Christmas Guitar

Good King Wenceslas – Guitar Tab

 

I recorded this song in kind of a bluesy Travis Picking style. Here’s my arrangement that I played for the breaks on the recording. For the verses I just played the chords, in the same style but without the melody.

 

The Melody & Accompaniment arrangement below shows an easy way to accompany a song fingerstyle (the bottom line of tab). Just use your thumb to alternate the bass notes on the counts of 1 and 3, and use your index and middle fingers to pluck up on the other two notes I’ve written in. They’re all part of the chord so you don’t have to worry about playing notes outside of the chord. Of course, the top line of tab is just the basic melody of the song, which you can play for extra practice on playing melodies.

 

Here’s an easier fingerstyle solo. In arranging this I mostly just put a chord at the beginning of each measure and then followed that with melody notes. That’s an easy way to create your own arrangements that works well many times. For those chords on the count of 1 that require you to play 3 notes, use your thumb for the lowest one (the bass note), your index finger for the middle note, and your index finger for the highest note, which will usually be a melody note.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Guitar Tab

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was first published in 1833 when it appeared in Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys.

The lyrics are reputed to date back to the 15th century, and are written in Early Modern English. The author is unknown. The words of the song had different meanings in the time of its writing than in contemporary use; rest meant “keep,” while merry meant “mighty” or “strong”—thus, the title in modern English means “May God keep you gentlemen strong.” It is believed that the song was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season.

Melody and Accompaniment arrangement with alternating bass strumming pattern (play either the top or the bottom line of tab):

 

Pattern picking arrangement that is played on the recording (bottom line of tab under melody). Use your middle finger to play the 1st string, index finger to play the 2nd string, and the thumb to play the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th strings. Your thumb plays 4 beats per measure in an alternating pattern.

 

This is not on the recording, but after I recorded the song somebody requested a guitar break they could play so I made this up-the-neck arrangement.

 

Deck the Hall – Guitar Tab

 

Deck the Hall is a secular Christmas carol. The melody is Welsh and belongs to a winter carol, Nos Galan; the “fa-la-la” refrains were probably originally played on the harp. In the eighteenth century Mozart used the tune to Deck the Hall for a violin and piano duet. J.P. McCaskey is sometimes credited with the lyrics of Deck the Halls but he only edited the Franklin Square Song Collection in which the lyrics were first published.

The English words generally sung today are American in origin and date from the 19th century. Note that some versions use “Deck the Halls” instead of “Deck the Hall,” the more correct title.

Here’s an easy melody and accompaniment arrangement, with the top line being the simple melody and the bottom being a simple accompaniment pattern with alternating bass.

 

Next is an easy solo for flatpick guitar.

 

The intermediate flatpick guitar arrangement below is the one I played on the recording.

Auld Lang Syne – Guitar Tab

 

The pattern picking arrangement below is the one I played on the recording. As with all of the arrangements with this type of Melody & Accompaniment tablature, play either the top (for the melody) or the bottom (for the accompaniment).

 

The arpeggio arrangement below can be played with either your fingers or a flatpick.

 

This chord melody solo arrangement can be played as a guitar solo. It’s a little more advanced but straightforward.

Away in a Manger – Guitar

The melody and accompaniment arrangement below includes the melody on the top line of tablature and the accompaniment below it. It can be played as a duet by two guitars or just play the chord arrangement if you want to sing it.  You can also play just the top line (melody) as an easy solo.

The pattern picking arrangement below includes the same melody tab as the one above but instead of strumming I’ve included a fingerstyle pattern picking accompaniment arrangement. On the first few measures I included the fingering I use (T=Thumb, 1=Index Finger, and 2=Middle Finger). This is the arrangement I’m playing on the recording.