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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 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.

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.