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Banjo tablatures for Bill Cheatum


Recomended level: Beginner

Tags: #up-tempo, #fiddle tune, #old time

Bill Cheatum is known under many names, some include "Cheatum," "Cheat 'Em," "Old Bill Cheatum." This fiddle tune is common throughout the southern part of the country, which is where it found its origin. The name “Old Bill Cheatum”, was first heard in the Ozarks mountains and was compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph. It was published in 1954 by Randolph. The earliest recording of the tune was done by Texas fiddler Eck Robertson in 1922 and it was part of his “Brilliancy Medley”. Other versions includes “Cheat Em” by the Allen brothers and "Fiddlin' Arthur Smith" from Tennessee did his own rendition in 1940. “Bill Cheatum” has no doubt experienced a long bout of popularity and bluegrass and old-time music and is a staple at fiddler's conventions and jam sessions.

  • Banjo Bill Cheatum Scruggs Style

    Scruggs Style

    The chords fly by in the B section, and the melody is directly based on different inversions of these chords. Take it slow to get the Bill Cheatum melody clean.

    Banjo Bill Cheatum Scruggs Style
  • Banjo Bill Cheatum Melodic Style

    Melodic Style

    This is a classic fiddle tune with lots of great options for improvisation in the A section. Check out the variations!

    Banjo Bill Cheatum Melodic Style
  • Banjo Bill Cheatum Backup


    A good guideline for Bill Cheatum to keep in mind when playing backup is to roll when a fiddle player is soloing and vamp when a guitar or mandolinist is soloing.

    Banjo Bill Cheatum Backup