Nashville studio guitarist Ray Edenton is a legend of the rhythm guitar. His guitar was an important ingredient of the so called classic “Nashville Sound”.
He created this timeless sound together with among others guitarist Harold Bradley, drummer Buddy Harman, and bass player Bob Moore.
Ray Edenton’s playing gave a defining edge to immortal songs like Crazy (Patsy Cline), Some Day’s Are Diamonds (John Denver), Till I Get It Right (Tammy Wynette), Chug a Lug (Roger Miller) or Wake Up Little Susie (Everly Brothers).
Now the Ray Edenton Website is online. It includes a short biography and there’s a wonderful collection of songs.
Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” has a simple, but great opening: a pounding snare on every downbeat, and the hi-hat on the eights. It takes a genius to keep it simple and make it sound distinctively at the same time.
The genius in this case is Buddy Harman, a Nashville studio drummer who was essential in shaping the classic and sophisticated “Nashville Sound” in the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties.
You’re not sure, if you ever heard him play? Don’t worry, you heard him countless times. He played on many classic country and pop hit records such as Crazy (Patsy Cline), Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers), Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash), Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette) or Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley). According to Drummerworld he played on 18,000 recording sessions in the last 40 years.
Listen to “The Drum History Minute”, a short but very informative introduction to Buddy Harman’s style of drumming narrated by drummer Daniel Glass:
This little piece of audio is a real ear opener and you will treasure the fine and discreet drumming of Buddy Harman even more next time you hear him playing.
You may have never heard the name Ray Edenton, but you surely heard his rhythm guitar on the Everly Brothers songs “Bye Bye Love” and “Wake Up Little Suzie”. Top Nashville studio guitarist Ray Edenton recorded with Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, Little Jimmy Dickens, Pats Cline, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, Neil Young, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Roger Miller, Charley Pride, Bob Wills and many more.
Last year I had the pleasure to hear Edenton talk about his career. He was interviewed at the “Country Music Hall Of Fame” in Nashville as part of the Nashville Cats series. This series honors country musicians who played a crucial role in the past. He told many interesting stories from his life as a top Nashville studio musician. What I found noteworthy – besides his incredible amount of work in the Nashville studios from 1953 until 1991 – was the “high third” and “high string” tunings that he often used. These tunings are simple but they sound very good, especially in combination with other guitars. Let’s have a look at these tunings.
“High third” tuning: only the third string (G) is tuned one octave higher. The other strings remain in standard tuning.
“High string” tuning: only the first and second strings (E and B) remain in standard tuning. Strings three to six (G, D, A, E) are tuned one octave higher.