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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.

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