Daniel Donato

Country Learning Pathway

Master the art of country guitar.

WHo it's for

Beginner - Advanced

New to country? Looking to take it to the next level? There's something for everyone in this pathway.


3 months

Daniel will guide you through 6 grades of step-by-step instruction with daily practice plans and play-along jams.


Get the Nashville sound

With intensive daily practice, you'll progress from a beginner to advanced country guitarist in only 2 months.

Make it musical

Take the next step

Once you've tackled country, keep progressing with advanced Master Classes and guided learning paths.

What you'll learn

Daniel and Nathan will guide you through 6 grades of jam-ready country rhythm & lead guitar concepts.

  • Spice up your rhythm with chicken pickin' grooves
  • Hone expressive techniques to solo like the greats
  • Learn hybrid picking, pedal-steel bends, & more
How it works

Your guided learning pathway

In this 8-week learning pathway, Daniel Donato and Nathan Aronowitz will help you build a rock-solid foundation for country guitar playing (and a whole lot more).

Introduction to Country Guitar

Get a jam-ready jumpstart into the world of country guitar.

Over the next 7 days, you’ll learn rhythm and lead guitar techniques and concepts that are inherent to country guitar’s iconic, twangy sound.

The 5 Pillars of Country Guitar

In Grade 2, you'll solidify your country foundation.

These lessons focus on developing a strong understanding of and familiarity with the 5 pillars of country guitar: double stops, triads, bends, pentatonic scales, and hybrid picking.

Twang 101

Put some twang on that thang!

In Grade 3, you’ll learn to truly southern-fry your playing through the art of twang.

This sound is ubiquitous throughout so many styles of music – rock, country, jam bands & even jazz lend themselves to twang vocabulary.

Grade 4. Pickin' It up a Notch

Continue on your country journey. Throughout this grade, you’ll build upon your knowledge of the 5 pillars of country guitar and dive deeper into creative applications for country soloing.

Grade 5. Intermediate Country Guitar

This ain't beginner learning pathway anymore. In this grade, you'll tackle some truly expressive soloing techniques and concepts that are really going to unlock the Nashville sound in your playing. We'll also dive back into rhythm guitar to continue honing your hybrid picking skills.

Grade 6. Lettin’ Loose

Buckle up, partner. We're moving into advanced country territory here. Take your pentatonics to the next grade, work with chromaticism, and fine tune your bending skills.


Stay focused with this step-by-step learning program designed by our expert team of music educators.

3-Month Plan

Grade 1. Introduction to Country Guitar

Over the next 7 days, Daniel will guide you through the absolute fundamentals of country guitar.


Let's get set up! By the end of this grade, you’ll be able to jam rhythm and lead guitar parts like a genuine country cowperson.

Performance pieces, personalized feedback, & interactive quizzes

At the end of each grade, we'll challenge you to learn original country songs that you'll perform with a live-band backing track made up of Los Angeles' top country musicians.

Once you learn a song, you can record a video of yourself performing it, and our team of pro guitarists will give you custom feedback on your playing.

Finally, you'll cap off each grade with an interactive quiz to make sure you're ready to move on.

Day 1. How to Think and Play Like a Country Guitarist

Get started with some fundamentals and learn a country rhythm groove.

Day 2. So You Want to Solo…

Learn how to get from blues pentatonic soloing to country soloing by incorporating the minor and major pentatonic scales.

Day 3. Escape the Box

Spice up your pentatonic soloing with triads.

Day 4. How to Bend

Mimic the sound of a pedal-steel guitar with bends.

Day 5. Hybrid Picking (AKA Chicken Pickin’)

Learn how to add dynamism and speed to your lead and rhythm playing with this iconic technique.

Day 6. Learn a Song

Tie everything you learned together by learning a country tune recorded by Daniel's band.

Day 7. Final Assessments

Recap what you learned and pass a series of final assessments to make sure you're ready for grade 2.

Grade 2. The 5 Pillars of Country Guitar

Solidify your country foundation by developing a strong understanding of and familiarity with double stops, triads, bends, pentatonic scales, and hybrid picking.


Grade 2 is all about developing a rock-solid foundation in country to deepen your understanding of the style. By the end of this level, you’ll be able to comfortably incorporate these key techniques into your playing!

Day 1. Pentatonic Scales

Work on internalizing where the five pentatonic notes repeat across your guitar neck in order to unlock your fretboard and pave the way for some fast country shreddin’.

Day 2. Triads

"Playing the changes" isn't just for jazz guitarists. Here, you'll harness the mighty power of the humble triad to outline chord changes (a key element of country guitar improvisation).

Day 3. Bends

No pedal steel? No problem! Today, you'll learn how to mimic the sound of a pedal-steel guitar with bends.

Day 4. Hybrid Picking

Explore hybrid picking, a technique that is useful for both lead and rhythm guitar. It’s an essential ingredient to get the twangy sound every country player is after. It really sets country music apart from blues, which has a more mellow sound.

Day 5. Double Stops

Blend hybrid picking with double stops. What’s cool about double stops is that they'll get you playing up and down the fretboard horizontally. This technique will free you up to move beyond vertical pentatonic boxes.

Day 6. Learn a Song

Wrap up with a super fun practice day – you’ll get to use all of your new country guitar skills in a musical context with a tune from Daniel called Ramblin’ Red.

Day 7. Recap and Check-ins

Review what you worked on in grade 2, and take a series of assessments to make sure you're ready to move on.

Level 3. Twang 101

If it ain't twangy, it ain't country. In Grade 3, you'll build upon your knowledge of the 5 pillars of country guitar and dive deeper into creative applications for soloing.


Over the next 10 days, you’ll learn how tone, touch, and a deep understanding of the fretboard come together to get your guitar to sing in that sweet country style.

Day 1. Pentatonic – Position 2

Check out how you can use the pentatonic scale to highlight that iconic country twang sound.

Day 2. Pentatonic – Position 3

Expand your pentatonic familiarity with the third position of the scale. Position 3 is one of the more unique pentatonic patterns because it doesn’t start on the root of the tonic chord.  

Day 3. Triads in Position

It’s hard to overstate the power of triads. They allow us to stay in one key but not stuck in one place. Today's lesson will give you access to different notes above and below each new inversion of a chord.

Day 4. Triads on the A, D, and G Strings

Learn a new set of triadic voicings to expand your fretboard awareness and fill in some of the blanks of your chord-scale relationships

Day 5. Whole-Step Bends

Work on one of the most powerful and soulful tools for a country improviser. These bends will give you access to an expressive vocal quality, helping your guitar “cry” and “wail”.

Day 6. How to Play Pedal-Steel Bends

Get a grip on triadic pedal-steel bends – the meeting place for the emotional quality of bends and harmonic support of chords.

Day 7. Hybrid Picking – Rhythm

Learn how hybrid picking will help accentuate your country tone. This technique is great for breaking out of predictable chord voicings and boring rhythms.

Day 8. Hybrid Picking – Lead

Take your familiarity with hybrid picking into the melodic realm.

Day 9. Double Stops – 3rds

This melodic technique is the middle ground between melody and harmony. As you internalize them, you'll find your understanding of your fretboard expand.

Day 10. Recap and Check-ins

Review what you learned and make sure you're ready to move on!

Grades 4, 5 and 6. Intermediate and Advanced Country Concepts

Take your country skills to the next grade. In the following 3 grades, you'll put the focus on how to craft expressive melodies and rich rhythm guitar parts by using the foundation you've built as a launching point.

Grade 4. Pickin' It up a Notch

Dive deeper into the 5 pillars of country guitar, and emerge a truly intermediate country guitarist.

Day 1. Pentatonic – Position 4

Explore how breaking up the pentatonic scale into different chunks fuels new creative potential.

Day 2. Pentatonic – Position 5

Master the pentatonic scale by tackling its most symmetrical position.

Day 3. How to Play the Harmonized Major Scale

When you reach this point, you’ll already have a firm grasp on triads for your I, IV, and V chords. In Day 3, we’re going to dive deeper into triads and check out the other chords that the major scale gives birth to.

Day 4. The Harmonized Major Scale (Middle Strings)

Guitar playing lends itself to pattern-based comfort, which can be a blessing and a curse. Today, you'll expand your knowledge of inversions to make your ear as strong as your shape recognition.

Day 5. Pedal-Steel Bends – Major

Bends are all about adding some sparkle to the harmonic content of a tune. Today you’ll work on pedal-steel bends with a major tonality.

Day 6. Pedal-Steel Bends – Minor

Today, you’ll work on the same concept as yesterday, but we’ll make it minor!

Day 7. How to Play Banjo Rolls

Access a blended lead-rhythm sound by combining your hybrid picking skills with your knowledge of major triads and their inversions through banjo rolls!

Day 8. Hybrid Picking 3rds

Today, you’ll focus on combining hybrid picking with a lick that uses 3rds. Your knowledge of triads will come in handy here.

Day 9. Double-Stop 6ths

Focus on double stops using 6ths. This staple of country music is worth a very deep dive.

Day 10. You Made It! Let's Recap.

Review your hard work from the past nine days and wrap up with a few assessments to benchmark your progress.

Grade 5. Intermediate Country Guitar

Take your country foundation to new heights with a series of lessons designed to grade up your country soloing skills.

Day 1. Combining Pentatonic Shapes 1 & 2

Develop more fluidity and freedom across your fretboard by linking pentatonic positions.

Day 2. Combining Pentatonic Shapes 3, 4, and 5

Join all five pentatonic shapes together and practice moving between them fluidly.

Day 3. Triads - Adding the bVII

Examine the role that the bVII chord in a progression through the lens of triads. This is an iconic country sound to get under your fingers.

Day 4. Introduction to Chromaticism

Learn how chromatic lines can spice up your solos by exploring chromaticism within the major pentatonic scale.

Day 5. Bends from Major Pentatonic

In the world of country guitar soloing, there are pentatonic phrases that you can “copy and paste” from key to key as a way to solo along with chord changes. Today, we’ll look at how bends fit into this idea.

Day 6. Bends From Minor Pentatonic

Focus on the same concept as yesterday but with the minor pentatonic scale.

Day 7. Honky-Tonk Hybrid Picking

Honky-tonk picking is an incredibly useful technique that you can apply to all sorts of chord progressions. Once you get the picking-hand technique down, you can start to use it to augment your chordal playing.

Day 8. Honky-Tonk Hybrid Picking – Leveling Up

Today, we’re going to spice things up with some additional details by building on everything you practice in the previous lesson.

Day 9. 3rds on All String Sets

Explore string sets you haven’t covered previously while returning to the subject of 3rds. Daniel will show you some common uses for 3rds in country guitar, as well as how you can start to incorporate them into your playing.

Day 10. Final Challenges

Review everything you learned and complete a series of technical challenges to ensure you're ready for grade 6.

Grade 6. Lettin' Loose

Leave the intermediate grade in the dust. This is advanced country guitar.

Day 1. Pentatonic – Up Minor, Down Major (Positions 1, 2)

In this lesson, Daniel will help you access more dynamic sounds in your solos by walking you through a concept called proximity pentatonics.

Day 2. Pentatonic – Up Minor, Down Major (Positions 3, 4, 5)

Continue working on proximity pentatonics as you develop the ability to move in and out of the major or minor pentatonic scales at will.

Day 3. Triads – Harmonized Mixolydian Scale

Take a close look at the harmonized Mixolydian mode and how you can find and incorporate its triads into your playing.

Day 4. Triads – Harmonized Mixolydian Scale on All String Sets

Continue the triadic work you started yesterday. The goal here is to extend your knowledge of Mixolydian triads across all string sets.

Day 5. Bending 3rds

Our journey to transforming you into a bonafide country gunslinger leads us to the subject of 3rds and 6ths – more specifically, how you can incorporate these intervals through bending.

Day 6. Bending 6ths

In today’s lesson, you'll build on top of your work from Day 5. Bending is an important part of the country guitar sound, and the use of 6ths is extensive throughout the style.

Day 7. How to Find a Melody

This lesson is largely about the creative practice of finding a melody across the fretboard. The idea is that we’ll start with a melody in one area of the neck before finding the same melody in other registers, positions, and keys!

Day 8. How to Play Over Chord Changes

Highlighting the chord changes in your solos is an effective way to make your solos sound sophisticated and interesting. Today, you'll tackle the massive subject of chord changes and how to play over them.

Day 9. The Wild West of Chromaticism

Previously, we’ve looked at using chromaticism with our major pentatonic scales. Today, we’re going further down the rabbit hole!

Day 10. Final Challenges

You made it to the level of advanced country shredder! Yee-haw! Recap what you learned, discover next steps, and complete your graduation challenges for grade 6.

Student stories

Learn how Country Learning Pathway has helped real guitarists break through their playing plateau and realize their potential.

“My favorite part about Pickup Music is probably nerding out in the forum with everyone. Just knowing you have a creative community to reach out to if you have any questions or you're stuck in a rut.”

Vicki Huang

United States

"I would highly recommend Pickup Music to pretty much anyone who has been playing for a few years and doesn't feel like they are getting better any more."

James Harrod

United Kingdom

“One of the things that's been the most fun for me has been the SongSquad challenges... connecting with other people in the Pickup Music community on Instagram and just encouraging each other as we're learning songs and practicing.”

Vin Thomas

United States

"Pickup Music really helped me push my musical boundaries."

Wytse Hokwerda


Hear from REAL students

Find out why 20,000 members all over the world love Pickup Music

What’s in every Pickup Music membership?

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1,000+ Lessons

All skill levels

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Annual Plan

All-inclusive access to every course.


/yr billed annually

You save $30 per year.

1,426 people started a free trial in the last 30 days.

Annual plan includes:

See what a Pickup Music membership is all about.

14-day free trial

Guided learning

Know exactly what to practice at every step of your guitar journey.

Personalized feedback

Know exactly what to practice at every step of your guitar journey.

Progress tracking

Monitor your guitar gains.

New releases every week

Never run out of lessons to work on.

Interactive TAB

Follow along with every note.

Multiple HD angles

Get an up close and personal learning experience.

Supportive community

Get into the holiday spirit with step-by-step guitar lessons covering your favorite songs.

Members-only forum

Unlimited personalized learning support from our team of pro guitarists.

SAVE 17%

Unlimited access for less than 1/2 the price of one private guitar lesson per month.

Monthly Plan

All-access to online guitar lessons to level up your playing.



1,426 people started a free trial in the last 30 days.

Monthly plan includes:

See what a Pickup Music membership is all about.

14-day free trial

Guided learning

Know exactly what to practice at every step of your guitar journey.

Personalized feedback

Know exactly what to practice at every step of your guitar journey.

Progress tracking

Monitor your guitar gains.

New releases every week

Never run out of lessons to work on.

Interactive TAB

Follow along with every note.

Multiple HD angles

Get an up close and personal learning experience.

Supportive community

Workshop your playing, get feedback, and perform live in our online practice groups.

Members-only forum

Unlimited personalized learning support from our team of pro guitarists.

SAVE 17%

Save $30

Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions aren’t answered below, please chat with us.

Is Pickup Music right for me?

Do you feel like your guitar playing has hit a plateau? 

Are you stuck in a guitar rut where you're just playing the same old chords and licks?

Are you looking for fretboard freedom?

At Pickup Music, we specialize in:

  • taking beginner guitar players and turning them into intermediate players
  • taking intermediate guitar players and turning them into advanced players

How do we do it? 

  • First, we ask you a few questions to figure out exactly what skill level you’re at. 
  • Second, we ask you to commit to a series of Master Classes and Learning Pathways that focus on specific techniques. These comprehensive week-by-week courses are the best way to get your playing to the next level. 
  • Third, we get you to track your progress on your personalized learning dashboard.

Finally, we give you support and feedback through an exclusive members community and live practice group sessions with other members. This focused approach to learning guitar will help you bust through the beginner basics, break out of the intermediate plateau, and level up your playing.

This guided learning approach is the fastest way to make real progress on the guitar.

What makes Pickup Music better than other guitar lesson sites?

We're glad you asked! So many things:

  • Pickup Music gives you week-by-week guided learning. This is so important for making progress and getting out of the beginner plateau. Instead of just making you watch a video of an instructor talking about how they play guitar, we break things down for you on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Each daily lesson is accompanied by practice exercises where the instructors play along with you - almost like they're sitting right beside you. This eliminates the guess work so you know exactly what you need to focus on to make real and lasting progress with guitar.
  • Our lessons take you beyond the basics. Most online guitar lessons are good at teaching new guitarists the easy stuff. Pickup Music goes beyond that to help advanced-beginners and intermediate guitarists break through to the next level.
  • Our teachers are the best new and modern guitarists in the world. You'll find touring musicians, professors of music, and virtuosos from every genre to guide you through your guitar journey.
  • We have an extensive library with over 1,000 lessons across most genres for every type of guitarist. This means we have the right learning pathway for your unique starting point and preferred style of playing.
  • Pickup Music lessons are jam-packed with features to enhance your learning experience. This includes interactive TAB, multiple HD camera angles, backing tracks, and extensive course notes. All of this is designed to speed up your learning so you can achieve real results in your playing.  
  • We keep it fresh - we drop new lessons every. single. week. Plus, we're always striving to make each new lesson better than the last.
  • Pickup Music is a supportive and welcoming community. This is the place to connect with fellow guitarists, get feedback, and grow together.

What's included in my Pickup Music membership?

Everything! You’ll have unlimited access to every lesson on Pickup Music from every instructor. That means every Learning Pathway, Master Class, SongSquad, Licks Package, 5-Minute Lesson... we could go on, but you get the idea. It's an all-inclusive membership for one affordable price.

How long are the lessons? How long will it take me to complete them?

Pickup Music's lesson plans are designed to suit the amount of time you have available to practice.

Only got a few minutes? Try our 5-Minute Lessons to quickly add a new skill to your toolbox.

Got half an hour? Try one of our Essential Lick Packages or SongSquads to expand your vocabulary in different genres.

Got a couple of days? Try a Master Class with one of our world-renowned artists. Each class is broken up into short, digestible modules focused on one topic. We encourage you to complete the exercises for each lesson video before moving on to the next one because the lessons typically build on each other.

Ready to really commit to a multi-week program? Try one of our Learning Pathways. Over 6 weeks, these detailed courses will take you on a day-by-day journey to master each level in the genre. Learning Pathways include daily practice exercises so you know exactly what to focus on. These courses are the best way to make lasting progress.

Whichever approach you choose, we recommend building the exercises you learn into your daily practice schedule. The best way to improve as a guitarist is through a consistent practice routine rather than sporadic, longer  sessions. Learning guitar is a day-by-day, life-long journey!

I'm brand new to guitar. Is Pickup Music the right choice for me?

Absolutely! We make learning the guitar made fun & simple – the way it should be.

Too many people get frustrated with guitar because they develop bad habits and poor technique. Avoid these costly and time-consuming mistakes by taking Pickup Music's structured and step-by-step approach to learning guitar.

You'll start with Pickup Music's introductory program Beginner Learning Pathway. Over three weeks, we break down everything from simple chords and melodies to rhythm and lead playing. By the end of the program, you'll be able to play any simple pop or rock song (and even write your own).

Most importantly, we make sure you don't get stuck in the beginner's plateau - a common pitfall for guitarists who are just starting out. You'll keep making progress through Pickup Music's guided Learning Pahtways. These programs are designed to quickly take you from a beginner player to an intermediate one who feels comfortable across the whole fretboard.

What the difference between the annual and monthly plan?

The only difference is that the annual plan saves you $30 a year.

Both options come with a free 14-day trial. That means, we won't charge your card for the first 14 days - you can cancel anytime before then.

With an annual membership, we bill you once a year up-front, and you save 17% as a result. We'll send you reminders before we bill you each year so that you don't accidentally forget about it.

With the monthly membership, you pay month to month. It's a subscription, so we bill you each month until you cancel.

Cancelling your plan at any point is very easy to do online - no tricks, emails, or phone calls required. Just click a button on your account page.

Is a Pickup Music membership worth the money?

When you first start learning guitar, it's okay to bounce around with random free lessons on YouTube and searching for TABs online. 

That approach is going to make you an OKAY guitar player, but it's not going to help you take that leap to becoming a serious guitarist - a player who can:

  • Play naturally, without thinking about every move
  • Jam with friends and learn their favorite songs quickly.
  • Blast through that beginner level, break out of the intermediate plateau, and start playing like a pro!

To become a serious guitarist, you need a clear learning pathway to get to the next level. You need to free your mind and unlock your fret board - you can do this with Pickup Music's expert step-by-step instruction. Having this clear learning pathway is  key to making real progress on the guitar.

What about the price? Is it worth it?

Private lessons will cost you about $50 per lesson or $2,600 a year. Going to a music academy will cost you about $40,000 a year.

A Pickup Music membership costs just $150 for the whole year. That works out to 41 cents a day!

Signing up for a Pickup Music membership also means that you can stop wasting your time and effort trying to guess what you should practice next. Our guided programs eliminate the guess work so you know exactly what you need to focus on each day and week to make lasting progress with guitar. This will increase your efficiency and speed up your progress.

Is it easy to cancel?

Absolutely! You can cancel at any time (although we'd be sad to see you go). Cancelling is easy, no tricks. Just go to your account page and click a button.

You won't be charged anything if you cancel during your 14-day free trial.

If you cancel after your 14-day trial, you won't be billed again at your next billing cycle. Your membership will remain active until it expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

Once your membership expires, you will no longer have access to the classes you were enrolled in during your time as a member, but you can easily restart your membership at any time. Just log in to your account and renew a monthly or annual membership to pick up where you left off.

Can I buy lessons individually?

We don’t sell lessons individually. But the good news is you get access to every single lesson on Pickup Music through the one membership. If you’re only interested in one lesson, you could purchase a monthly membership and cancel when you’ve finished it – we have a hunch you’ll want to stick around though :)

Can I cancel my membership at any time?

Yes! All you have to do is click a button on your account page. No tricks, no emails, no calls. It's a straightforward process.

You won't be billed again at your next billing cycle. Your membership will remain active and you'll continue to have access to the site until your membership expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

You can easily restart your membership at any time. Just log in to your account and renew a monthly or annual membership to pick up where you left off.

Note: Once your membership expires, we'll save your progress on your Dashboard if you decide to rejoin at a later date.

How does the 14-day free trial work? What is your refund policy?

Your credit card won't be charged for the first 14 days
When you first sign up to a Pickup Music membership, your credit card will not be charged for 14 days. That means that if you decide to cancel within 14 days of signing up, you won't pay anything.

If you decide to cancel after that, you won't be charged at your next billing cycle
That means: if you’re a monthly member, you won’t be charged for the next month. If you’re an annual member, you won’t be charged for the next year.

We don’t offer refunds for payments that have already gone through. But if you choose to cancel, you will retain full access to the membership until it expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

Will I be automatically charged each month / year?

The membership is a subscription. After the 14-day free trial, you'll be automatically charged monthly or annually (depending on which plan you choose). We send you reminders before your annual subscription renews so you don't accidentally forget about it. You can easily cancel by turning off auto-renew at any time in your account page.

How do I restart my membership?

It’s easy to rejoin Pickup Music and we’d be thrilled to have you back! We even saved all of your lessons for you while you were gone on your Dashboard.

To restart your membership, simply head to this page, select the plan of your choice, and sign up with the email address you used to sign up the first time around.

Get your 14-day free trial.

Try it out