Tony Rice- Bluegrass Music’s Most Copied Guitarist

When it comes to bluegrass flatpicking

everybody plays like Tony Rice…

yet no one does… except perhaps Wyatt Rice (his brother on this video)

It’s that “Rice” genetic makeup, a similar touch, tone and soul that only a Rice relative could possess.

For those of you that might not be so familiar with bluegrass flatpicking, Tony Rice is the most copied guitarist on the planet earth and, I suspect it’s going to stay that way for a long time. Go to bluegrass festivals – you’ll hear more than a handful of guitarist playing his notes and licks.  And for the aspiring guitarist, learning Rice has become a prerequisite to becoming a good bluegrass guitarist.

Now I want to share with you a personal story that I though was very good advice. It came from Vassar Clements early on when I started playing in his band. At the time we were traveling with a three piece (guitar, bass and fiddle) and the sound could have been kind of small if I were to just play regular bluegrass rhythm…but the fix was not my idea, it was Vassar’s. He told me “4-4”  and wanted more of a swing or “chop” guitar as we ended up calling it. “We don’t have a mandolin so someone’s got to do it,” Vassar said.  I then asked him if he also wanted more of a Tony Rice rhythm on the bluegrass stuff and he said “I didn’t hire Tony, I hired you.”

For those of you familiar with Vassar and his music, he had the ability to play one note and, you would know it was him. So the message I guess I’m trying to relay (how am I doing with this so far?) is, at some point if you are serious about guitar (or any instrument) it’s great to get influenced but, it’s even more important to move forward and find your own voice.

Please comment below and don’t forget to share this Tony Rice video with your music loving friends.



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