Banks of the Ohio banjo tabs & chords

  • Scruggs Style-2


    There is a lot of beautiful music to be made on the banjo without the use of a capo. Spike your fifth at the seventh and check out this great tune.

    • Key D
    • 95 bpm
    • Tuning aDGBD
    Play Scruggs Style-2
  • Scruggs Style


    A forward roll heavy version of this classic murder ballad Banks of the Ohio. Do your best to accent the melody notes. Sometimes it helps to learn the lyrics!

    • Key G
    • 105 bpm
    • Tuning gDGBD
    Play Scruggs Style
  • Melodic Style


    A tasteful up-the-neck version of the Banks of the Ohio that utilizes 6ths chord positions. These positions are a convenient way to move around the neck while including essential melody notes.

    • Key G
    • 105 bpm
    • Tuning gDGBD
    Play Melodic Style
  • Backup


    A rolling backup version of Banks of the Ohio with some Scruggs licks to play in-between vocal phrases. Remember to play with dynamics when you're filling.

    • Key G
    • 105 bpm
    • Tuning gDGBD
    Play Backup

More about Banks of the Ohio Banjo song

Banjo Banks of the Ohio tab

"Banks of the Ohio" is a 19th-century murder ballad with unknown writers. The story goes as such: "Willie" goes on a walk with his lover and asks for her hand in marraige. She refuses and once they get to the river bank, he murders her. This ballad is in line with many other folk murder ballads such as Omie Wise and Pretty Polly. The first recorded version of this song came was Red Patterson's, and it was titled "Down By the Banks of the Ohio." Ernest Stoneman, The Callahan Brothers, The Blue Sky Boys, and The Monroe Brothers also recorded this song in the 1930s.

On Tunefox you’ll find 4 different tabs for Banks of the Ohio. Each of these tabs will teach you how to play the this tune in a different way. The Scruggs style tablature will show you how to play left hand slurs, otherwise known as hammer-ons, slides, and pull-offs. The Melodic style arrangement of will show you how to play Banks of the Ohio up the neck using major and pentatonic scales. And finally, the Backup arrangement will teach you how to play the backup for this song, which is essential for jam sessions.

Each Tunefox arrangement teaches you how to create your own solos by using a feature called the Lick Switcher. The Lick Switcher features different style licks such as Scruggs, Melodic, or Bluesy and you can swap out measures in Banks of the Ohio to learn about improvisation and creating arrangements. To use the Lick Switcher, click on the text "Original Measure" above certain measures in the song. Then select the lick you'd like to insert into the song. You can also click on "Shuffle Licks" at the bottom of the page to see a fully new version of the tablature.

You'll also find some useful tools which will help you to learn how to play Banks of the Ohio on banjo. For example, you can use the "Hide Notes" feature, which will hide some notes for you so you can learn parts of the melody by ear. The "Memory train" tool will progressively hide notes each time you play through a section or the entirety of a song. Take your speed to the next level with the "Speed Up" feature. This tool will automatically increase playback speed each time you loop the song.

Use the Tunefox backing tracks to practice the solo you’re working on or improvising over the chord changes for Banks of the Ohio. The backing tracks are recorded samples of real instruments to help simulate practicing with an actual band. You can adjust the volume of the instrument, band, and metronome to your liking.

When you’ve finished creating your arrangement of Banks of the Ohio, export your song arrangement to PDF file. This feature is for members of Tunefox, only.

Banks of the Ohio lyrics


I asked my love to take a walk,
Just a walk a little way.
As we walked, oh me, we talked,
All about our wedding day.


Only say that you'll be mine,
In our home we'll happy be.
Down beside where the waters flow,
On the banks of the Ohio.

I took her by her lily white hand,
And dragged her down that bank of sand.
There I throwed her in to drown,
I watched her as she floated down.


Was walkin' home between twelve and one,
A thinking of what I had done.
I killed the girl I loved, you see,
Because she would not marry me.


The very next morn, about half past four,
The Sheriff's man knocked at my door,
Saying now young man, come now and go,
Down to the Banks of the Ohio.