Little Maggie FREE LESSON

This is a FREE banjo lesson on the old standard “Little Maggie.” This is a great beginner bluegrass banjo tune to work on

Ralph Stanley was one of the bluegrass artists that made this song popular. The Stanley Brothers recorded this in 1946. It was later done by Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

The arrangement only uses a few rolls and the left-hand is easy enough for beginners to follow. You’ll need your forward-roll, alternating-thumb roll, and forward-reverse rolls to tackle this.

At the end of the video, I demonstrate some backup possibilities using vamping and rolls. I’ll go over this more in detail later.

The form is 8 bars and repeats over and over; there is no B section. It’s all one big A section with different lyrics each time. Here is the form with the chord changes

Little Maggie Banjo Chords

G-G-F-F

G-D-G-G

Little Maggie is in the Mixolydian Mode, so it’s NOT based out of your G major scale. That’s why it has the F natural, as opposed to a F#.

Since this song doesn’t have a C chord, you can play the chords quite efficiently without moving your hands move. It also presents a good opportunity to use Rolling Backup.

Know your bluegrass history, here’s the Ralph Stanley recording, check it out!

Some Lyrics for Little Maggie

Yonder stands little Maggie

with a dram glass in her hand

She’s drinking away her troubles

And courting another man

Last time I saw Little Maggie

She was sitting on the banks of the sea

With a 44 around her

And a banjar on her knee

 

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