Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Help with playing Tennessee Stud

Hi there I need a little help. Anyone know how to play Tennessee Stud. This a great old song and I’ve been trying to learn it but not much out there…thanks

I worked that one out years ago from a Doc Watson youtube video. I haven’t played it in ages, I will have to give it a try and hope it all comes back to me.

What in particular are needing help with?


I pulled a lot of pointers from this Billy Strings video.

It’s nice to see the young generation honoring the old…

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You stirred my curiosity pfcernie (Is that Private First Class Ernie)?

Anyway, I found the youtube video. This is my favorite of all the Tennessee Stud Doc Watson Versions. It starts off with a nice close up of Doc’s right hand. He’s capoed at the fifth fret and starts off with an A chord down to G and back and forth until the Chorus. Then, he again starts off with A, down to G, then to D a quick C and down to E. This is on the first part of the chorus. At least this is how my ears hear it. Then on the second part of the chorus, it’s A down to G and back to A before he stops playing and gallops on the top of his guitar. On that D chord, it sounds better if you mute the first string or don’t play the first string at all, only the second and third.

Also, on the A chord: It appears that Doc is playing an F chord but he’s not. It’s a two finger A chord. I believe he’s fretting the 2nd and 3rd strings at the second fret with his first finger and the 4th string second fret with his 2nd finger. The 1st and fifth strings are played open to make up the A chord. His pinky and ring finger appear to be fretting but are actually above the strings. He’s also playing his G chord two different ways for convenience.

On all the other stuff he throws in there as far as the runs and other fancies, you’re on your own. I learned some of it, but not nearly as well as Doc could do it. If you live near Covington, Ohio, I’d be glad to show you what little I know.

That is true Woodshed and Billy can do about anything well with a guitar… and his voice. Not sure what happened to his ear though???


The pfcernie goes back to 1973 kinda of a joke from military days. Somehow I ended up using it years ago when trying to think of an email address to use. Your actually the first person to ask. On the song I’ve been trying to get the right chords so I can use my favorite style of picking which is Carter Style. I’m a big fan of Mother Maybelle Carter and her guitar picking . Everything I play is in the Carter style of picking. I just can’t get the chords right to Tennessee Stud. I’ll try what is suggested here so far …Thanks

Here you go, @pfcernie