I couldn’t find this hymn, in my records, so I rewrote it, then found the old one here on the blog. I like the new version MUCH better! It’s actually easier to play, too. I feel I was inspired to do the new version. Try it!
Level of difficulty
This is going to be one of my personal favorites! Play it with lots of feeling. There are no barre chords, no hard chords-- not many chords at all. Most of the piece is melody. I’ve tried to avoid hard chord changes. There’s a lot of repetition, too: the second two lines of the verse are almost a complete repetition of the first two lines.
There are quite a few hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and tremolos. For this reason, I was tempted to classify the piece as Intermediate level, but honestly, it’s not beyond most beginners. You could actually omit those special techniques and it would sound okay, but please don’t! It sounds SOOO much better with “expression.” The following paragraphs tell in detail how to do this.
I’ve tried to arrange the fingering to make it easy and smooth. This requires a slight alteration in the way you play the CaddD chord. Play it like a C chord, but with the D added on the 2nd string, 3rd space, as shown in the chord charts. Leave the index finger in place too, on the same string, as in a normal C chord, and it positions your hand perfectly for the pull-off which follows.
Play the last line on page one as a single phrase. In the fourth measure of that line, move your hand position up the neck of the guitar, and fret the D on the 2nd string, 3rd space with your index finger. That’s what the Roman numeral III above the note indicates. This allows you to fret the C on the third string, 5th space, with your ring finger. Your middle finger then falls naturally into position for the slide, making an easy transition to the strummed G7 chord. This may seem like a lot of finger dancing for the sake of one easy chord change. Trust me, it’s not. I spent nearly as much time smoothing out chord changes as I did in arranging the rest of the song.
In the next-to-last measure of the next-to-last line of the Chorus, I've made one significant change. Instead of pinching the 2nd and 4th strings for the double slide, as in the previous line, strum the first four strings, with strings #1 and #3 open. These strings will continue to ring as you do the double slide on the other two strings, giving an interesting effect.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th measures of the Chorus also need to be played as a single musical phrase. I suggest you practice with a metronome until you can play each phrase with absolute regularity. The fastest way to do this is to start slowly, maybe even at half speed. Do not increase your speed until you can play each phrase with absolute regularity of tempo. Gradually increase the speed with increasing fluency, until you can play at full speed in perfect tempo.
In the next line, do the “strong tremolo” with the ring finger, to set up for the double slide that follows. Make the tremolo as strong as possible, vibrating the ring finger along (not across) the string, without actually moving the end of the finger. Use the middle and ring fingers for the double slide. Pre-spray the strings with string lubricant if necessary, to avoid squeaking. Trust me, all this “expression” without ever pausing or changing pace will blow the minds of your listeners.
You can strum the pinched chords, or pinch any of the strummed ones, if you wish. I’ve put in a variety, with mostly pinched chords in the verse, and mostly strummed ones in the chorus. In some places, I’ve done it to make playing easier, in others for the sound effect. Try it as tabbed, then make any modifications you like. I don’t have an electric guitar available to try this song on, but I bet it would sound great. Somebody please try it and let me know.
Charles Hutchinson Gabriel composed the music and wrote the lyrics. Known as a child prodigy of the organ, he began writing and composing hymns for his own church by age 16. As a young adult, he began a career as a prolific professional gospel song writer / composer. He is said to have written and/or composed between 7,000 and 8,000 songs, many still available in hymnals of various churches. He wrote under several names, including Charlotte G. Homer!
Gabriel was also known as a humble man, apparently unaffected by the adulation that often gives child prodigies a swelled head. This song reflects his humility in Christ. It is in the public domain. I have been unable to find any more specific details about its composition. The message speaks for itself.
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