Cotton Eyed Joe Banjo TAB
There are a lot of different versions of the traditional old fiddle tune “Cotton Eyed Joe.” I had to decide which one I wanted to do, I chose the one I think of when I hum the tune or sing the lyrics.
This tune is certainly on the list of BLUEGRASS STANDARDS.
Cotton Eyed Joe 5-string Banjo TAB Video
The great thing about this song is it’s easy enough for most anyone to strum chords to on a guitar. So even if someone doesn’t don’t know it, they’ll be able to pick right up on it. It’s two chords (A and E major), that’s it.
My version for 5-string banjo is in the key of A without a capo. However, you do have to tune or capo the 5th string to A in order to play it. Probably not for the pure beginner, and more oriented for the intermediate banjo student.
The first part uses melodics and single-string techniques and the second part is a very straight-forward Scruggs style approach based out of the Barre chord shape.
Some History behind Cotton Eyed Joe
Historically, Cotton-eyed Joe predates the Civil War era. It rose to fame being played at square dances throughout the South. In 1994, the group Rednex had a HUGE hit with this song on Country Music radio stations, later doing a dance remix of the song.
Cotten Eyed Joe lyrics
As most folk tunes, lyrics have changed over the years. Here are the ones commonly sang today
If i hadn’t been for Cotton Eyed Joe
I’d been married a long time ago
Where did you come from, where did you go?
Where did you come from, Cotton-eyed Joe?