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Wild Bill Jones banjo tabs

  • Tablatures

    Scruggs Style


    This is a Mike Harman transcription. He played with Alison Krauss in her early years and played banjo on this track from her Two Highways album. This arrangement of Wild Bill Jones is mostly Scruggs, but there is one melodic lick in measure 6. At measure 9 he's already played through the tune, and most people end there, but notice how he hammers on that 7th note right up until the following measure. That's where the vocals start, that rhythmic and melodic emphasis helps drive the song and energy, and makes for a smooth and exciting transition from banjo back to vocals.

  • Scruggs Style-2


    Sooner or later, someone is gonna tell you, "That ain't the way Earl played it." OR "That ain't the way Ralph played it" Learn this and tell them to shut-up! Actually...no...don't do that. Learn this and compare it with Mike Harman's arrangement of Wild Bill Jones. See how they use different roll patterns, and note choice to get an insight to their technique and approach. For instance: checkout Ralph's use of the continuous forward roll, and foggy mountain roll. How does that differ from Mike's approach?

  • Single String Style


    If you're gonna play single string, don't hold back. Don't box yourself into thinking you have to play single string the way Earl did. Because he didn't. Take inspirations from other instruments. Check out this Charles Sawtelle arrangement of Wild Bill Jones adapted for single string. Charles was the guitarist for the renowned band, Hot Rize. Some parts are simple. This is a good thing because the melody is stated strongly. Then we've got a couple hot licks, cross-picking, and the lick switcher is loaded and ready to go. What started as a single string arrangement could turn into a stylistic Frankenstein monster! Don't box yourself in.


More about Wild Bill Jones

"Wild Bill Jones” is an exceptionally mainstream Ballard that is otherwise known as a banjo piece. It was first recorded by the fiddler, Eva Davis, in 1924, with banjo player Samantha Bumgarner. It was then recorded by Burnett and Rutherford, Dock Boggs, and also by Frank Profit, country legends Doc Watson, and Ralph Stanley with the Stanley Brothers. In this tune, the lyrics recount the narrative of a love triangle among Bill Jones, the beautiful Posey, and the man who cherishes Posey and shoots Jones, ultimately. The melody, for the most part, concerns this secretive man who murders Wild Bill and the results of his act. The Quiet Americans who are a bunch of musicians that call their music old-time folk music for modern times did a unique cover of this tune. They tell the story of Wild Bill Jones through a song cycle of 15 original and traditional tunes. Some of the tunes deployed construct this song includes; “Give the Fiddler a Dram”, John Brown’s “March,” some holiness music “Keys to the Kingdom” and “What are They Doing in Heaven Today,” a classic country duet “Free Little Bird” and an instrumental by John Fahey. This sure is a recipe for a masterpiece.

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 Wild Bill Jones 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 Wild Bill Jones. 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.

Each arrangement of Wild Bill Jones 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 Wild Bill Jones, export your song arrangement to PDF file. This feature is for members of Tunefox, only.