Chris Eldridge

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Wildwood Flower

Crosspicking to Accommodate Melody

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Wildwood Flower > Crosspicking to Accommodate Melody

This week we're going to look at a crosspicked version of Wildwood Flower. The trick here for crosspicking while also playing the melody convincingly is playing the crosspicking in groups of 3-3-2 so that you can still hit the melody notes on strong beats.






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Wildwood Flower
Chris Eldridge

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Crosspicked Wildwood Flower Melody


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:31 What You Will Learn This Week

Loop 2:18 Breakdown of A Part to Wildwood Flower

Loop 10:15 Breakdown of A Part to Wildwood Flower

Loop 19:10 Closing Thoughts and Outro





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Torgeir Jorem
Torgeir Jorem Aug 14, 2018

hey Chris!


This is actually a version I learned from Molly Tuttle on youtube, but I thought I would put it up here anyway if you have any comments on it. By the way, is it just me or does the down Down UP-teqhnique feels harder to do fast then alternate picking? But I feel more in control with d-d-u, so it's hard to choose which one to practice mostly.




Mark Wm Smith
Mark Wm Smith May 18, 2016


Decided it's time to publish this. I get stuck on perfection and never really know when to perform. My main goal in working through your material has been to break out of my closet perfectionism loop and start playing for other people. Any tips on moving forward would help. 


Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 18, 2016

Mark, beautifully played! You sound really great, close to perfect, so in that sense I'd say you are achieving your goal. Guitar playing-wise I have nothing to add but I'd like to start a little dialogue to address your question. I guess my first question would be, why do you want it to be perfect? To what end is that serving you? Also, what, to you, defines something as perfect? 

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti May 18, 2016

Mark/Chris  - may I make a comment. First off - awesome picking job. Sounded great. As for perfection - I always wanted to be pefect before I attempted to play for anyone. In a way, it held me back.  Since I could never play anything close enough to perfect, I rarely played, or progressed even as an amateur guitar picker. I couldn't ask anyone to teach me anything - because I knew eventually I'd have to play what I'd been taught to my teacher (imperfectly).  I'm not sure that makes any sense but the years go by very quickly and eventually you end up old(er) and can't play a lick. Luckily I changed my thinking on that. I'm not a great guitar player but I'm having fun and learning something knew. I wish I had 1/10th of the talent of most people on here but no one is having more fun than I am. Great Job Mark!

Mark Wm Smith
Mark Wm Smith May 18, 2016

Chris, thank you for the encouragement. I'll try to be brief-- I'm a storyteller and a mental health professional, so these questions can have very long answers :-).

Perfection means no criticism that might wound my ego. Up to this point, reaching for the highest level has kept me from actually getting in front of others and thereby being pointed out as a failure.

As far as what makes a performance perfect: clear, clean notes, flowing movement, and excellent timing-- easily determined by the phrase, "would Steve Kaufman miss that note?"

Of course, saying all of these things make them sound pretentious and high falutin'. But, I am trying to climb down from the high horse. So keep talking. I'm listening. Mark

Thanks Kip. I get your drift. Of course, knowing and doing can be worlds apart.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 30, 2016

Mark, thanks for engaging with me on this and sorry for the slow response time. I try to get to answering comments here at least once a week but the last week and a half have been really busy and I'm just now getting caught up.

I hear what you're saying about seeking "perfection" as shield against projected criticism that could/would wound one's ego. I understand that very well and I feel it myself quite a bit, especially now that I'm in a position of being an authority who people look up to. There have been times while filming video for the site I've gotten caught up in doing take after take of an introduction because I feel if you guys saw me make a little mistake my cover would be blown and I would be outed as the imposter that I really am. Now, of course, that's just the insecure voice in the back of my mind talking and I know it doesn't reflect reality, but those insecurities are very real and we all have to deal with them in our own way.

I've found 2 truths to be very useful for dealing with this:

     -Everyone is rooting for you. People are almost always genuinely happy and appreciative that you're sharing yourself/your music and they will extend goodwill your way. If you're going out of your way to play music for someone it is *very* rare that they are actually judging you in a harsh or negative way. Don't forget that.

(continued below...)

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 30, 2016

     -Perfection doesn't sound as good as imperfection. This is empowering. When we were making the most recent Punch Brothers album we were wanting to re-record and re-record this one song to get it all exactly right, exactly the way we heard it in our heads. T-Bone Burnett, who was producing, told us "perfection is a second rate idea." I think he's right. Perfection is kind of two dimensional and flat, because it's something that our brains can conceive of. But reality and imperfection are so much more interesting than that. So much of the joy of music is that it's alive, it's happening in real-time, it's organic. It's surprising. For me, opening myself up to that perspective has made me much more compassionate toward myself and that has made me a better musician.


p.s. I should add that playing clean notes with great time is a wonderful and certainly a great thing to strive for, but it's not what makes something good. Not to me, anyway. I want to hear the person behind those notes. If someone plays super clean it just tells me that they are interested in clean playing -- nothing more, nothing less.

Mark Wm Smith
Mark Wm Smith May 31, 2016

This is great stuff, Chris. And mighty deep. It will take some time to absorb the value of all you've included here. But, in the immediate future I can already visualize applying those two concepts in my daily efforts to build/re-build my performance repertoire. The concept of perfection as a "second rate idea" resonates. It fits with things I've already been applying in my professional work as a mental health counselor. An idea so profound on a humanistic and spiritual level it gave me the chills. :-D Funny how the things you teach come back around to poke you in the ribs. Thank you so much for taking time to bring that forward. I really appreciate it. Mark

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti May 15, 2016

Chris - 

I'm going to post this before I attempt to learn (start working on) the Tony Rice run, lick, chord progression thingy of the next and last lesson for this song. Is the cross picking done correctly and I threw in your variation E7 Am C7 F deal .. is that close? Thanks man for teaching an old dude some new tricks.



Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 16, 2016

Killer! Sounds great! The timing got off around 0:54. Sounds like it may have skipped ahead a tiny bit. Tap your foot and count along and see if you can straighten it out that way. You're really making great progress! I love it!

Frank Aigner
Frank Aigner May 12, 2016

Hi, Chris.

I was wondering, since I've seen on earlier lessons where you addressed picks... strings? Any thoughts on strings? I have a Pearse 11-52 set on my D-28, which I find to be a nice balance of tone/volume/playability. Is there anything else I *should* be trying?



Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 12, 2016

Hi Frank, in my experience most strings are of a similar quality. I've had the best luck with John Pearse and D'Addario over the years, although I've enjoyed DR and GHS as well. If you're playing bluegrass I would use a heavier gauge though. At least .012 on top. I use a medium gauge set which is .013-.056. 

brooks searls
brooks searls May 11, 2016

Hello Mr. Eldridge, I just wanted to thank you for the lessons.  I am able to grasp most of the concepts and have been able to play most everything to my satisfaction so far (I am starting "Gold Rush" now).  The different ways you describe the guitar give me some good guide lines to follow.  I feel that I am much improved in a short time.

At Albino Skunk Festival I played 4 origional songs and a few "Dead" songs around the fire with the Screaming J's out of Asheville.  I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but I held my own.  Also, played an origional song that Billy Strings played lead guitar on.  He is mentioned in the song.  Went ot Merlefest, and Wednesday night walked into the big Bluegrass jam at our campground and played "Shady Grove", taking the guitar breaks.   Held my own, but got smoked on "Red Haired Boy" (had no idea what I was doing).  Then I played a song I wrote about Doc and Merlefest.  What a blast.  One of my good "Merle" friends, Gary Davis, said he has met you, and his son, Brandon Davis, judged a contest with you and thinks you are one of the best guitar players around.  It is amazing how much better I always seem to be after Merlefest.  This year I was able to keep up and at least play some decent rythm for other folks to play solo's around.

I am not, and have not been, a Bluegrass picker, and didn't start playing guitar until I was 38-39, some 11 years ago, but am really enjoying learning and relaxing with the instrument.

Was not able to get to Pisgah to see you guys, but hope to see you next time you are in Upstate SC or Western NC.


Thanks again,


Brooks Searls

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 11, 2016

Brooks, thanks for the kind words and congrats on all the progress! Hopefully we'll be able to say hi in person one of these days!

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti May 06, 2016

Thanks Chris for explaining all of this in detail. So much fun playing Wildwood Flower.

When you perform this song (if you ever do) besides when picking up a new guitar ... do you always play it the same way? For instance, you performed it for Fretboard Journal and you're showing us what you did there but this song lends itself to playing it so many ways. Just wondering. Even within the song ... straight pick the melody, cross pick the melody, strum the melody all to keep it interesting?

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 11, 2016

Hi Kip, if I find myself performing this song in front of people I'll draw on any/all of the various approaches to keep it interesting for both me and the audience. Or sometimes if I'm just sitting around playing it can be fun to explore different ways to get through the tune. To me playing it a different way feels like going on a little adventure. 

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