Chris Eldridge

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Last Thing On My Mind

How Tony Did It

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Last Thing On My Mind > How Tony Did It

Hello All!

This week we’re going to take a detailed look at Tony Rice’s intro to “Last Thing On My Mind” from his iconic Church Street Blues record. As is the case with all of Tony’s guitar arrangements, the thing that makes it sound so good and unique is his blending of melody with chords, kind of like Mother Maybelle Carter on steroids. Another important element is the way that he utilizes sweeps and rest strokes to make the music more dynamically interesting. We’re going to look at these things here.

Hope you enjoy!




Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Introduction


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 0:17 Breakdown of Chords and Rhythm

Loop 17:42 Practice Loop (Slow and At Tempo)

Loop 18:30 Closing Thoughts and Outro




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Torgeir Jorem
Torgeir Jorem Nov 07, 2019

Thanks for this lesson, learning some Tony Rice-crosspicking is really great. One question, is the sweeping (down-down) supposed to be played as rest strokes or can I play with a normal picking motion?


Here's my attempt, I appreciate if you have some feedback on the video 🙂 Torgeir

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Dec 27, 2019

Hey Torgeir! Sweet singing on here! It seems that the beginning of the video may be slightly cut off (?) but even so it sounds like you are cutting a beat or two off of the phrase lengths. Take a look at how I'm doing the intro again, particularly the timing of when the chords are changing. That said, your flow on those parts in terms of how you are playing the guitar and the groove is really nice!

One other thing to mention, under your singing try strumming the back beats a little less. Listen to Tony in particular for this - he is SUCH A MASTER at rhythm guitar and accompanying himself. The main point is that he is hitting the bass notes and occasionally strumming in between, but he often plays little crosspicked fills instead of the strum. It's a nuanced thing, but it might give the sound a bit of variety. 

Happy new year!

Denny Fried
Denny Fried Oct 28, 2019

That will be terrific, Chris. Thank you!. The bad news is, now I have to get to work on the A part!

Denny Fried
Denny Fried Oct 27, 2019

Hi Chris, are you planning on following up with another lesson on the second part of the "Last Thing on My Mind" intro (which you play at the end

of the "How Tony Did It: lesson) , which I follows the chorus ("Are you going away, with no words of farewell," etc.). I don't

want to spend the time working on the first part if there won't be a lesson on the second part.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 28, 2019

Hey Denny, this is the complete intro, which is the same as how Tony plays the solos on the A parts. I wasn't planning on teaching the B part (which Tony only plays once during the long solo in the middle of the song) but since you're asking, sure! I'll make that the next lesson in the series. 

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Oct 27, 2019

BTW - as an offical member of the TAB police I would like to point out that the TAB presently displayed is for "The Likes Of Me" and not "The Last Thing On My MInd"... this is what happens when the Steelers play on a Monday night and I have all day Sunday to mess around. By and by I don't mess with TAB.

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Oct 28, 2019

Hi Kip - thanks for letting us know. My mistake.  It should be all fixed now.  Also, your totally right - use your ear and eyes whenever you can - you will actually wire your brain in a different (and correct) way.

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Oct 27, 2019

This is alot like learning a new language. I worked hard on pick direction theory when first starting this style of playing. At first really needing to think about what I was or wasn't doing - down up down up especially when pull off's, slides, and hammer on's were in play but it didn't take very long to get the hang of it without having to think a lot about it. I don't know that will ever be the case with the way Tony Rice plays and you're probably thinking to yourself ... yea no kidding. What is most interesting to me ... from what I've read or heard on the rare occasions TR talks ... he wanted badly to play like Clarence White but in his opinion couldn't so he developed his own style of playing which turns out to be incredibe and fun to try and copy but the most important thing he said is a player needs to develop their own style of playing.  What a relief. I'm still working on the pick up notes  .. carry on.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 28, 2019

Totally. The reason *I* learn this stuff isn't so that I can play exactly like Tony. It's more that I want to add tools to my own toolbox so that I can become a better, more expressive version of myself. There are some powerful lessons to be learned in how he touched the guitar. Somehow, when Tony plays he brings a certain magic to the music and I feel like studying him in a more nuanced manner can help shed light on how the rest of us can find some of that magic too.

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Oct 25, 2019

if you knew what goes through my mind everytime I watch a lesson for the first time ... it's incredible lol ... so I've been playing this intro and break for about 2 weeks by just watching your first lesson and trying to make stuff fit and sort of sound right ... and today I thought well that doesn't sound so bad ... then this ... ha ha ... I can't even hold my pick right now ... Tony Rice rules.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 26, 2019

Tony is, and will always be, the man we all say "Yes Sir" to!

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