COPYRIGHTS & PERMISSIONS: All arrangements and tabs in this blog are the original work of the blog owner, unless otherwise noted. They may be downloaded and copied at no charge, only for non-commercial church or home use. All other rights reserved. Ask for permissions-- I intend to be generous. Copyright information for each song is listed in its commentary. Arrangements and tabs of public domain songs are still covered by these copyright restrictions. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Here's my Christmas present to you all: an absolutely amazing You-tube of a guy who has become my favorite young guitarist.  Click here to open your present!  Sungha Jung was 8 when this video was made.  He's now 11, and MUCH BETTER!  To see what else he can do, I recommend three other videos:

Canon in D (with Trace Bundy)

Manha Do Carnaval

Bolero  (Yes, the entire orchestral work by Maurice Ravel, with four-part orchestration, all played live on one acoustic guitar, by an eleven-year old boy.)

Sungha says his parents will only let him practice 2 hours a day when school is in session, so it usually takes him 3 days to learn a song, or up to a week for a really hard one!  He currently has about 330 You-Tube videos published.  Google Sungha Jung for more.  Merry Christmas!

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Well, I figured if I didn't get it posted soon, I'd have to save it for next Christmas. It may contain errors or need tweaking a bit; I didn't play through it as many times as usual, and I sometimes get errors anyway, so, if something looks wrong, it probably is. Let me know in a comment, or, if you're a follower, click my thumbnail photo and email me.

This is a gorgeous song, and not especially hard to play, if you can play barre chords. If you can't, don't despair: there are substitutes, and even an entire alternate last line, on the third page.

The first verse is mostly chords and melody notes. The original is written in 4/4 time, which, as usual, I've recast as 8/8 to make it easier to see the rhythm. Remember, the "100" shown as a metronome setting is for EIGHTH NOTES. If you try to play it as 100 quarter notes per minute, you'll sound way too fast.

Play the slide in the second measure with the little finger of the left hand (right hand for you southpaws). This will set you up perfectly for the barre chord that starts the third measure. CaddG is just a C chord, with the pinkie in the third fret to add the G note. No sweat.

Beginning with the 5th line, you will encounter arpeggios, grace notes, and other "extra" notes. If you don't like them, just repeat the first four lines. It's a guitar solo-- no one will know. If you're doing that, you can leave out all those "extra" notes.

I recommend you leave in all the "extra" notes called out in the tab, for a more Baroque sound. If it ain't Baroque, don't fix it! --motto of the Eighteenth Century Cooking Club, which I just made up. Seriously, the first four lines are better for accompanying singers, while the last four are better as an instrumental solo.

Next Christmas, I'll try to get my Christmas carols done by Thanksgiving, so you have time to learn them.

A-Soulin' video

This is a video of two of my first-year students, Nicole and Corine, playing a duet in their very first "public" performance.  The video and sound quality is lousy, as it was taken with an inexpensive digital camera, but it should give you an idea what the song sounds like.  You'll need Windows Media Player or something similar to view it.  It takes about six minutes to load on my laptop, which admittedly is not lightning fast for a 30 second video clip.

Nicole and Corine don't sing the words, because they live in the Dominican Republic and speak Spanish, so I just taught them the instrumental parts. I don't believe the lyrics have ever been translated.  The lyrics are not difficult, if you speak English.  The vocal part of the song uses the same guitar techniques as the instrumental duet part, though the order is slightly different, and the guitars play in unison.  This gives a nice contrast, and nearly doubles the length of the piece, without requiring additional learning.

What Child Is This?

Merry Christmas, Poet-With-A-Day-Job!

Poet commented on another post that this Christmas carol would be the best Christmas present ever, so here it is!  Actually, it was quite easy for me to do, as the tab was already present on this website, only it was listed as Greensleeves.  It's now also listed as, "What Child Is This?"  The tab is the same, as there's no difference in the music.  I apologize for not including the Christmas carol words for the second and third verses, but that would take more time than I have right now.  You are welcome to print the tab and write in the proper words.

Poet also mentioned that he (she?) is a beginner.  The song is published with complete instructions for playing all three verses, which are tabbed in order of increasing complexity.  Of course, as a guitar instrumental solo, they need not be played in this order!  But if you find arpeggios stuck in around the melody daunting, you can still do fine by playing the first verse or two, and learn the arpeggios later, when you have more confidence.

If you like this tab, you might also like A-Soulin', which is another very old, English Christmas carol.  It was popularized in the 1960s by the folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary, but my version is a guitar duet in the form of a round.  There are no difficult techniques or chords in it.  In fact, there's only ONE strummed chord! It's so simple that I teach it to my first-year students. Nevertheless, it sounds absolutely stunning.  Check out the video clip of two of my first-year students.

Before Thee, Lord, I Bow My Head-- for flat picking

Yes, you read that right.  This version is in the key of C, and it is specifically intended for flat picking.  If you want to get a similar effect on a classical guitar, strum all the chords with your thumb, which gives an easy, laid-back sound to the piece.  And it CAN be played without barre chords!

The tempo is unusual, but you can play it just like a 6/8 tempo, only it'll come out twice as fast in 6/4.  I strongly recommend that you learn each part of the song slowly first, before attempting to play it at speed.  You can also give the piece a more "country" sound by turning all the strummed chords into Carter licks.  A Carter lick is a quick strum down and then back up again, the whole lick counting one count.  Carter licks sound really good with an alternating bass note, either before the licks or after them.  For this song, though, to do this, you'll need to add an extra couple of notes to each measure, converting it into 8/4 or 8/8 time.  More on this later.

To play the song as written, there are only a few comments that need to be made.  The melody is carried in the bass line, which is unusual for a hymn, but not for country Gospel music.  The song is also written in Hymns as a round in two parts. This is also unusual, though not unique.  If you're going to play it as a guitar solo, or with just one singer, use the first ending, which I think sounds better.  There won't be time enough for the second singing part in the last measure, so I've included an alternative ending for accompanying duets, as published in the hymnal.  The rest of the song is as close to the hymnal as I could make it and still have it come out right for the guitar.

The hammer-ons and pull-offs called for are NOT quick.  Each note is a quarter note, just as in the picked notes.  In fact, you can pick the ligados too, if you have trouble with ligados, but the ligado notes sound better-connected.  The chord symbols appear over the spot where you need to fret them with the left hand, not necessarily where the chord is strummed.  This is done to make it easier to find the notes with the left hand; if you want to do it another way, by all means do what works best for you.

F/C is read, "F, with a C bass note" and is played like a regular F chord, adding the C note with the left pinkie.  You can just play a normal F if you like, but the bass note called for in the melody line happens to be the C, so it works better, if you can do it.

For the Chorus, the music specifies that the tempo be played "Brightly," hence the increased metronome setting.  In the Chorus, the melody is carried in the treble strings.  Play the first part of the Chorus in rapid but complete phrases: "How sweet thy word I’ve heard this day!"   should be played as a complete phrase, without pauses.  Similarly, "Be thou my guide, O Lord, I pray,"   except remember that "word", "guide" and "Lord" each have two syllables: "wor-ord", "gui-ide" and "Lo-ord" respectively. CaddG is a regular C chord, with the little finger adding the G on the first string.  It's not hard to play, but it may be difficult to do the pull-off with the little finger while holding the chord.  If you have trouble, don't play the full chord, just the G note, and do the pull-off, which carries the melody.  The second time, fret the first string in the second space with the first joint of the index finger, as if barring the strings.  This makes for a super easy transition to the GIII chord.

Don't forget, you'll have to go back to the G7 position to do the bass run in the next measure.  This is made a bit easier by the change in tempo, as the tune slows back down to the original 120 beats/minute.  The melody switches back to the bass strings, too.  " Seal thou the word upon my heart,"   is also to be played as a single phrase, for the guitar solo version.  I think that after you get it up to speed, you'll really like it. 

To play the piece in 8/8, as a country Gospel tune, you'll need to add a few notes here and there, to make the count come out even.  It's easy to add a few extra bass notes to do so, and create an alternating bass line at the same time. You'll also need to play the final chord slowly, to contrast with the Carter licks, so it sounds like the piece is definitely ended.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

If you're a beginner, don't let the tab scare you.  There's a very easy, strummed version shown as a cheat sheet at the end of the tab.  Both are in the key of A, so you can play them as alternate verses, or as a duet, if you like.

To make this a bit easier, I've tried to use chords that lend themselves to easy changes.  For example, you can easily change from Av to Dv by just flattening the fingers of the left hand across the strings.  Same for D6v. To get from the (unbarred) A to the (barred) Av at the end of the song, use the first joint of the index finger (the one closest to the palm) to fret the first string, as it's already in position over the string, and just needs to be slid up to the IV space. Then, it's easy to hit the barre in the v space for the full-barre Av.

Counting this song is easy, if you remember that every two notes equal one count!  I routinely recast 3/4 time songs like this as 6/8, as it rarely makes a difference.  This is one of the rarelies, so I left it in 3/4. But remember the metronome setting of 70 is for two notes, not one, or the song will really drag.

I have to confess, I'm not entirely happy with this arrangement, but audiences seem to like it.  If anyone knows a better one, I'd love to see it. 

The cheat sheet at the end of the tab is for strumming, to accompany a singer.  The chords are much easier, and you can even play it with a pick, if you want.  I usually replace the high A note at the end with an Av chord, but if you aren't up to playing full barre chords, you can just tremolo the last note, and it'll sound great.  Virtually any guitarist can play this version. My seven year old student Meilin picked it up and started playing it (while singing!) the first time she heard it. 

Christmas! It's Coming!

Christmas IS coming, and SOON!  I was going to put up a poll asking which Christmas carols you wanted me to post next, but the poll gadget seems to have disappeared.  So, if there's a special Christmas carol you'd like me to post, you have two options:
1. You can comment on this post.
2. You can send me a message, if you are a follower, by clicking on my thumbnail photo.  If you are not a follower, you can easily become one.

I'll do my best, but please allow me some time, as I may not already have your favorite carol tabbed.


For all those who think there are more folks viewing this blog than shown as Followers -- you are right!  Thanks to those who recommended that I get a counter.  Blogger now provides one.  Here are the lifetime stats for this blog:  (stats do not include my own visits)

Average usage:  about 2900 visits per month
Nearly all are from the United States and Canada, but also from the Netherlands, Mexico, the UK, Australia, Honduras, Germany, Ireland, and Russia.  There are others, but those are the top ten countries.

Top ten all-time favorite posts*:

#   1    I Am A Child of God                                    1001   page views
#   2    A Poor, Wayfaring Man of Grief                   509   page views
#   3    Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing           313   page views
#   4    Lead Kindly Light                                         255   page views
#   5    I Know That My Redeemer Lives               235    page views
#   6    A Poor, Wayfaring Man of Grief MP3       101    page views
#   7    O Holy Night                                                 98     page views
#   8    Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling           90     page views
#   9    Praise to the Man                                          88     page views
# 10    Teach Me to Walk in the Light                     87     page views

* Sorry!  I can't track downloads, as they are link visits to my hosting website, which is not equipped. I'm working on it.

About 80% of the searches that resulted in hits on this blog included the words "Mormon" or "LDS" and "guitar" in the search terms.  About 80% of the searches were in some form of Google.

Your favorite operating systems were: Windows, Macintosh, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Linnux, Unix, Blackberry, Danger, and Nintendo Wii.  Whoever you are out there who is reading the tabs on a Blackberry, your nickname ought to be "Hawkeye!"

Now Let Us Rejoice

At last, a relatively easy one!  It's in the key of A, too, which many guitarists find easier than C.  You'll have to play the Av, which is just an E barred at the fifth fret.  C#m7IV and EIV are actually barred versions of Am7 and C, barred at the fourth fret.  C#m7IV is actually one of the easiest barre chords to play.  EIV is a bit harder, but if your fingers won't stretch that far, you can substitute C#m7IV. You can also  use a regular E, though the melody line will suffer, as it will be going down when it should go up.   

For those who do not like the "extra" notes, I've printed them in light face type, while all the others are in bold face.  For those who like them, don't forget to put them in, just because they are printed in light face type! If you have trouble seeing them, let me know and I'll correct the problem in a future posting.  The song was originally written in 3/4 time, but I've re-cast it in 6/8, to make counting easier.

The hardest part of the song is the slide-to-pull-off progression: -4-\-2_0- which occurs twice in each verse.  It starts with a full-barre Av chord, so you only have to slide down one fret to hit the -4-.  It's a bit tricky sliding down to the -2- while also shifting the index finger noiselessly across the strings, so you can do the pull-off.  I have found that the easiest way for me to do this is to NOT slide across the strings, but to do the pull-off with the third joint of my left index finger.  My third joint is rather fat, and provides enough of a "hook" to do an acceptable pull-off.  If you have skinny fingers, I recommend ignoring either the slide or the pull-off.

Another place you might have trouble is in the next-to-last measure of the finale.  You'll have to stretch the little finger of the left hand to hit the G# in the ninth fret on the second string.  Alternatively, you can just hit the same note at the fourth fret on the first string, which requires a rather fast transition to get back to Av.  My fingers are stretched out, so I find stretching easier, but you may not agree.

This song is in the public domain.  It was included in the first LDS hymnal.

I Am A Child of God MP3

Another MJ Hufford MP3!  And this time, it's even better than the last one.  My stats show this is your all-time favorite of the tabs on this site, accounting for literally thousands of hits per month, so enjoy!
For those who wonder why I put in all those "extra" notes, this MP3 will show you why.  About half the notes in the song are bass drones-- the same note repeated over and over-- done in counterpoint to the melody.  They are easy to play, as they seldom change, and they add a richness to the sound that just makes the song.

A few words of warning:

1.  Due to an apparent glitch in the program, some of the strummed chords may sound louder than the rest of the notes, depending on your computer.  They are NOT supposed to be louder.  This does not happen when playing an actual guitar, so not to worry.

2.  I neglected to write instructions to slow down a bit for the finale, so MJ programmed the song exactly the way I wrote it.  Trouble is, I can't play it that fast!  It definitely sounds good that way, but don't worry if you have to slow down a bit at the end.  Just don't slow down so much that it drags, and you'll be fine.  MJ tells me he can't play it that fast, either.  Hooray for computers!

3.  Remember, this is not supposed to be an easy song to play, so don't feel bad if you don't get it down perfectly, right away. But do practice until you can make it sound easy-- audiences love it.

Go ahead and comment if you like the MP3, especially if it helps you learn the song.  MJ is programming these MP3s for free, and I really want him to know how much his efforts are appreciated.

The Day Dawn Is Breaking

There are no hard chords in this song. Although G7addF may look odd, it's rather easy to play. It's just like a normal G7, except you have to add the F note on the fourth string, with your little finger.  The only really difficult part is getting the whole song up to speed.  It sounds OK played slowly, so you can play it anywhere from half speed to as posted, if you are playing it as an instrumental solo. If you intend to sing it or accompany singers, the guitar part needs to be played at the metronome speed listed on the tab.

This is the same speed called for in the hymnal, and it IS fast. I recommend that you practice it at half speed until you can play it perfectly, before attempting to increase the speed. That's how I learned it.

If you have trouble with barre chords, you may be tempted to substitute the regular F and G chords for the barred FI and GIII.  If you do, the chords may not follow the melody, and, at the end of the verse, the alternate transition:  F - G - C will actually be slower than the FI - GIII - C as written.  An acceptable compromise, if you just cannot do barre chords at all, is to play the regular F, then slide it up two frets for an alternative G, thus:  F = xx3211,  G = xx5433. While this does not give as full a sound, or follow the melody perfectly, it is as fast as using the full barre chords, and does give an idea of the melody.

This song is in the public domain.

For those who do not speak Spanish

The previous post was written in Spanish for the benefit of my many Latino readers.  It tells them how to use this site to find the Spanish lyrics to the hymns published here.  English is still the normal language of this blog, but I want to recognize that more than half of Church members worldwide speak Spanish.  Rather than clutter the blog with links to each tab in both languages, I wrote a translation table.  If you want to know the Spanish name of any of the hymns in the Spanish-language version of Hymns, you can look it up in the link, "Himnos y Hymns," or just click here.  You may not find the hymn you are looking for, as over a hundred of the English hymns have not been translated, while 21 appear only in Spanish.

Himnos y Hymns

¡Bienvenidos! mís amigos hispanohablantes.

La mayoría de los himnos que les escriben en este sitio les escriben en inglés, pero la música no cambia mucho de una idioma a la otra.  Pero, la programa buscadora de este sitio les buscara solo por sus nombres ingleses.  Entonces, he provecho una lista de los nombres de los himnos en todos los dos idiomas. Para verla haz click aquí, o busca el link que se llama “Himnos y Hymns.”

La lista esta en dos partes: ordenado alfabeticamente por el nombe español, y también por el numero del himno.

Para el guitarista, se debe cambiar los nombres de las acuerdas de las letras (del estilo inglés) por los nombres del estilo español, de la siguente forma:

do = C,    re = D,    mi = E,    fa = F,    sol = G,    la = A,    ti = B  

Todas las otras partes de los nombres de las acuerdas no cambian: 

Do#m7 = C#m7, etc.

Sing We Now At Parting

No, I didn't add this just for General Conference, though I did love the way the Tabernacle Choir sang it!  I've been working on it for weeks.

This is not an easy song to play on the guitar.  It uses LOTS of barre chords, and relies heavily on some of the more difficult ones.  My only excuse is that it's beautiful.  I have tried to arrange it so that the chord transitions come as naturally as possible, which you may think isn't very.  I won't argue.  It's in C, so you could dumb it down and just strum C, F, and G7, if you only want to accompany a singer, but you won't get any of the melody notes that way.

On my classical guitar, it sounds way better if you finger-pick the chords as arpeggios, than simply strumming the chords, as shown in the first verse, but I've included both ways, as the left hand is a bit different if you're finger-picking.  You can leave out some of the harder chords that way, especially some of the Fv's, which I find hard to fret well.  In this way, the arpeggio version is actually easier!

No bar-by-bar explanation on this one.  If you're good enough to play it, you won't need it, and if you're a beginner, the explanations won't help.

Be Still, My Soul

My daughter Amy requested this hymn. If I’ve got it right, [NOT QUITE!  See Amy's comment.]  her best friend had just died suddenly, her husband was recovering from a triple stroke, and she also had to cope with her three-year-old,  autistic son, while holding down a major ward calling. One of her Relief Society sisters sang this hymn to her. It was the first time she had heard it.  The message, the melody, and the gorgeous harmonies really impressed her. They’ll impress nearly anyone, but they were perfect for her at that moment. This is for you, Amy.


This is NOT a song for beginners!  Even though it's all strummed, and slowly at that, with no arpeggios or melody notes, the chords are not easy.  For those who are not afraid of barre chords, it's not too bad, but there are a few unusual ones.  The harmonies and gorgeous chord progressions make it worthwhile to learn them, though.

It's in the key of F.  No, it's not any better if you transpose it.  The first line is the easiest, containing only normal C and F chords, plus a Cmaj7, which is an easy chord to play, and sounds great.  If you have trouble changing from F to C and back, you'll want to get some help before you tackle the rest of the song, as these are about the easiest changes in the song.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  It's not easy, just worth it.

The next line basically repeats the chord progressions of the first line, but one octave higher.  Instead of Cmaj7, there's a Bb, for a slightly different harmony.  It's just a barred A.  If you're still with me, you've pretty much got it licked.  The rest of the barre chords are just variations of the barred E and barred A, played at different frets.

The  Dm/Av in the third line is only unusual in that you DO play the bass string.  This is necessary for the melody.  Read the name of this chord, "D minor with an A bass, barred 5th fret."  Don't let the Roman numerals throw you, they only describe where the barre goes. Play the rest of the chords as shown in the chord charts.


The count is mostly a straightforward 4/4, but it's syncopated, because each verse begins on the SECOND count of the measure.  I have put in underscores to show how the notes are extended over several counts.  For example, the chord played for the word "soul" in the second measure is extended for three counts, while the chord for the word "on" in the next measure is held for one-and-a-half counts.  Thus, the bold face & under the word "thy", to show it is only half a count.  Trust me, it comes out even.  If this does not make sense to you, click HERE to listen to an a capella version.  After you hear it once, you should have no trouble.  You'll want to get the beat right, as this combination repeats in every line.

At the end of the song, I have included the finale, but also the repeat sign.  You can either repeat from the next-to-last verse, or play the final measure and stop.

Comments from beginners

I welcome comments, if they pertain to the music.  I get a lot from beginning guitarists.  If you have a question or comment that's too long or that you don't want to share with everyone, email me HERE.  Here's a response I wrote to Melissa, who asked about the difference between strumming and picking:

IN GENERAL, tabs are for picking, and cheat sheets are for strumming.  To see the difference, check out both links to "Dream a Little Dream of Me",  which I have posted in both forms.  Some of my tabs are arranged for strumming AND picking. They will say at the top of the first page, "Strum all chords."  In other tabs, where some chords are to be picked and others strummed, the strummed chords are indicated by a wiggly line at the left of the chord.  In all cases, though, it is possible to strum any of the chords, whether so marked or not.  All of these tabs are my own arrangements, and I've written them the way I like to play them.  You may have different preferences.

If you just want to accompany singing, by all means, just strum the chords, and disregard the tab.  Usually this will work fine, but sometimes I leave out a chord, when I only need a single note from it, and that note is covered in the tab.  I never mention this, either in the tab or in the posting about the tab, because the songs on this blog are intended for instrumental guitar solos. 

A good source for those who want to accompany singers is the book, Hymns, Simplified, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It's arranged for easy piano, but also contains guitar chords, with chord charts at the back of the book.

If I had unlimited time, I would add a section of cheat sheets to the blog, but I also have a full-time job, two major callings, and a HUGE family.  If you would like to write cheat sheets for the blog, send me a couple to review!

For new readers

All the tabs were arranged and tabbed (and copyrighted) by me. They are hosted on my "mission" website, so I can keep control, hence the links. Any that are based on music not in public domain say so in the related posting. I have permission from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to publish hymns with their copyright, under the same rules as the hymnal: they are for "incidental home or church use." You can print them, copy them, and play them, but not for money or for public distribution. Please follow these rules; I DON'T want to lose the Church's permission to publish their hymns!

Most of the tabs are intended to be used for instrumental solos in church. Contrary to popular opinion, there is nothing in the Bishop's Handbook forbidding the use of guitars for music in church, even in Sacrament Meeting, according to Elder Moody, who wrote the relevent parts of that handbook. He said, "We are a worldwide church, and do not discriminate against any musical tradition or instrument, as long as the music played is in keeping with the sacred character of the meeting." The bishop decides what is in keeping and what is not. I have heard brass, and even bagpipes, used for special numbers in Sacrament meetings; there is no reason why a guitar cannot also be used the same way. I have done so many times, sometimes playing hymns to accompany singers, and sometimes as an instrumental solo.

For those new to my tabs, please do not let the Roman numerals after some of the chords scare you off. That's just my way of indicating where the barre goes when playing barre chords. It's based on the way barres are indicated in classical guitar music. I  believe you'll find it handy and intuitive. If so, please spread the word. At present, there is no standardized way in tablature to indicate when a chord is a barre chord, and where on the neck it is to be played. I'm hoping this way of notating barre chords will catch on. All other chord symbols follow standard notation.

High on the Mountain Top in G (for beginners)

Actually, it's played a lot like the version in C. Most beginners find it easier to play in the key of G than in C, as there are no barre chords. This version includes a couple of minor chords, where the other version only has single notes, but they are very easy, common chords. If you already know them, you may find it easier to play the chord than to learn the melody line. The tab is simpler, too, without split measures, metronome count, etc. In the second line, there is one pull-off and one slide, but you can just play the notes without using those techniques, and it'll still sound good. No special instructions are needed to play this version, just play the tab as it is written.

High on the Mountain Top is in the public domain. The patriotic lyrics were taken from a poem by Joel Hills Johnson. Click HERE for the story of how this poem came to be written, including the fifth and sixth verses, which do not appear in the hymnal.

High on the Mountain Top in C (intermediate version)

Actually, it's easy, if you can do the barre chords.  Much as I hate to split measures between two lines, I've done so on every line, as that's the way it's written in the hymnal. About the only changes I've made from the hymnal have to do with the tempo.  If you try playing this as a guitar solo at the speed called for in the hymnal, it will really drag, so I've specified a much faster beat.  I've also recast it in 4/4 instead of 2/2.  The difference is almost imperceptible, and I find it easier to count "1-2-3-4" than "1-&-2-&".  If you want to be perfectly faithful to the original, emphasize the #3 beat, so it's equal to the #1. That's the only difference. 

In some ways, this song is easier than the "beginner" version in G, as there are no minor chords, and all the transitions are straightforward, if you are comfortable with barre chords. The only remotely difficult transitions are in the 5th - 6th measures and 9th - 10th measures, where you have to slide the whole GIII chord down to GbII to catch the F# on the first string with the index finger, then back again immediately  to GIII for the chord. This may seem a bit odd to you, but it's one of the things barre chords were invented for.

High on the Mountain Top is in the public domain. The patriotic lyrics were taken from a poem by Joel Hills Johnson. Click HERE for the story of how this poem came to be written, including the fifth and sixth verses, which do not appear in the hymnal.

How Gentle God's Commands, again

As promised, here's the C version.  Actually, it's played very much like the A version, but uses more chords and a slightly different pattern pick.  For a really dynamite sound, start with the A version, play through the first verse, then do a key change by switching to the first verse of the C version, then switch back to the second verse of the A version, play the arpeggios in A, minus the final chord, and then change keys back to C again, for the last verse. Switching keys three times makes it sound hard, but it really is no harder than playing the whole song through once in each key.

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief MP3

A really nice guy named MJ Hufford has offered to create automated MP3 files of some of my tabs, so you can hear them exactly as written.  This is his first one.  I hope he does lots more!  MJ is also the creator and guiding light of an entire online guitar community called,  [Insert shameless plug!]  Actually, it's a great site for all kinds of guitarists, but especially those who don't like nasty stuff.  MJ is a cool dude.  If you like the idea of more MP3s, leave a comment on this post, or email me, especially if you have a particular favorite that you'd like to hear.

How Gentle God's Commands

Two versions -- an easy one in A, that uses only TWO chords (E and A), and a harder one in C that requires barre chords and harder techniques.  Both are in public domain.

First, the easy version.  The first verse uses pinched chords, and there are only two measures in the whole verse that require more than one pinch.  Easy.  It's in 3/4 time, and all the notes are quarter-notes. There are a couple of measures where only two of the three beats are shown.  In both cases, that's the first and third beats.  You can let the first beat ring for two counts (a half-note), or damp the first beat to a quarter-note and insert a quarter-rest.  Or, you can mix and match.  It's a simple tune to learn, but still sounds good.  If you're playing steel strings, you might try using finger-picks on this one.  If you're playing nylon strings, use your fingernails, for a crisp, "classical guitar" sound, or use your fingertips, if you want a mellow tone.

 In the fifth measure, the A chord is slightly changed.  Note the F# played on the third string at the fourth fret.  It's just a bit of a stretch, but don't leave it out or substitute another note for it; it's necessary to carry the melody.  It also provides a nice contrast with the normal A chord in the next measure.

The second verse is in 6/8 time, so all the notes are eighth-notes.  The chording is the same as the first verse, but the chords are all "broken chords".  A lot of "extra" drone notes on the open A string and E string are set in, to fill out the bass.  Rock the right hand, playing the bass notes with the thumb, and the melody notes with the fingers.  The audience will think it sounds much more difficult than the first verse, but it's actually very nearly as easy.  If you're comfortable with barre chords, substitute a barred Av for the last note, for a dynamite finale.

Praise to the Man

This is about as easy as it gets!  The only thing even faintly scary about this song is the F/C chord.  Read that, "F with a C bass," and you won't be scared.  It's just a normal F chord, but you add the C on the 5th string, third space, with your pinkie, to follow the melody.  Or, if you are already comfortable with barre chords, just play the full-barre F, but avoid the #6 string.  If you really are a beginner, just play a regular, four-string F, but it won't sound quite as good.

There are also pull-offs in measures # 3, 11,  and 27.  These are easy to do.  Fret the second string in the first space (C) with your index finger, and simultaneously in the third space (D) with your pinkie.  When you pluck the string with your right hand, only the D will sound, of course.  Leaving the index finger in place, pull the pinkie off the string, so it plucks the string again, sounding the C.  This produces a legato sound, (search "ligado" on this blog), and also allows you to play the two-note sequence much faster than you otherwise could.

The song was originally written in 2/4 time, but I have re-cast it in 4/8.  There is actually no difference, except that it's easier to count in eighth notes.  The metronome setting has therefore been increased to 132.  To be perfectly faithful to the piano music in the hymnal, it should have been somewhere between 152 - 192, but this just sounds too fast to me.  If you are accompanying a singer, 132 would probably be too slow, but if you are playing it as a guitar solo, the speed is not terribly important, anyway.

Both the tune and the lyrics are in the public domain.

How Great Thou Art

An all-time favorite of the entire Christian world.  The arrangement is my own, but the  lyrics are NOT in public domain.  I could not obtain permission to publish them, so, sorry-- no lyrics!  If you simply MUST have them, they are in the LDS Hymnal, where they are published with permission.

Most of the chords are easy and common, with a few exceptions.  You'll want to use the FI instead of the normal, four-string version, as the bass strings are what lend the chord its fullness.  The  G7 add 5 chord is just a normal G7, with one finger added.  It's no harder to play than a normal C7.  It's only the name that makes it look tough, but the sound is beautiful, and necessary for the melody.

You can either pinch all the chords, or strum some of them.  I have put in strum lines on a few chords, to illustrate how to do this, but you can strum as many as you like-- or none at all.  I've put in some of those "dread arpeggios" in the refrain, to make it sound different from the verses, and because I like them.  They also liven up a song that otherwise seems to drag a bit, when played as a purely instrumental solo.

There are a couple of places where slightly non-standard techniques are used, but they are easier than standard, rather than the reverse.  In the second measure of the refrain ("Then sings my soul, my Sav-ior..."), the D note at the third fret, second string can be most easily reached by flattening the little finger of the left hand briefly, instead of moving the finger.  This leaves the fingers in an advantageous position for the transition to the following FI chord.  Similarly, five bars later, on the word "great", you can catch the A on the third string (second fret) by flattening the middle finger briefly, instead of moving it to the next string and back again.  This avoids a finger dance that I find a bit awkward.

The finale is my own, and you can certainly leave it out, by simply deleting the BVII chord and slide, going straight to the CVIII.  I originally put it in because I have short arms and small hands, and had trouble reaching the CVIII while staying in rhythm.  Unless I really concentrated, I'd hit the BVII every time!  Once, I did it while performing, so I just faked a "Hawaiian" riff, and slid the whole chord up a notch.  It sounded great, the congregation loved it, and I've been playing it that way ever since!  If your fingers squeal on the strings when you slide, spray the strings with string lubricant, available at guitar shops or online.

Do not use any kind of grease or oil to lube strings, unless you just love changing them.  Grease and oil are dirt magnets, and will pull dirt right out of your fingers.  Before you know it, your strings will sound dull and hard to tune.  I tell my students to wash their hands with soap, before they pick up the guitar, to cut the natural oil in their fingertips.

We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet

This song is unusual, in that it is actually easier to play the melody from the tab than to strum accompaniment from the chords. That’s because strumming it requires frequent, fast chord changes, especially between G7 and F. The tab allows you to simply play the needed note as a melody note, without changing the chord at all, so most of the song is played from the C chord.

There is one barre chord in the entire song, a GIII.  Of course, you can substitute a normal G, or use the G7 position, without playing the #1 string, as I do in the rest of the song, but the melody won’t be exactly right.  All the G7 chords shown in the tab are actually Gs, but it’s just lots easier to fret the chord as a G7 and leave out the F on the high E string, than it is to change from C to G.  I’ve specified the four-string F chord, as it’s easier to play than the full barre F, and the musical difference in this case is not great.  But if you can do bar chords easily, the full, six-string F does sound a bit better.

I’ve included all the chord changes needed for strumming accompaniment, in small type, in italics, in brackets, to minimize confusion.  You can replace some of the single notes with strummed chords, or pinched chords, for variety, when playing solo.  It also makes a lovely duet, with one guitar playing lead, and the other strumming.  If you are playing with a more legato* instrument, such as a violin or flute, pinched chords, near the bridge, give a more classical sound. 

There are lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs in this song.  If you don’t like such ligados*, you can eliminate them, and just play each note normally, but that sounds rather staccato* to my ear.  Putting in the ligados did make it somewhat more challenging to write clearly, though.  Fourteen of the seventeen measures either begin or end with a ligado that crosses the bar.  It was inevitable that at least one of them would also cross from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. 

* The term legato comes from Itallian, and refers to the sound of notes that flow into each other.   Staccato is its opposite: notes that end abruptly.  The phrase, “La-la-la-la-la,” is legato, while, “Dot-dot-dot-dot-dot,” is staccato.  These two terms are used in all orchestral, choral, and piano music.  Ligado comes from Spanish, like other classical guitar terms, and indicates a hammer-on or a pull-off.  These are only two of several popular techniques for producing the legato sound, but those other techniques, such as slides, taps, and harmonics, are never called ligados.  Ligados are the only legato techniques used in this song.

Technical stuff:

When I write tab, I indicate ligados by tying the notes together with underscores.  Other techniques are indicated in other ways, specific to the technique.  Slides are shown by a slash between two notes: a forward slash (/) means slide to a higher note, a back slash (\) means slide to a lower note.  Harmonics are indicated by an exclamation point before the note: !12 means to play a harmonic at the twelfth fret, with the string open.  Taps are shown by the word Tap, in italics, above the tab.  If I don’t have room, I just use the capital T.  This can be confusing, because the capital T above the tab is also frequently used by other tab writers to indicate a thumb wrap.  I have small hands and a wide-neck guitar, so I never do thumb wraps.

Published by permission of the copyright holder.


Here's a cool tool!  It's online, and it's free. No axes to grind, (you should forgive the expression!), just something really useful.  See "Metronome online" in the links section.

He Is Risen

I had intended to publish this for Easter, but somehow filed it in the wrong folder and forgot it, until Jared Hillam sent me this request:

Hi Don,

I've really enjoyed learning your rendition of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief."

I was wondering if you happend to have a tab for "He Has Risen." My wife was playing it on the piano and I thought it would be really neat on the guitar.


Jared Hillam

Well, Jared, thank YOU for reminding me! This is indeed a beautiful song. It goes well with a piano, and makes a fantastic duet with a violin! A piano tends to drown out my classical guitar, but you could play it on an electric guitar, and adjust the volume as needed.

The tab is pretty straightforward, without any special chords or techniques, except you really do need to play the F and G chords as full barre chords, to follow the melody. I especially like the contrast between the pinched chords and the strummed ones. Remember, the GIII chord is just an E, barred at the third fret, and you're in business.

This piece is in the public domain.

Music theory for real newbies

CPA OTR Trucker asked:

When you start talking 7ths and 5ths, etc. I get blown away . . . I know a few basic cords but I am really a total newbie . . . I really don't know where to start. Will you provide me with some guidance?


Well, OTR, we’ve all been there! There are two kinds of learning that have to happen to turn you into a musician: muscle learning, and theory. When you train your hands to make chords, that’s muscle learning. It’s not so different from learning any other physical skill. After much practice, your muscles learn to do it by habit, and you have to struggle to do it differently. That’s one reason to learn from a teacher, who will make sure you learn to do it RIGHT by habit, so you don’t have to unlearn it and relearn it right later, when you discover the limitations of doing it the wrong way. In fact, the reason the “right way” to play the guitar IS the right way, is because it’s EASIER, once you learn how. Once or twice in a generation, along comes a genius like Jimi Hendrix or Andres Segovia, to show us an even better way, but that’s another story. The theory part is “head learning.” That seems to be what’s got you stumped. I’ll try to go back to the very beginning.

When a string vibrates, the note produced is determined by the length and thickness of the string, and the tension on it. To change the note, you can either change the tension, as in tuning, or change the vibrating length of the string. The first stringed instruments were like harps, with a different length string for each note desired. Eventually, some genius figured out that you could change the length of the vibrating part (the “speaking length”) by putting a board behind the strings, and pressing down with the fingers in different places, to make different notes. It was soon discovered that the spots for making some notes were separated by very different intervals. This was especially apparent when frets were invented. Some of the notes were nearly twice as far apart as others! Most notes are separated by approximately equal intervals. But the intervals B-to-C, and E-to-F, are only half the size of all the others. Guitar makers quickly learned that they could not make all the notes on all the strings, unless they placed their frets at every half interval. That’s why the notes on the E string are E (open), F (1st fret), F# (2nd fret), G (3rd fret), etc. E and F are separated by only a half-tone, but F, G, A, and B are separated by a whole tone, or two frets.

This becomes important to know, when you are trying to figure out the scale of a song. The key of C, for arcane reasons, is the one that includes only the named notes (the white keys on a keyboard): C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. There are no sharps or flats (the black keys on the keyboard). In every other key, some of the notes of the scale fall on a sharp or flat (black key). For example, if you start playing a scale on the G string, the notes will be G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#. The reason for this is that the human ear expects to hear a scale in which the first note and second note are separated by a whole tone, the second and third by a whole tone, the third and fourth by a half-tone, etc. If we number the notes of the scale 1 through 7 and start counting on any given note, the scale will be:

1 (+ 2 frets) 2 (+ 2 frets) 3 (+ 1 fret) 4 (+ 2 frets) 5 (+ 2 frets) 6 (+ 2 frets) 7 (+ 1 fret) 8

where 8 is the same note as 1, only an octave (from the Greek word for 8) higher. If we start counting on a C, the notes of the scale will be:


But if we start on D, the scale would look like this:

D E F# G A B C# D

The intervals are the same, no matter which note we start on. Musicians recognize this by referring to the notes of the scale by their interval, instead of by the note the scale starts on. Thus, in the key of D, the third note is F#, and the interval between the first and third note (four frets) is called a “third”, the interval between the first note and the fifth note (7 frets) is called a “fifth”, etc. We can even speak of intervals greater than an octave this way, as in a “ninth” (fourteen frets), etc.

Because the guitar has six strings, tuned to different notes, the interval between the lowest note on the guitar (the open bass E string) and the highest note easily played (the twelfth fret on the high E string) is three octaves, so it is perfectly possible to play two notes separated by a ninth, an eleventh, or a thirteenth, using two different strings.

It is also possible to construct other scales with different interval patterns, but this one is the most common, and is therefore called the “major” scale. Middle Eastern music, and lots of western music, is built on a scale in which the third note and sixth note are each one fret flat of their position in the major scale:

1, 2, 3b, 4, 5, 6b, 7, 8.

This "minor" scale makes the interval between the minor 6th and 7th notes three frets, and gives the scale an interesting sound. In the key of C minor, the scale would look like this:

C D Eb F G Ab B C

Remember that Eb and D# are the same note, midway between D & E. The names depend on which direction you are counting. D minor would look like this:

D E F G A Bb C# D

C# is also the same note as Db, halfway between C and D. There are reasons for this difference in nomenclature, but they are too technical to go into here.


Two or more notes played at the same time are called a chord. Most commonly played chords have at least three different notes. Each chord is named for:

--the first note of its scale,
--whether it is a major or minor scale,
--which notes of the scale it contains,
--any other special characteristics.

The most common chord contains the first, third, and fifth notes of the major scale, and is therefore called a “major” chord. Thus, the chord of C major contains the notes: C, E, and G. C minor has the notes: C, Eb, and G. Since music used to all be hand written, it was easier to leave out the word “major”, unless it was specifically needed for clarity, so the C major chord was written as “C”. Minor chords were indicated by the letter m. A chord in which the seventh note has been flatted is called a seventh chord, thus:

C = (1 - 3 - 5)
Cm = (1 - 3b - 5)
C7 = (1 - 3 - 5 - 7b)
Cm7 = (1 - 3b - 5 - 7b)

Most instruments only play one note at a time, so most musicians do not know much about chord theory, but guitarists begin with chords. Guitars also have so many strings that it is possible to play almost any note on the guitar in several different ways. For example, the E note formed by the open, high E string (the #1 string) on the guitar occurs in only one spot on the piano, the harp, the flute, etc. But on the guitar, you can play it by playing:

- the E string, open
- the B string, fretted at the fifth fret
- the G string, fretted at the ninth fret
- the D String, fretted at the fourteenth fret, etc.

This is bad enough when you are playing only one note at a time, but if you are trying to read chords as shown in piano music, you will quickly learn that ordinary sheet music is not well-suited to guitars. Most guitarists just memorize one way of playing each of the chords they use most often, and think of them as “the” way to play that chord. This works fine, if all you want to do is strum accompaniments for a vocalist. But if you want to learn to play a particular riff exactly as it is played on a record, or add melody notes to your music, or make the chords “follow” the melody as it rises and falls, something else is needed. That something is tablature, called “tab” for short.

The five-line musical staff of sheet music shows the musician where each note falls on the scale, and it is presumed that he knows where to find that note on his instrument. In tablature, the guitarist is shown exactly how to make each note on the guitar, which string to play it on, which fret to use, etc.

The six lines of tab represent the six strings of the guitar, as you would see them if you bent your head over and looked. (Don’t do it. You’ll end up playing with a bent wrist, and give yourself tendinitis.) That is, the top line in the tab is the high E string, the next is the B string, then the G string, etc. The numbers are the frets where that string is to be fretted. The number 0 is used to denote a string that is played unfretted, or "open". If there is no number on a string, don’t play it.

Unlike “real” sheet music, tablature has not been around very long, and there are few standardized ways of writing it. Some tab writers put in vertical measure lines (or “bars”), but not all do. The big disadvantage of tablature is that there is no easy way to tell how long a note lasts, unlike sheet music, with its half notes, quarter notes, etc. Fortunately, most notes on an acoustic guitar seem to come out as eighth notes, which makes tab-writing easier. So, tab is most useful for those who want to learn how to play a song they are already familiar with.

It’s easier to read tab if the lyrics of the song are included, so you can see where the notes go. That’s great if the song writer is dead, and cannot object to you publishing his work without permission. This is called, “being in the public domain,” which means that the copyrights have expired (or never existed at all). Most hymns were not written for guitar, so the guitar arrangement usually is the intellectual property of the guitarist who arranged it. The sticking point is the lyrics, which often are still in copyright.

Without the permission of the copyright holder, you cannot publish the lyrics, which means you cannot put them on the tab, even if you’re not charging money. You can usually get away with putting them on a sheet of tab you create for your own use, but many aspiring tab writers have learned to their sorrow that publishing on the web is indeed publishing, as far as the courts are concerned. That’s why you seldom see tabs with lyrics on the Internet. All the tabs I publish are either in the public domain, or I have gained permission from the copyright holder to publish them. Getting permission is usually a more difficult and lengthy process than arranging the music and writing the tab.

For further instruction in chord theory, see “Chord Theory”, and “What’s all this stuff about 7ths and 5ths, etc.?” on this blog.

Teach Me to Walk In the Light


At the top of the page is the title of the hymn, and the hymn number, as found in the LDS hymnal, Hymns. Then follow general instructions, such as “Strum all chords.” This means that anywhere you see a chord in the tablature, it is to be strummed, not plucked or pinched. Individual notes are always plucked unless otherwise instructed.

Each line of music is divided into four separate parts. The top line shows the chord names. They are given only when the chord changes, so the first line of the tab shows the E chord only once, though it is strummed nine times. The B7 chord shown next continues onto the second line, even though it is only shown on the first line, etc. Sometimes, special instructions are also included in this line, such as, slow, or hold.

The next six lines are the actual tablature. Each horizontal line of dashes represents a string of the guitar, with the top one representing the high e-string, the next representing the B-string, etc., as shown at the beginning of the tab. I usually omit the names of the strings when writing tab, unless they are tuned in a non-standard tuning, but I put them in on this song, for the use of true beginners.

In reading tablature (tab for short), the strings are fretted where the numbers indicate the proper fret: 1 = the first fret, etc. A zero -- 0 -- indicates the string is to be played “open” (unfretted). If there is no number on the string, do not play it. Vertical lines indicate measures, as in traditional music.

The next line is the lyrics of the song. Since the purpose of the tablature is to teach how to play a guitar instrumental solo, only the first verse of the song is included, for those who are familiar with it, to help them know where they are in the song.

The bottom line contains the time count, or tempo. This song is in “three-four” time, meaning that each measure contains three beats, and the first beat of each measure is accented by being played a bit louder than the others: ONE two three; ONE two three, etc. The accented beats are shown in bold face type. In general, each beat is accompanied by either a strummed chord or a plucked note, except for the last measure of each line, where the chord is strummed and allowed to ring through the other two beats, which are counted, but not played. This is shown by placing the other two beats in parentheses: (2 3). In the last line, the third beat of the first measure is also treated this way, and is shown in parentheses, too: (3) .

The next-to-last measure is also counted differently. There are six notes in the measure, but they are “eighth notes”, instead of the “quarter notes” that make up the rest of the song. The measure takes exactly the same length of time as the other measures, because the notes are played twice as fast. To count these notes, count the last two measures, “ONE-and-two-and-three-and-ONE, (two, three)”. The beat remains steady.

All but the very last note of the next-to-last measure can be easily played by simply strumming an E chord slowly, so each string sounds separately. You’ll have to stretch your pinkie to reach that note in the 4th fret, or else, let your hand slide slightly up the neck of the guitar, hit the note, then slide right back down to play the E chord.

Chord charts are shown at the end of the song. If you don’t know how to play a chord, the chord charts show you how. The vertical lines represent the guitar strings, and the horizontal lines show the frets. The top line shows the nut of the guitar, with Xs above strings that are not played. Finger positions are usually shown with zeros, or large, black dots, but I have used numbers to indicate which finger is placed where: 1 = the index finger, 2 = the middle finger, 3 = the ring finger, and 4 = the pinky.

I have tried to arrange the song so it would be as easy as possible to play, since I’m arranging it for my seven-year-old student, Meylin. If you are really a rank beginner, start by just strumming the chords as shown in the counting line, until you can make the chord changes without missing a beat. Only then should you try to learn how to put in the melody notes.

Most of the notes are part of the chords, and can be played just by selecting the proper string. Some of the notes are different, though. In the first line, a couple of the “extra” notes in the second fret can be reached just by flattening the left hand across the strings. Others need to be added with the pinky. In the third line, the E chord can be changed to an E7 just by lifting the 3rd finger. Replace it to hit the third note in the next measure.

This song is not in the public domain, but I have received written permission of the copyright owner (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) to publish it in this format, for personal or incidental, non-commercial home or church use.

Softly and Tenderly easier version

Due to requests to make this song a bit easier to play, I've tried to do so without dumbing it down, just simplifying it a bit. If you're a beginning guitarist, try this one first. I've removed the hammer-ons and pull-offs, and changed some of the chords to single melody notes. Otherwise, it's the same, so if you can already play the harder version, this may not be much of an improvement for you. Sometimes its aggravating that a piece that sounds so simple when played well is actually rather difficult to play. Sorry!

I Need Thee Every Hour

The chords are pretty standard, except for C9, which is just a normal C chord with the D note added with the little finger. Try to use the full barre chords if you can, as they emphasize the melody. The final measure, ending in C VIII, is just an E chord, barred at the 8th fret. This is much easier to do than it appears, as the frets are so much closer together at the top end of the fretboard.

Note that chords with a wavy line to the left are to be strummed, while others, without the wavy line of slashes, are to be pinched. Of course, you can strum them all or pinch them all if you wish, but playing it this way adds variety to the sound of what otherwise would be a rather simple song.

Public Domain.

Come, Ye Children of The Lord

Two versions-- one easy, one somewhat harder. Oddly enough, though I arranged both versions, and have labeled the harder one "performance version", I like the easy one best. It uses plain, easy chords, all strummed, with the melody picked out in single notes, making it perfect for picking out on a steel-string flat-top. Which I seldom do. So seldom that I gave away my old flat-top some years ago, and don't often miss it.

In either version, you can hit the D note after the F chord with the little finger, a lick that repeats a few times. There's also a repeating lick where you have to hit the A note on the G string from a C chord, which you do by briefly flattening the middle finger, to catch the A, then immediately returning to the C chord.

If you're accompanying singers, definitely use the "easy" version, as the "performance" version has too much other stuff going on, and would either confuse the singers, or distract the audience.

The "performance" version is actually closer to the sheet music printed in the hymnal, which it follows almost perfectly. But frankly, I think it sounds better on the piano or organ than on the guitar.

Ayiti cheri (Haiti Cherie)

One of my favorite creole songs from Haiti. It has no hard chords, no barre chords, no special techniques, besides the Calypso strum, and is in the key of C. It's REALY EASY, except for the strum, and the lyrics, which are entirely in kreyòl, the spoken dialect of Haiti. For those of you who may not be fluent in kreyòl, I've included a pronouncing, etymological, kreyòl-English vocabulary on the last page.

The first page is a cheat sheet, with the kreyòl words on one line, the approximate pronunciation on the second line, and an English translation on the third. You will notice that the words do not mean exactly what Harry Belafonte sang in the English version, but they're mostly fairly close, allowing for "poetic licence."

The next two pages are another cheat sheet, but with the Calypso strum and counting numbers included, and the pronunciation and translation left out. I had some room, so I included chord charts and some notes about kreyòl.

Page Four is a detailed explanation of how to play the Calypso strum, for those who don't already know how. It's tricky to explain, but not so tricky to do, so I'm planning to video it and post the video here soon. I haven't done this before, so it's new ground for me. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

What's all this stuff about 7ths, 5ths, etc.?

Ever wonder why chords have such weird names? Here's a brief lesson on chord theory. See CHORD THEORY in the list of links at right. It contains explanations, charts, and a handy slide rule for finding chord elements and scales. Stuff every guitarist should know.

NOT included is an explanation of my own addition to standard notation- adding Roman numerals to show fret position-- where the barring finger goes in barred chords.

Nearly every chord that can be played on the guitar can be played in several ways. The most common of these alternative fingerings are distinguished by their position. For example, C can be played the regular way, or by barring an A at the III fret, or by barring an E at the VIII fret. Strange as it may seem, there is no universally accepted way to write these chord symbols so a guitarist will know which is meant, even though they sound quite different. After years of struggle, I gave up and invented my own way, based on the way classical guitar music shows position with Roman numerals. If anyone knows a better way, please tell me.

Otro año ha pasado

There are no hard chords in this piece. In fact, there are no chords at all! It's a relatively easy classical piece, based on the soprano and alto lines of the hymn in the Spanish hymnal. It's not in the English hymn book.

One of the hardest things to do in tablature is to convey a complex rhythm. This is even harder when working in a foreign language, particularly one like Spanish, where the words are often run together in peculiar ways when singing. So I wrote out a silly, little ditty in English to illustrate the way the rhythm changes:


Drink some lemonade / sitting in the shade
with a pretty girl / who you love.
Tell her everything / promise her a ring
make her laugh and sing like / Saints above!


Boys and girls are / often seen together
strolling slowly / walking hand in ha__nd.
Summer, winter / any kind of weather.
Ad-o-les-cent / love is truly grand.

These words have nothing at all to do with the actual lyrics of the hymn, and little enough to do with each other, but they do make a kind of sense, if you don’t look too closely! Divisions of measures within each line are shown by slashes.

The refrain (estribillo) is quite different from the verses, in melody, rhythm, and feeling. The verses have a serious tone, while the refrain sounds more like a children’s song. The last word in the second line of the refrain is drawn out, where the tab has a hammered-on C, on the 5th fret of the third string, added almost as if it were an afterthought. Other than that one note, every note of the song has a corresponding syllable in the lyrics-- both the real, Spanish lyrics, and my frivolous ditty above.

Oh, and yes, the phrase, con resolución, does indeed mean that it is to be played “with resolution!” How very appropriate, for a New Years song!

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

It’s not really LDS, or even religious, but it’s such a pretty lovesong, and a chaste one at that, that I couldn’t resist including it as a Valentine’s Day treat. Yeah, I know, it’s barely New Years, but it might take you a while to get this one down pat, as the chord progressions, while beautiful, are a bit unusual. I’m including two versions. If you like instrumental guitar solos, play the tab version. If you’re intending to sing it to someone special, the cheat sheet is probably better. Or, you can do as I do most of the time -- play the chords and sing it, but include some finger-pickin’ as an interlude.

The “cheat” version is intended to be strummed, either with a soft, flat pick or with the thumb. Strum slowly and easily, DOWN up-down-up, DOWN up-down-up, DOWN up-down-up, DOWN up-down-up. The song makes extensive use of barre chords, to bring out the melody, even when chording. They are not especially difficult ones, but you may find the use of the GVII chord (a barred C) difficult, if you are not used to it. I often play it as a four-string chord, which makes it much easier.

The transitions: CIII - B7II - Fm7sus & CIII - B7II - A7 are central to the song. The only really hard part of this is making the transition B7II - A7 quickly. I do it by just lifting the barre and sliding the whole chord two frets toward the nut. It may feel “wrong” to play A7 this way at first, but it’s lots faster than trying to change finger positions to play it the normal way, and it does pre-position your hand perfectly for the full-barre F which follows.

The song will sound LOTS better if you put in the melody notes on the F - Fm phrase. See the tab version for the exact notes to play. The AV - A6V - AV transition is even easier, as all you are doing is moving the little finger. You have to be quick to hit the following E7 and stay in the rhythm, but again, you can do it much faster if you just pick up the barring finger and move the whole hand, playing the chord with the “wrong” fingers. Try hard not to actually slide the chord. It sounds bad if you do, though sliding UP the bass string to the AV works really well. Barbara says it’s her favorite part of the song!

I wrote the tab version in 8/8 time, to make all the notes come out eighth notes, or very nearly all of them. I don’t know what the original time signature was-- 4/4, or even 2/4. I tried writing it as 4/4, and it just looked too “busy” to be easily readable. The hard thing is to make it sound slow and relaxed. It might take a month of practice, which is why I’m posting it now. If you haven’t been working on “Til There Was You” from last year, this makes an acceptable replacement, and it’s not nearly as hard. It even works well as a duet -- if one of you has a throaty, contralto voice like Mama Cass!

This is NOT in public domain, so -- SORRY! You don't get the full lyrics with the tab. I've included them with the cheat sheet, because you can't write a cheat sheet without the lyrics! The arrangements are all mine, including simplified (really!) chords. Papa Denny must be double-jointed, to play the chords he's written. I can't!