Pacific Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Society

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As the PBOMS name suggests, old-time music and the associated community is an important part of our society! 

The definition of "old-time music" is a bit slippery, but the tunes we usually play tend to be from the Appalachian tradition, and are (mostly) instrumental tunes played with fiddles leading, all melody instruments playing in unison (more or less ;) ) and rhythm provided by guitar and sometimes bass.   

One discussion by Mike Seeger is here: 

There is a monthly jam night dedicated to old-time music.   For the first 90 minutes this jam is led by experienced PBOMS members who introduce and explain the tunes, go over chords, etc.  After 9pm, the jam moves to a bit faster pace and is more driven by the attendees.  This helps to provide a bit of an on-ramp to get new players into old-time music.

Check the schedule on our front page to confirm, but the old-time jam is generally the third Monday of each month from Sept-June at the Anza Club and every Monday July-August at Trout Lake.

There are many (.. like... 1000's..) of old-time tunes.  It helps to have a common repertoire and to this end the PBOMS community (thanks especially to Linda and Athena!!) has maintains a list of commonly played tunes at PBOMS jams.   

Chords, keys and sources for the tunes are included here:  New Old-Time Tune Archive 

As well, all of the tunes from the Archive have been entered into  This site/app is an excellent resources for playalong tracks - backing tracks with multiple instruments can be played at any speed and in any key.  Many of the tunes we play are already in Strum Machine and we have added the rest.  This is a great reference for chord charts, and an invaluable practice tool for learning old-time tunes.   You can use the lists as chords references for free.  A modest monthly subscription is required to use the play-along features.

You can access the tunes lists here - they can be saved as read-only to your own Strum Machine account if you have one:

Key of A:

Key of C:

Key of D:

Key of G:

Note that:

  • chords are an interpretation of harmony and some players may prefer different chord progressions than the ones listed
  • in some cases multiple "standard" progressions may exist
  • the chords are entered manually by volunteer elves and are a work in progress -- let us know if you find mistakes!

Thanks to Linda and Athena for keeping the big list of tunes up to date in the first place as well!! 

note that PBOMS has no financial interest in Strum Machine.  However, Luke Abbot who runs it has been extremely helpful and friendly to us and we encourage people to support him if you find Strum Machine useful


This full list could be a bit intimidating, so if you want a shorter list to gets started with, this could help.  See the full list above for chords and sources.

 Key  Name
 G  Sail Away Ladies
 G  Lazy John
 G  Nail That Catfish to a Tree
 G  Shove That Pigs Foot A Little Closer to the Fire
 G  Big Sciota
 G  Barlow Knife
 G  Great Big Taters in the Sandy Land
 G  Liza Jane
 G  Old Chattanooga
 G  Meriweather
 G  Devil Ate A Groundhog
 G  Roscoe
 G  Where The Dogwoods
 G  Old Aunt Jenny With Her Nightcap On
 G  Elk River Blues
 D  Julianne Johnson
 D  Cumberland Gap
 D  Susanna Gal
 D  Roscoe's Gone
 D  Johnny Don't Get Drunk
 D  Mississippi Sawyer
 D  Angeline The Baker
 D  Swannanoa Waltz
 D  Camp Meeting on the 4th of July
 D  Needlecase
 D  Sugar Hill
 D  Sadie at the Back Door
 D  Rock the Cradle Joe
 D  Charleston Gals
 D  Sailing Over England
 A  Late For The Dance
 A  Doney
 A  Old Time Buffalo Gals
 A  Chicken and Dumplings
 A  Old Horse and Buggy
 A  Breaking Up Christmas
 A  Spring's All Muddy
 A  Leland's Waltz
 A  Dinah
 A  Double File
 A  Old Time Old Joe Clark
 A  Grandad's Favourite
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