This song has a rather quick tempo, though not as fast as the SATB version in Hymns. But it should not be too difficult to play-- if you memorize it first. The lines of music are rather short, and if you try to play at speed from the tab, you’ll spend lots of time hesitating between the end of one line and the beginning of the next, giving the piece a very choppy sound. Practice it that way, and that’s how you’ll learn it.
The solution is to play the song at about half speed at first. Practice until you can play the whole piece at a regular tempo from memory. THEN work on speed. Please trust me on this. You really need to go slowly at first on this piece, even though many parts may seem simple and easy.
I have tabbed some of the chords as pinches, and others as strums, but there’s no specific rule about this. If you feel like playing all pinches, all strums, or changing them up differently than the way I have tabbed them, go ahead.
The last two measures in the first line are a little bit “tricky”. To get the melody notes out of the F chord, you have to lift the middle finger and replace it, then lift the barring index finger in the last measure, and replace it. With a bit of practice, you should be able to do it quite fast, and in perfect tempo, but it does feel a bit odd at first.
The second note in the second line is a grace note (not part of the melody). It is inserted to help the rhythm. Fret the next note, on the 3rd string, by briefly flattening the left pinkie while playing the note. You must immediately correct this flattened condition, in order to play the next note, on the 2nd string. Fret the last note of the second measure (E) on the 2nd string, 5th fret, with the left pinkie. I know, it’s easier to just play the 1st string open, but that makes for a significantly harder transition to the next note played on the 2nd string, 6th fret. You’re going to have to fret that one with the pinkie anyway-- no other way to do it. So, you might as well play the E with the pinkie too. You can leave out the following pull-off if you want, and just play the notes separately, but it sounds way better with the pull-off.
The third line is played almost exactly like the first, with the exception of a few melody notes. What a difference a couple of notes can make! When you play the song at speed, the audience will most likely have no idea you are just repeating the first line, even if they are seasoned guitarists.
The first half of the fourth line is very similar to the first half of the second line. Lift the middle finger and then hammer it on in the 4th space. Play the C note on the third string by flattening the pinkie. The pull-off that bridges the last two measures is very important. If you leave it out, and play the two notes separately, they will sound much too staccato. Also, they will be harder to play quickly in the right tempo.
The Chorus has a lively, up-tempo melody-- so lively in fact, that it seems to go faster than the verse. It’s an illusion. Both are played at exactly the same speed. The second and third notes of the first six measures are grace notes, forming a counterpoint to the melody and giving it drive.
In the fourth measure of the chorus’ first line, switch to a GIII chord, even though you’re only playing a single note. There’s a reason for this. It’s easier to make the change from the C chord here than in the beginning of the next measure, giving just a bit more time to reach the full barre chord.
In the next line, the C/GIII is played exactly like a normal CIII, except that the bass string is fretted by the barring index finger, and the resulting G note is allowed to sound. You could play it as a normal, five-string chord, but the lead note would not be a G. This is not exactly vital, but it’s so easy to do it right. The only difficulty is a rather weird-looking chord name. Read it as, “C with a G bass, barre three.” Some prefer to call it, “C over G,” or even “C slash G.” There are other ways to play this chord, but they don’t sound right, in this spot.
Hold that chord for four measures. This would be difficult if you really had to barre all six strings, but in fact, only the first string and the last two strings actually need to be barred. The rest are part of a barred A-shape, so you’re never actually barring more than three strings at a time. Finger pick the second string notes with the middle finger, and the first string notes with the ring finger of the right hand, and play the notes on the sixth and fifth strings with the thumb. Not only is this the easiest way to play it, but it accents the counterpoint.
The chord change to GIII is easy. Just leave the barre in place and change from an A-shape to an
E-shape. In the last measure of the line, lift the whole hand off the strings when you play the first string open, and then fret the F in the first space lightly with the index finger. The idea is to be ready for the quick chord change to C in the next measure.
In the second measure of the last line, the notes on the fifth and fourth strings (C and E) are grace notes. The final note is a repeat of the partial measure that begins the song. When you return to the beginning of the song for the next verse, ignore that partial measure, and go right into the second measure of the first line.
Play as many verses and you like, but on the last time around, use the final two measures. You’ll have to fret the D in the third space, second string with the pinkie, then quickly move it to the sixth string, third space. Omit the pull-off on the second string. Strumming the C/G chord UP gives you a little more time for the finger dancing, resolves with a bass note, and just sounds all-around cool.
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Next week I will be the featured composer on the new website, LDScomposersdirectory.com (see the link in the FAVORITE LINKS section below the Tabs column at right). Each week they feature a Tuesday Talk with a different LDS composer. Several of the composers mention free sheet music, and some even play guitar. Check out my interview there starting next Tuesday, and while you are there, look around the site.