Chris Eldridge

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Presbyterian Guitar

Learning The Tune

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Presbyterian Guitar > Learning The Tune

Hello All!

This week I’ve got a beautiful tune for you by the great John Hartford. Unlike most John Hartford songs that I play, this one was originally written on and for the guitar and it’s absolutely lovely. Once you’ve learned the notes the trick is to hear and love the beauty of the song as you play it. Being connected to it on that level can help you transcend yourself and bring out a better performance.

I think you’ll really enjoy this one!






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Presbyterian Guitar


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 2:21 Breakdown of Presbyterian Guitar

Loop 14:07 Closing Thoughts





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Torgeir Jorem
Torgeir Jorem Jun 19, 2018

Beautiful song! Are there any more songs in bluegrass fingerpicking you can reccomend, or is not that common with fingerpicking in bluegrass guitar tradition? 

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 20, 2018

Really beautiful playing here! You have a very lyrical sense of how to play the guitar and it's lovely. There isn't a ton of "fingerpicking" of this beautiful variety. The closest thing would by Tony Rice's playing on his last solo album, Unit of Measure. He has a lovely arrangement of Shennendoah and some other tunes. Here's a beautiful live performance:

Doc Watson did some incredible virtuosic fingerpicking, but it was coming more out of a southern blues and country guitar tradition. Deep River Blues is the most famous example but there are many others! 

Deep River Blues:

Sitting On Top of the World:

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Mar 09, 2018

Beautiful  ... I first heard this on a Bryan Sutton record and it really knocked me out. I was not aware it was a John Hartford tune. Thanks for always broadening the horizon.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 10, 2018

Hey Kip, absolutely. It’s on John Hartford’s Aereo-Plain record, which is one of the all time great bluegrass/new grass records. You should check it out!

Chris Blankner
Chris Blankner Mar 09, 2018

Hey Chris,

So why put the pinky on the 4th fret G string?  You're not playing it.  I simply move my pinky to the high E on the third fret to accomplish that portion in the first two bars.  I'm wondering if putting the pinky on the 4th creates and advantage i'm not aware of.  

Thanks man


PS saw Julian play at the Library of Congress last night with my wife.  Great night.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 10, 2018

Hi Chris,

I *am* playing that B at the 4th fret of the G string (and as those chords change I’m playing the A at the 2nd fret of the 3rd string, and the open G string as well). I don‘t write out the tablature and I see now that the line on that string was missed. We’ll correct it. But for that section the notes on the 1st and 3rd strings are moving together while the D note at the 3rd fret of the 2nd string stays still. With that in mind, the reason for using my pinky on the 3rd string is so that I don’t have to lift up my ring finger that’s playing the D at the 3rd fret of the 2nd string. I want that note to ring continuously and there are only a couple of fingerings that can accommodate that goal.



Mike Caren
Mike Caren Mar 20, 2018

Hi Chris - thanks for the question.  The tab should now be up to date.

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