Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John Hardy

By special request from a reader of this blog:  John Hardy is one of those tunes that banjo players seem fond of, and they often like to play it quite fast.  I've recorded this tune from 150 bpm up to 270 bpm to try to accommodate.  I may add more/faster later.

There are lyrics, but they are unremarkable.  Their origins are shrouded in apathy.  It's more fun to play than it is to sing.

John Hardy 150 bpm
John Hardy 160 bpm
John Hardy 170 bpm
John Hardy 180 bpm
John Hardy 190 bpm
John Hardy 200 bpm
John Hardy 210 bpm
John Hardy 220 bpm
John Hardy 230 bpm
John Hardy 240 bpm
John Hardy 250 bpm
John Hardy 260 bpm
John Hardy 270 bpm
And a zip file of all tempos (45.9 MB)

The Chords
This song is recorded and jammed in many keys, since the key is changed to suit the singer.  I chose the key of A, since it is a pretty standard bluegrass key, and easily approachable for the non-capoing instruments such as mandolin and fiddle.

| D | A | D | A | D | A | E | E | E | A |

This is typically repeated four times for each break or verse.

With a capo on the 2nd fret:
| C | G | C | G | C | G | D | D | D | G |

Youtube videos:
Rice, Grisman, Krauss, Crowe, Schatz

Alan Tolbert, Stephen Powell, and Mike Hipp


  1. nice. thank you! keep it up, it is much appreciated.

    this is a great jam tune. i have a student who is learning it and your various tempos make it a great learning tool.

    how about something in 3/4 time? like, i dont know say...all the good times are past and gone?


    do you mind if i use these to record myself playing with and post at the banjo hangout?
    i would give you credit of course.

  2. Mike,

    3/4 time signature--good idea.

    Absolutely, record and post at will.



    Great tune!


    /Niklas "Sweden"

  4. Add me to the list of those who have been using these backup tracks and I really love tham. Thanks very much for all your hard work!!

    Max in Arizona

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hi-
    I just found your website because it was linked to Tony Trischka's School of Banjo by another subscriber. Your backing tracks are going to be hugely helpful for my banjo playing and I'm betting others too. Thanks so much for doing this!

  7. Happy to find ,"John Hardy" Sad to find nothing would download or play!

    1. A half-year later here, but you can right-click and "save link as..."
      They're mp3 files, as standard as bottled water.

  8. Re: the lyrics ".....are unremarkable. Their origins are shrouded in apathy". I was sipping my coffee when I read that....(sputter)... very funny way to put it :)
    Thank you for the beacons you've lit :) Helping the unpredictable "gotcha!" chords much easier to see coming when learning the more traditional progressions.... big help!