Chris Eldridge

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You Don't Know My Mind

Soloing and Playing to the Guitar's Strengths

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You Don't Know My Mind > Soloing and Playing to the Guitar's Strengths

Every instrument has it's strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a dobro has no frets so it is able to slide around pitch centers expressively, like the human voice. However, even the greatest dobro players would be hard pressed to convincingly play a bebop head note for note. This week I wanted to teach the melody to Honey, You Don't Know My Mind playing to some of the guitar's strengths: sustain and the instrument's chordal nature. You'll see that a strict rendering of the vocal melody doesn't sound the best on guitar. This version of the melody, which can all be played with just a flatpick, implies both melody and chords.



p.s. One thing that I forgot to mention when filming: people play this tune with either a short or long pause on the 4 chord (C) during the instrumental (the pause is always long during the sung verses). The first week when I introduced the song I was playing the instrumentals with a long 4 chord. This week I'm playing them with a short 4 chord.




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Chris Eldridge
Honey You Don't Know My Mind
Jimmy Martin
Tony Rice

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Honey You Don't Know My Mind Solo


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:25 How to Solo and Play to the Guitar's Strengths

Loop 2:25 Breakdown of Solo - Mixing the Melody with Double Stops

Loop 12:43 Run-Through of Melody

Loop 13:09 Syncopating the D Chord Riff

Loop 14:24 Practice Loop of Solo (Note: Very Imporant to Watch Chris's Left Hand in the First Two Measures)

Loop 14:54 Closing Thoughts





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Zach Mar 28, 2018

Hey Chris! Just started your course about a month ago. Really enjoying it! This is my stab and an intro, 2 verses, and solo, and then a bit of rhythm playing. In terms of melody, the Jimmy Martin version is a bit too rangey for me, so I'm singing a little more like Tony Rice's version, which feels comfortably in my range. Also, I've found I tend to get off time on this when accompanying myself, especially while trying to syncopate the singing (probably speeding up), so that's something I'm working on as well. Looking forward to your thoughts! Thanks!

James Macklin
James Macklin Mar 31, 2018

Wow, sounds great!! Excellent picking, and fantastic singing!

Rémy Apr 02, 2018

Agree with James, sounds great, both voice and picking ! And the guitar sound ! What is your guitar ?

Zach Apr 02, 2018

Thanks for the encouragement. Much appreciated! Remy, the guitar is a 2007 Collings D2HA.

Rémy Apr 06, 2018

Ok thanks. Great sound !

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 07, 2018

Zach, excellent job here! Your flatpicking, rhythm playing and singing all sound really great! You have a wonderful feel for bluegrass music and your fundamentals are also strong. So you’re already operating at a high level in the ways that matter most (to me).

I think it’s great that you’re using the metronome. I would suggest now that you adjust your relationship to the metronome so that instead of ticking on the strong beats it is ticking on the off-beats (2 and 4) to simulate a mandolin chop. Then your task is to make the click sound as pocketed and good as it can be - make it sound like Sam Bush. Because how you play relative to it will define how it feels. 

I’d also start experimenting with the sense of dynamics in your rhythm playing. The placement of your bass runs after the vocal phrases is good, but sometimes the strum dynamic feels a little flat after. It’s a fine line between not enough and too much dynamic emphasis but because you seem to have a very good feel for the music I trust that you will figure out what feels right. FWIW, there was a little more rhythm guitar dynamic at 0:54 than at other similar places, and it felt more exciting to me.

You sound great and I’m thrilled to have you here!


p.s. Sorry for the glacially slow response time. Between Live From Here and making a new PB record (it’s finally done!) it’s been a little crazy for the last few months. There won’t be a delay like this again.

Zach May 07, 2018

Thanks Chris! That metronome suggestion is great. I will totally start trying that. And no worries on the delayed repsonse time...any delays due to Live from Here and PB are more than worth it! Cheers!

Markus Rapke
Markus Rapke Nov 04, 2018

Very well done. Good timing, picking and singing.

Torgeir Jorem
Torgeir Jorem Jan 25, 2018

Hi Chris. Nice lesson, this is also quite a challenge!  Rest strokes feels difficult to play in time, messes up the flow a bit. But it's fun to add something extra to the rythm, I'll keep working on that. Any advices on solo or rythm playing? 

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Feb 22, 2018

Hi Torgeir! You’ve got the essence of playing the melody, which sounds great. One thing to mention about that: the syncopations that you’re playing are a little quicker than the ones that I did (and that stole from Tony Rice!). To be specific I’m talking about the spots from 0:09-0:11 and 0:21-0:23. Those first 3 notes are usually on the beat. Think 8th notes there. 

The other comment I have is that when you start playing rhythm and singing the tempo speeds up considerably. It is really tough to keep a consistent tempo between single notes and rhythm! Somehow they feel really different. To improve this I‘d suggest using a metronome. It will keep you honest and help teach you what feels correct as you switch from rhythm to lead and vice versa.



Darren Apr 06, 2016

 Here's another for you Chris. It's a new guitar so the strings are real bright. Thoughts?

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Apr 11, 2016

Darren, you sound great! Way to dig in to the guitar on those low notes in a very tasty and dynamic way. The only thing is that there are a few triplets missing at 0:38-0:39. I get them with some quick pull offs after the hammer-ons that immediately proceed. See around the 10:45 mark on the lesson video.

Really great job though. Sounds awesome.

James Macklin
James Macklin Feb 20, 2016

Hi Chris,  I just thought I'd give this a whirl. I went with your intro, and then for the solo I kinda took off on your first phrase and added some improvisation. The repeat got all Tony-Rice-ish. Why not. Aside from the couple of sloppy pull-offs and the unintended knocking of the A-string, any feedback or suggestions? How does the right hand sound/look to you? I've been working a lot on it lately, focusing on getting enough rotation and power tension-free.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Feb 29, 2016

Hey James,

For some reason I am only able to see your video on my iPhone (not my computer) so sorry for the slow response time! First of all, very nicely done! You've really internalized a lot of the subtleties of bluegrass guitar and can improvise with those subtleties but it's all in your own voice. That's a pretty rare thing so great job on that!

Getting into constructive criticism, the first thing that I'm noticing is that your pick direction gets turned around periodically and I think that might be contributing to some inconsistencies in groove and cleanliness. For instance, the last note of the phrase that ends at 0:08 (and 0:18) should be on a downstroke. Unless you're playing a rest stroke it's good to be able to feel the up/down bounce somewhere in your right hand mechanism, whether that's in your actual hand itself or in your forearm or your elbow. It's subtle, but keeping that pendulum going can really help stabalize consistency and groove.

Also (and you may not even be doing this), make sure that the heel of your right hand isn't resting on the saddle or the bridge pins. If you are touching the pins or the saddle some of the mechanical energy of the strings that would otherwise be transferred into the top gets absorbed by your body. This makes the already inefficiently designed acoustic guitar even less efficient!

Nice to see you on here and I look forward to seing more of what you've been up to!


Dustin Raley
Dustin Raley Feb 03, 2016

Thanks for the response! The explanation about grace notes really helps. I noticed I wasn't getting the pull-off in there either. And thanks for the tip about singing. I'll definitley be working on that and hopefully getting the funkiness to come out! Really enjoy this tune. Thanks for teaching it!

Dustin Raley
Dustin Raley Feb 01, 2016

Hey Chris,

Just joined the site. Here's my attempt at "You Don't Know My Mind." I didn't get all the licks in there, but I'll keep working on it. I thought this lesson was really helpful. I've been wanting to be able to play solo (without other accompaniment), but I've been struggling with my approach on the best way to fill (or not fill) space. I'd love your feeback and advice. Thanks!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Feb 03, 2016

Hey Dustin, sounding really good! Good rhythm playing too. In addition to the hammer-on/grace note explained in the video above, my only other comment is to really think about what this song is about when you're singing it. The guy singing the song is lonesome all the time so really try to tap into that when you're singing. It doesn't have to (shouldn't?) sound pretty. It's ok to let it be a little funky!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jan 09, 2016

Hi James, nice job! You totally nailed the essence which is the most important part. Based on the rhythm that you're playing the pick strokes do get turned around on the 2nd note of the second phrase (the D after the E on the open first string). Not coincidentally, that's also the spot where the feel gets a little less smooth. It's also backward on the third phrase with the repeated hammered on Es to Fs. Those should be downstrokes. Try playing it once where you pick every 16th note with your right hand regardless. See the video below to see what I mean. This will show you which direction you should be going at any given time. Then you just need to strip away the extra 16th notes. Good luck!

James McCann
James McCann Jan 09, 2016

wow, that excersice actually was REALLY mentally challenging me on how to think about being a more economy of motion picker. Its helping a ton already, Thanks a ton! Also, this may seem like a small stupid question, but I cant seem to find a great flatpick that doesn't slip or chip away, do you have any recommendations?

James McCann
James McCann Jan 09, 2016

I'm not sure if my up strokes are correct and would love feedback on that. Also I recognized I sped up towards the end, so I will get a metronome to that bad boy ahah

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jan 09, 2016

James McCann
James McCann Jan 09, 2016

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Dec 16, 2015


First of all, you sound great. I love the way you interpereted what I taught for the first half of your solo but made it your own. You have a good funky feel. You also clearly have a very good understanding of the fingerboard and how to move about. That's great. Keep exploring - you have a real knack for seeing how it all works.

My main thought is this: it's never too early to start thinking about what you really want to play as opposed to what you could play. Or better yet, what you would want to hear. To that end I think you could actually use a few less embellishments. When it gets arpeggio-y at the end it makes me think of arpeggios and I lose the narrative of the solo that you've constructed and that has held my attention up to that point. You could try taking the arpeggios and syncopating them and adding a few funky notes as you bring the solo to a close. A tiny bit of funkiness can be really potent and keep the listener engaged if it's deployed well.


Keenan Hammack
Keenan Hammack Dec 12, 2015

 Any suggestions on more embellishments? 

Keenan Hammack
Keenan Hammack Jan 02, 2016

Thanks so much. I've always loved how you construct solos and I know all of my scales but what I'm missing is the notes between the scales, resolving notes, etc that shape the solo and give music stylistic appeal. I've never thought aboud giving a solo a mood though thats a really cool way to look at that and I'll definitely work at that. Thanks so much.

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