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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: “Wildwood Flower” (Basic)

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I've got a Carter family classic here.
A standard for guitar players all over the
The Wildwood Flower for the basic
Here, I'll play it at 70 beats a minute.
And then we'll talk through a couple
things to look for.
One, two, three.
Now repeat.
All right.
Great old number here.
What I'm doing here in this basic version
to sort of bring it around to a,
a lot of the things we've talked about in
the basic curriculum with the,
the boom chuck rhythm.
The picking pattern some walking bass.
Hammer ons and pull offs.
We're going to use a lot of that here.
Even though this is a you know, fairly
simple tune
we can sort of bring it back into this
idea of good bluegrass technique.
And think about how we're playing and what
we're playing.
So I'll just sort of talk through the tab
Sort of got an alternating way of playing
melody and strumming.
At the same time sort of, so this is so
this is kind of a solo piece.
Just kind of your first phrase.
And some things to look through there to,
to be aware of.
Those strums kind of all fall on on beat
two of the bar.
So that's what gives it that rhythmic
consistency as though you were just
you would really want to trust your your
picking hand or your picking arm.
You know, drive your rhythm from a relaxed
That, that hammer-on in the first measure.
There's two down strokes in a row, where,
you no, notice with the picking pattern
concept, there's an eighth note there on
three am, but we don't play.
Let that hammer-on define that beat.
So therefore the downbeat of
of bar two is, is right with the metronome
and right in our groove.
Right with a good downstroke right there.
That kind of repeats that same idea.
In the bar, in the bar of four of the
music there.
A simple repeat.
A simple repeat.
And notice up in the fourth bar of the
melody the first time we just did a simple
boom chuck strum.
This time,
here, and what is bar ten of the tab.
Got a little hammer-on action there, on
the, on the on the low E string, hammering
from an open E to the G on the third fret.
So it gets the basic boom chuck sound,
like this, but it's enhanced a little bit.
Instead of that, we've got.
an idea that we wanna apply here for
hammer-ons and pull-offs, any, any sort of
technique like this that, that adds a nice
legato smoothing effect to the sound.
We still want to keep that really solid
with our sense of groove there.
It's really easy to rush things right
there with the hammer-ons so let.
if you were to play that it would sound
like this.
But it still stays.
So, three and four, one, two,
and three, and four.
And maybe a good thing
to just isolate that bar with a metronome,
and just relax and try to feel it.
And make it have this sort of automatic,
inevitable sort of sense.
And we're launch ourselves into the,
into the B section.
We got some some strums that are,
are melodic there.
You notice in the A part we kinda kept
that rhythm going all through it.
In the B part we're gonna stept away from
that for just a second.
those are down strokes there and and
they're tab and bar 13.
Quite a string jump from second string to
fifth string, but.
Just trust your rhythm there.
Another thing to think about just like
with our boom, our boom chuck concept
those boom a solid down beats especially
on a tune like this the more you can
make those rest strokes the better your
tone will be out of the guitar.
So the b section again.
Notice that low c is gonna be a rest
And the high c for that matter.
If I can just concentrate on
that move right there.
I don't have to think so
much about where the pick is and where my
hand is.
I'm just trusting that same movement every
Even though I'm changing strings it's the
same basic rhythm, you know,
rhythm, rhythmically defined move from the
the picking arm.
There's just
some sort of strum strumming kind of
melodic phrase right there.
Now to get us, to get us back into
more of this rhythmic feel, the strumming
and, and melody kinda intertwined.
Now this is a neat bar here.
The top of page two.
Kind of allowing this.
First fret of the second string, the C.
You want, you want that to
sustain through that as soon it gets hit,
you want it to sustain as long as you can.
It kinda acts as the strum in,
in that bar.
And it, and
it gives that nice effect of how the C, C
note sustains through that.
That hammer-on, real you know,
real country kinda sound.
And then we use our, our closing phrase.
Those are all rest
strokes that are on those down beats.
I'm gonna hammer on from the.
The second fret, fourth string to open D.
So again,
the idea try to make as many of those
downbeats rest strokes.
It's gonna give, just like it gives
boom-chucks a good
solid foundation rhythmically, it's gonna
give the performance of this song.
The same kind of solid foundation.
So that's important to think about here.
And also just, just once that's
You know, again,
we talk about this really trying to feel
what you play.
And you wanna maybe get a metronome set
there at 70 or 65.
Whatever it feels like is manageable for
And um,you know, really trust that groove
before you launch into the tune,
and if you find spots, you know, usually
those hammer ones, like I said earlier,
and the pull offs, will be spots where you
tend to sort of shift away
from the metronome, you might lose the
groove, be aware of that.
It is a great version of a great old tune.
So good
luck playing it, and I'll look forward to
some video submissions.
thing we're gonna work on, is the Carter
Family classic Wildwood Flower,
Maybelle Carter is one of the pioneers of,
of flat picking bluegrass guitar, country
guitar, however you wanna look at it,
and we're gonna play just like we did on
You Are My Sunshine.
I've recorded a a single-note lead line
and we're,
and the purpose of this is to practice
We're gonna be in the key of C, and it's
going to utilize the three chord.
You know, three chords in the song
So the chords are C, F, and G, and once
again I,
I'd like you to memorize the, most of you
probably know this song, and
if if you've never played it before play
along with me, it goes through twice, and
then you can you can download the MP3
that's there and practice it.
Here we go.
One, two, three
One more time.
All right, good job, hopefully one thing
you might notice is that, that C position
it, you know, it's a big prominent,
it's in the key of C, and the C chord is
used a lot in this tune.
And you know, if you're, if you're
building technique, if you're,
you're new to this kind of style and new
to these sort of chords you may, you know,
your muscles may tense up during that,
and you know, if you need this sort of
stuff and take a break, I encourage that.
I don't, anybody to to get painful,
experiencing this sort of pain with this
kind of stuff, but just keep practicing
and your muscles will develop and these,
you know, these chords will be easier to
to hold down.