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How to Play Cripple Creek

Getting Started

Cripple Creek is one of the first songs most bluegrass banjo students learn and the reason is that other than one measure, it consists of the slurs that you learned in Lesson #5.

The first measure of this song is what we'll be taking a look at in this lesson. It starts out with four 8th notes and then moves right into a C chord over a forward roll. It's very easy if you have your chord switching down but what you should focus on is the rhythm of the song. Watch the lesson below or listen to the tab a few times to get that rhythm in your head. You can even clap or pat along with the music to get a feel for it before putting it on your instrument.

A Section: The First Measure

Here you start out with four 8th notes and then you'll put your C chord on for a forward roll. Then you play first string, pinch (on strings 1 and 5). Give it a listen a few times around to get that melody and rhythm in your head, then apply it to your instrument.

Check out the Scruggs Style, Melodic Style, and Backup Cripple Creek tablatures.