Cotton Eyed Joe Banjo TAB

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.

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.

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?