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  3. Soldier's Joy

Soldier's Joy banjo tabs

  • Tablatures

    Scruggs Style


    A break based loosely on Earl Scruggs's version. There's some tricky syncopation in the B section, so practice slowly to get the timing right.

  • Single String


    This is note for note how a fiddle player may play Soldier's Joy. Find a friend that plays fiddle and teach it to them!

  • Backup


    A typical down-the-neck backup arrangement of Soldier's Joy that would sound great behind a fiddle player!


More about Soldier's Joy

Soldier joy is a fiddle tune that fits into the category for reel or country dance. It is quite popular in American fiddle canon, and it was touted as "an American Classic" which can have its origin traced back to Scottish fiddling tradition. The earliest trace of the song and its alternative title, (Love somebody), I am my Mother's Darling Boy, Payday in the Army and Rock the Cradle Lucy, is found in England. The tune has been enjoyed for over 200 years, and Robert Burns used it for the first song of his Cantata called "The Jolly Beggars." The soldier in the title stands for the spruce beer that the British army Drank, which became morphine in the 19th century. Soldier's Joy was first recorded on the 10th of July 1924 by Sid Harkreader and uncle Dave Macon. It was for the Mocan Vocalion Label and had remained very popular among most fiddle tune lovers.

Here are 3 killer arrangements of Soldier's Joy for you to share with friends at your next jam. The Scruggs style arrangement will get you started learning slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. Once you’re feeling confident with that try your luck with the Single-string style solo. Finally, the Backup arrangement will show you how to play this song with others and sound like a pro doing it.

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 Soldier's Joy 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.

Tunefox also features useful tools that will help you learn this arrangement of Soldier's Joy. If you select the "Tools" option in the bottom bar you’ll see "Hide Notes", "Memory Train", and "Speed Up" features. Hide notes will help you train your ears by hiding some of the notes on the page for you to figure out as opposed to looking at the tab. "Memory Train" will help you retain the melody of the song by gradually hiding notes so you can rely on your ears more for memorization. Finally, the "Speed Up" tool will automatically increase the playback speed each time a measure or the song loops.

Using backing tracks for practice should be an essential part of every musician’s routine. With Tunefox, you can practice Soldier's Joy 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.

Once you’ve settled on an arrangement of Soldier's Joy using the Lick Switcher, export your arrangement to a PDF file so you can print it out and take it with you. This is a member-only feature.