Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jerusalem Ridge

Lots of people consider this tune to be Bill Monroe's magnum opus.  It's a difficult one, especially because it has several crooked parts in it.  It helps to listen to it a while before you try to play it.  The definitive version is probably on the album "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe" (with a nice, more banjo-centric, arrangement on the tribute album "Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe"), and another great version is on the excellent Tony Rice Unit record "Unit of Measure".

It's in the key of A minor, and the chords lay out like this (the measure in parentheses are 2/4 measures):

||: Am | Am | Am | E | Am | Am | Am | E Am :||                      A part
||: Am | Am | Am | Am E | Am | Am | Am | E Am :|| (Am)       B part
| Am | D | C E | Am | Am | D | C G | Am |                             C part
||: Am | Am | C | C | Am | Am | Am | E Am | Am | C |(E)| Am | Am :||   D part

Notice that there is no repeat on the C part, just once through.  Also, at the end of the B part, there's an extra 2/4 measure (2 beats) of Am where the melody note rings a little longer.

Here's a guitar tab I wrote for the tune in the lower register:  Jerusalem Ridge guitar tab
Still working on an upper register arrangement.

And some Youtubes:


  1. Dave, I am SO glad I found your site. The time and effort you've put in to creating all these rhythm tracks, along with the links and TABs, is simply invaluable. Excellent work, and a treasure trove for any picker to stumble upon. Thank you so much!!

  2. Thanks, Allan. I appreciate your kind feedback.

  3. Hi Dave. I know your main instrument is the guitar, but you're also a great mandolinist! Have you ever considered writing up tablature for mandolin parts to these songs?

  4. Hi Dave. Thank you for your learning support, especially with Jerusalem Ridge (you make it quite easy to play at down tempo). It allows me to improve my way of playing bluegrass guitar.
    Eric, from France.

  5. Thanks, Eric. Glad to hear it.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing these tracks with us! I have spent hours and hours playing along with them and find them enormously helpful. One thing though. Unlike all of the other tunes, I don't see an option to download the Jerusalem Ridge tracks. Maybe this is just because they're new and you haven't gotten around to it yet, but this is one of my favorite tunes, and I would really like to be able to download the rhythm tracks for it. Thanks!!!

  7. Thanks for reminding me! I updated & added the link.

  8. Dave this site has brought about some of the biggest changes in my playing! I tell everyone about it. Is there any way you could make tracks at some faster speeds? If you could do 250 and 260 for these tunes that would be AMAZING!

  9. Amateur fiddle player here, thanks so much for these playalongs - first good one I've found for Jerusalem Ridge aside from Bill's and Kenny's recordings:)

  10. What software do you use to write arrangements?

  11. What software do you use to write arrangements?

    1. Chris,

      I use Guitar Pro to write the tabs.


  12. Song suggestion: Texas Gales
    See Norman Blake and Tony Rice for example

  13. Thank you so much for this wonderful website. I am learning the rhythm parts so I can accompany my children. You are helping to pass on the love of bluegrass music to the next generation.

  14. Dave, thank you so much for making these - awesome. I know you're not charging - but I'd suggest at least making a donation option available. Would be glad to contribute.