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California Dreamin'

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California Dreamin'

Banjo Tab PDF + MP3

Contains 2 complete banjo tabs: Tab 1 is the main banjo part and can either be played as a stand-alone performance or, combined with Tab 2 (the accompanying harmony part), can be played as part of a Banjo Duet.

Inspired by the amazing harmonies of Mama Cass Elliot, John and Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty, I set to writing a banjo duet of 144 measures (72 measures per banjo) for the song "California Dreamin '" by The Mamas and The Papas.

The main theme is 16 measures long, just like the majority of bluegrass banjo breaks. Play these 16 measures and there will be do doubt, you've nailed the song "California Dreamin'" on the 5-string banjo.


The tab encompasses the entire 2:30 original single that reached #4 on the Billboard chart in 1966. The banjo duet attempts to mimic the stereo recording of the four vocalists.

The tune is in the Key of Dm (with the banjo in regular Open G tuning) and is built around the progression Dm-C-Bb-C.

The F, A, and A sus chords round out the tune and are crucial to its forward momentum. The "sus" stands for suspended and in this particular case an A major chord has its C# note raised to a D).

Notice how the Dm chord shares notes with the Bb, A sus, A, F and even the Bb maj7 chord in the tune's Ending.

Tom plays the entire tab on the MP3.

Click here to listen to a sample of the MP3 of California Dreamin'.

You can play Tab #1 by itself and have a banjo break that really sounds like and carries the melody of "California Dreamin'" - or - invite a friend over, flip a coin to see who gets which part, and enjoy a bit of California Dreamin' 5-string banjo duet style.

To listen to the Mamas and the Papas recording of "California Dreamin'" click the arrow on the banjo image at top of page to reveal the song posted on YouTube.
You will get the following files:
  • PDF (58KB)
  • PDF (56KB)
  • MP3 (2MB)
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