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Heark, All Ye Nations

This song is in the public domain, which is good, as it’s a sprightly song that’s fun to play.  The tempo is fast, the chord changes are fast, and there are a few interesting chords, but none that are especially difficult for intermediate guitarists who can cope with normal barre chords.  There are a few minor challenges, though.

The first occurs right in the very first measure.  The ligado --2__0-- on the third string is nearly impossible to do well, if you do it as a normal pull-off.  But it’s easy if you treat it as a “push-off” instead. Push the string toward you and away from the fretboard, plucking the string with the back of the fingertip, instead of the front edge, as in a normal pull-off.  This is still called a pull-off, but the motion is the exact opposite to what you’re used to.  It may seem odd at first, but is much easier and faster than pulling, at least in this circumstance.  Other pull-offs and hammer-ons are done normally.

The first measure of the fourth line also has a few tricky spots.  If you leave the left hand fingers in the C chord shape, and just fret the D on the 2nd string with the pinky, you are actually forming a C9 chord, so there’s no reason to change your hand position.  For this reason, I have shown the index finger position in the chord chart for C9 in lightface type.  It’s not actually part of the chord, but there’s no reason to remove it.  Hit the A on the 3rd string by flattening the middle finger while releasing all the other fingers, preparatory to moving the hand up to the III position for the GIII chord.

Play the G6III in the next measure by moving the pinky from the 4th string to the 2nd string.  This is really easy, because it’s still in the same fret.  Hold the other notes of the chord while doing the pull-off that converts it back to GIII.  Technically, it’s really a G7III, but since you’re not playing the F on the 4th string, but only letting it ring, the difference is academic.

Hit the C note on the 3rd string by flattening the ring finger.  Hit the A note on the same string by moving the barring index finger to the II position.  From here, it’s just about as easy to slide up the neck to the III position and play a CIII, as it is to continue down the neck and play the C/G as written.  I like the sound of the C/G better, so I have called it out in the tab, but you can play it either way, as all the notes of the two chords are identical.  Just the order is different. 

C/G = G-C-E-G-C-E

The first measure on the second page contains another one of those “push-offs” again, exactly like the first measure of the song.  The next measure shows an FI chord, though it’s actually a continuation of the C chord from the previous measure.  But the last chord of the measure is an FI.  Since only the 2nd and 5th strings are being played at the beginning of the measure, and the notes are the same in FI as in C, there’s no reason not to make the change at the beginning of the measure, where you have more time to do it.

In the next-to-last measure of the line, you may have trouble with the double hammer-on:
--0__1__3--.  If you cannot do both, just do whichever is easier for you, or sounds better to you.

Play as many or as few verses as you like, then substitute the last two measures as shown.  Each triplet takes the same time as a single count of the other measures, so practice until you can get them very fast.  Do the quick changes between the GIII and the CIII by flattening the pinky across the strings briefly, then "unflattening" it.  Then slide quickly up the neck to the VIII fret for the final riff.  Sometimes I strum the entire CVIII chord instead of playing the final note, for a fuller sound.

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