Chris Eldridge

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Gold Rush

Tony Rice Style Improvising

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Gold Rush > Tony Rice Style Improvising

We're re-issuing one of Chris's most popular lessons with new sheet music, re-mastered video and updated loop points. From Chris: 

Tony Rice has a very personal and idiomatic soloing style. He has created a quick and agile, but bluesy and funky vocabulary that known, at least a little, to all bluegrass guitar players. I once heard someone say that there were two types of bluegrass guitar players - those who were trying to sound exactly like Tony Rice, and those who were really trying hard not to sound like Tony Rice. No matter which camp you are in, you have to reckon with Tony Rice and his ubiquitous contributions.

This week we're going to look at his first "solo" on Gold Rush and start to decode some of his vocabulary.






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Gold Rush Solo AABB


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:44 Tony Rice Style Improvisation

Loop 4:14 Breakdown of Tony Rice Style Gold Rush A Part Solo

Loop 13:54 Breakdown of Tony Rice Style Gold Rush 2nd A Part Solo

Loop 17:57 B Part Variation Breakdown

Loop 21:02 Closing Thoughts





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James Reed
James Reed Aug 10, 2021

This is where I am after a few weeks on this tune.

I think that my technique has improved a lot as I'm letting myself play closer to the bridge where the strings are more taut and I'm learning to control my attack to help keep nimble. I'm struggling to avoid tension in my wrist as I work up to the quicker speeds which is leading to some dragged timings and mispicks; I'll revisit adjusting my positioning so that my elbow is resting on the guitar but do you have any advice that may help here otherwise? My goal is 115bpm on this but the final push is certinaly going to be a challenge!

James Reed
James Reed Aug 10, 2021

This is the B part variant with my right arm placement as close I can get to yours; does this look like it would be more effective in the long term to you?

James Reed
James Reed Aug 23, 2021

Progress after a few more weeks of practice. 115bpm works on a good day but I'm focussing on the accuracy and staying relaxed at 100 for now. The tag has some way to go yet - getting those rest strokes in is tricky!

I'm back to my OM style guitar now that it's back from the shop and this arm position feels best for me. I feel that my wrist, forearm, and elbow are unified in my pickstroke and I have control of where I'm playing on the string while resting my elbow forces me to play by the neck joint.

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