Campfire tabs

I used to play harmonica poorly in the car but decided to restart when my boys needed to start an instrument for school. This lets me play along with them sometimes. They also are in scouts and we do a lot of camping. I am having trouble finding tabs for some of the old campfire songs such as diarrhea, and bedbugs and mosquitoes etc. Anyone know a source for these? I see them on some guitar sites but I struggle with getting the conversion of guitar cords to the harmonica. The funnier the song the better for this crowd. If no such place exists we could start putting them into a topic here for everyone.


This probably isn’t a very helpful answer (apologies in advance) - it’s very likely the tunes you want have all gone by different names originating as folk, Irish, sea songs or whatever but without knowing what melody came from where it can be hard to put a name to. On the plus side, there almost certainly is the information but it may be hiding under a different name.

Hopefully someone here with a grasp of traditional folk music might have an idea and I do like the idea of collecting good tabs on a thread.


Hello @nmilender,

Best Regards from Astrid


@nmilender WELCOME to the forum! I love these kind of songs but don’t know the melodies precisely. I you can send me la link to the songs or some way for me to hear the melody, I’d be happy to tab it out for ya.


Here is a guy playing diarrhea on guitar. I am not sure if it can be one man banded with the off beat plucking but it is a short verse and and a short course. Be careful singing this around your kids, they might like it.

This video takes some liberty with the time signature but this is the song. Again, I am not sure how to do the back ground chords and the melody, but the melody would be a good start.

Here is another for skeeters, but it appears to be the same notes. Lots of regional variety on these camp songs.

No obligation to get these tabs. I figure you have things to do. I plan to get through the theory appendix and hopefully be able to do this myself at some point. I have no idea how you hear something and determine that is on harmoica X in 6th position, but one of these days I hopefully will.


@nmilender Omgoodness what is going one here. I definitely will NOT sing this to my 4 yr old. :crazy_face: Diarrhea:
5 -5 6 6 6 5
5-5 6 6 6 6 5
5 5 5 -4

-4 5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -4
-4 5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -4
-4 -4 -4 4


-4 -5 -4 -4 -4 4

NOTE: Once you learn this melody, you can experiment with making your mouth wider. There are chords and double-stops you can add that will work well and creating an arrangement should be good fun if this is a fav with youngungs.

I’m basing this off what the dude in the video sang. Like you said, LOTS of regional variations, but hopefully this gets you going where you can tweak it sound like how y’all do it.

I’ll try and come check out skeeters and bedbugs later, but just wanted to get this to you now, because I just think it’s so good to play harmonica with the kids.

Keep up the great work. Rock on! :sunglasses:


Thanks for the start. You are generous with your time on this forum. I was thinking this was probably an old folk song but I could not place it. It seems simpler then I was trying to make it. It is dangerous to teach to young kids because they do catch on quick. It is very useful for low morale situations such as that point on a hike where they just don’t want to walk anymore. It is amazing how much energy there is once this song starts.


Right on. So cool! One thing my island lacks is trails for backpacking. I’m growing a bit nostalgic for my childhood hiking in the foothills in Northern California, and summers in the Trinity Alps.

Bedbugs and Skeeter you gotta play up high to avoid bends, so you’d wanna pick up a G harmonica (or Low F.) The group here is doing it in G.
6 7 7 6 6 7 7
7 -8 -8 -6 -6 -8
7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -7 -7 - 6 6 6 -6 -7 7

6 -6 -7 7 -7 7 -7 7 7 (the actual note here is not available on the harmonica)
-8 -7 -6
-7 -6 (blow slide fast to right and back) 6
7 -6 6 -6 -7 7 7 7 7 (fast slide to left after each note)
–8 -7 -6
-7 -6 -7 6 -6 -7 7 -6 7


Thanks luke, this is pretty good. Don’t be afraid to put in the bends, we can always unbend them. Your course already has me playing your ‘difficult’ country roads riff no problem (although the tone still needs some work). I did find a chord version of country roads with tongue blocking that I find near impossible but I am working through that now so I am sure it too will be easy in no time.

I don’t know where you live, but if you get to the big island make sure to schedule ahead with the national park and do the ranger guided lava tube tour. It is a cool hike if it still exists (you never know with the active volcano). You could probably get away with a solo jam down there with some crazy acoustics.