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Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling

By Will Thompson, but in public domain. One of the best-beloved hymns of the English-speaking world.

The Legend:

When world-renowned evangelist Michael Moody lay on his death-bed, he called his friend Will Thompson to his side, and whispered, "Will, I would rather have written "Softly and Tenderly" than anything I have done." The song holds a prominent place in nearly every Protestant hymnal in the world, and has been translated into many languages. Nearly every Gospel recording artist has covered it, but perhaps the best-known version (and my personal favorite) was done by Elvis Presley.

The Tablature:

Play this song SLOWLY! The melodies and harmonies are sweet, but if the bar chords are too much for you, play just the first 4 strings, and it'll still sound good. You can also leave out the ligados (hammer-ons and pull-offs) and the tremolo at the end, if you don't know how to do them. For those who just want the absolute basics, you can also leave out the last three notes in the first line, holding the G chord for two measures, to compensate.

This song sounds good on any kind of guitar, from classical to electric. You can play the tab as a solo by itself, or as an introduction or a bridge if accompanying a singer. For accompaniment, I have found it very effective to just strum the chords at the beginning of each measure, holding each chord for a full count of 3, while letting the voice carry the melody. I also like to use the guitar solo for a fourth verse, or sometimes let the guitar solo carry one or more of the choruses. This song has lots of possibilities!

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