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Abide With Me!

Originally, I tabbed this as all chords, but soon found that playing the chords as a modified pattern-pick was much easier. For this reason, the chords called out in the tab are for reference only. Do not strum them. Play only the individual notes as shown. There are only two strummed chords, toward the very end of the song, as shown by the wiggly line to the left of each chord.

The song is written in 4/4 time, but I have recast it as 8/8, to make counting easier.  The metronome count is still listed for quarter-notes, as is standard.  That is, each tick of the metronome counts for two of the eighth-notes shown in the tab.  If you find this confusing, practice without the metronome.  Since this is a guitar solo, it won’t matter if your timing is imperfect.

In classical guitar, the fingers of the right hand are labelled p-i-m-a, for the initials of the Spanish words, Pulgar, Indicio, Medio, and Anulario. (“Thumb, Index, Middle, and Ring”) The p-i-m-a notations below the lyrics tell you which finger of the right hand to use when you play each note. Most measures begin with the ring finger (“a”), then play the bass note with the thumb (“p”). The next two strings are played with the m and a fingers respectively.  So the pattern is not only which strings are played, but also which fingers are used: a-p-i-m-a-i-m-i in the first measure.

The pattern is modified in the next measure: a-p-i-m-a-p-i-m, and again in the third verse: a-i-m-i-m-i-m-i.  So the finger pattern and the string pattern are both constantly changing. It makes the song harder to learn (if you are not used to playing fingerstyle or classical guitar), but it actually makes the song easier to perform. I don’t normally specify the right hand fingering, figuring that each guitarist has his or her own preferences. You don’t have to use my fingering, but it’s the easiest way I have found to play the notes called out in this tab. 

In the third measure, you need only play the first three strings, which makes the Fv chord much easier to play.  You only have to barre three strings, and you can play the chord without stretching your hand. Unfortunately, the Fv in the sixth measure is not nearly so easy to play. You have to play all five strings, using all four fingers, and it’s a stretch to reach the F note on the fifth string with the little finger, especially if you have short fingers, as I do.  But the note is necessary for the melody, and the chord shape allows for a quick change to the following CIII

At the end of the second line, the “7th” note of the G7III chord is fretted with the little finger, producing a sound often found in the Blues.  You can even bend the note a bit, if you wish, by stretching the string slightly, to make it sound even more “Blues-y”.  This same chord shows up again in the third measure of the next line, where it’s even easier to play.  This second time, you only have to play the 1st, 2nd, and 6th strings.  If you have a narrow-neck guitar, you can wrap your hand around the neck and fret the 6th string with your thumb, eliminating the barre altogether.

I play a classical guitar, and my fingers are short, so I use the barre version, which makes it super simple to change to the following G7III chord.  Hold this chord with the left hand until the last two measures of the song.  You don’t actually have to change for the CIII chord, as you can just flatten your fingers briefly to fret the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings.

Play ALL the notes in the next-to-last measure with the thumb (p), as a slow strum, on just the strings indicated.  Then, strum all six strings and let it ring.  It will sound like a chord change, even though you have not moved your left hand at all!

This song is in the public domain.