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Traditional acoustic stringband music

Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Bass



  Battle-tested banjo tunes

The Toe Dusters have played for Contra and Square dances for many years. To meet the needs of the dances, Our tunes needed to span a wide variety of traditional music styles including Southern, New England, Canadian and Celtic. I am sharing my banjo tablature which includes a reference to a matching fiddle version. The tab is in a .jpg format.

Most of the tunes have been tweaked so they can be played at a fast tempo. The tab writing style is pretty conventional except you will see where I write an X with a 5th string ring. That signifies a movement of the hand to keep the beat but not sounding a note - you could call it a rest. I've never seen it before, but it worked for me. I made a special note and illustration in the A minor tune "Cattle in the Cane" if my description is not clear.

We usually played the tunes in sets of three. I mention this as we often played the tunes in BB/AA order if that helped the music flow - so be for-warned as I may have not marked them all appropriately.

I'm including audio MP3 files as I get around to it. Their purpose is to give you an idea of how the tune sounds - so don't expect a concert as some I have not played in awhile.

I marked my favorites with an exclamation mark (!). The tunes marked with an asterisk (*) are tunes I liked but never really could play very well. You can use these as a starting place.

You are welcome to use and share the tablature I've posted below. Please keep my credit for arranging the music along with the matching fiddle version.

Click here to download .zip file which includes all the tablature.


A tunes: gDGBD (capo 2)


A minor tunes gDGCD (capo 2)


C Tunes: gCGCD or gCGCE (open c)


D Tunes: gCGCD (capo 2)


G tunes: gDGBD


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