What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor Chords & Guitar Tabs

What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor chords & guitar tabs!

GUESS WHAT - This is an irresistible tune and set of chords!  Bet you and your students can't play it just ONE TIME.

Included are staffs with standard notation for fiddle players too.

Two arrangements:

  • A short solo 
  • and a fancy flat-picking duet!
What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor chords & guitar tabs, a short one-page arrangement in Em.

This melody isn't so hard to flat-pick. 

Close-up look at the ending of What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor, for guitar, with chords and tablature

Except for the "4" finger!  Using this fourth finger will help students get it out of the "basement".

That's what I call it when they curl that left hand "pinky" finger underneath the guitar neck, down toward the palm.

And now here is the duet!  I'm really pretty excited about this three-page piece of music, and I'm pretty sure my guitar students will be performing it at our next recital.

Guitar duet for flat-picking: What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor, page 1

Just have a look at the second part - it's really quite easy.  In fact, it is mostly just open strings!  Not many fingering changes.

Page 2 of a flatpicking guitar duet, Drunken Sailor

Do your students have trouble (as mine frequently do) deciphering the rhythm of the tablature?  Here's what we do... a bit of discussion of quarter and eighth notes, and some drawing on the pages:

How to decipher the rhythm of tablature notes for guitar flat-picking - draw and add lines on the guitar tabs

I hope that makes sense.  You can see, as my students do, that the single lines indicate a quarter note, which is plucked DOWN.

The joined double lines indicate the faster eighth notes, which are picked "DOWN-UP". 

What is the standard notation for?  Well, most musicians read it!  And if you can read it, you don't NEED the guitar tabs!

A couple of fiddlers may wish to try this out.

Here is page three, my favorite:

Page 3 of flat-picking duet What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor for guitar

The energy picks up a bit as the melody drops down to part 2, and part 1 changes up the rhythm.

Oh, the graphic of page 3 is missing the last 2 chords... a D chord on measure 27, followed by an Em chord on measure 28. 

Don't worry; the PDF download includes the chords.

Here is a close-up look at page one:

A close-up look at page one of the flat-picking duet

And the last page, where the rhythm gets going a bit faster.  Still easy!


You might disagree with some of my harmony choices.  I'm not sure about them myself!  

It is quite possible that I will decide upon some improvements over the course of the next couple of months as my guitar students nail down this duet. If so, I'll make the changes to the sheet music & upload the newer versions.





The link for the guitar solo:


Download What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor chords & tabs for solo guitar



The guitar duet link:


Download easy flat-picking duet for guitar, Drunken Sailor








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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.