Chris Eldridge

Lesson >

Nine Pound Hammer

Teaching the Song and Rhythm Guitar Breakdown

Chris Eldridge Lesson >

Nine Pound Hammer > Teaching the Song and Rhythm Guitar Breakdown

This week we're starting in on a new song, "Nine Pound Hammer." This might be the most iconic flatpicking song there is (a song being music with words). It has been recorded by pretty much all of the flatpicking greats at various times in their careers. This month we're going to look at versions by Norman Blake, Tony Rice, and Doc Watson. Also, we'll look at a subtle but very effective way to break up Jimmy Martin-style rhythm guitar playing.






Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Chris Eldridge
Jimmy Martin
Tony Rice
Norman Blake
Doc Watson
Nine Pound Hammer

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Nine Pound Hammer


This nine pound hammer is a little too heavy

For my size, Buddy for my size


   Roll on buddy, don't you roll so slow

   How can I roll, when the wheels won't roll


I'm going to the mountain, just to see my baby

And I ain't coming back, no I ain't coming back


There ain't one hammer, down in this tunnel

That can ring like mine, that can ring like mine


   Rings like silver, shines like gold

   Rings like silver, shines like gold


This old hammer, it killed John Henry

Ain't gonna kill me, ain't gonna kill me


It's a long way to Harlan, and a long way to Hazard

Just to get a little booze, just to get a little booze


Buddy when I'm log gone, won't you make my tombstone

Out of number nine coal, out of number nine coal 


Loop 3:28 Introduction to the Series

Loop 4:19 Breakdown of Chords 

Loop 8:10 Practice Loop of Rhythm


Download the Sheet Music PDF


Loop 12:13 Closing Thoughts and Outro





Log in to leave a comment

Darren May 31, 2018

that lick you start at 2:47 is so greasy I love it!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 07, 2018

Ha, thanks Darren! I was hanging on for dear life!

Rémy Jul 26, 2017


Great great video !!! Thanks Chris !!! 
Is it possible to get the intro tab ?

Thanks :)

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jul 31, 2017

Hi Remy, 

I teach it here, in the final lesson of the series:


Rémy Jul 31, 2017

Oups thanks and sorry, it's the only video i didn't check since the title seemed too complex for my skills level.

Thank you :)

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Jun 17, 2016

We've updated the sheet music to capture the details of Chris's practice loop example.  Enjoy.

Clint Radcliff
Clint Radcliff Jun 17, 2016

I love the videos and the commentary on how and when to add in each element of the song. 

Jeff Caldwell
Jeff Caldwell Jun 12, 2016

Dynamite.  Love it when you crack yourself up on the breaks.

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Jun 11, 2016

Chris - 

My goodness ... it's worth the subscription price just to watch you play that.


Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 11, 2016

Thank you Kip!

Login popup sm Login popup banner

Member Log In

Forgot your password? Click here

New To Sonic Junction?

See Sign Up Info >

Popup close
Login popup sm

New To Sonic Junction?

Try 2 Lessons Free

Popup close