Chris Eldridge

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Wildwood Flower

Tony Rice Style Melody and Reharmonization

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Wildwood Flower > Tony Rice Style Melody and Reharmonization

This week I wanted to introduce you to some cool Tony Rice-isms that you can employ on this tune. First we're going to look at how Tony might pick this. His right hand mechanism is very unique and is an important contributor to the sound that he makes and that we all love so much. He doesn't subscribe to the rigid alternate picking orthodoxy that I preach around here; Tony's right hand employs a lot of slowly sweeping rest strokes. For me this method is much harder to control, and it's not conducive to improvisational freedom, but it often makes a more beautiful, powerful sound on the guitar. We'll study it much more in depth once we start learning Church Street Blues.

We'll also take a look at a cool but easy reharmonization you can apply to the B part.





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Tony Rice
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 2:13 Breakdown of A Part to Wildwood Flower

Loop 15:20 Closing Thoughts and Outro





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Darren Apr 11, 2017

 here is one with less swing and a different third chorus. Is this any better/worse, doesn't really fit etc... maybe a quick example if I'm not getting it if you could. Cheers!! New record with Julian is off the chart!

Darren Mar 30, 2017

 Chris!! It's been awhile. Crazy busy but back at it. I'm trying to make the song get a little "bigger" each time through, am I achieving that? Does that walk up in the last chorus musical to you? I couldn't think of a better way to get back to open position besides using the open string idea in your Gold Rush lesson. Thoughts? Thanks again for taking the time with me in Nashville.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 30, 2017

Darren, sounding good! I like the idea of the song getting a little bigger every time. I don't know if it's entirely working on the third time through though, mostly on account of the decreased rhythmic activity. Maybe try playing it where you still playing the big chords but crosspicking or doing some other sort of busier accompanimental right hand technique in between Melody notes, a la Norman Blake. Also, as an overall comment, see if it gets any easier to play if you dial the swing back a little bit. 

I love your up the neck variation. Sounds killer and way to use the open string!

lewis May 31, 2016

Hey Chris,

My attempt at a couple of versions (the second time around is a pass at the Tony Rice approach).

I'm really finding that the less I think about it the better it comes out .... I'm overthinking in the first couple of bars here and the roll doesn't get going properly, then I think "well to hell with it, I'll finish this run through for the practice and record another version" and it kind of falls into place from that point. Psychology!

Really love this style of playing though. Looking forward to you covering Church St Blues at some point in the future.

Thanks for these great lessons!


Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 31, 2016

Lewis, psychology indeed! You're sounding really good! I especially like the groove you get. It's got a real nice weight to it.

I'm loving hearing everyone playing these songs!

lewis May 24, 2016

Hey Chris - I love the Tony Rice crosspicking fill thing. I really like the sound of it using the down down up. The alternate picking is nice, but it sounds like theres a slight swing in the down down up that isn't there the other way.

I've had a couple of failed attempts in the past at getting it into my playing - when I try it, it introduces a LOT of tension...I think maybe because I haven't practiced rest strokes enough? The technique seems to sound best when the bass note right before the crosspicking and the first downstroke of the crosspicking figure itself are rest strokes. Gotta work on it!

Thanks for this great lesson



Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti May 15, 2016

Chris - I'm gonna need a bigger boat. The Tony Rice thing sunk me. I'm glad you showed the alternate way you play the B part which also dresses everything up very nicely and I've got a better chance of nailing that down. I will try to play it the way that Tony does as well but that is surely going to take me a lot of time. It is amazing how a tune like "Wildwood Flower" which at first glance seems pretty straight forward and simple, can be made to sound more pleasing than it already does.


Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 15, 2016

Hey Kip, also keep in mind that you don't have to do the Tony Rice thing if it feels way out of reach for now. As you keep working on all of this stuff you will keep getting better, and something that feels really tough now will seek entirely attainable down the road. Some of the TR stuff is pretty advanced and I would almost be surprised if it didn't feel like a stretch. 

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