Skip to main content

How to Play Doc Watson Style Country Guitar

Learn how to play Doc Watson-style country guitar from musician Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.


Alright. Doc Watson, a national treasure musically and otherwise. He played all kind of styles. Played several different instruments. Was blind since he was a boy and comes from North Carolina. He had a flat picking style on the acoustic guitar that is still influencing player's to this day and will continue on into the decades and centuries.

Anyway, here's something that you might have heard Doc Watson play. This is his style of picking. And he played all sorts of songs, gospel, old mountain tunes, ballads. He played fiddle tunes on the guitar. He started out playing, believe it or not, a Les Paul electric guitar at a square dance when they didn't have a fiddle player. And he can simulate the melodic power of a fiddle on a guitar using that down, up, down, up picking action.

And if you were playing a fiddle you would be bowing up and down, up and down. Kind of on the same parts of the measure. One and two and three and four. And one and two and three and four. And one and two and three and four. And one and two and three, four. And one and two and three and four. And one, two, three. Okay?

So you've got that down, up, down, up action that really gives the melody a lot of momentum and a lot of rhythmic power. And then he might throwing in some other licks just to to make it a little flashy. And those are kind of some of the stuff that he might have picked up from listening to Jimmy Rodgers.

But of course playing it a bit faster. So he might play something like. So that might be something that the fiddle player would play, but he, you know, was inventive enough where he could just get those melodies and rhythms going with his flat pick on an electric guitar that could be heard over the people dancing and hooping and hollering, having a good time.

So Doc could really fire up a crowd with not just his inventive flashy licks but also playing stuff really fast. So make sure you put a lot of time into checking out Doc Watson's music. He's pretty amazing.

Popular Categories