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Red River Valley

Lesson ID: A0135

Red River Valley” is a traditional folk song and cowboy music standard that was written sometime during the 1800s. The exact song origins are unknown, but many believe it was composed at the time of the 1870 Wolseley Expedition to Manitoba’s northern Red River Valley. This song has been recorded by several artists over the years, including Woody Guthrie, Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, Jimmie Rodgers, and many others.

In this guitar lesson, you’ll learn two instrumentals for “Red River Valley”. We’ll play the first with “Carter Style” boom chick country strumming. The second break will be loaded with bluegrass crosspicking riffs. For the fast learners, I’ll play through the each instrumental at a slow pace along with the tablature. Then I’ll break down each measure in detail and give you some pointers for working on your country rhythm and crosspicking technique. Download the tablature below the video!

Carter Style Arrangement

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min Lesson Overview
01:02 min Playthrough with Tablature
01:40 min Full Breakdown with Tablature

Crosspicking Arrangement

Chords & Lyrics

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Backing Track

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6 years ago
Reply to  Devin

WOW love your crosspicking variation!! I will tell you that you could charge way more for these lessons. I’ve learned more in the past week on your website than I have in years taking private lessons. Thanks for what you are doing!

6 years ago

Great lesson you have not heard from me lately but still here and learning a lot from you

6 years ago

Finally a website that teaches REAL country!

Jocelyn Beauregard
Jocelyn Beauregard(@jocelyn)
6 years ago

Another good one! Thanks Devin!

6 years ago

That is a great lesson Devin. So simple, but sounds great. Many thanks.

6 years ago

it would be very good if there was download button

6 years ago

thanks Devin its looks like nice lesson

Bill Fort
Bill Fort (@guest_1066)
6 years ago

Very good lesson, Can you please take it a step further and do a lesson on Red River Rock ? Red River Rock is good in the open position and up the neck on the 8th or 15th strings. I don’t know why but I’m drawing a blank on what seems like should be easy and can’t find a lesson on it. Please help !

Jocelyn Beauregard
Jocelyn Beauregard(@jocelyn)
6 years ago

Oh yeah Devin!That’s all!

6 years ago

Another excellent lesson Devin – Thank you much.

Lynn Meyer
Lynn Meyer (@guest_1127)
6 years ago

Thank you,just what I need,and easy to understand.

6 years ago

I decided to sign up after seeing your tutorials on YouTube. I am 65 and picking up guitar for retirement recreation. So excited to get started! Thank you!

6 years ago

Hi Devin

Is there any chance of a few lessons on old Southern Gospel songs?

Kind regards

6 years ago

Hi Devin, What is your advice for alternating picking , boom chick, like E to A ect. to hit the right string without looking at the fret board? Thanks, Ken Day

3 years ago

This is the first song I learned on my first guitar (a used Sears guitar from Santa) over 50 years ago. I learned from a Learn Guitar LP record I bought at Sears. The record came with 2 sheets of instructions. We had a huge HIFi cabinet, one of those monstrosities with a TV and a ‘Stereo’ (this was in the ‘60’s). I had to stop, put down the guitar, go open the cabinet, pick up the arm, move it back over to a spot to repeat it, then get back to my spot pick up the huge dreadnought and… Read more »

Bob Wheeler
Bob Wheeler(@bob)
3 years ago

Great lesson Devin! Finally got the mechanics now it needs a bit of ironing. Love this

2 years ago

Ha! I’m practicing with the backing track at .5 speed and I keep messing up. Practice makes perfect? I guess I’d better keep going! It’s a different animal when you have to keep pace with “the band”. I guess if there’s no backing track, I’d better use a metronome, even though that’s a lot less fun. I’m going to work with “Home Sweet Home” and I’ll have to use a metronome there.

Gerrit ONeil
2 years ago

It was very fun I wanted to learn a different way of doing this song !!!

Patti Beaumont
Patti Beaumont(@pattiobb)
1 year ago

Thank you! The walkthrough with the finger placement is exactly what I needed to get my playing up to speed. I’ve been making playing much harder than it could be because of bad fingering choices. I appreciate the clarity and detail in your explanations! I also love having the option to loop and alter the speed. So helpful! Once this is solid, I’m moving on to the crosspicking version!

Michael Graham
Michael Graham(@jambongris)
6 months ago

As a proud Canadian, I’m grateful that you included this one Devin. My friends, who I play both arrangements for, tell me it reminds them of learning to sing it in public school all those years ago.

Al Anon
Al Anon(@theycallmebigal)
3 months ago

Great lesson and tablature! I had to learn it all in the key of G for the sake of jam sessions