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.

The Five-Minute Method for Learning the Guitar

                                    Cut your practice time in half--and learn faster!

Learning to play the guitar, like any physical skill, involves muscle learning, and that means lots of repetition. There are many methods for getting students to practice sufficiently, because lengthy practice sessions are boring.

They are also completely unnecessary.

Any sports coach can tell you that you’ll never develop your talents if you only practice once a week. Most insist on daily practice, and the best require practice sessions twice a day. Learning to play the guitar is more like a sport than like academic learning. Minimizing forgetting time between practices is the key to muscle learning. And muscle learning is vital to playing the guitar. You don’t have time to think about what you are doing while playing. It has to become automatic.

I have found that four or five very brief practice sessions per day is ideal for most students, even if the sessions only last five minutes. That makes twenty-five minutes of practice per day, less than half the traditional, hourlong, daily practices. By minimizing forgetting time, the five-times-a-day student learns much faster, even though their total daily practice time is less than half. The results are so obvious that anyone can see the difference.

Short, frequent practice sessions also encourage motivation. You don’t have time to become bored. You can practice longer than five minutes, if you want to. But five-minute sessions, spaced  throughout the day, will work. You come to each brief practice fresh, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. You can see daily improvement, and you look forward to practicing. And motivation is the key to success. I guarantee my students that they will see obvious improvement in any week in which they practice four or five times every day, or the next lesson is free.

In twenty years, I have never had to give a free lesson.

I have been playing guitar for more than half a century, but you can learn everything I know in a single year, if you practice four or five times a day. I have taught students of all ages, from seven years old to seventy, using this method. Even my youngest students mastered skills in one year that took me a lifetime to learn.

It’s fun, fast, and free. Try it and see the difference for yourself.

THREE Featured tabs this month!

Two of them are NEW Christmas carols: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, and O Little Town of Bethlehem-- enjoy! The third is an "oldie but goodie": ¡Regocijad! which is Joy to the World in Spanish.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Every year in early December, I try to post a “new” Christmas song, to give you enough time to learn it before Christmas. I usually have a hard time deciding which to post. Christmas carols are my favorite music to play, throughout the year. I first heard this one performed by Johnny Cash, and it stuck with me forever. Even though it doesn’t mention the Savior at all by name, the constant repetition of his message, “Peace on earth, good will to men” keeps him constantly in my mind as I play the song. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do. Consider it an Intermediate song, but you will find it on the Featured page too.  Merry Christmas!

Double Feature!

In the days of my youth, movie theaters had only one auditorium, but people didn't want to see only one movie. The theaters' solution was to offer a "double feature"-- a main attraction that was a brand new film, plus an older, classic film. Satisfied everyone. We're doing something similar.

The "second feature" is Beautiful Savior, one of the prettiest hymns known. It's lovely, but contains seventeen chords and is hard to play. The "main attraction" is With Humble Heart, another really pretty tune that has only three chords, and qualifies as Easy. It comes with a story:

Since I joined the Mormon Church in 1980, I have occasionally seen the priests at the Sacrament table make a mad dash for bread from the kitchen freezer, and once or twice, Sacrament Meeting has been delayed while someone ran home for bread. But I have never seen the meeting proceed to the Sacrament, only to have the priests uncover the bread trays during the Sacrament hymn and discover, at the last moment, that there was no bread. Until last Sunday. While the quorum adviser ran home for bread, the song leader led us in hymn after hymn, and we all tried to maintain our reverence and keep from giggling. This hymn was the last one we sang before receiving the Sacrament. I have long been partial to it, but had never considered arranging it for guitar until now. Here it is, fresh from my computer. I've never played it for anyone but my wife.

Lord, Accept Our True Devotion

Beautiful song, and really rather easy.  It's even already in the key of C, so I didn't even have to transpose it!   It may be just a little advanced for a true beginner, as it does contain ONE barre chord.  But it's an easy one, GIII, and is preceded by a four beat chord, leaving plenty of time to arrange your fingers.  Hope you all enjoy it.  Next month, when a different song is featured, you'll find it on the Easy page.

Tab list now works right

Thanks to our Webmaster, Joseph Gray, the interactive tab list now takes you directly to the tab you click on.  It was always supposed to work that way, but I'm much better at arranging hymns than at publishing them online.  Thank you, Joseph!  So, now there are two ways to access any song on the blog:  you can use the interactive tab list on this page, or, you can look up songs by difficulty level.  Coming next:  a table of contents by subject.  But that's for the future.  I haven't even started on that yet.

They, the Builders of the Nation

May's Featured Song is "They, the Builders of the Nation".  My wife and I (both about 70 years old) have begun building a cabin on an old foundation in an old mining town in rural Utah. This makes us feel very much like pioneers, and fits perfectly with the building theme of this song.  I like to play it before starting work in the morning.  It helps me keep my daily building problems in perspective. Here it is in two versions: Easy and Intermediate, in plenty of time to learn it for Pioneer Day.

The Morning Breaks

The featured song this month is Hymn #1, "The Morning Breaks".  Every Conference, I try to pick out the hymn or song that strikes me the hardest and arrange it for the blog, if I haven't already done so.  With a menu approaching 200 songs, it is getting harder and harder to find one I haven't already tabbed!  Somehow, I've managed to miss this one, until now.  It's listed on the Featured page, and also on the Intermediate page, though it is only its tempo that keeps it from being Easy.  Barre chords are few and easy, and there are no hard transitions.  Enjoy!

Reformatting is DONE!

Now maybe I can get back to living my life, maybe even arrange some new songs.  Meanwhile, enjoy the change!

Do What Is Right (The Daydawn is Breaking)

When I went to reformat this song with its commentary included, I couldn’t find the commentary! After an hour of fruitless searching, I concluded that I never did write one for this wonderful piece, which is one of my absolute favorites. So I decided to write one, and in doing so, discovered several major errors in the tab. They have now been corrected. If you tried playing this piece, and didn’t like my arrangement, you were right. Please give it another chance!  (Do what is right!)  You'll find it on the Featured page, and the Intermediate page as well.

Let Zion In Her Beauty Rise (easy page)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir does a beautiful version of this lovely hymn. It has long been a favorite of mine. I can't imagine why it took me so long to get around to arranging it for solo guitar. Anyway, here it is, in a version that's almost too easy.

If you have tried to download a tab and had difficulty gaining access, please email me right away (see "Contact Information"). Hopefully, we've got all the bugs worked out.

I am continuing to reformat the existing tabs, including my comments and instructions at the end of every tab. This is not as simple as it may seem; not NEARLY as simple as I expected it to be.  Seems to take around an hour, on average. Currently, I've finished all the Featured tabs, All the Absolute Beginners tabs, all the Easy tabs, and all the Spanish tabs, and have begun work on the Intermediate and Advanced tabs.  Many thanks to Joseph Gray, our Webmaster, for all his help in setting up this new format. Also, many thanks to my son Soren, for selflessly hosting all the links for the old format for so many years.

Three Featured tabs

This month we are featuring two songs:

Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy  (easy tabs)
If the Way Be Full of Trial, Weary Not  (advanced tabs)

Si la vía es penosa is the Spanish title of  "If the Way Be Full of Trial, Weary Not".  This Spanish version is COMPLETELY in Spanish, including chord names, instructions, and history.  I felt it important to translate it all, as the song appears only in the Spanish language version of the LDS Hymnal.  If you speak Spanish and English, be sure to share it with a Spanish-speaking friend.

Where did all the tabs go?!!

After years of procrastinating, I have finally arranged the tabs by level of difficulty: Beginner, Easy, Intermediate, or Advanced, and have put each group on it’s own page, where they are arranged alphabetically. Plus:

❏ Table of Contents on the Home Page. Easily find the song you want.
Pagina de español -- Spanish Language Page
❏ Featured Tab page. The most recent tab (or tabs) will be posted here.
❏ Tab Tips and Instructions page. Reading tablature, chord theory, and
How to Learn 60 Chords at Once (Diminished Seventh Chord Theory).

Next up: additional pages for children’s songs, holiday songs, love songs, patriotic songs, and songs in other languages (Besides English and Spanish). Those should happen some time in the next month or so. Plus, I’ll continue combining existing tabs and commentaries. This requires about an hour per song. I don’t expect to finish soon, but all the songs on the Absolute Beginners page are finished.

Weary Not

Sorry for the long hiatus. My wife developed cancer, necessitating five surgeries and an unexpected end to our mission in Chile. She's OK now, and I can once again get back to rebuilding this blog and arranging music for the guitar. I thought this song would be an appropriate one to start with. It's a great comfort, and has become one of my favorites.