1. Tunefox.com
  2. Banjo songs
  3. Cluck Old Hen

Cluck Old Hen banjo tabs

  • Tablatures

    Scruggs Style


    Traditionally known as an old-time tune, Cluck Old Hen is a fun bluesy song that sounds great with just banjo and fiddle!

  • Melodic Style


    This arrangement demonstrates how to play Cluck Old Hen using more open strings than in the Scruggs arrangement.

  • Backup


    A bluesy backup arrangement of Cluck Old Hen that will teach you how to change chords with rolls in a fluid way, especially in the B section.


More about Cluck Old Hen

This is a popular Appalachian fiddle and banjo tune in the Mixolydian or Dorian mode (as in the score below which is in A Dorian). In short, it is regarded as an Appalachian American fiddle tune. The song comes in two versions; the instrumental or lyrical version. Depending on the artist, it can be played either way. As is the case with other ancient fiddlers tune, the earliest transcribed version of this tune emerged in 1886. This tune was included in the Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise, which was compiled by Thomas W. Talley and published in 1922. In 1923, John Carson did a recording of the tune. As a comical old tune, it evokes funny images in the mind which inspire laughter. For example, it chronicles the experience of the persona who is an older woman in the pursuit of an aging hen. The aging hen in question has put a stop to egg-laying. The older woman switches between sweet-talking the hen to warning it. In most bluegrass and old-time circles, the “Cluck Old Hen” is played as a lively instrumental as opposed to the lyrical version. This is because it started as a fiddle instrumental tune whose lyrics were added later on.

On Tunefox you’ll find 3 different tabs for Cluck Old Hen. 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 Cluck Old Hen 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 Cluck Old Hen 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 Cluck Old Hen 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 arrangement of Cluck Old Hen for banjo features real-sounding backing tracks. Use these backing tracks to polish up the solo you’re working on. You can mix the banjo, band, and metronome up or down so that you have several options for your practice.

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