Playing pro guitar in Nashville these days is the Olympic decathlon of the music biz. You gotta have big ears, impeccable chops, top-notch improvisational skills, stellar right and left hand techniques and be prepared to apply them all on a moments notice — and that's just to get in the door.
To further separate the men from the boys, you MUST be able to put it all in high gear over any style of rock, blues, jazz, country, acoustic, pop or combination thereof. And each new generation of Nashville guitarists steps the game up another level. Modern Nashville Guitar is both an insightful bird's eye view of today's game, and an extraordinary learning experience for any intermediate to advanced player, whatever your preferred style may be.
Your Nashville tour guide and mentor for this journey is Ladd Smith, a bonafide young master of the Nashville six string scene. Ladd won Guitar Player magazine's Guitar Hero 2007, which was judged by Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Nuno Bettencourt, Elliot Easton, Greg Howe, and Mike Varney (see the winning performance on TrueFire TV). Ladd is a monster player, veteran singer/songwriter, experienced performer and an extremely effective instructor.
"I am a visual, audile and kinesthetic learner and that's how I teach as well. It's much easier to watch, listen and play along to learn and internalize new information." Accordingly, Ladd steps you through Modern Nashville Guitar in a very cognitive fashion. You'll play your way through the course - no tedious notation, theory or exercises to work through. Each individual practice session invested in Modern Nashville Guitar will yield an epiphany or two along with a few new tricks of the trade you'll be anxious to pull out at the next gig, recording or jam session.
Clearly, the highlight of this course is the extensive series of "Outrun the Train" lessons, derived from Ladd's original composition of the same name (the instrumental version of which won the Guitar Hero competition). "The tune is an ideal instructional tool because it features a ton of my favorite licks. Therefore, we can cover a wide range of up-tempo "Tele-melee" material in an ear-friendly way with one common key, tempo and theme for ease of reference."
You'll also work through a variety of other grooves, likewise chosen to serve as a learning platform for other moves and techniques. Ladd covers the Nashville numbering system, provides gear overviews with each lesson, and drills down on dozens of key skills including hybrid picking, banjo rolls, chicken pickin', chord leads, butterfly hammer-on-pull-offs, unison and pedal-steel bends, train beats, open string pull-offs, vibrato, descending double-stop runs, triad pedal-steel guitar, sliding 4th interval licks and bends, arpeggiated rhythm, contrary-motion/counter-point lead lines, pedal steel licks, descending banjo effects, open string licks, behind-the-nut bends and whole tone licks.
Whether or not you aspire to be a Nashville player, Modern Nashville Guitar is one of those must-have courses because it's a virtually bottomless resource for any style player. There's enough solid instruction and grey matter herein to feed you for a lifetime.