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Black Mountain Rag

Lesson ID: A0173

In this guitar lesson, you’ll learn how to play the traditional fiddle tune “Black Mountain Rag” in the style of Doc Watson. This is one of the most common songs that you’ll hear at bluegrass jams. In this lesson, we’re going to learn the old way of playing this song which includes four different parts — the A Part, B Part, C Part, and D Part. Sometimes you’ll hear people playing this song without the C Part that you’ll learn in this lesson. Also, we’ll learn this song in the key of C without a capo but a lot of times people will capo 2nd fret to play this melody in the key of D. After you learn the guitar arrangement and optional ending lick, practice your bluegrass flatpicking with our “Black Mountain Rag” backing track in the key of C.


Flatpicking Arrangement

Video 1 – Playthrough with Tablature

Video 2 – Full Breakdown

Video Start Time Lesson Topic
00:00 min A Part – Measures 1 through 5
07:05 min A Part – Measures 6 through 9
10:10 min A Part – Practice with Me
11:08 min B Part – Measures 10 through 13
17:16 min B Part – Measures 14 through 17 (Available to CGO Members)
20:36 min B Part – Practice with Me (Available to CGO Members)
21:51 min C Part – Measures 18 through 21 (Available to CGO Members)
24:47 min C Part – Measures 22 through 25 (Available to CGO Members)
25:34 min D Part – Measures 26 through 29 (Available to CGO Members)
29:35 min D Part – Measures 30 through 33 (Available to CGO Members)
33:07 min D Part – Measures 34 through 37 (Available to CGO Members)
37:45 min D Part – Measures 38 through 41 (Available to CGO Members)
41:27 min D Part – Practice with Me (Available to CGO Members)
43:11 min Practice the Entire Arrangement with Me (Available to CGO Members)

Optional Ending

Video 1 – Playthrough with Tablature

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Video 2 – Full Breakdown

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Backing Track

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4 years ago

Awesome! Thanks Devin. A real must have for my bag of bluegrass tunes!

4 years ago

Nice arrangement Devin! I will be picking on this over the weekend. Keep them coming!

4 years ago

This sounds awesome. Going to give this one a go. You still have the best bluegrass lessons I’ve come across. Keep up the great work!

4 years ago


4 years ago

Devin, a great and user friendly arrangement which I’m working through. I have a question. Doc plays this I believe in A and capos at the third fret. Is there a reason you went with C? Just an easier key without the accidentals? Am I right that using a capo on third fret really gives you key of C finger positions anyway? Thanks again, I love your lessons.

3 years ago

I just started working on this lesson. I’ve worked on Jerusalem Ridge , almost exclusively, since it was first posted. Completely by memory now. Playing it confidently, with speed. St. Anne’s Reel came to me faster, not easier, smoother, is a good term.

Last edited 3 years ago by jerseychicadee