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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.

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