Fingerstyle Banjo Song and Tab of the Week: “Short Life of Trouble”

Fingerstyle Banjo Song and Tab of the Week: “SHORT LIFE OF TROUBLE”

You may have never heard of Gilliam Banmon (“G.B.”) Grayson (1887-1930).

But you’ve definitely heard his music.

Tom Dooley, Train 45, Little Maggie, Handsome Molly, Omie Wise, Handsome Molly…

All were recorded by Grayson, a blind multi-instrumentalist (with most of his recorded works on fiddle) from the hills of East Tennessee, along with guitarist and bandmate Henry Whitter.

As was this week’s song, “Short Life of Trouble.”

That song, as well as so many others in the Grayson and Whitter repertoire, has been recorded by scores of artists since.

As one person said of him: “almost everything he recorded has become a standard.”

The version I play was inspired most by Ralph’s Stanley take on it. I love the juxtaposition of non-stop, hard-driving, staccato banjo, and waltz time signature.

The Banjo Player’s Songbook contains over 50 classic banjo songs, and you can grab it for free. Click here to learn more.


gDGBD tuning, 2 finger thumb lead

Thumb Lead Banjo Tab for Short Life of Trouble

Many more tabs, plus step-by-step video tutorials for how to play them, are available inside the Brekathrough Banjo course, which is now FREE for 30 Days

Click here for a list of songs in The Breakthrough Banjo Vault.

NEW! The “Banjo For Adult Learners” Facebook Group

Click here or on the image below to join the “Banjo For Adult Learners” Facebook group. It’s a place to have conversations all about learning the 5-string banjo!