1. Tunefox.com
  2. Banjo songs
  3. Sailor's Hornpipe

Sailor's Hornpipe banjo tabs

  • Tablatures

    Scruggs Style


    A fun and slightly challenging Scruggs interpretation of this complex fiddle tune.

  • Melodic Style


    This tune is not nearly as challenging as it sounds. Move into position at the seventh fret near the end of measure two. Get the note on the D string at the 9th fret with your pinky, and 10th fret on the B with your ring finger. Use your first finger to fret the 7th fret on the low D string. Stay in this position through the fourth measure until the 4-2 slide.

  • Single String Style


    Elements of melodic and Scruggs style have been interspersed with the single string style to capture the melody accurately and with more ease.


More about Sailor's Hornpipe

"Sailor's Hornpipe" or "Sailors ' Hornpipe" is known by many alternative titles, including the "School Hornpipe", and of course, it has many different arrangements. The usual tune for this dance was first published in 1797 or 1798 by J as the "College Hornpipe." London's Dale. Before that, it was included in collections of documents–for example, the excellent syncopated edition in the journal of William Vickers published on Tyneside in 1770. At the time, I was in a folk band called Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, and that tune always made the audience jump and clap, so it ended up being the last piece of music on Tubular Bells. He told The Daily Mail: "The first really difficult thing I learned to play on this mandolin was The Sailor's Hornpipe, which I purchased for a tenner in Reading when I was 16, where I grew up." The dance became a common on-board ship because of the small space that the dance needed and no need for a partner. But the 19th century saw the introduction of the more familiar form of the "hornpipe of sailors." The dance imitates a sailor's life and aboard the ship's duties. The dance gestures are supported by nautical tasks (e.g., rowing, rowing, scaling rigging, and greeting).

Learn 3 different versions of Sailor's Hornpipe, which are all shown on this page. We recommend that you get started with the Scruggs style version, where you’ll learn basic roll pattern and left hand articulations like slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. Next, move on to the Melodic arrangement to learn how to play the melody for Sailor's Hornpipe using scales and up the next positions. Lastly, you can check out the Single-string arrangement.

Use the Tunefox Lick Switcher to explore improvisation and creativity inside the Sailor's Hornpipe tablatures. The Lick Switcher will allow you to create your own arrangement using pre-built licks that are handmade by professional musicians. To use the Lick Switcher, click on the text above specific measures that says "Original Measure" and select between a variety of new licks for that measure. You'll find that there are different style licks such as Scruggs, Melodic, Jazz, and more. At the bottom of your page you'll also find a button that says "Shuffle Licks." Click this button and watch the licks randomly shuffle throughout the song.

There are a number of fantastic learning tools in Tunefox to help you memorize, learn by ear, and improve your speed. These special features are found in the "Tools" menu at the bottom right of your screen. The "Hide Notes" tool will hide a number of the notes in the tab so you can use your ears to learn parts of the melody of the Sailor's Hornpipe. Next, try out the "Memory Train" tool, which will hide more and more notes each time the song or measure loops. This will help get you off of the tab you’ve been working with so you can play it by memory. The "Speed Up" feature gradually speeds up the song so you can hone your technique and challenge yourself to go faster.

Each arrangement of Sailor's Hornpipe 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.

When you’ve finished creating your arrangement of Sailor's Hornpipe, export your song arrangement to PDF file. This feature is for members of Tunefox, only.