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Shortnin' Bread banjo tabs

  • Tablatures

    Scruggs Style


    Nothin' too fancy. Just some good ole Scruggs style on this common tune. Watch out for the rhythmic syncopation in the A part.

  • Melodic Style


    Short and sweet. This arrangement doesn't have a lot going on in the left hand. This gives you the opportunity to focus on your right hand to try and achieve the same drive and intensity found in Scruggs style. Have fun with this one :)

  • Single String Style


    Besides the syncopation in the A part, this should present no undue challenge for you brave Tunefoxers. Remember to use the lick switcher and other Tunefox tools to make the learning process easier: tempo slider and the looper. Sometimes just pressing pause to work on a tough measure can really take away some of the frustration that happens when learning something new and challenging.


More about Shortnin' Bread

"Shortnin' Bread" (also spelled "Shortenin' Bread", "Short'nin' Bread", or "Sho'tnin' Bread") is an African-American plantation song that has folk roots. This root dates back to as far as the 1890s. There was a poem published by James Whitcomb Riley, and it built on older lyrics seen as at 1900. The song refers to a bread that is made of cornmeal or flour and lard shortening. Therefore, you should think about shortbread when you hear the lyrics. The song has a lyric that says Fotch dat dough fum the kitchin-shed Rake de coals out hot an' red Putt on de oven an' putt on de led Mammy's gwiner cook som short'nin' bread[2] The dialect rendered into common English would be: Fetch that dough from the kitchen shed Rake the coals out hot and red Put on the oven and put on lid Mommy's going to cook some shortning bread The verse includes: When corn plantin' done come roun' Blackbird own de whole plowed groun' Corn is de grain as I've hearn said Dat's de blackbird's short'nin' Bread E.C. Perrow published a version of the song in 1915, and it was the first folk version, which he had contacted earlier in 1912 from east Tennessee. Another version was added to the song after some years saying; Two little children, lying in bed One of them was sick and the other bumped his head Mother called for the doctor and the doctor said "feed them children on short'nin' bread"

Learn 3 different versions of Shortnin' Bread, 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 Shortnin' Bread using scales and up the next positions. Lastly, you can check out the Single-string arrangement.

In every Tunefox tablature arrangement you'll find measures where you can switch out licks to see different options to use for your improvisation. This feature is called the Lick Switcher. How do you find the Lick Switcher? Look for text that says "Original Measure" over different measures in the Shortnin' Bread tab you are learning and click on that text. It'll open up the Lick Switcher where you can select a substitute measure for that spot in the song. You'll find that there are different styles of licks like Scruggs, Melodic, Bluesy, and more. Want to see a completely different version of this song? Click on "Shuffle Licks" on the bottom of tool panel to randomly shuffle the licks in the song.

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 Shortnin' Bread 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.

Use the Tunefox backing tracks to practice the solo you’re working on or improvising over the chord changes for Shortnin' Bread. The backing tracks are recorded samples of real instruments to help simulate practicing with an actual band. You can adjust the volume of the instrument, band, and metronome to your liking.

Members can also export all of their banjo Shortnin' Bread arrangements into PDF files.