St. James Infirmary Blues

Blues song
First published in 1925 ("Gambler's Blues")
Unknown originator

First verse:
I went down to Saint James Infirmary
Saw my baby there
Stretched out on a long, white table
So cold, so sweet, so fair


St. James Infirmary Blues guitar tab and notes (pdf)

tabs tabs & notes


St. James Infirmary Blues instrumental guitar (mp3)

St. James Infirmary Blues - guitar tab, notes, chords and lyrics

"St. James Infirmary Blues" is a traditional American blues song without a known originator. Many performances of the song have been made including by jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Cabell "Cab" Calloway. It has also been recorded by modern artists such as Joe Cocker and Arlo Guthrie.

St. James Infirmary Blues (full accompaniment)

"St. James Infirmary Blues" for guitar with full accompaniment. Free download in pdf-file and audio.

St. James Infirmary Blues guitar accompaniment

St. James Infirmary Blues (only melody)

"St. James Infirmary Blues" tablature notation for guitar.

St. James Infirmary Blues notes and tabs

Tips on how to learn this song

"St. James Infirmary Blues" is performed in a minor key (see the full accompaniment version or chords below) and consist of eight bars plus a pickup bar. The ties that can be seen in bars 2 and 6 indicate that the note should be sustained (see the versions that include notes for a better understanding of the time values).

The note symbols above the tab system tells that the song should be played in triplet feel.

Lyrics and chords

St. James Infirmary Blues chords in the key of Am
I went (Am)down to (Em)Saint James In(Am)firmary (Em)
(Am)Saw my (F7)baby (Em)there
(Am)Stretched out on a (Em)long, white (Am)table
So (F7)cold, so (Em)sweet, so (Am)fair

The chord progression is somewhat unusual. The dominant submediant (F7) functions as a passing chord and do also creates tension.

There are possibilities to change to key further by using a capo. These are the keys that the song would transpose in depending on which fret the capo is put (based on the chords in the A minor version):

Key, time, tuning and tempo

Information about "St. James Infirmary Blues" considering musical key, time signature, tuning and bpm.

Key signature music symbol


The main presented version of St. James Infirmary Blues is played in the key of Am.

Time signature music symbol

Time signature

The song is played in 4/4 tempo.

Tuning overview


The song is normally played in standard tuning (EADGBE).

BPM symbol and numbers

Tempo (BPM)

The tempo in beats per minute is 80 for the presented version.