Chris Eldridge

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You Don't Know My Mind

Chords and Melody

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

You Don't Know My Mind > Chords and Melody

This week we're going to start in on a new song, "Honey, You Don't Know My Mind," by the great songwriter Jimmie Skinner. This song was initially made famous in bluegrass by the self-proclaimed (but I wouldn't argue with him) King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin. It was later recorded by Tony Rice, which is how I first come to know it.  This song is super straight-ahead bluegrass -- the chords are straightforward (1, 4 and 5), there is only 1 part, and it has attitude for days. The one thing to keep in mind is that the melody covers a wide range so with your own vocal range in mind, pay attention to the key. You might want to move it up or down depending on your own voice.





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 Performance of Honey, You Don't Know My Mind


Honey, you don't know my mind I'm lonesome all the time

Born to loose a drifter that's me

You can travel for so long, before a ramblers heart goes wrong

Baby, you don't know my mind today


Heard the music of a rail slept in every old dirty jail

And life's too short for you to worry me

When I find I can't win I'll be stepping out again

Baby you don't know my mind today


I've been a hobo and a tramp my soul has done been stamped

Lord things I know I learned the hard hard way

I ain't here to judge or plea but to give my poor heart ease

Baby you don't know my mind today


Honey you don't know my mind I'm lonesome all the time

Born to lose a drifter that's me

You say I'm sweet and kind I can love you a thousand times

Baby you don't know my mind today


Loop 3:32 Introduction to Honey, You Don't Know My Mind

Loop 5:12 Breakdown of Melody

Loop 9:14 Practice Loop of Main Chorus


Download the Sheet Music PDF





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Steve Oct 04, 2022

Where's the listen on the leads in the intro ?

Marty Kerner
Marty Kerner Jan 05, 2020

Hi, Chris.  Many thanks for the terrific lessons.

When you play the G chord, I see you fret the 6th, 2nd, and 1st string, damping (I assume) the 5th string with your 2nd finger.  Is that your default whenever you play a G chord? Do you ever fret 6th, 5th and 1st strings, leaving the others open.  That's how I learned the G chord (many decades ago).


Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Apr 12, 2020

Hi Marty! I usually do play a G chord with the 5th string dampened by the underside of my 2nd finger. To me, the chord is a little less "muddy" sounding that way. Depending on the music I will either leave the 2nd string open or fret it at the 3rd fret. And of course, there are times when the music might call for a thicker sound on the bottom of the chord, so I might play the B note on the 5th string in those cases. It all really depends on the context of the music. But, yes, my most-used all-purpose bluegrass G chord has a muted 5th string and fretted 2nd string, just like Clarence White taught us!

David Brookes
David Brookes Aug 12, 2016

Hey Chris

Any chance of running us through that lick that starts at 3:17?



Bryan Mabe
Bryan Mabe Aug 08, 2016

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Aug 15, 2016

Bryan, sounding good! A few brief comments:

-Your right wrist looks somewhat stiff. Try checking in with it to see if you are noticing/feeling any tension. Try shaking it out with no tension (let your wrist, hand and fingers go limp and then shake). Once you've got it limber, put the pick back in your fingers and try to retain that feeling of freedom and looseness. It will probably be really sloppy. This is ok. You are going to grant yourself a free pass to be sloppy while you are learning what it feels like to let your wrist be free and relaxed. If you cultivate that free and relaxed state, your body will eventually sort out the fine motor details and you will regain your precision.

-I really love that you've got a mechanism in your right hand that is helping you keep time. It's working! Your time sounds great. The only thing is that it sounds and looks a bit like you've got a mechanism. We want to now make it a bit more subtle. Try keeping the pulse of the beat somewhere else in your arm. Maybe your shoulder, maybe the middle of your forearm. Or maybe forgo your arm an try to keep it in your back or legs. It's a great skill to be able to keep the pulse but now we want to disguise it a little more, make the mechanism more subtle. I know I'm being a bit vague, but does this make sense?

Keep up the great work!


Bryan Mabe
Bryan Mabe Aug 03, 2016


I just wanted your comments on my video. Love playing this tune and you have been a tremendous help for me. You really have no idea......thanks for doing this for us.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Aug 07, 2016

Hi Bryan, 

i'm not seeing your video. Would you mind reuploading? 

Greetings from Perth, Australia 🇦🇺!


Bryan Mabe
Bryan Mabe Aug 08, 2016

Think I got it finally. Sorry

Mark Wm Smith
Mark Wm Smith May 27, 2016

My submission. I finally decided to send it, though it isn't quite as polished as I'd like. Still feel like I'm trying too hard. :-)

Thanks for listening.


Mark Wm Smith
Mark Wm Smith May 27, 2016

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge May 30, 2016

Mark, you sound great! Seriously, watching that put a huge grin on my face. You're achieving the attributes that you mentioned in the thread about Wildwood Flower: clear, clean notes, flowing movement, and excellent timing.

One technical thing that might help: at 0:22, when you are playing the second set of hammer-ons (A to Bb on the 3rd string), your right hand pick direction can be Down, Up, Up through the syncopation. That should help you navigate the syncopation with more confidence. I'll film a video to show you what I mean:

You could also play that phrase with all downstrokes for a more powerful, forceful sound but I would try to do it with the proper pick direction first.


Mark Wm Smith
Mark Wm Smith May 31, 2016

Thank you, Chris. That is very encouraging to me. Excellent tip on the hammers, also. It will help me as I begin to work things out on my own, that are based on stuff that is working for the experts (like yourself). Something about your arrangements and approach really inspire me to figure it out. Kudos for being true to your inner voice. Mark

jasyn rymer
jasyn rymer Dec 03, 2015

is the intro written out on here i cant find the link?


Mike Caren
Mike Caren Dec 03, 2015

Hi Jasyn --- if you click on "Other Lessons in this Series" which is located just under the right corner of the lesson video --- and then select --- Soloing and Playing to the Guitar's Strengths --- it will take you to the lesson where Chris breaks down the intro / solo / melody.

jasyn rymer
jasyn rymer Dec 03, 2015

thx! awesome!

Scott Yandell
Scott Yandell Nov 26, 2015

Wiil you provide TABs of the breaks you are playing and go over them in the course of this lessson?  Also details on the walks and runs you play during the vocals would be great.  


Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Nov 28, 2015

Hey Scott, in the three lessons that follow this one I cover rhythm guitar subtleties, bass runs, and playing a solo, all using this song as the template.



jon Oct 21, 2015

Hi Chris,

Great stuff, love the song! Fantastic performance!  Just a word about myself,  i'm not a teacher, i dont have students of my own. I'm just a bedroom player who loves american roots music (i'm from England).  I consider myself late beginner, early intermediate and am just hoping to learn and progress.  I love what you're doing, and just ask that you carry on and dont forget about us mere mortals! 

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 21, 2015

Thanks Jon, glad you're here and thanks for the feedback!

Jeff Caldwell
Jeff Caldwell Oct 20, 2015

Chris, that was a beautiful performance--thanks for the music and the knowledge!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 20, 2015

My pleasure!

Drew Cohen
Drew Cohen Oct 15, 2015


Thanks for the reply.  I found the fundamentals stuff in the first month enormously useful, and I shared a lot of what I learned with my own students (I teach a beginner guitar class to high schoolers).  The stuff about tension, holding a pick and thumb placement really made me rethink some of my own habits.

With a tune this straightforward, I feel like you could have given me a chord chart, sung it once (we can always repeat the video section if needed), and gotten right to the things you'll be doing in future weeks (but I don't know if I'm representative of other students).

I'm a big fan and thrilled you're doing this.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 15, 2015


I appreciate the feedback, and I hear you.

Anybody else reading these comments: I'd love to hear what you think as well!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 15, 2015

Hi Drew, the answer is yes!

The tune is pretty straightforward by design. Roughly each month I'll introduce a new tune or song that I will use as a vechicle to go in depth in various topics in focused ways. My hope is to increase people's repoitoires as we dive into these subtopics that, to me, are important. For Honey You Don't Know My Mind, one week we're going to get into some of the finer points of Jimmy Martin style rhythm guitar, another week we'll go deeper on the bass runs, and finally we'll explore the solo. Next month we'll be looking at an instrumental tune so we'll spend more focused time on flatpicking/soloing over the course of the weeks.

All of this said, we're all new here and I'm open to feedback as far as what you or anyone else wants to learn! If the first week of merely teaching the song is too slow for most people then I'm happy to adjust in future months.



Drew Cohen
Drew Cohen Oct 14, 2015

Is the plan to work on the solos between the verses in future lessons?  The tune itself is pretty straightforward, but would love a breakdown (and tabs, ideally) of what you're doing.

Bruce Dumes
Bruce Dumes Oct 09, 2015

Hey Chris! Great tune, great lesson. I've loved this tune for over 40 years since first hearing it on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" -- one of my favorite records ever. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas for this one in the upcoming lessons! Like the beard! ;-)  Working hard on remembering to "feel the lonesome" when I play. Take care and thanks!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 15, 2015

Bruce, "Circle" is a classic! Looking forward to hearing your rendition of this one!

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