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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.