Arkansas Traveler guitar song chords and easy guitar tabs, FREE!
This is a great flat-picking beginner guitar song from the American South. Many of your students may already be familiar with this tune but by another name, with the lyrics, "I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee -- Won't my mommy be so proud of me?"
Arkansas Traveler (pronounced "ahr-kuhn-saw") SOUNDS like a traditional folk song, but actually it was written in the 1800s by a fellow named Colonel Sanford C. "Sandy" Faulkner, according to Wikipedia.
A committee in the state of Arkansas wrote new lyrics for this song in 1947 in preparation for making the song the state song -- but I have put the traditional song lyrics in the sheet music.
Here is the key of C version:
Please scroll down the page for the links to the printable PDFs.
Here is a terrific rendition of the beginner guitar song, played on violin. This fiddler is a real pleasure to listen to. She is playing in the key of D, using double stops (more than one string at a time), a much fancier version than what I have here:
Here is what the key of G looks like, with a little bit different ending than the C and D versions.
I mentioned that the music is a bit different in the key of G.
That's because I didn't want to take the guitar tabs down to F#, fret 4, in the fast passage that comes at the end of each section. That's fine; every version you hear will be a little different from all the others!
In one of the guitar books I sometimes require my guitar students to purchase, The Hal Leonard Bluegrass Method, there are several flatpicking duets. Arkansas Traveler is one of them, in the key of C.
It is a lot of fun, and my beginner guitar students really like it. Mostly the parts move in parallel thirds, making nice harmony even if no one provides a chord background.
Here is the song on mandolin, with a lesson! I want to borrow a mandolin and try it:
The links for the guitar & fiddle PDFs, with guitar tabs:
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.