May 2017

A Paisley Guitar Is a Well-Played Guitar

Our May cover artist, Brad Paisley, isn’t just a skilled singer and songwriter; he’s also one of country’s top guitarists.

In this 2010 performance of “Mud on the Tires” from The Late Show with David Letterman, Paisley demonstrates his talent for precision string-bending. Look closely and see if you can catch one of his trickiest moves: taking his left hand off the guitar’s fretboard for a couple of seconds and placing it by the headstock—near the tuning pegs—for some behind-the-nut bends. The nut is the small slotted component (made from a variety of materials) that lies between the guitar’s fretboard and headstock; each slot is designed for a string to pass through. Pressing down on the strings behind the nut gives a player the ability to, essentially, bend open strings, which is otherwise impossible, and Paisley makes great use of that ability here.

Moving forward a few years, here’s Paisley doing “I Can’t Change the World” at a 2013 show in Las Vegas. He starts off on acoustic guitar, then switches over to electric, and proves equally adept at both.

Finally, we bring you “Today,” from Paisley’s new album Love and War. This one doesn’t really showcase his guitar playing, but it’s a finely crafted song and a moving video.