Wildwood Flower: You Can Pick It! (Pun Intended!)


Murphy Henry

Well, I’ve just had the pleasure of recording my first custom guitar lesson, courtesy of Casey and her fancy MacIntosh Computer. (Not quite like Earl and his “fancy banjo” but close!) And what did I teach? “Wildwood Flower,” of course! It’s sort of the “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” of guitar picking. Except that “Wildwood Flower” is a much easier beginning-level tune.


As you may know, Casey has been offering “custom banjo lessons” for a few years now. She will teach just about any song you can think of on banjo including her latest offering, J.D. Crowe’s “Bear Tracks.” (AWESOME tune!) So, thinks I, why not offer some tunes on guitar? Especially since I currently have three excellent guitar students (Janet, Bob A., and Bob V.) who are learning to pick out the melodies for a number of songs on their own. Just hearing them do that is inspiring to me as a teacher. And gratifying, too. (And it’s made me hone my own guitar-playing skills!)


Teaching them made me realize that simple, melody- oriented guitar breaks are absolutely wonderful. They sound great and—honest to Pete—are not that hard. So, I thought, “Why not make these tunes available to other folks?” With Casey’s excellent help we are making it happen. (She pushes all the buttons on the computer and says “Go” and “Good job!” and then does the editing.) “Wildwood Flower” and “Amazing Grace” are both now available. And we are open for suggestions for other songs or tunes you want to learn to play on guitar.
Just to give you an idea, here are some of the songs Janet and Bob A. have learned and are playing:


You Are My Sunshine

Will the Circle Be Unbroken

I’ll Fly Away

I Saw the Light

This Land is Your Land

Life’s Railway to Heaven

Bury Me Beneath the Willow

When the Roll Is Called up Yonder

Two Dollar Bill

Boogie Woogie


You might notice that these selections are gospel-heavy. Well, that’s because the gospel tunes are so easy to play on guitar and sound so good. And are so well known to many of us.


Bob V., who has always done his own thing, has a slightly different list of tunes and is currently working on some of the D fiddle tunes: “Liberty,” “Soldier’s Joy,” and “Arkansas Traveler.” These make great guitar tunes (the arrangements are still simple) but are quite a bit harder than the three-chord songs in the Key of G or C. We can record those for you, too.


So, Casey and I are excited about this new venture into six-string land. Just let us know what you want to learn!


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