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.

Oh, Hush Thee, My Baby

Well, it's a little late for Christmas this year, but it took me longer to refine this song than I expected. This link will bring up two different versions.  There are no barre chords in either one, but that does not mean they are both “easy”.  The first one is beginner to intermediate level of difficulty.  It’s in the key of G, so there are no difficult chords, though there are hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.  They sound cool, and are not hard to do. 

The second version is an exact transcription of the piano music published in the Children’s Songbook, transposed to the key of G, using the transposing engine found in the Church’s interactive music player at  Unlike most piano pieces, this song is doesn’t sound bad as a guitar piece.  There are two musical “parts”, which on the piano are right hand and left hand, making it easy to keep them separate.  On the guitar, this does not work out quite so well.  I have italicized the “left hand” part, and specified “Drop D” tuning (lower the bass E string to D) to aid the guitarist, but it’s still not an easy piece to play.  Many of the necessary techniques are actually classical guitar techniques.  If you can play classical guitar, this is the one for you, but you won’t need my instructions.  If you are not a classical guitarist, I recommend my fingerstyle arrangement. It’s much easier, and frankly, I think it sounds better.

Please note that the chords called for in the tab are for finger position only, not for strumming. Perhaps the best example of this is the initial G7 chord.  Actually, the chord played is a G, since the #1 string is not played.  You could play it as a G-shape if you wanted to, but your fingers would not be in the right position to fret the following melody notes.  Putting your fingers in the G7 shape fixes the problem.  But if you strum the full G7 chord, it will sound wrong.  This piece is intended as an instrumental solo.  It would be hard to play in Eb major, as it is written in the Children’s Songbook.  You’d have to transpose it, which I did. 

You may also notice that most of the D7 chords include the open A string, a departure from the usual practice. Normally, the bass note of this chord is the open D string, and the A string is not used.  Technically, this chord should be called D7/A.  For simplicity, since all the D7 chords are played this way, and the only difference is the open A string, I have labeled them all D7, and show the change in the chord diagram at the end.  This does not matter in the second, harder version, as the Drop D tuning there makes the extreme bass D note available.  I had thought to include Drop D tuning in this version as well, but it seemed an unnecessary complication.

This song is not in the public domain. The copyright is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and is used by permission.  Please abide their use restrictions, and use this only for non-commercial, church or personal use.

Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful

Finally, after weeks of arranging, I’ve got this song right.  I wanted to get it posted well before Christmas, but it just needed more work.  Merry Christmas, anyway.

Don’t feel bad if you have trouble with the semi-pattern picking.  Most (but not all) of the melody notes are fretted with the little finger of the left hand.  Like most fingerstyle guitar, the LEFT index finger frets in the first space, the middle in the second space, and the ring finger in the third space.  Hence, the little finger is left free for fretting other notes, but sometimes this is not handy, and you have to release the chord, so you can use one of the other fingers for melody notes, hammer-ons, or slides.

I have not included all the chords that would be needed to strum the song as an accompaniment to singers.  The chords called out in the tablature are only for finger position.  Quite often, the following chord is only represented by a single melody note, or can easily be “faked” without changing the basic position of the chord being held.  In these cases, I have left out the chord symbol.  If you want to know all the chords used in this song, I recommend doing an Internet search for oh come all ye faithful/chords.  The chords shown in the chord chart at the end of the tab really only show the chord shapes used in this arrangement.

There are three verses to this song, and they are all different, with two key changes.  I’ll be playing it, as written, for my ward’s Christmas party this week.  But you need not learn all three verses.  If you can find one of the three that you like, you can simply repeat that one twice.  The first verse is almost all chords, and would go well as an accompaniment to singers, though the key of C is a bit low for most vocalists.  Verse two is in D, and may be easier for a singer, but the verse is tabbed for fingerstyle guitar.  Verse Three is in C again, AND is mostly fingerstyle.

The chords in the first two lines are all strummed, and the other notes can be played easily with the thumb, giving this verse a distinctive, soft sound. It’s also really easy to play that way.  The third line and the chorus contain a lot of pattern picks that are better done as finger-picking, (using “free strokes” for you classical guitarists).  I like to play this section and the second verse near the bridge, for a twangy, “classical” sound.  It wouldn’t hurt to use your fingernails, if you’ve got ’em.

To make finger-picking easier, remember to use your right ring finger to pluck the notes on the #1 string (high e).  Use your RIGHT middle finger to pluck notes on the #2 (B) string, and the RIGHT index finger for notes on the #3 (G) string.  The RIGHT thumb plucks the bass strings.  In the last measure before the Chorus, you’ll have to strum the two bass strings to play them both with the thumb.

The first measure of the chorus introduces a riff that sounds like it is repeated throughout the song. Though there are many similar measures throughout the song, there are no actual repetitions.  Fortunately, they are not at all hard to do, and they all sound great.

In the second line of the chorus, watch out for the glissando (slide) on the third (G) string.  Use the LEFT middle finger to make the slide.  Timing is critical, and to sound good, you must hit the tenth fret exactly, without overshooting or undershooting.  Hold that note (F) with a bit of vibrato if necessary.

In the second and third lines of the second verse, pay special attention to the tab.  The notes aren’t always what you would expect.  Sometimes they change slightly, for example from a D to a C# and back, in order to conform to the melody, even though the chord names do not change.  If something sounds wrong to you, you may be missing a slight change in the notes shown in the tab.

There’s another glissando in the second line of the second chorus.  Again, accuracy is super important.  Hold the final G of the slide with vibrato if needed. 

The third verse contains chords designed to add a “full” sound to the music: six-string chords such as the barre chords GIII and FI and the non-barre chord C/G.  If you’ve come this far, please don’t skip them.  They are there to prepare the audience for the finale, and paradoxically, they may also make the music easier to play on the guitar.  Remember, chords with the strum marking are to be strummed.  All others are to be pinched.

Slow almost to half-speed for the final line.  The glissando in the second measure is exactly like the one in the first verse.  Hold the final C/G chord as long as you can, preferably for the full eight counts.  This is hard to do if you are playing an acoustic guitar, but do your best.  It’ll sound wonderful, a real crowd pleaser.

About the song:

This song was originally written in Latin, under the title Adeste Fideles, which could be translated as, “Approach, faithful ones.”  The author and composer are uncertain, but the earliest extant copies from the 1700s were all signed by John Francis Wade, an English Catholic hymnist, and it is most commonly attributed to him.

Latin puns and other internal evidence in the lyrics have led many to conclude that the hymn was originally composed in celebration of the birth of Charles Edward Stuart, the Jacobite pretender to the crown of England, known to history as Bonny Prince Charlie.  His cause was defeated when the Jacobite rising of 1745 was crushed, but the song lives on.  It is a perennial favorite in most Catholic countries and virtually all English speaking ones.  (See the Wikipedia articles Adeste Fideles, John Francis Wade, and Bonny Prince Charlie for more details.)

America the Beautiful (Oh, beautiful for spacious skies)

Last week I was invited to my grand-kids’ elementary school for their annual, Veterans’ Day assembly. When the whole school stood and sang this song, it brought tears to my eyes, especially when they sang the third verse:

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

When I returned from my military service, I was greeted with rotten tomatoes and curses, and it was fifteen years before anyone ever thanked me for risking my life for my country.  These kids served me breakfast, plied me with questions, and treated me like a hero. Thank you so much, American Preparatory Academy!

I thought this would be a hard song to arrange for the guitar, but it turns out to be one of the easiest. There are only five chords (two are very easy), and while there are three barre chords, they are all the same barred-E chord shape.  They are played exactly the same, just at different frets.  So this is really only a three-chord song.

There are a few slides, including one whole-chord slide, and a few pull-offs. But there are no difficult techniques or hard chord changes, as long as you can do the barre chords.  If you have not yet learned barre chords, this is the perfect song for learning them!  Only one new chord shape to learn, and you get three chords for the “price” of one.  (Actually, you get more than three, as the barred-E chord shape is commonly used to play F, F#, G, G#, A, Bb, B, and C, plus other chords even higher up the fretboard, if you have an electric guitar.)

I left out the counting numbers.  They are more confusing than helpful in this song, and besides, everybody already knows it.  If for some reason you don’t know how it goes, you can find dozens of versions recorded on the Internet.  I had thought to write a bit about the song’s origins, but the Wikipedia article found HERE says it all. This song is in the public domain.

Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning

The name of Ebenezer Beesley, the composer of this hymn, may seem familiar to you.  If so, it’s probably because he composed the tunes to many other hymns in the LDS hymnal, including:

    #5    High on the Mountain Top
  #16    What Glorious Scenes Mine Eyes Behold
  #32    The Happy Day at Last Has Come 
  #76    God of Our Fathers, We Come Unto Thee
  #77    Great Is the Lord
#156    Sing We Now at Parting
#232     Kind Words Are Sweet Tones of the Heart
#177    Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love
#185    Reverently and Meekly Now
#232    Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words
#280    Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning
#282    We Meet Again in Sabbath School

He has more tunes in the current LDS hymnal than any other composer except for Evan Stephens, and also composed others that were included in previous editions of the hymnal, but are not used in the current edition.

“Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning” is a sprightly tune, and sounds good played fast, as just an instrumental melody, without any chording at all, but I have included one G7 and one G chord, just for variety. They are so simple, and so standard, that I haven’t even included chord charts. If you are such a rank beginner that you do not know how to play these chords, you probably should not be starting with this hymn. It’s not really a simple song. It’s full of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. You could certainly play it without those techniques, but it wouldn’t sound nearly as good. Using ligado techniques of various sorts as well as normal, stacatto notes adds a subtle kind of interest to the song that you cannot get from a piano. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect it would sound good as a duet with a violin or viola.

If you are a newcomer to finger-picking, the simplicity of this song may tempt you to try it, despite the use of slightly advanced techniques. Go ahead! None of the techniques in this song are especially difficult, even if you are trying them for the first time. Here are some tips to make it even easier:

With a few exceptions detailed below, always fret all notes in the first space with the index finger, those in the second space with the middle finger, and those in the third space with the ring finger. This allows you to change from one note to the next quickly, without moving the hand.

The exceptions are several notes in the fourth and fifth spaces:

In the second line, the double pull-off 5-3-0 requires you to move your hand up the neck, so you can fret the fifth space with your ring finger, while simultaneously fretting the same string in the third space with the index finger. This allows for an extremely fast double pull-off. While your index finger is still at the third fret, play the 3-0 pull-off on the next string with the index finger, then move it back to normal position for the rest of the line.

At the end of the first measure in line three, move your hand to make the slide with your strongest finger, which for most guitarists is the middle finger. The next two notes are on open strings, giving you plenty of time to move your hand back into the normal ("first") position.

In the next measure, you can either move your hand again, then move it back quickly, or, if your hand will stretch, you can fret it with the pinkie, without moving your hand. Try it both ways, and do it the way that works best for you.

The first two measures of the next line are played exactly the same as line three, but in the third measure, you will need to reposition your hand to fret the slide, so you might as well play the whole measure that way. The double slide, down-and-up, is not nearly as hard as it looks. The only tricky part is hitting the right fret. It’s fast, and it’s easy to slide too far unintentionally. The solution is to practice. A lot.

The last two lines are played exactly like the first two, except one octave lower, and the final chord is a G, instead of a G7. Playing the same notes an octave lower does require different fingering on the fretboard, but the techniques are the same as in the rest of the song. You will probably notice that it’s easier to hit the G chord from the lower notes, since the first and second fingers are already positioned near the 5th string. If this seems like a lot of extra work, you can simply play the last two lines exactly like the first two, only adding the chord at the end. The notes will not be wrong, but it’ll sound a bit funny, as your brain will expect the lower notes. That’s all there is to it!

If you’ve never done them before, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides may seem daunting to you. They need not. The hammer-on is indicated by two notes connected with an underscore, when the second note is higher in pitch than the first note. Perform it by playing the string normally, as indicated in the tab, then hammering down on the string in the indicated space with the tip of the proper finger: --0__2--. This creates a sound that makes the two notes seem to be tied together. Ligado is the Spanish word for “tied”, and is used in guitar music to indicate connected notes like these. Hammer-ons are also often indicated in tablature by the letter h before the note: --0--h2--.

Pull-offs are even easier. They are indicated with an underscore, like the hammer-on, but the second note is lower than the first. Sometimes they are indicated with a p before the note. You simply play the note as indicated, then, without pausing, pluck the string with the same finger of the left hand that is holding the note: --2__0--. This also causes the notes to sound connected, so is also called a ligado.

Another way to connect two notes is to slide from one note to the next without lifting the finger off the string. This is called a slide, or glissando, and is indicated in my tabs with a slash. A forward slash / indicates you are sliding up the neck (toward the body of the guitar) A back slash \ means you are sliding down the neck (away from the body of the guitar). “Up” and “down” in this sense refer to whether the next note is higher or lower in pitch, and have nothing to do with which part of the guitar is physically higher or lower. Slides look like this in the tab: --4-/-5-- and --4-\-2--.

If you are a real beginner, practice this song slowly, until you can play it smoothly all the way through, then gradually increase the pace. Otherwise, you’ll end up playing parts of it faster than others, and the habit will be really hard to break.

This is one of the very few hymns in the LDS hymnal that is NOT easier to play in C (on the guitar), so I have transposed it to the key of G. You can use a capo at the fifth fret, to play this song in the key of C, as it was written in the hymnal, if you wish. Unless you are playing with another instrument or a singer, I cannot imagine why you would want to do so.

Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning is in the public domain.

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

“Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” was written and composed by Will L. Thompson, the same Southern Baptist composer who wrote the famous hymn, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling”.  It was first included in the Latter-Day Saint hymnal, Songs of Zion, published by the Northern States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1908.  Latter-Day Saints musicians may be interested to know that the first line was changed, from “The world has need of Christian men...” to “willing men...”. At that time, it was not considered unusual for local missions or other units of the Church to produce their own hymnals. I have been unable to learn the exact year of the song's composition or its publication history, though it appears to have been first published as a Southern Baptist hymn about the same time that it appeared in Songs of Zion. 

The title comes (originally) from one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Tale of Hercules and the Wagoner”. The tale goes as follows (spelling modernized):

    A wagoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels. So the wagoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong:
    "O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress."
    But Hercules appeared to him, and said, "Tut, man, don't sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel."
    The gods help them that help themselves.

This song is not difficult to play for anyone who doesn’t mind a few barre chords and ligados. Intermediate level guitarists should have no trouble with it.  You will, however, need a guitar that allows you to perform a double hammer-on.  There are a few places where you hammer-on a note, then hammer-on a higher note on the same string.  If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry; it’s not nearly as hard as it looks, as long as your guitar can sustain that second note long enough for the second hammer-on to work.  If your guitar won’t do this, try putting higher tension strings on it.  You’ll be amazed at the difference that can make.  Of course, there’s hardly a guitar in existence that cannot benefit from new strings!

You may find the FV chord difficult if you are not used to it.  It’s just a C-shape chord, barred at the 5th fret, and is basic to many styles of music.  If you don’t know it, this is an excellent opportunity to learn it.  You can’t follow the melody of this song without it.

Another place you may want to practice is the slide on the first string, in the third measure of the next to last line, where you are holding a CIII chord, and have to slide from G to F on the first string.  The trick is that you don’t actually have to hold the barre in the 3rd space; you have enough time to release the barre and fret the G note with the tip of your index finger, making the slide much easier. 

The only relatively quick chord change needed is in the next measure, in the transition from C to G7addD.  This is only a problem if you play this chord as a normal G7, then add the D a moment later.  Trust me, you will not have time to do it this way.  But if you learn the chord, as a chord, and play it all at once, you’ll have enough time.  Once again, the “trick” is lots of practice.

The last line is a recap of the previous line.  This is not according to the hymnal, nor does it match the original hymn in the Southern Baptist hymnal.  It’s an addition I put in, just ‘cause it sounds better to my mind.  Leave it out if you don’t like it.  Or, you can leave it in, and leave out the previous line.  They are not the same.

This song is in the public domain.



A Hungarian young woman named Nami Tóth requested this song.  It’s from the French language version of the LDS hymnal, called “Cantiques”, which is French for “Hymns”.  The music is based on the New World Symphony by Antonin Dvorak, which in turn was based on an American Negro spiritual called, “Steal Away to Jesus.”  Some musicologists believe this to be one of the “code songs” used by the slaves to pass on the information that a “conductor” on the “Underground Railroad” was in the area, and an escape was planned.  I’m a sucker for the message of liberation, for the French language, and for requests from Saints in places where I’ve never been, especially if they are young people, and especially if I find the music unusual or interesting.  How could I resist?  Nami, this one’s for you!

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT an easy song to play.  When I first transposed it, there were more chords in it than in any other hymn I’ve ever tabbed.  There were more hard chords in it.  There were more strange chords in it.  I had to invent a couple of chord names. One was so long, I had to truncate it. Two chords were simply impossible to play for anyone with normal hands.  I simplified one to make it playable, and left the other one out, replacing it with a single melody note.  Other chords needed to have their notes rearranged.  I maintained the melody notes as the treble note of each chord (the usual practice), rearranging the order of the other notes to make  playable chords.  It was still impossible, so I bit my lip, apologized to Dvorak, and re-wrote the whole song.

The result sounds very close to the original, but it contains thirteen fewer chords.  At the cost of some very subtle (and very beautiful) harmonies, it is now merely difficult to play on the guitar, instead of impossible.  If you are a regular on this blog, you will find nearly all the chords familiar. 

Strum all the chords with the thumb or with a relatively soft pick.  If thumb strumming, pluck the individual melody notes with the middle or ring finger. I find using the ring finger allows me to play with a rocking motion of the wrist. 

In the third measure of the first line, you can leave the left ring finger on the second string, 5th space, which converts the GIII chord into a G6, for a nice, subtle harmony.  I did not call for this in the tab, because I used it later in the fifth line, which is otherwise very similar.

The second line starts the same as the first, but don’t omit the G13→ Bdim→ Am chord progression.  It’s beautiful.  Your audience will love it, and it’s not hard.  G13 may be unfamiliar to you, but it’s only a three finger chord.  Bdim is even easier, being exactly the same as G13, except that you lift up the left ring finger.  It can be a bit of a trick to get from there to Am quickly.  I don’t know any special tricks for this.  You just have to practice until you can do it fast.  Be sure to play only the strings shown in the tablature, to bring out the melody notes. The chord charts show the standard fingering for the chords, but not all notes shown in the charts are used in the tablature every time.

The third and fourth lines are virtually identical, and contain only one chord.  You may find it hard to hold the barred FI chord that long.  Not to worry.  There are a couple of spots in each line where you have to lift your fingers off the strings, to play the open notes on the 2nd and 3rd strings.  It’s a good idea to lift off only the index and middle fingers, leaving the other two fingers in place, to facilitate your return to the full FI chord moments later.

The fifth line is very similar to the first line, except for the G6 chord in measure two, and the G7III chord in measure four.  Be sure to add in the F note on the 2nd string, 6th space at just the right moment.  You could hammer it on if you want to.  Audiences love it.

The GaddD chord in the first measure of the last line is not nearly as strange or difficult as it may appear from the name.  Just barre the first two strings in the third space, and play the next two strings open.  You don’t even have to move your hand out of the C position. Just barre the strings with the little finger and lift the rest of the fingers off the strings.  As soon as the strings quit ringing, immediately move the left hand up the neck to the 8th fret.

The next measures are the only really difficult ones.  They are going to require some practice, especially if you are not used to playing barre chords at the 8th fret.  ALL the chords in the rest of the song are played with the barre at the 8th fret.  There’s just no other way to do it that is any easier.

Play the CVIII.  As you can see in the chord charts, this is just an E-shape chord barred at the 8th fret.  All the following chords are based on this chord shape, and are played without moving the barre, so it’s important that you get comfortable playing CVIII. Your finger’s going to be there, without moving, for the next three measures.

You could play G11 by barring the first five strings at the 10th fret.  If you are playing a steel-string guitar, or have a cut-away body, go right ahead and do it that way.  If, like me, you have a classical guitar with the 12th fret at the body, you probably won’t be able to fit your hand into the narrow space between the 10th and 12th frets.  My solution is to keep the barred E-shape at the 8th fret, but flatten the left hand against the neck, in effect fretting all of the first five strings at the 10th fret, as shown in the chord chart.

The next chord is actually a plain CVIII chord, with the high C added at the 12th fret. Hence, its name, CaddE. By returning to the CVIII , and playing only the first four strings, you should be able to stretch your hand far enough to hit the 12th space with your little finger.  If your fingers are short and stubby like mine, you may need to cover the note on the 4th string with your ring finger, which would normally be covering the 5th string, if you were playing more than four strings.  You may notice that this chord looks a lot like a normal F chord, only barred at the 8th fret. You are right, and you can play it that way if you wish. I find it easier to barre the first two strings with the first joint of the index finger, as I would do if barring all six strings.  This allows me to stretch my little finger farther. I suggest you try it both ways, then do it the way that’s easiest for you.  It’s probably going to be difficult no matter how you try.  No pain, no gain!

Hold the final CVIII chord as long as you can.  Check the position of your fingertips, to ensure each is as close to the “sweet spot” between the frets as possible.  If your fretting technique is good, you should be able to hold the chord at least for a count of 3.  If the chord won’t sustain, recheck your fretting technique.  Best way to do this is by looking in a mirror.  That way, you can see what your fingers are doing, without having to bend your wrist and mess up your finger position.

The lyrics to this song were written by a Church-sponsored committee, and the copyright is held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Used by permission.  You may download it, copy it for your own or church use, and perform it, as long as you don’t distribute it or charge money for performing. 

God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son

As written in Hymns, this song is in 2/2 tempo; each measure consists of two half notes.  It’s appropriate to a very slow, solemn song like this, but it makes counting really difficult, as there are numerous points where you have to play 16th notes.  That’s not bad in standard music notation, but in a tab where everything is a fraction of a half-note, you’d end up counting something like: “and-a-one-uh and-a-two-uh,” etc. Clumsy and confusing.  Much better to recast it as 4/4 and eliminate the 16th notes.  Eighth notes are bad enough.

This song has been transposed to the key of C.  I tried to transpose it to G, which is musically closer to the original, but it was impossible to play, so C it is.  That does require the use of a few “unusual” chords, but they are not difficult ones.  C/G (pronounced C over G) is just a normal C chord, with a G bass added on the #6 string.

C and Am are played normally, but GaddD is another interesting variation.  It is played exactly like a normal G, except the #1 string is not played, and the ring finger frets the #2 or B string in the third space, instead of the #1 string.  This chord is sometimes written as Gadd3, because D is the third note in the G scale.  It is dead easy to play, even easier than a normal G.

The rest of the chords are all easy barre chords.  GIII, CVIII, and FI are all barred E-shapes.  The only difference is their position on the guitar neck.  G7III is even easier, as it’s just a barred E7-shape.

The words to this hymn were written by Edward P. Kimball, who was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organist for more than thirty years. He was the organist when Music and the Spoken Word was begun. His son, Ted Kimball, was the first announcer for the show.  Edward P. Kimball also wrote the music to "Great God, To Thee My Evening Song" and "The Wintry Day Descending to a Close", two other hymns included in the “green”hymnal.  He died in 1935. 

The music for this hymn was written by Alexander b. Schreiner.  Copyright is held by the LDS Church,  Used by permission.  This song is NOT in the Public Domain.  You may use it for personal or church use, but may not distribute it or charge for it, without written permission of the copyright holder. 

An old friend...

I received an interesting email the other day, in connection with this blog.  With the permission of the sender, here it is.

Hello Don.

How are you doing? Well, I hope.

I don’t know if you will remember me or not. My wife, Katherine and I lived in your ward in West Valley for a short while before moving to Midvale. We came to your house for dinner one Sunday and played a board game. You also stopped by as a home teacher and told me about your experience with reconciling your belief in evolution with a creationism religion.

Since those days, Katherine and I have had two beautiful children and I have joined the Navy. We are now living in the Fresno, California area and I am currently on board the USS Carl Vinson on a deployment in the west pacific.

I had been looking for simple chords to play the song ‘Love One Another’ on my little ukulele and stumbled across your web page. (I’ve been trying to learn how to play the ukulele out here) I saw your name and wondered if it was the same guy I knew from West Valley, so I clicked on the picture and lo and behold…

Unfortunately, the internet out here on the ship is so slow that your web page does not load fully and I can’t see chords. I was wondering if you could email me just a simple beginners arrangement or perhaps even just the simple chords for that song. I would greatly appreciate it.
I wish you and your family the very best,


So, I used to be his home teacher, and he is now serving our country.  Naturally, I wanted to send him what he requested, but I didn't have it. for one thing, I don't play the ukulele.  For another, I only have a pdf of the guitar tab.  So, I created a cheat sheet for him, in Microsoft Word, found the uke chords he would need, and sent it to him as an attachment to my email reply.  It worked.

Glenn wanted to thank me for it, but I ended up thanking him, as much as you can thank someone for risking his life to protect you.  So, as a tribute to Glenn, and all the others who are risking their lives in defense of their country, I am posting a pdf version of  the cheat sheet, plus the original Word document, for those who may not have good internet access.  Thank you, Glenn! 

The pdf version is called, "Love One Another for ukulele".
The Word version is called, "Love One Another 4 ukulele".

Enjoy!  and while you're enjoying, please think of our servicemen and -women who are risking their lives to protect you, and say a little prayer in their behalf.  Thanks.


We’ll Sing All Hail to Jesus’ Name

Not much information about the author (Richard Aldridge), composer (Joseph Coslett), or history of this hymn, but it’s a pretty one, popular in Sacrament Meetings, and not hard to play.

Basically, there are only three chords: C, F, and G7, plus a couple of easy variations.  For example, F/A is just a regular, four-string F chord, but you also play the open A string.  F/C is similar, but you have to fret the A string in the third space with your pinkie, to include the bass C note.  C/G is a regular C chord, with the pinkie fretting the G note on the bass E string, third space. Not a hard one in the lot!

There are a few spots in the tab where the techniques are not dead obvious. The first occurs in the fourth measure. Unless your hands are unusually flexible, it’s going to be much easier to PUSH OFF the ligado on the third string, than to pull it off. This technique is not difficult, but  may be unfamiliar to you. Repeat in the fourth measure of the second line.

In the first measure of the last line, you’ll have to play the F/C chord, then immediately release it, to play the sequential pull-offs on the second string. In the third and fourth measures of that line, strum the notes indicated, for a ligado effect.  Pinch the chord in the next-to-last measure, for contrast, and end with a strummed chord.

You don’t have to strum or pinch the chords as shown, of course, if changing between strumming and pinching seems difficult. The song will still sound good if you just strun, or just pinch. But this is an instrumental solo, and it’s an easy way to add interest to the music, without having to learn any new techniques or chords.

The last note of the song is shown in parentheses (0) because you only play it if you are going to repeat the verse.  It replaces the first, partial measure of the next verse.  The final time, you do not play this last note, but just let the chord ring.

This song is in the public domain.

The Iron Rod

I had thought to fancy this up, with cool chords and lots of fill, but after trying to do so, I decided this simple and easy version sounds better.  This is one of the easiest hymns I've ever published.  It's in the key of C, so you can easily transpose it into D, as shown in the hymnal, just by using a capo in the 2nd space, which makes it even easier to play.  There are no barre chords, and only three basic chords, though a couple of times you'll want to alter the C chord to a C/G by adding the G note on the #6 (bass) string with your pinkie.

There's also an alternate G7 chord voicing labelled G7*, which requires you to add the F note on the 4th string, III fret.  If you're not used to it, and you're not using a capo, this may be slightly difficult for you.  If so, you can  play it as a three-finger chord by not playing the #1 string, which isn't needed for the melody at that time anyway.  In the chord diagram, I have shown this by printing the 0 on the first string in light-face type, and placing an X above the nut over that string.  Musically, there is no difference between the two ways of playing this chord; use whichever is easiest for you.

Other than those two slight differences, there are no unusual chords at all.  My only other departure from my usually tabbing is to list "strum all chords" at the beginning of the tab, then leave off all the "strum" signs as unnecessary.  Let's keep it simple!

There are a couple of techniques that make the song easier to play and nicer to hear.  There are a few slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.  These are not strictly necessary to play the melody.  You could play them as individual notes, but they sound very much nicer as written.  And, unless the techniques are just impossible for you, they actually make the song easier to play.  One is written a little strangely.  In the first measure of the Refrain, the second note (over the word, "to") is plucked and allowed to ring briefly, before hammering-on the next note.  This follows the normally sung rhythm,
"Hold__to__the-rod__...."  It shouldn't take much practice for you to get it right, as even children have been singing that rhythm for years.

Baptism (Jesus Came to John the Baptist)

Don’t let the chord names fool you!  This is not a particularly hard song.  In fact, there are really only four chords: a couple of barred E-shapes, a couple of  barred A-shapes, C, and G7.  There are some quick chord changes, but the barre chords make them really easy. Just move your hand along the neck without changing the chord shape.  (Lift your fingers completely off the strings to avoid that annoying scraping noise.) 

The pattern pick is also easy: groups of three notes, with lots of repetition.  Yes, it’s fairly fast, and there are lots of fill notes, but they are all in the original music as published in The Children’s  Songbook. 

The time signature is also unususal, but is also in the original, and actually makes the playing easier for the guitar.  I could have recast it as 6/8, 3/8, or even as 4/4, with four triplets per measure.  All would have been more confusing than the 12/8 tempo as originally written.  Just remember that each measure contains four groups of three notes each, with the stress on the first note of each group, and you’ll do fine.  The lyrics naturally stress the lines properly.

I have replaced the introduction in the book with my own. If you don’t like it, you are free to replace my introduction with whatever you feel works better.  My intro is just arpeggios in C.  It’s brief, to give the audience just enough time to get used to the rhythm, without overwhelming the rather simple melody line.  The only difficult part of the introduction comes right at the end, when you have to switch from leading with your right thumb to leading with your right middle finger, ring finger, etc. (bass lead to treble lead).

The tab is straightforward and needs no explanation, for the most part.  An exception is at the end of the third line.  I have specified the GIII chord, rather than the normal G, because it makes for a very fast chord change to the CVIII chord that starts the next phrase.  Both chords are just barred E-shapes, so all you have to do is move your hand from the III position to the VIII position.  This would be a much harder chord change if you also had to change fingering at the same time.

In the first measure of the fourth line, you’‘ll have to stretch your left pinkie two frets up the neck to hit the high B at the 12th fret.  Don’t worry, the frets are really close together in this part of the neck, and the stretch isn’t difficult. 

The FVIII in the next measure is just a barred A-shape, one of the most standard barre chords around.  Fret it the same way you would fret an A-shape in the III space, because you’ll be going there soon.  The FVIII to CIII transition is accomplished by maintaining the finger shape and moving the entire hand along the neck, similar to the E-shape transition in the third line.

There’s another pinkie stretch in the first measure of the finale. This time, it’s only one fret, so even though the frets are farther apart near the nut, it’s not as great a stretch as the one at the 12th fret.  You will have to switch back to thumb lead in the next measure.  The arpeggios which make up the last 1-1/2 measures of the verse are all exactly the same.  Then go right to the beginning of the first measure in the next verse, skipping the Introduction.

The finale of the last verse is NOT the same.  The first measure is identical to the corresponding measures of Verses 1 and 2, but the arpeggios are different, as is the ending.  Slow down for the final three notes and chord.  You may  substitute a C/G chord final C, if you wish, by fretting the #6 string with your pinkie in the 3rd space while playing the C chord.  This gives it a fuller sound.

This song is not in the public domain.  The copyright is held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The guitar arrangement and tablature are mine.

My all-time favorites

A baker’s dozen of the songs you are most likely to hear me play around the house, just because they are so much FUN to play, or because they sound so great.  As if there’s a difference... .

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Dream A Little Dream Of Me
He Is Risen
How Great Thou Art
Meditation (Meditaçao)
Old Rugged Cross
Summer Time
Til There Was You
Window to His Love

Choukoun (also called Choucoune)

Complete instructions, chords, complete lyrics, pronouncing guide & translation, plus poetic analysis by me are included with the tab. There's also instructions on how to do the Calypso strum, and a discussion of the political and literary significance of this masterpiece, little known outside of Haiti.

The lyrics alone are nearly impossible to find on the Internet, let alone a reasonable tab.  I'm hoping to soon put up a video; until then, this will have to do.  It's one of my two or three favorite songs.  But it's so well-known in Haiti that no one performs it in it's "pure" version any more.  All that can be found on the Internet are "jazzed-up" versions that don't show what the original song was like.

The closest to the original version I have found was performed by Nancy Ames in the 1960s, and released on her album This Is the Girl That Is, under the title "Choucoune".  Musically, it's perfect, and her kreyòl isn't bad, but the lyrics aren't right-- she leaves out some of the verses, as do all modern Haitian recordings.  That's not surprising.  How often do you  hear all the verses of The Star-Spangled Banner?   Out of respect for a work of true genius, I have included ALL the words.

The lyrics were originally written as a poem by Haitian poet Durand Oswald* in 1883, inspired by actual events in his life.  "Choukoun" was a real woman, though we do not know her true name.  The word, "choukoun" means "like a cukoo," a bird which lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species, and therefore symbolizes both infidelity and interracial sex.  Ten years later, in 1893, the poem was set to music by Haitian pianist/composer Mauleart Monton Michel*, and became an instant hit.  In the 1930s, with the popularity of folk music in the United States, it became the basis for several popular tunes, including "Yellow Bird" and "Don't Ever Love Me." 

linguistic notes:

1.  NAMES:  Traditionally, Haitians give their family name first, and given name last.  Thus, the poet would be called Oswald Duran in most Western cultures, and the composer, Michel Mauleart-Monton.  Knowing this, educated Haitians habitually give their given name first when speaking to foreigners.  Unfortunately, many Haitian family names sound like given names to English-speakers, and vice-versa.  If the foreigners are sophisticated and know about Haitian name order, this can cause even more confusion.  To avoid such confusion, I give Haitian names in Haitian order, and add an asterix (*) after the name to show it is family-name-first.

2.  CAPITALIZATION:  You will notice that I fail to capitalize many words in kreyòl, such as the names of countries, languages, etc.  These are not errors.  In kreyòl, only the names of people are capitalized, and sometimes, the first word of a sentence.  Many kreyòl-speakers, even highly educated ones who speak, read, and write English, French, and Spanish, never capitalize anything in kreyòl.  To make life easier for the majority of my readers, I have capitalized the beginning of sentences and the first word in each line of the lyrics, as well as the kreyòl word for French--  "Franse"-- even though they would not normally be capitalized in kreyòl.  For my kreyòl-speaking friends, I beg your forgiveness.  My purpose is not to teach the language, which I am not qualified to do, but just to give my English-speaking readers a "taste" of the masterpiece that this song is.


By popular demand, and with the help of Johan Rune, who actually did all the work, here is an index of all the songs published on this blog (as of May 16, 2014), arranged by level of difficulty.  It includes comments by him and by me, concerning the songs.  It also includes an index of songs with special themes, such as holidays and love songs. Thank you, Johan! 

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Actually, the name of this hymn is “Hymn of Joy”, but everybody I know calls it, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”. There’s a long tradition of referring to hymns by their first line, instead of by the name of the hymn. In fact, many popular hymns don’t actually have names, but this one does.

The author, Henry van Dyke, originally wrote it as a poem, which he intended to be sung to the tune “Ode to Joy,” part of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, his last and greatest creation. Beethoven, in turn, composed the tune as a musical setting to a poem by the German poet, Friedrich Schiller, which Schiller called (surprise, surprise!), “Ode to Joy.”  The symphony includes a choir singing the the poem, but with some of the words changed or omitted. 

Some people think it was shabby of Beethoven to steal the title and alter the words of the great poet, but Schiller got his revenge, two centuries late, when the European Union adopted the tune, with different words, as their Union anthem, without giving credit to either the poet OR the composer! Now, every schoolchild in Europe will grow up thinking of Beethoven’s masterpiece as, “that stupid song we had to sing in school!”

At the end of this post, you will find Henry van Dyke’s original lyrics. They have been altered by various churches to fit their own theology in detail, but are all pretty much the same. I am not including Schiller’s original poem, because it is quite lengthy, and I can’t read German, anyway.

Performance notes:

Not much to tell, the tab is really very simple.  Only three chords, and they are dead easy: G, D7, and a slightly unusual version of D7 called D7/A.  Don’t let the complex name scare you, it’s fretted EXACTLY like a regular D7, only you play the open A string too.  Strum the chords where marked with a wiggly, vertical line, and pinch the others where not marked.

Playing the melody is truly easy, if you remember a couple of things:

LEFT HAND: fret the notes in the first space (between the nut and the first fret) with the index     finger, the second space with the middle finger, etc., regardless of which string they are on.  This does not apply to chords, just to the melody line.  Strum all chords with the thumb, where marked.  

RIGHT HAND: pluck the first string with the ring finger, the second string with the middle finger, the third string with the index finger, and the bass string (whichever it is) with the thumb.  When two or more notes in succession fall on the same string, alternate fingers.  Don’t try to pluck the same string twice in a row with the same finger-- it’ll ruin your timing!

Pinch chords involving one of the 3 bass strings and one or more of the three treble strings by plucking the bass string with your thumb and simultaneously plucking the treble string(s) with the appropriate finger(s).  Pinch chords involving only treble strings using the appropriate fingers of the right hand simultaneously.

Hammer-ons are shown with an underscore between the notes. Play them by playing the open second string normally, then immediately hammering the index finger of the left hand down into the first space on the same string.  This allows you to play two notes in succession very rapidly, and also gives you time to play the next note with the same right-hand finger if you wish, without ruining your timing. The two notes will sound smoothly connected to each other, so this technique is also called a ligado, Spanish for “tied”.  Hammer-ons also sound way cool.

That’s it!

 Henry van Dyke’s original lyrics:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee,
hail Thee as the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day.

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays,
stars and angels sing around Thee,
center of unbroken praise:
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
blossoming meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
wellspring of the joy of living,
ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou the Father, Christ our Brother,—
all who live in love are Thine:
Teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the Joy Divine.

Mortals join the mighty chorus,
which the morning stars began;
Father-love is reigning o'er us,
brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music lifts us sunward
in the triumph song of life.

Rejoice, the Lord is King!

Another one by Charles Wesley.  If the name sounds familiar to you, it should.  He also wrote five other hymns in the hymnal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as six thousand others not found in the LDS hymn book.  The five are:

Jesus, Lover of My Soul,
Ye Simple Souls Who Stray,
Christ the Lord is Risen Today,
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,
Come Let Us Anew. 

The guy’s a heavyweight poet and lyricist for sure.  Not only that, he was also an Anglican minister, a contemporary of George Washington, and his big brother John was the founder of the Methodist church.  Not surprisingly, Charles grew up to be a minister, like his father and his brothers.  So did his son, and grandson.  How would you like to grow up in a family like that?

Rejoice, the Lord is King! was written as a poem, to celebrate the kingship of Jesus, as mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, the only books of scripture available to Wesley at that time. We don’t know exactly when it was written, but it was first published in Wesley’s book, Moral and Sacred Poems, in 1744, and had been set to music as a hymn by 1770. It has since become a favorite of Christians around the world.

As the hymn gained in popularity, it attracted other composers including George Handel and William E. Fischer. Different churches have standardized on three separate tunes. The one most Mormons are familiar with is called, “Jubilate,” and was written in 1894 by Horatio W. Parker, an American organist, choirmaster, and composer who began composing at age 15. He composed “Jubilate” when he was 21, and already successful on both sides of the Atlantic.

Play this song rapidly. The metronome setting shows 160 eighth-notes per minute, but you may wish to count it in quarter-notes, as written in Hymns. I recast it in 8/8 time, to simplify the counting of sixteenth-notes. It was written in the key of C, which makes it easy to play. Only one chord is played in an unusual way. 

Play the Dm as it is shown in the chord chart, to ease the transition to the following notes. Instead of showing the position of the left-hand fingers in the chord chart with zeros, as usual, I have used the numbers 1 - 4, to show which finger goes where, with 1 = index finger, 2 = middle finger, 3 = ring finger, and 4 = little finger. As a rule, I just use zeros, as it doesn’t really matter which finger goes in which spot as long as you are comfortable, and using finger numbers gets confusing. But this time it’s important, so I have broken my rule. Fret the Dm in the refrain the same way, but play it as a broken chord. Do not strum or pinch it. That is why it is shown in lightface, italic type.

In the next-to-last measure, hold the single D note with lots of tremolo.  Since this note is found at the third fret, you can get a much better tremolo effect by vibrating the string across the neck, rather than along it, as you normally would. Notes fretted in the first three frets require this technique to achieve a strong tremolo.

This song is in the public domain.


Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

I would like to dedicate this tab to my guitar-picking buddy, Dalin Bird, who just recently “discovered” it in the LDS hymnal.  I was surprised he’d never heard it before, as it is one of the best known melodies in all of Christian musical tradition.  This is for you, Dalin.

In most English-speaking, Protestant churches, this hymn is called, “The Doxology.”  A doxology (from Greek doxa “glory” and -logia “saying”) is a short hymn of praises to God, typically an expression of praise sung to the Holy Trinity.  “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” is in widespread use in English language, Protestant churches.  It is usually sung to the tune “Old Hundredth,” also called “Old 100th,” because of its association with Psalm 100.  In Menonite tradition, the hymn is often called, “606,” it’s number in their hymnal.  Students at Goshen College traditionally stand and sing “The Doxology” when 6:06 remains in a soccer game— but (so I’m told) only if Goshen is winning.

The tune is usually attributed to the French Calvinist composer Loys (or Louis) Bourgeois, who lived about 1510 – 1560.  Ironically, it was not originally used as a setting for Psalm 100, but rather for Psalm 134, and is listed that way in the Geneva Psalter published in 1551. That is the earliest extant published version of the tune, but, like many other old hymns, there are unsubtantiated rumors that it is older still. 

Virtually all published versions of this tune are in “Long Meter,” a poetic convention consisting of four lines of eight syllables, which is shown in the LDS hymnal as (LM) 8888.  Naturally, this works well in 4/4 time, which consists of four beats per measure.  A similar poetic convention, called “Common Meter,” abbreviated (CM) 8686, consists of four lines alternating between eight and six syllables each.  This works very well for music set to 6/8 time.  This tune works well in either meter, so I have tabbed it with a second verse in 6/8.  Lest you object to changing the meter of a hymn, the Tabernacle Choir does exactly that in their version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” 

In 6/8 time, the accents are on the 1st and 4th beats: 1 2 3 4 5 6, giving each measure two main beats, just like 4/4 time, but with each half of the measure divided into three notes instead of two.  If you don’t like the 6/8 time, just play the first verse.  One common use of doxologies is as a sort of a coda, tacked onto the end of another hymn.  If you wish to use “The Doxology” this way, just use one verse.  Use the first verse for hymns in 2/4, 4/4, or 8/8 time, and the second verse for hymns in 3/4 or 6/8.

Only one part of this tab requires explanation.  The slide right at the end of the song is done very quickly.  It does not actually have to reach all the way to the 7th fret.  Use the slide as a sort of a light accent, before playing the final, high C at the 8th fret, then hold the C with lots of tremolo.