“Freight Train” – American Folk Song

Below is the lesson for “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotten.

Helpful Tips

A vintage-esque uke tune, this arrangement is filled with catchy melodies and challenging rhythmic work. The song is split into 3 parts: Melodies A, B, and C. Each melody is 8 bars in length. Think of melody A as the base melody. The other 2 melodies build upon the A melody by introducing more complex rhythms and minor melodic variations. Basically, you are playing the same melody 3 times, but with variations each time.

While the A melody is fairly straightforward, the B melody is the most challenging in this piece. This is due to complex syncopated rhythmic strum hits, barre chords and four finger chords, and quick movements up and down the neck. The best advice I can give you is to take this section one bar at a time and master it before moving on. Use the on-screen tab viewer to slow it down and loop bars. Try and sing the melody before your play it, remember, if you can sing it you can play it. This tune is a ton of fun and I want to thank Ukulelezaza for allowing us to use his arrangement for this lesson.

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

Part 2 – For Premium Members


Tab Play Along