Session Tune Chord Playing Charts - Q&A

A large collection of charts that provide the chord playing sequences for 400 popular session and jam songs and tunes.

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Q: Why are you doing this?
A: This project began when a group of folks
(mostly fiddle students) started playing Old
Time fiddle tunes together at our home in
Pegram, TN, back in December 2001. At that
time, many of our rhythm players were new to
string band music. We knew how to play
chords, but we didn't know the progressions
for fiddle tunes. We couldn't find chord charts
for many of the tunes we were playing;
sometimes when we could find published
chord charts, those we found did not match
our melody arrangements. We began creating
and collecting these charts in early 2002 so
that we could play more tunes as an ensemble
in a shorter period of time. We are not
advocating that this is the proper way to learn
chords; we are merely providing them because
it has worked for our group. You are welcome
to use them or not.
Q: Where do these chords come from?
A: The majority of these chord charts are made
"by ear". Contributions come from a number of
resources, including our jam members, their
teachers, the Internet, and various printed and
recorded material. The group makes the final
decision as to what arrangement sounds right
and we make amendments to arrangements if
it seems appropriate.
Q: Doesn't this take a lot of time? Why
A: We have personally invested hundreds of
hours in this project. However, creating these
charts has taught us how tune progressions
are put together. We have, over time,
developed the ability to hear chord
progressions quickly, and to communicate the
changes to other players. Writing these charts
has made us better musicians. And it's a lot
more fun to play with folks who all use the
same chords.
Q: Are these charts the "official" version of
the songs?
A: No way. These are the chords that seem to
work best for our jam. There are surely other
ways to chord these songs; however, we have
attempted to create charts which show the
basic chord structure as we play them in our
Q: Can I listen to your jam's arrangements?
A: We recorded our jams from 2002 through 2007
and posted the tunes on our website each
week for jam members and visitors to practice
along with. You are welcome to listen in.
Take note that these are not performance-
quality recordings — you will be listening in on
a very casual jam — you will hear lots of
floundering and lots of talking as we figure out
a tune. But we hope you will get some idea of
how the melody is supposed to go.
Q: I've found an error. Do you want to know
about it?
A: Absolutely. Please send any corrections or
additions via email to:
Remember, though, that one tune can have
several variations, so be gentle with us.
Q: Would you like to hear a great tune that is
not in the Pegram Jam collection?
A: We sure would. There's a page on our website
devoted just to that issue.
Q: Will this document ever be finished?
A: We plan to continue to add tunes for as long
as time and energy permits. We are constantly
discovering great new music to share. We plan
to add new tunes as they come along.
Q: Can I help out somehow?
A: Yes. You can send us corrections for existing
tunes or information on traditional tunes you
think should be included in this collection. If
you would like to help financially to support the
web server and bandwidth costs, you may use
the PayPal "Here's Our Tip Jar" link on the
Pegram Jam website. Even a small
contribution would be greatly appreciated.
Our best to you !
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III