bluegrass banjo for beginners: learn to play the song Cripple Creek

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     Now let's learn how to play the song Cripple Creek,  your first song on the banjo. We will do this by reading tablature. "Tab" is not like standard music notation. It looks like notation, but rather it is a simple set of instructions that tells you directly where and when to put your right and left hand fingers on the banjo. If you understand how to read tablature already, go ahead and start the song. If you want an explanation of how to use and read tablature, click here for an explanation of tablature

     (If you would like to download  a tabledit file of the tablature of Cripple Creek, you need to download the free, and very useful tabledit   reader. This is a program that lets you view tablature for fretted instruments)

     You will however, be able to see the tab down below without the tabledit software...and you can download a PDF file of it:


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TABLEDIT FILE (TABLATURE) OF THE SONG CRIPPLE CREEK- (you will need free tabledit software to read it)




Download the PDF file of Cripple Creek


LISTEN to Cripple Creek: Now here are two Mp3s of Cripple Creek to listen to, one played by me slow, and one played by me fast. The banjo is in one channel and the band is in the  other, so if you want, you can turn down the banjo channel and play along with the band. 

1.     Download  an Mp3 of me playing Cripple Creek  fast, with backup band.   

2.     Download an Mp3 of me playing Cripple Creek  slow, with backup band   


Let's get on with learning to play "Cripple Creek":

The song is played by playing the following  five measures, (the first part , or the "A" part) and then repeating them, then going on to the second box below, (which is the second half of the song, or the "B" part) and then playing those measures twice. The whole song is shown in its entirety at the end of this page.... 

First part of the song(usually called the "A" part):


Here is a photo of the left hand finger position for the first four notes in the third measure above. Notice that it is the first and third fingers that are employed, and the second finger is not fretting the string for this particular section: 


The following are the second half (the second 4 measures, usually called the "B" part) of "Cripple Creek". Play them twice in a row(repeat them.)

How to do the 2 to 3 slide on the third string(youtube)

Below is Cripple Creek in it's entirety: If you don't want to download the tab above, you can just play the song from the following tab, all the way through from beginning to end.


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