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John Henry banjo tabs & chords

  • Scruggs Style


    This is the Earl Scruggs arrangement off of "Foggy Mountain Banjo" in D tuning. Check out the original recording, as it's a must-listen for all bluegrass banjo players.

    • Key D
    • 120 bpm
    • Tuning f#DF#AD
    Play Scruggs Style
  • Bluesy Style


    This version of John Henry features some tasteful bluesy playing mixed in with classic Earl Scruggs licks. Bluesy licks lay out really well in D tuning!

    • Key D
    • 120 bpm
    • Tuning f#DF#AD
    Play Bluesy Style
  • Backup


    This arrangement of John Henry demonstrates classic down-the-neck Scruggs playing. Imagine you're backing up a vocalist or fiddle player.

    • Key D
    • 120 bpm
    • Tuning f#DF#AD
    Play Backup

More about John Henry Banjo song

Banjo John Henry tab

Here on Tunefox you’ll find 3 versions of John Henry for banjo. The Scruggs style tablature will teach you how to play slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs. In the melodic arrangement of John Henry, 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 John Henry 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 John Henry 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.

Using backing tracks for practice should be an essential part of every musician’s routine. With Tunefox, you can practice John Henry as fast or as slow as you want and mix the volume of the tracks with the instrument to your liking. There’s also a metronome so you can always feel the pulse of the song with or without the band track playing along.

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

John Henry lyrics


John Henry was a little bitty boy,
No bigger than the palm of your hand.
And his Papa cried out with a lonesome farewell,
Son gonna be a steel driving man.
Son gonna be a steel driving man.

John Henry went upon the mountain,
Looked down on the other side.
Oh the mountain was so tall, John Henry watched it fall.
Laid down his hammer and he cried.
Lord, Lord, laid down his hammer and cried.

John Henry had a pretty little wife,
Her name was Liza Jane.
John Henry took sick, had to go to bed,
John draw steel like a man.

John Henry said to his Captain,
I want to go to bed.
Fix me a pallet, I wanna lay down,
But let it roll in my head,
Lord, Lord, let it roll in my head.