Chris Eldridge

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A Traditional Approach to a Nontraditional Tune

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Rygar > A Traditional Approach to a Nontraditional Tune

Hello All!

This week, by request, we’ll be starting in on a tune that I wrote called Rygar. Julian Lage and I recorded it on our record, Mount Royal, that came out last year. While that was the first context in which I ever played the song, I have since worked up a solo arrangement that I will be teaching you over the next month. This solo arrangement draws upon a handful of techniques and approaches that we’ve studied in the past — bass/chords with melody at the same time, arpeggiated rhythm guitar accompaniment, double stops — and puts them in a more contemporary context.

This is an advanced series - there are parts that will be accessible to everyone, but there are other parts that I’m still very much working to refine, so if things feel hard, it's because they are! But it's my hope that you will find some things in here that are new.





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Rygar Run-Through


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 3:17 Breakdown of Rygar A Part

Loop 17:52 Closing Thoughts





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Matt Apr 02, 2019

Nowhere near perfect but ....... thanks for the tune 

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 19, 2019

Hi Matt, sorry for the slow reply! Sounding really good! My main suggestion is that you try feeling the beat/groove of the song somewhere in your body (sometimes I'll use my chest, shoulders or hips) to make sure that the sense of forward momentum and flow carries forward regardless of what your hands are doing. Does that make sense? Tap your feet, move your hips, move your torso... whatever works. Sometimes when our hands are cought up doing things that feel tricky we can lose the forward flowing pulse of the music. Keeping the beat somewhere outside of one's hands can help keep the groove strong.

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Jun 15, 2018

Everytime I look at this I just think wow.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 20, 2018

Thanks kip!

Travis Styer
Travis Styer Jan 18, 2018

Chris thanks so much for posting this.   Your a great friend to accoustic music and this song is going to be beast to learn !   Look forward to the challenge. 


Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Jan 16, 2018

Although the subtle details are probably down the road for me someday, it is a great example of why you need to remain relaxed, loose and fluid. : )

Andrew McKean
Andrew McKean Jan 16, 2018

I was so excited when I saw that this was the new song we were learning this month. I was able to pick most of it up by watching the video you recorded for Collings but I am excited to dive into all the subtle details I missed, predominatly those in the right hand and in your technique for building emotional tension and excitment while using the same basic melodic material. Love this song!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jan 13, 2018

Thank you all for the kind feedback on this! I was a little nervous about doing this one but I’m thrilled you guys are into it! 

Eugene Stein
Eugene Stein Jan 13, 2018

I am so glad you put this up Chris.  I love this tune and can't wait to learn the B section!

Sturgill Jan 13, 2018

Yes! I love the Mount royal tunes!

jack Jan 13, 2018

Hello Chris, one more interesting lesson.

The difference between a peaceful meditative beginning and then a more powerful music is beautiful.

Imho it is great of you to propose non traditional or strictly bluegrass tunes like that, because we are all guitar lovers, and it's interesting to expand the scope and learn all sorts of things (bluegrass, Greensleeves, silent night, ... all that is wonderful). It's a great choice to me, not too difficult and a good way to practice the melody and accompaniment technique.

Thank you again for a great help and motivation, and a nice tune.

PS : you are Tonyricing us. I was more in Watson, I've just bought TR's cds, among others Manzanita and Church Street Blues, and I am amazed.


James Macklin
James Macklin Jan 13, 2018

Church Street Blues is one of my desert island albums. Masterpiece from start to finish.

jack Jan 15, 2018

Absolutely, definitely a desert island album. At the same time virtuoso and peaceful, harmonious, with a beautiful voice. A folk flavor.
Another desert island record to me is Elementary Doctor Watson, with a great version of last thing on my mind, finger style by the late Doc.
Any old time could be a good idea for a request, with fine blues breaks.
But let's keep that secret, It's gonna be one day a surprise for our respected professor.

James Macklin
James Macklin Jan 12, 2018

Wow, it really is incredible how much dynamic contrast you can draw out of a flatpick, Chris. Looking forward to diving into this. A very belated Happy New Year to to you. 

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Jan 12, 2018

Hey Chris - 

Thanks for doing this. I'm sure you can't imagine how cool it is to see you play and teach Rygar.  I've watched you all play this on videos and in person but this is way cool. Being a founding member of the pessimist club I have serious doubts about being able to play it but I'm psyched try.

Way to go man.


Ryan Crabb
Ryan Crabb Jan 12, 2018

Very excited about digging into this tune! One of my favorites from the record, please be hasty. Keep up the amazing work.

Alex B
Alex B Jan 12, 2018

Thank you, Chris! The reason I admire your playing so much is because you truly grasp the acoustic guitar's strengths and compose/improvise with that impulse in mind. (Finger style is lovely, to be sure, but I prefer that sound on a Gretsch rather than dreadnaught.) Cannot wait to sink my teeth into this! 

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