Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Wildwood Flower tablature

I’m a learner. I’ve been spending much time on Wildwood Flower using the tablature available from here. My playing is slow but I follow it correctly. My problem is that the recordings I listen to on Youtube don’t sound at all like what I’m learning, and in fact they seem to follow a different melody line. This melody line doesn’t appear to relate to the tablature that I have.
Can someone explain what I’m missing ? please


Hey Barry! Welcome to the board!

I think first thing’s first. Would you mind posting a link to the lesson you’re using and also a link to a YouTube video you’ve found that doesn’t sound right? I’d like to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples.

Wildwood flower is a very popular song with an easily recognizable melody. There are many ways to play it, but the melody will remain similar in all of them.


Hi @Mark_Rocka, I think I know what the problem is. In the Carter family version of the tune the music walks down however in @BanjoBen 's banjo arrangement the melody walks up to the C chord. Check out measures 4, 9 and 18.

I have avoided learning Ben’s arrangement because I prefer the Carter arrangement.


@Archie I agree. In the key of C, starting on the lower stings, only leaves the way back to the root © by walking up. If you started an octave higher I think you could get a Carter style version in C.

Ben’s version is a good lesson to get the pinky playing.


As previously written, @Banjoben has a very cool lesson from wildwood flower in the key of c, without capo. i think it’s a very nice version. with me the songs never sound exactly like my role models play. but for me that is definitely the lack of dynamism … but it’s also nice to bring your own character into it. That will probably not help you either … haha ​​but still have fun :slight_smile:


To all of you who have commented, thank you. I’m guessing that the problem really lies in the fact that I’m a learner and out of my depth. I really need to spend time getting the flow of my playing 100% correct before recognition prevails.


@indigoelectric - For the record I’m still learning, and this question has caused me to revisit one of my favorite songs. The Carter style Wildwood Flower as played on guitar is one of the first songs I remember as a child. Right or wrong, there is a melody burned into my mind and that’s what I think of anytime I hear WWF. As you are learning WWF in C, you could noodle around in the key of G. Start on the 2nd string and find the basic melody. Most of it is on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings.

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I’ve played for 54 years now. When I went to playing bluegrass when I was 16 Mother Maybelle Carter’s guitar playing knocked me over. I cant remember where I first saw her play if it was on the old Johnny Cash TV show or somewhere else. I went out and bought a couple Carter Family albums and Johnny Cash Albums. No Youtube back in those days. I had a hard time like you playing the song. It took awhile. I finally threw out the sheet music I bought and just picked it out by ear. Now with the internet you can find Mother Maybelle herself playing it many different ways. Using a capo sometimes other times not. Just take your time listen or watch different ways it’s picked. Find your way to do it you’ll figure it out just give yourself time. I found it easiest out of a C chord to start