Guitar Strumming

Red River Valley – #Fingerstyle #Guitar – #Easy #Travis #Picking, #Pattern Picking, and #Flatpick #Strumming


Here are several arrangements to help you play Red River Valley on guitar:


Melody & Accompaniment:

Includes flatpick strumming but can be done fingerstyle as well.


Pattern Picking Accompaniment – Example 1:

Use your thumb to play bass notes on the count of 1 and 3 and your index and middle fingers to pluck the strings (instead of strumming) on the count of 2 and 4.


Pattern Picking Accompaniment – Example 2:

Use this pattern as an easy fingerstyle backup as you sing. The fingering is given as an example in the first measure.


Travis Picking:

A simple Travis picking arrangement that I played at the beginning of the recording.


EZ Flatpick:

An easy arrangement you can play if you prefer flatpicking.

Listen to the Mocking Bird – #Easy #Guitar #Strumming #Tablature

Septimus Winner wrote “Listen to the Mocking Bird” under the pseudonym of Alice Hawthorne in 1854. He was also the author of “Whispering Hope,” “Ten Little Indians,” “Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Dog Gone,” and many other songs. By 1905, the sheet music for “Listen to the Mocking Bird” had sold over twenty million copies, and the tune is still popular today. Many baby boomers are familiar with the tune as the musical theme for The Three Stooges. I haven’t done a recording for this but both the melody and chords are simple. Along with the bass notes in the strumming section (bottom line of tablature) I’ve included a walking bass pattern leading into most of the chord changes.

Here are the lyrics…

Listen to the Mocking Bird
by Alice Hawthorne (Septimus Winner)

I’m dreaming now of Hallie, sweet Hallie, sweet Hallie,
I’m dreaming now of Hallie,
For the thought of her is one that never dies.
She’s sleeping in the valley, the valley, the valley,
She’s sleeping in the valley,
And the mocking bird is singing where she lies.

Listen to the mocking bird, Listen to the mocking bird,
The mocking bird still singing o’er her grave;
Listen to the mocking bird, Listen to the mocking bird,
Still singing where the weeping willows wave.

Ah! well I yet remember, remember, remember,
Ah! well I yet remember,
When we gathered in the cotton side by side.
‘Twas in the mild September, September, September,
‘Twas in the mild September,
And the mocking bird was singing far and wide.

Repeat Chorus

John Henry – #Easy #Guitar #Strumming #Tablature

This is an easy tab arrangement of the old folk song “John Henry.” The melody is on the top line and an easy strum pattern with alternating bass on the bottom line. I haven’t done a recording for this but if you know the tune you shouldn’t have any problem playing it.

Like other “Big Men” such as Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Iron John, John Henry served as a mythical representation of a particular group within the melting pot of the 19th-century working class. In the most popular story of his life, Henry is born into the world big and strong. He grows to be one of the greatest “steel-drivers” in the mid-century push to extend the railroads across the mountains to the West. The complication of the story is that, as machine power continued to supplant brute muscle power (both animal and human), the owner of the railroad buys a steam-powered hammer to do the work of his mostly black driving crew. In a bid to save his job and the jobs of his men, John Henry challenges the inventor to a contest: John Henry versus the steam hammer. John Henry wins, but in the process, he suffers a heart attack and dies.

In modern depictions John Henry is usually portrayed as hammering down rail spikes, but older songs instead refer to him driving blasting holes into rock, part of the process of excavating railroad tunnels and cuttings.

Church in the Wildwood – Melody & Accompaniment – Flatpick Guitar

Here are several arrangements I made for Church in the Wildwood. First is Melody (top line) & Accompaniment (bottom line) with alternating bass and strumming.


Here’s an easy flatpick solo with quarter notes only:


The final arrangement builds on the one above, adding more advanced flatpicking techniques:

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