- Holidays and Celebrations»
Easy Guitar Christmas Songs • Silent Night • Chords, Tab, Melody, Fingerstyle, Videos.
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Learning Blues Guitar
I have been teaching guitar professionally since 1992, when Don’t Fret Guitar Instruction was established. Over the years, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops. Past students include four members of PROTEST THE HERO.
With this book, my goal is to relate the scales with chords and rhythms as opposed to just learning solos or licks and having no idea how to apply them. Good rhythm playing and knowledge is crucial to good soloing and vice versa. This comes through understanding the relationship between chords and scales. This book provides that important foundation.
The book is unique in the fact that each chapter is based around a different key signature and an open (contains unfretted notes), pattern of the pentatonic scale. There are five chapters covering the key signatures of E, A, D, G and C, and the five open ‘box patterns’ (scale patterns) of the pentatonic scale. Eventually all the box patterns are covered, from the open strings to the fifteenth fret.
There is no endless scale practice or useless licks to learn. Instead, each chapter begins with a chord progression, moves into various rhythm patterns derived from the chord progression, and then culminates with solos based on the scale and key covered. These solos tie in with the chord progression and rhythm patterns to form a complete lesson for each chapter.
The book is progressive. Upon completion, the student will have a solid foundation in blues guitar, and will understand the rhythm, lead connection.
The book is best studied from beginning to end, without slighting any material. All theory is explained in the simplest terms. There are fretboard diagrams for the scales, chord grids, and photos of hand positions as well as videos posted on YouTube to aid in the learning process.
It is best, but not necessary, to have a knowledge of barre and open chord shapes before beginning this course. All the chords have fretboard grids associated with them.
Good luck and have fun. Music is a celebration. Enjoy!
Lorne K. Hemmerling
The song is usually played at a very slow tempo. I have employed downstrokes for the entire piece. Normally eighth note strums would be executed as a down up motion, but when the tempo is this slow, it can be hard to maintain. Try the downstrokes unless you feel more comfortable with the down-up motion. Let the chords ring together, do not play them in staccato style. you are aiming for a very even, flowing sound. The time signature is three four. many holiday tunes are written in this time signature, commonly called 'waltz time'.
The melody line is in the key of D Major, the parent key for the entire song. There are two sharps in the key: F♯ and C♯. This means that every time these notes are played they will be one fret higher than the natural note. On guitar, sharp always translates to one fret higher (towards the sound hole, or body of the guitar). I have seen many students get this wrong: up the fretboard (higher) is always towards the body because the notes are higher in pitch, down the fretboard (lower) is always towards the headstock (tuning pegs). The transcription contains many dotted notes. The dot adds half the value of the note it is attached to. For example, a dotted half note is a half note plus a quarter note (three beats).
This melody line fits perfectly with the normal pitched melody above. If you play this as a stand alone piece, It will sound different from the normal melody. Harmonies follow the melody, but are voiced as different notes, usually a third or fifth interval. These notes are related to the chords being played. In the easiest example, if the chords are Major, the interval would be a Major. If the chord is minor, the interval would be a minor. A vocalist with a good ear can usually sing a harmony with no preparation. The lead vocalist would simply ask for a harmony a third above or below, and the accompanist would sing the notes.
Solo Fingerstyle Arrangement
This is a beginner to intermediate level fingerpicking arrangement of this Christmas classic. Most of the chords are common open shapes, although some voicings will have you moving around the fretboard and may prove quite difficult. With most chord melody arrangements, other inversions of the chords must be used to keep the melody in the same octave. I use my thumb, index, middle and ring fingers for the entire piece. Some of the arpeggios have five notes. The pinky can be employed to catch the high note, or the thumb can play the two lowest notes. I play the two highest notes of the arpeggios with my ring finger.
Play this at a slow tempo, around 60 bpm. It gives the tune the dreamy quality it needs. The time signature is three four. Three beats to a measure and the quarter note gets one beat.
You can also perform this as free time. That is, there is no tempo, you are free to slow down (usually in quieter passages), and speed up (normally in louder parts). The dynamics and tempo are up to the performer. Whatever you choose, try to remember to add the dynamics. This will greatly enhance your feel for the song and the listener’s as well. This transcription has been transposed to the key of A Major.
© 2014 Lorne Hemmerling