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Banks of the Ohio banjo tabs

  • Tablatures

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


More about Banks of the Ohio

"Banks of the Ohio" is a 19th-century murder ballad about a murder at a riverbank committed by a young man named "Willie." The first recording of this song was in 1927 by Red Patterson's Piedmont Log Rollers. The Monroe Brothers recorded this song in 1936 and it's been covered by countless others such as Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, Joan Baez, Olivia Newton-John, and more. It's become a bluegrass standard and has set the tone for many other murder ballads in the genre.

Here on Tunefox you’ll find 4 versions of Banks of the Ohio for banjo. The Scruggs style tablature will teach you how to play slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs. In the melodic arrangement of Banks of the Ohio, you’ll learn some fancy up-the-neck melodic work. The third variation of this song is a forward roll based-backup arrangement.

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.

Be sure to check out all of the great learning tools that Tunefox has to offer such as "Hide Notes", "Memory Train", and "Speed Up". These tools can be found in the "Tools" menu at the bottom right of your screen. Want to learn some of Banks of the Ohio by ear? Use "Hide Notes" to hide some or all of the notes in the tablature. Once you’re finished learning with the tab use the "Memory Train" tool to commit the song to memory. Then practice with "Speed Up" to improve your technique and speed in no time.

Each Tunefox banjo Banks of the Ohio tab contains real-sounding backing tracks. These backing tracks allow you to practice the arrangement you’re learning with an entire band and you can change the volume of the band, banjo and metronome to suit your liking.

Members can export their arrangements into PDF, allowing them to print and bring them to their next jam session.

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.