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Hole Notes: The Killer Chord Moves and Blazing Bluegrass Lines of Flatpicker Tony Rice

The following content is related to the April 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

In the bluegrass world, legendary six-stringer Tony Rice is in a league of his own these days, having kept traditional flatpicking’s flame burning bright for decades and continuously refining the style like no other picker on the planet.

After cutting his teeth as a member of the Bluegrass Alliance and J.D. Crowe’s New South (featuring Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas) in the early Seventies, Rice joined forces with virtuoso mandolinist David Grisman on a pair of late-Seventies recordings, David Grisman Quintet and Hot Dawg, which served to elevate Rice’s superpicker status in the bluegrass community.

Playing Grisman’s eclectic compositions also expanded the guitarist’s harmonic language beyond typical three-chord bluegrass forms, influencing Rice’s more acoustic jazz–oriented musical contributions to come.