Im a big fan of a sci fi show called Firefly and they used to have all these badass cowboy/country riffs (not really sure what they are called) on acoustic guitar also using bottlenecks. I was wondering if someone could explain some theory behind it.

I seem to hear some major pentatonics but surely there must be more to it. What are the most common chord progressions/cadences?

I listened to some of the songs on the soundtrack and they seem to mix major and minor. They used a lot of I, bIII, IV and bVII chords. But I'm not sure which song you are talking about.

Also, the "cowboy sound" is about more than just which chords/scales you use. It's a lot about the instrumentation and phrasing.
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Oh boy, I've been down this road many times. My suggestion's not to ask "what scale/chord progression makes you sound Cowboy (or whatever)". I've asked multiple times about this kind of stuff and almost always get the "learn some songs and analyze them" junk or "Learn more Theory". Getting a certain feeling comes just as much from rhythm as it does from harmony/notes. I'd suggest looking up lessons on Youtube or listening to songs with that feel carefully.

Sorry if I sound rude, I'm just trying to prevent disappointment, frustration, and wasted time. Hope you have a nice day.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
That style of slide guitar is based on tuning the guitar to an major chord and then moving that up and down to different roots. Stuff like the musical interludes in Firefly or the theme of Ken Burns' The National Parks usually done in D for that low, mellow sound. But open E and open G are equally common for slide.

What you can do without retuning, though, is use the D G and B strings. Those spell a G chord, and you can use a slide to move that major chord shape around to different roots. As was already said, they really like to borrow from the relative minor scale even though the chords are all major.

Once you actually start using a slide, you'll see that those chord "progressions" are extremely simple and come out naturally. It's really not complicated.
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 25, 2014,