Here is an arrangement of the British folk Christmas carol, The Holly and the Ivy for solo guitar. It can be played with a pick or fingerstyle. The second section uses natural harmonics. Touch, don’t press, the strings right over the indicated fret to produce the delicate chiming effect. Also, pluck the strings closer to the bridge if you find the harmonics don’t ring clearly.
Tips & Tabs
Here is an arrangement of We Wish You a Merry Christmas tabbed for guitar, mandolin, ukulele, tenor banjo and 5-string banjo, along with a version with notes only, no tab, for those who prefer that format. The arrangement includes the original melody, chords and lyrics, along with a melodic variation, or break. Merry Christmas!
Here is an arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High tabbed for guitar, mandolin, ukulele, tenor banjo and 5-string banjo, along with a version with notes only, no tab, for those who prefer that format. The arrangement includes the original melody, chords and lyrics, along with a melodic variation, or break. Merry Christmas!
Here is a set of four Christmas carols, (O Christmas Tree; God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen; Joy to the World; and Silent Night.), arranged as instrumental duets.
The duets have been tabbed separately for guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, tenor guitar/banjo, and 5-string banjo. There is also a concert version with notes only, no tab, for those who prefer that format.
All versions of the duets are in the same keys, so you can mix and match instruments: Uke & guitar duo; mandolin & tenor guitar; or one gigantic string-band orchestra! (Please send us a picture if you do the giant orchestra thing.)
We all know it as the theme to the Alfred Hitchcock TV show from the 50s & 60s, but the actual title is Marche Funèbre d’une Marionnette, or Funeral March of a Marionette. This short piece was originally composed by Charles Gounod in 1872 for solo piano, and scored for orchestra a few years later.
There is a an amusing storyline that goes along with the music.
- During the introduction: The Marionette is broken; it has died in a duel.
- Minor section: There are murmurs of regret from the troupe and the funeral procession begins.
- Major section: The troupe stops to take refreshments.
- Minor section: The troupe finishes the procession and returns to the house.
The original composition is in D Minor; this arrangement for Tenor Ukulele is transposed to A Minor. It is a bit challenging but very fun to play.
Ja-Da was written by pianist Bob Carleton in 1918. A simple melody with even simpler lyrics, this tune has somehow become a perennial standard. Maybe the lyrics tell the secret. The tabs below contain the original melody along with two solo breaks adapted from recorded solos improvised by trumpeter/cornetist Bobby Hackett and pianist/band leader Count Basie. The same music is tabbed out for guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin and ukulele.
The song Careless Love started out as a standard with New Orleans jazz bands. It has been recorded by countless artists in jazz, blues, folk, country and pop styles. The origins of this song are unknown and several versions of the lyrics exists. The lyrics below are common among folk singers.
Here is a Carterish style solo for guitar from one of Joe’s students. Thanks Roger!
This version features a country blues solo break which is a mash-up of licks culled from versions by Ray Charles, Eric Clapton & Jerry Reed. String bends ensue.
La Paloma is a popular Spanish song in the Habanera style. It was written by Spaniard Sebastian Iradier in 1861, after a visit to Cuba. Iradier did not live long enough to learn how popular his song would become. Today it is known internationally as one of the most recorded songs of all time.
This arrangement, for ukulele and guitar respectively, creates a classic Spanish sound by harmonizing the melody in 3rds.
After You’ve Gone is a jazz standard that has been recorded by everyone from Louis Armstrong to Phil Collins. It was written in 1918 by Turner Layton with lyrics by Henry Creamer. The song is tabbed for guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin and ukulele. Each arrangement includes a solo break that uses the technique of targeting the 3rd of the chords, (which is explained in the worksheet below).
The words to this old gospel song were penned by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922), who wrote the lyrics for around 5,000 hymns and gospel songs. Oatman pastored a small congregation in New Jersey while making his living in the retail and insurance industries. The melody to The Hallelujah Side was composed by J. Howard Entwisle (1866-1901).
Here are two arrangements of the melody for guitar and mandolin. Each arrangement features the basic melody followed by a break that stays close to the original.
Red Wing is a happy little tune popular at jam sessions. It was written in 1907 by Kerry Mills, who took inspiration for the melody from Robert Schumann’s piano miniature The Happy Farmer. Mills’ bright little melody tempers the sad lyrics, written by Thurland Chattaway, which tell of a young Indian maiden pining at the loss of her true love who died in battle. Woody Guthrie later used the melody for his 1940 song Union Maid.
Dix Bruce has arranged the tune in C major in his Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook series. (We’ve got copies at the store.) But many people like playing it in G. So here are some arrangements in G major for a variety of string band instruments.
Blues licks work in just about any genre. (Chaney categorically denies getting into trouble for slipping them into a Bach prelude during a classical guitar recital.) Here are some cool patterns using the G Blues scale, AKA the G Minor Pentatonic scale.
The Water Is Wide was popularized by Bob Dylan and later James Taylor. Here is an instrumental arrangement for guitar presented in two different keys, (for those who also want to sing it and may need Capo options). You can play these arrangements fingerstyle or flatpicked, either way works.
O Holy Night is such a lovely classic Christmas offering. And what better setting for this sublime piece than banjo? Yeah, right. But, if you’ve ever heard Tyler play the banjo, you know it can be done with grace and beauty. Here is a version of O Holy Night that Tyler voiced for his instrument of choice.
And just for fun, or foolishness, Joe threw in his arrangement for classical guitar.
Christmas Holidays are around the corner. Here are a few versions of the classic carol Silent Night.
First off, an easy version for standard guitar.
And a second version for guitar that takes you farther up the fingerboard.
And here are versions of Silent Night for tenor banjo and ukulele.
And here few more Christmas carol arrangements for guitar.
Red River Valley is a popular jam session tune. Most folks think that the song is about the Texas border river, but it probably references a river in upstate New York or Canada. Here are two arrangements: one for flatpicked guitar, the other for Scruggs style banjo.
Here is a guitar TAB for the hymn Amazing Grace. Joe arranged this so the melody stays on the third string most of the time. Because of this, you’ll see an unusual way to voice the G chord. Keeping your 3rd finger on the third string for melody notes and for this particular G chord helps to preserve the singing quality of the arrangement. Don’t play it too fast, though: This is a slow introspective reading of Newton’s famous hymn.