COPYRIGHTS & PERMISSIONS: All arrangements and tabs in this blog are the original work of the blog owner, unless otherwise noted. They may be downloaded and copied at no charge, only for non-commercial church or home use. All other rights reserved. Ask for permissions-- I intend to be generous. Copyright information for each song is listed in its commentary. Arrangements and tabs of public domain songs are still covered by these copyright restrictions. Your cooperation is appreciated.


I am frequently asked if this blog has ever been hacked.  The answer is, Yes.  In the last five years, it has been hacked twice.  Both hacks were by people concerned that I might be publishing pirated material.  (For the record, I do not knowingly pirate material.  Ever.)  In the first case, I was able to ID the hacker and sent him an email politely explaining that I had not tabbed his published recording, which he would have known right away if he had bothered to look at the tab, or had read the posting in which I lamented that my arrangement was not as good as his!  I had published a link to his recording, but unknown to me, the link led to a pirate site.  It looked legit to me, but I immediately took down the link, and have not used that site since.

The other time, I was not able to ID the hacker, so I had to hack his hack to get my message back to him.  This was a person who thought I must be ripping off copyrighted material belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  In my reverse hack, I pointed out that I have received written permission to use the Church's material (under the proper conditions), and offered to show it to him.  He emailed me and apologized.

Both cases could have been avoided if the hacker had bothered to read the material they were so concerned about.  But I also learned an important lesson:  there is no way to know for sure that a private website is not engaging in piracy.  That's why there are so few links to other sites here.

Glory to God on High

The name of the tune used for this hymn is “Italian Hymn.”  It was composed in 1869 by the Italian composer Felice de Giardini (1716–1796), who was living in England at the time.  First published that same year, the tune has been included in LDS hymnals since the 1840 edition of A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Europe.  There were originally five verses, but only three were used in the Collection of Sacred Hymns.  The selection was made by Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor.  The lyrics and music are now in the public domain.

The original tune was written in F, but I have transposed it to A, to make it easier to play on the guitar.  I have also slowed the tempo a bit.  For the first two verses, it wouldn’t matter if you played it faster, but the third verse is nearly all triplets.  If you like playing that fast, so be it, but I prefer to play a bit slower.  Don’t make the mistake of playing the first two verses fast, then slowing down for the triplets.  There is no way to disguise the fact that you are doing just that.  Instead of thinking you are awesome, the congregation will just think you are an amateur.  Far better to play the whole thing at an even tempo, even if it’s a bit slow.

In the second measure, use your pinkie to make the pull-off.  You may feel more comfortable doing this as a “push-off” instead.  Either way, keep the tempo steady.  A steady tempo allows the melody notes to stand out. 

Do the mordant in the fifth measure in the same tempo, by strumming the D chord normally (except for the 1st string), then quickly sliding the whole chord up and down two frets, without striking the strings in the middle of the mordant.  Play the C# on the 2nd string, 2nd space normally, then strum the E chord.  If you do this all without breaking rhythm, you will have the audience eating out of your hand for the rest of the song.

The AV chord at the beginning of the second line is just an E-shape barred at the 5th fret.  It sets up the descending pinches.  You can use either the index and middle fingers of the right hand, or the middle and ring fingers, for all three pinches.  Use the left pinkie to fret the additional notes on the 2nd string in the third measure, and again in the fifth measure.

In the second measure of the third line, the second and third notes are actually part of the strum that begins with the first count, but the strum is slowed way down, so they sound separate notes.  The pull-off in the next measure is easy to do, if you lift the ring finger from the 2nd string and use it to do the pull-off.

You can, if you wish, play the third verse the same way, if you are a beginner, or if you just don’t like adding triplets to “fancy up” the sound.  A simple tune can be highly effective, and very spiritual.  If you would like to add some variety, use the triplets version for the final verse.  This may not actually be the third verse.  The original song had five, but since this is an instrumental solo, and no one is going to be singing anyway, you can play as many verses as you like.

A triplet consists of three notes, played as a quarter-note, and taking a count of ONE beat.  The first note of the triplet is accented.  Some musicians actually count, “ONE-and-a, TWO-and-a, THREE-and-a.”  I find the extra counting more trouble than it’s worth, so I have stuck with the basic, “ONE, two, three”.    To make it more obvious where the triplets end, I have left extra spaces between the last note each triplet and the first note of the following one.  

Nearly all of the triplets begin with either the ring finger or the middle finger of the right hand.  If you are not used to treble string leads, you may want to practice until you get the hang of it.  Treble leads are not any harder than bass string leads, but if you are used to playing the bass string first, your right hand may not want to co-operate.  Pay particular attention to the notes on the 2nd string.  Most of the melody notes in this part of the song occur on this string.  If something doesn’t sound right, check to make sure you’re playing the tab exactly as written, especially on the 2nd string.  The triplets stop after the first measure of the last line, switching instead to a straight 3/4 time for just one measure.  Then switch back to triplets for the 3rd measure. 

Play the third measure of the last line off an AV chord, using whichever right-hand fingers you find easiest.  You could play the same notes off a standard A chord, just by shifting the right hand one string towards the treble side of the neck, at the cost of an extremely fast transition to the final, strummed AV.  It is much easier to make the change after the second measure, where you have an extra 1/8 note to move your left hand to the V space, while playing the open E string.  You may wish to gradually slow down during the last measure of triplets, to clue the audience that the end is coming.

Meditation (Meditaçao)

This post was posted some time ago, but the link failed, and never posted.  Just scroll down for the post.  The link is working now.  Sorry!

Rock of Ages

Short, easy, beautiful piece.  Only twelve full measures, only three chords, all easy.  No barre chords.  No hard or fast changes.  Lots of fun expression-- it can make people weep.  And it’s in the public domain.  What’s not to love? 

Tempo is approximate; don’t even try to use a metronome.  You’ll find yourself wanting to adjust the tempo throughout the song, as you speed up and slow down for emphasis.  The count is approximate, too, as I found it confusing to try to put in sixteenth notes.

I recommend you try to stick with the chord strums and pinches as tabbed, as well as the slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, at least until you get a feel for the arrangement.  Yeah, it’s easier without all that expression, but it’s not nearly as beautiful.  Done correctly, after three verses, you should see members of the congregation dabbing their eyes.

There are two ways to make a tremolo, and this piece requires both, depending on fretboard position.  For notes at the fifth fret and above, make the tremolo by vibrating the fretting finger along the string.  For notes below the fifth fret, vibrate across the string, or the tremolo will be weak, or even inaudible.

A few of the slides and changes require you to use specific fingers:

In the last two measures of the second line, use the middle finger for the slide, leaving the index finger free to fret the G on the 6th string in the last measure.  The ring finger then plays the B in the IV space of the third string, pulling off to G.  It’s not difficult at all, just unusual.

For similar reasons, in the second measure of the last line, I like to use the middle finger for the double slide on the 4th string.  In the next measure, the second note is actually part of the strummed chord, but is a quarter note, for emphasis, while the rest of the chord receives a standard strum. 

Try to hold the tremolo in the penultimate (next to last) measure as long as you can.  You can slide down to the D on the 2nd string if you wish, or play it separately as shown.  The rest of the song need not be played very deliberately for the first two verses, but the last time, play at half speed as shown, with great deliberation, emphasizing each chord separately.

The final chord may be played as a standard C if desired, but I think adding the G bass note with the little finger gives a fuller sound.  Tip:  Play the standard C for the first two verses, reserving the C/G for the final resolve of the song.  This chord is properly called, "C with a G bass," but guitarists often call it "C-slash-G," or "C-over-G."  Whatever you call it, it's a strong way to end a beautiful song.

Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

I haven’t been able to learn much about the history of the lyrics, other than the author was John Fawcett, a British-born Baptist theologian, pastor, and hymn writer.  The music has been attributed to the XVIII Century, French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who apparently was something of a polymath (multiple genius).  Besides writing on philosophy, religion, and various works of literature, he wrote the constitutions of two countries (neither his own), influenced the political thinkers of the day in favor of democracy, and taught music and music theory.  He also gave music lessons, wrote an opera, and wrote the tune (Greenville) for this hymn.

The hymn itself originally had three verses, and is still listed that way in many Protestant hymnals, though the LDS hymnal only lists two of them.  Since this intended as an instrumental solo, you can play as many verses as you like.  I have included a key change, from D to C, which is not in the music, but adds to the variety of the piece.  If you are going to play three verses, you can change back to D for the third verse, or you can start in C, then change to D and back to C for the third verse. 

Either way, the music is played almost exactly the same in both keys, the main difference being which frets are barred.  There’s lots of repetition, making the piece much easier than it sounds.  For example, the first two lines within each verse are nearly identical, and the last four lines of the second verse are played exactly the same as the corresponding lines of the first verse, except for the barre position. Most of the tab is based on simple chords known to even beginning guitarists: D, A, and C.  Between them, they account for nearly half of the measures.  Four of the remaining seven chords are either barred A-shapes or barred E-shapes, the easiest barre chords there are.  Of the other three chords, two consist of just the first four strings of a barred C-shape.  The only other chord is a slight modification of a basic C chord, formed by adding the G on the first string, third space. 

Other than the barre chords, the only thing that might give you trouble in this song are the numerous slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, most of which need to be done with the left pinkie.  Please do not leave them out; they are the melody notes.  You can pick the notes individually, instead of doing the ligado techniques, but that actually makes the song harder.  As written, the whole song can be done by strumming with the thumb, a thumb-pick, or a flat pick.  For variety, or for emphasis, you can finger-pick or pinch the chords in the choruses, except for the final chords in each line.  This is not a hard song.  The whole arrangement and tab took me less than one day.

Naturally, this one is in the public domain.  Enjoy!