, precise and syncopated plucking motion of the strings, similar to the sound of a chicken pecking.

Who invented chicken picking?

Although there is no clear inventor of chicken picking, guitarists like James Burton, Albert Lee, and Danny Gatton were pioneers in popularizing and perfecting this technique.

How do you chicken pick?

To chicken pick, you need to use a combination of fingerpicking and flatpicking techniques. It involves a quick alternate picking motion with the pick and the middle or ring finger, while muting the strings with the palm of your hand.

What kind of guitar is best for chicken picking?

The Fender Telecaster has become the guitar of choice for chicken pickers due to its bright and twangy sound and sharp attack, making every note sound crisp and clear.

What is Brent Mason known for?

Brent Mason is an American guitarist known for his exceptional ability in chicken picking and has worked as a session musician for several country music stars. He’s regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in modern country music.

What makes chicken picking unique from other guitar techniques?

Chicken picking is unique in its quick and syncopated picking motion, combined with string muting to create a staccato effect. It also involves a lot of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides, which adds character to the sound.

What are some famous songs that feature chicken picking?

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels Band, “Orange Blossom Special” by Johnny Cash, and “Fishin’ in the Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are some of the most popular songs that feature chicken picking guitar solos.

Can you incorporate other music genres while chicken picking?

Yes! Although chicken picking is primarily associated with country music, the technique can be applied to other genres like blues and rock. It can add a unique flavor to any musical genre.

How long does it take to learn chicken picking?

Learning chicken picking is a gradual process that depends on your level of dedication and practice. It can take a few weeks to a few months to master the basics and start improvising on your own.

Is chicken picking only for advanced guitar players?

Not necessarily. While chicken picking can be difficult to master, beginners can start learning the basics and gradually improve. Consistent practice and patience are key to becoming an excellent chicken picker.


About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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