Learn to Play the Traditional Tune "Railroad Bill"

by Steve James

While the steel-drivin’ John Henry was a legendary character brought to life in song, Morris Slater (aka Railroad Bill) was flesh and blood—a black Alabaman who killed a sheriff in 1895 and, for the next year until he was killed by bounty hunters, eluded capture and was credited with a number of daring train robberies.

Railroad Bill Excerpt
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A standard for five-string banjo, “Railroad Bill” also works well for slide guitar in G tuning. Starting with a slurred third played with the slide against open bass strings, this melodic arrangement includes a bottleneck barre of five strings (bars 7 and 8). Practice moving your slide laterally to open up the fifth string for a beat while maintaining the thumb pattern.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar Magazine's Best Private Lessons

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