Learn to Play “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)” | AG Patreon Song of the Month

Add this classic country tune, replete with Jimmie Rodgers’ trademark yodeling, to your repertoire.
Photo illustration of a practicing guitarist seated on his daybed getting encouragement from Jimmie Rodgrers

In 1927, singer-songwriter Jimmie Rodgers had a disagreement with his band and stepped out on his own to record a batch of songs, first in Bristol, Tennessee, and then in Camden, New Jersey. In the Camden sessions, Rodgers recorded a tune that would prove a surprise hit and help propel him to fame as the father of country music: “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas).”

The song, replete with Rodgers’ trademark yodeling and sturdy guitar strumming, is based loosely on the 12-bar blues verse form in the key of G major (sounding in the key of A due to a capo at the second fret). In this solo setting, Rodgers took liberty with the form, adding beats as needed to fit the lyrics. In the first verse, for instance, he added two extra beats at the end of the fourth measure (shown here as a bar of 2/4, rather than 6/4, for ease of reading) and does the same after bar 12, etc. These modifications vary from verse to verse but should be obvious to discern from listening to the original recording. 


Throughout, Rodgers plays a now-classic boom-chuck accompaniment—bass notes on beats 1 and 3 and strums on 2 and 4. But note how rather than always playing it straight, he occasionally disrupts the pattern with syncopation. In bars 12, 23, and elsewhere, he uses eighth notes to temporarily displace the beat—a good strategy you can employ in your own accompaniment to keep listeners on their toes. 

The TAB and notation for “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas)” is available to members of the Acoustic Guitar Patreon page at the Supporters tier or higher. Join our community to access live workshops, song transcriptions, exclusive podcast episodes, and more!

Adam Perlmutter
Adam Perlmutter

Adam Perlmutter holds a bachelor of music degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a master's degree in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory. He is the editor of Acoustic Guitar.

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