Duelling Banjos (Tab)

Duelling Banjos (Tab)

I’ve had this one knocking around, half finished for years. The version I’ve ended up with diverges from the original quite significantly. As well as being shorter, the fast section is completely different in terms of notes.

The most important thing is to vary the tone between the guitar and the banjo – otherwise it’s not a duel you’ll just playing the same thing twice. There are a bunch of ways you can separate the two. For the city guitar I’ve played open strings wherever possible and picked and strummed mostly with my thumb around the start of the fretboard. For the rusty, backwoods banjo I’ve used more fretted notes and picked/strummed with my finger near the bridge.

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  1. shameless October 28th, 2010 6:43 pm

    About time thanking you

  2. JCMcGee October 28th, 2010 7:46 pm

    I hate you.

    That’s another weekend ruined…unable to leave the house ’till I can play that!!!

    I still can’t play the James Bond one all the way through…can anyone else?

  3. JCMcGee October 28th, 2010 7:47 pm

    …what I ment to say was: That’s brilliant!
    I’ve heard 100’s of ukulele attempts at this and none of them come close.


  4. JCMcGee October 28th, 2010 8:07 pm

    Is it drop G tuning?
    I should just have a go at the tab and find out…I’m just asking ’cause my Koaloha came with a drop G…did this one?

  5. Jeff October 28th, 2010 8:48 pm

    I’ve been trying to pluck this out for years. Thank you!

  6. andy October 28th, 2010 9:06 pm

    Another weekend ruined ???? WEEKEND ? That’s the next 12 months bolloxed.

  7. Woodshed October 28th, 2010 9:49 pm

    shameless: I’m having trouble fathoming your intention without punctuation.

    Jimmy: Thanks for the kind words. It’s just standard gCEA.

    Jeff: You’re welcome.

    andy: See you in 2011.

  8. Tony October 29th, 2010 4:02 am

    ah this is so amazing! im working on this so much this weekend

  9. krabbers October 29th, 2010 8:14 am

    superb stuff.

    i have been doing this all week after seing yours.
    except my picking is more random

  10. Sunny Jim October 29th, 2010 9:22 am

    Really like the contrast in tone between the two parts. Thanks, that’s given me plenty to think about.

  11. SamD October 29th, 2010 10:45 am

    Nice work Woodshed! Absolutely brilliant. One day…..

  12. Foinnse October 29th, 2010 11:56 am

    Wow, that was great. I’m amazed at the sound you’re geting out of that sceptre! Nice work! Way beyond my capabilities at the moment fear but maybe another time…
    Cheers, -F

  13. Rob NY October 29th, 2010 12:05 pm

    Way above my meager abilities. I will give it a try.

  14. Art Crocker October 29th, 2010 2:27 pm

    Double Darn you Al,
    Great work on the dueling banjo performance, always a favorite, and I could play it pretty well when I played the 5-string banjo.

    The Darn is that you keep using that great looking/sounding uke of yours, and I am wanting one.

  15. Lucille October 29th, 2010 2:39 pm

    I bet this would sound good with a soprano and a tenor uke.
    I’ll have to work on this one.
    Thanks. Lucille

  16. Tuscadero October 29th, 2010 3:24 pm

    I will probably never be good enough to play this, but I have to let you know that the video put a shit-eating grin on my face. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Thank you!

  17. shameless October 30th, 2010 12:35 pm

    My intention? <—- Note, punctuation!

  18. Woodshed October 30th, 2010 2:25 pm

    Tony: Good luck with it.

    krabbers: Be as random as you like. There’s plenty of room in this tune for doing whatever you like.

    Rob and Foinnse: Do give it a go. And feel free to make variations on the tricky bits.

    Art: I love the Sceptre so much. It’s so responsive.

    Lucille: Excellent suggestion.

    Tuscadero: You’re very welcome.

    shameless: Now I understand you.

  19. Tamster October 30th, 2010 8:14 pm

    Sounds great. I will have to try this out. The fretboard of your sceptre looks wide, is it?

  20. Emily October 31st, 2010 6:47 pm

    This is great, thanks! I often play a variation of this with my banjo-playing friend.

  21. Woodshed November 2nd, 2010 4:28 pm

    Tamster: Yes, it is wider than previous ukes. I think that’s a common thing for KoAlohas.

    Emily: That’s another thing I demand a video of.

  22. Shoshanna November 4th, 2010 6:38 am

    This is radical. Maybe I’ll be able to play it forty years from now!

  23. Jimmy November 7th, 2010 12:54 am

    love the tab woodshed

  24. Woodshed November 7th, 2010 1:40 pm

    Shshanna: Good luck surviving long enough to play it.

    Jimmy: Thanks very much.

  25. John January 6th, 2011 3:53 am

    Been practicing all Christmas and finally put a vid up!

    Annoyingly I’ve played each part of the tune better, but that seems to be the best single-take performance I could do.

    And now it’s 4am. No wonder my housemates don’t speak to me…

    Thanks again for all the tabs, I can’t tell you how much fun they are.

  26. Oliver January 29th, 2011 9:29 pm


  27. Woodshed January 30th, 2011 3:12 pm

    John: Nice work. That always seems to be the way with takes for me too.

    Oliver: Thanks.

  28. gibbo February 5th, 2011 12:34 pm

    Thanks, by far the best version, scrapped mine and applied your tabs on a banjo ukulele, fantastic result. Able to blend and bend due to the higher volume, not to your standard but give it a couple of weeks and I may post a vid,
    Thanks again, Hats off to you
    Working on @When you where sweet sixteen” any help on tabs (especially the tennor banjo part) would bw welcome

  29. Woodshed February 5th, 2011 2:50 pm

    gibbo: Thanks. I’m looking forward to that video.

  30. jan April 14th, 2011 2:45 pm

    oh thank you very much ‘Woodshed’. I have downloaded the tab but I need music, as the tab doesn’t tell me much.

    Is there a way to write your strumming down? I am sorry that I am so ignorant but I am keen to learn how to do this piece – no, VERY KEEN.

    Any help gratefully received.
    thank you,

  31. kompressaur July 12th, 2011 9:35 am

    Brilliant stuff as ever Woodshed. I think you play better with your hair shaved off ;) Do you have any tips on playing the ‘fast bit’ Woodshed? Ive been following the tab but i really can’t get that clicking sound and the wee slide bits dont seem to be falling into place for me at all.

    I dont know if i can offer you some Young Parisians by Adam and the ants in return

  32. kompressaur July 12th, 2011 10:07 am

    sorry that looks like spam from me Woodshed. Feel free to remove it. Suppose i was just looking for a bit of help there too :\

  33. Woodshed July 14th, 2011 7:13 am

    kompressaur: Don’t worry about it – it’s not spam. It’s just that whenever someone posts a comment for the first time it gets held back for checking before it’s published.

  34. HWoo July 15th, 2011 1:50 am

    F**k me u not got any tabs which are even slightly challenging? Sorry but iv nailed every tab in like 5mins.

  35. Foinnse July 15th, 2011 11:46 am

    Good for you Hwoo. Its great you are so competent on the Ukulele, I’m delighted for you. However if the tabs on this site are below your skill level perhaps you should go ahead and find yourself something more challenging to work on. There are a multitude of internet sites on the net these days with lots of great tabs.Perhaps you could post some videos of you shredding up that little uke of yours, something for us mere mortals to live up to?

    Cheers -F

  36. Woodshed July 16th, 2011 2:16 am

    HWoo: Perhaps use some of that time you’ve saved to learn to spell.

    Foinnse: No one who has made a comment like that ever had a link to their playing.

  37. Foinnse July 16th, 2011 11:30 am

    Yes, funny that… ;)

  38. DPunch August 11th, 2011 3:08 pm

    I’ve never liked Dueling Banjos… until now. Thanks!

    I love Uke Hunt.

  39. Woodshed August 12th, 2011 7:19 am

    DPunch: Thanks! Glad I could turn you on to it. I love it!

  40. knight who say Ni October 11th, 2011 6:34 pm

    I discovered this web site when I wanted to learn
    “Star wars cantina band” and now, I discover this beautiful song…
    1:08 to 1:10 is impossible ! I can’t understand your right hand’s rythm…

    Your job is amazing !

    (sry for my bad english i’m french)

  41. kaizersoza October 27th, 2011 11:48 pm

    yo woodshed, thats the best version of duelling banjo’s i have heard on the uke, gonna practise this till my fingers bleed, thanx for taking the time to create this excellent site i’ve learned a lot from here and your dummies book, keep up the good work

  42. Woodshed October 28th, 2011 3:35 pm

    kaizersoza: Thanks very much! Very glad you find the book helpful.

  43. Hans December 21st, 2011 2:15 pm

    Holy crap, you rock (as the stone said)! Need to get practicing!

  44. Woodshed December 21st, 2011 4:13 pm

    Hans: Thanks very much!

  45. carreg wastad December 29th, 2011 2:02 pm

    bastard – but you’re good. Did you sell your soul to the devil?

  46. Woodshed December 30th, 2011 2:31 pm

    carreg: Not yet. I’m holding out for a better offer.

  47. Trace March 11th, 2012 12:34 am

    Awesome job. Ive only been playing for a few weeks, and hopefully when i am like 25 ill be able to play it. Thx so much for all of the tabbs and songs u put up. All of them r a great help

  48. Woodshed March 12th, 2012 6:24 am

    Trace: Thanks very much! Glad you’re finding them useful.

  49. john hubbard March 12th, 2012 8:30 pm

    John: The tab on this like your playing is brilliant. I hardly dare ask if the tab is complete. Could it be that some of the end banjo part is missing. If Im wrong then I do apologise.

  50. Woodshed March 15th, 2012 12:34 pm

    John: It’s not a faithful reproduction of the banjo playing (which I think would be impossible). It’s more just capturing the mood.

  51. john hubbard March 15th, 2012 6:25 pm

    Im sorry if I have confused the issue. I certainly was not suggesting your tab was not accurate to the original recording. Instead I was suggesting that the tab missed out some of your version. I have every respect for what you have done. Please understand that. I certainly will never reach your standard. John

  52. Woodshed March 15th, 2012 10:02 pm

    John: I think it should all be in the tab.

  53. Nick Knight March 30th, 2012 5:55 pm

    Hi, I have been trying to play dueling banjos when I stumbled on your version – which is great – love it. Especially the the tricky bit in the middle.

    I still am having difficulty playing it (another few late nights!) – but am looking for dual version – 2 players plus a bit longer – any tips? Also – what is that style of playing – and any intros on learning more about it?



  54. Kermit May 23rd, 2012 3:38 pm

    One day… One day I’ll be able to play this. I look forward to that day.

  55. kermit March 11th, 2013 4:55 pm

    Finally! After many months practice I can finally play it. Still struggle a bit moving to and from the bridge and I’m not quite as fast as you, but a few more weeks should sort that out. Massive thanks for this tab and your book and site Al. Keep up the good work :)

  56. Woodshed March 12th, 2013 6:50 am

    kermit: Congratulations! And thanks!

  57. Markstrings April 9th, 2013 1:04 pm

    Well I have to say I was blown away by that video. If I get anyway near that standard, I’d be a happy man!!

  58. Woodshed April 10th, 2013 12:42 pm

    Markstrings: Thanks very much! Happy practicing!

  59. Emily April 20th, 2013 3:36 pm

    Amazing arrangement!
    I recently got a banjo uke, and me and a friend of mine are going to try to learn it as a banjo uke/uke duet (kind of like miniature guitar/banjo)
    Your video is brilliant too! not sure we’ll get it to that standard, even with two of us!

  60. Woodshed April 21st, 2013 4:30 pm

    Emily: Thanks very much! Good luck with the duet version.

  61. Carl July 15th, 2013 7:37 pm

    Measure 19 has been very difficult for me to play…I know it has been a while since this tab was posted, but is there any way a tutorial video could be uploaded for less experienced Uke players like myself? It would mean the world to me :D

  62. Woodshed July 16th, 2013 9:36 am

    Carl: Sorry, I don’t do video tutorials.

  63. Carl July 17th, 2013 12:32 am

    I understand, thank you for the amazing tab anyways! You have single handedly inspired me to play ukulele for the past few months, and I can’t thank you enough.


  64. Karla April 7th, 2014 3:08 am

    Hi Woodshed, been embarking upon this one for a while, gets quite tricky at 19.

    Just wondering what the notes in brackets mean – couldn’t find a reference to that in your notes.

    And also the slides? In 21, am i right in assuming that it is a slide? So how does one slide from a note to the same note again?

    Thanks in advance. Would be interested to know how many of the previous commenters stuck with this one until the end!

  65. Woodshed April 7th, 2014 7:24 am

    Karla: The brackets are tied notes. So you keep holding that second fret before you pull off to the open string.

    With the slides you’re sliding into the third fret from below. Ideally you start sliding very shortly before you pick the notes. So the slide doesn’t have a definite start point.

    Good luck with it!

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