Ain’t She Sweet

As played by Bob Larkan from the Arkansas region

Reel or Breakdown in B flat

From the Bob Larkan Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)


1928 Recording (MP3 here, partial MP3 available at


This is an odd little tune, but it is charming in spite of (because of?) its oddness. It’s in an odd key for most old time fiddlers (Bb, with two flats). It is in an odd tuning: FDAE, with the fourth string tuned down a step to an F. I am fairly confident that it is in this tuning due to the presence of low F drones as well as D, A, and E-natural drones. Ain’t She Sweet has both melodic and lyrical similarities to the more widely known Cindy. The B part is crooked. Note that Larkan played it differently the last two times through the tune, holding some notes longer.

Three times during the tune, Larkan stopped fiddling and sang the following doggerel lyrics (note the similarities to Cindy and Little Maggie):

I wished I had a nickel
I wished I had a dime
Had a dollar
to pay my true love’s fine

Oh ain’t she sweet
Oh ain’t she sweet
Oh ain’t she sweet
To marry me next week

Towards the end of the tune, he sang the following:

Oh ain’t I gone
Oh ain’t I gone
Oh ain’t I gone
God Almighty knows

Larkans’ timing during the vocal breaks wasn’t consistent, so I didn’t put myself out trying to get the rest durations exactly accurate.

Tune to FDAE (if you want the occasional low F drone).

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