John Henry banjo tabs & chords

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  • Scruggs Style

    Difficulty

    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

    Difficulty

    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

    Difficulty

    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

John Henry lyrics

Traditional

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.