I've Been Working on the Railroad
Guitar Tabs and Chords

I've Been Working on the Railroad - guitar tabs and chords in two different keys.

Though this is a traditional and old song, don't assume your students have heard this song before.

But being easy to learn, except for one surprising chord, they will be singing it in no time!

Here it is in the key of G, the version that has a tricky new chord (B).

Scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.

I've Been Working on the Railroad guitar tabs

You see that B major chord at the end of line three?  It might stop your students right in their tracks.

The A7 chord might be a new one as well, but that one is EASY.

So, to approach the new B major chord:

A major chord on guitar
  • I have my students make an "A" chord, then 
  • swap out their fingering to leave index finger free.  Then, 
  • it's barre chord time!

  • We slide the chord "up" one fret (meaning, closer to the sound hole, further from the tuning pegs)
  • Lay the index finger down across the top fret: now we have the chord of Bb. (We could call it A# as well; but tradition and a couple of other reasons dictate that Bb is the best name.)
How to make a B major chord on the guitar
  • Slide up one more fret.  Now the index finger should be laying across the second fret. 

If the rest of the fingers have behaved and stayed in place, then we have achieved a B chord!



But your young students won't be happy.  Unless you have been working with them on barre chords, this may be a huge stumbling block instead of a challenge!

Therefore, I ask them, 

"So do you want to play the barre chord, or just the 4-string chord for now?" 

Laaaaa!  The clouds part, and light is seen.  Turns out that the 4-string chord is perfectly acceptable to them.  

Still not VERY easy, still not very PRETTY... but it's a start.

Now here's page two; it uses just the three main chords. 

But because it only uses the I, the IV, and the V chords, this seems like an opportunity for a new challenge. 

Therefore, I ask the kids to tell me WHAT those 3 main chords will be, if we are in the key of G.  

Dinah won't you blow your horn sheet music

Holding up the five fingers of one hand, we count up, "G, A, B, C, D..."  If G is "1", then C and D are the 4 chord and the 5 chord. 

Our trial run through page two is GUESSING which chords are played where, as we sing it through without the sheet music.  They usually do pretty well!

I like for my guitarists, even the young ones, to have an idea of how chords are built.  

 Therefore, we frequently find ourselves over at the piano keyboard or using a piano keyboard paper chart, especially when working on notereading or building chords.

The layout of the piano keys is the "Rosetta Stone" for musicians.

The key of C is the other option for this guitar song:

The Railroad song, in the key of C


The only problem is... yes, that darned F chord.  It's so hard to make it sound good!  But PRACTICE makes, well, PALATABLE.  Perfection will come!

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah sheet music

When I was a girl, we used to pile into the back of my grandparents' milk delivery truck and head "out the road" for a fun day at a local swim hole.

Together with lots of root beer, chips, hot dogs, floatable inner tubes and COUSINS, we'd have a blast. 

Half the fun was singing silly songs on the thirty-minute drive out there.  We'd sing "My gal's a corker; she's a New Yorker...", "Found a Peanut," and a few other favorites.

I've Been Working on the Railroad was the one I knew best, and remembered all the words to!




Here are the links to the free sheet music with guitar tabs:


Download I've Been Working on the Railroad guitar tabs in the key of G


Download Railroad song with guitar tabs in the key of C







The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

The Adventures of Tonsta

A perfect read aloud storybook for Christmas for little boys or girls. 

The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.  

With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.

Lots of trolls in this book.

Available at Amazon!





Recent Articles

  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing Lyrics & Sheet Music

    Hark the Herald Angels Sing - an easy Middle C piano arrangement for young students still learning to read notes, and a guitar tab arrangement too!

    Read More

  2. Carol of the Bells Guitar Tab

    Carol of the Bells guitar tab for your student who is beginning to stretch their abilities with classical or fingerstyle guitar playing. These tabs are LEGIBLE!

    Read More

  3. Oh Holy Night Sheet Music for Elementary Piano

    Oh Holy Night sheet music for elementary piano - NOW with an EASIER secondo part that your intermediate students can play! The easy solo shares the melody between the two hands.

    Read More

  4. Christmas Song Lyrics and Free Piano Sheet Music for Holly and Ivy

    Christmas Song Lyrics & sheet music of "The Holly and the Ivy" for your intermediate & now BEGINNING piano players: 3 energetic arrangements with flowing left hand chords and one SIMPLE Middle C arran…

    Read More

  5. Gabriel's Message: The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came

    Gabriel's Message: "The Angel Gabriel from heaven came" is a beautiful Christmas song that is almost unknown. It makes a lovely vocal duet. - now updated and SIMPLIFIED.

    Read More

  6. Teaching Young Singers Who Have No Music Background

    Teaching young singers: what do you do with a non-musician who can't even read their own language, much less music notes? Here is some QUICK ADVICE!

    Read More

  7. Coventry Carol, Also Known as Lully Lullay or Lully Lulla

    Coventry Carol, a beautiful and somber English Christmas Carol. With EASY piano duet parts for elementary and early intermediate students.

    Read More

  8. All You That In This House Christmas Sheet Music from England

    "All You That in This House" Christmas sheet music is a quick-to-learn song I'll bet you've not heard before! Now with a stirring piano arrangement. This is a beautiful minor melody with 10 verses of…

    Read More











Sign up for "Take Note!" to see what's new every month.





Comments

Have your say... Leave me a comment in the box below.