Christmas music is one of the most appreciated categories of music, but we typically don’t want to hear it all year round. The problem is, it can take months of practice to be able to perform a Christmas song by the holiday season. The examples listed below are a selection of Christmas songs in their simplest form. Hopefully, you can learn the songs without too much work, therefore allowing you to spend more time drinking eggnog and making out under the holly decorations. If you want to download the transcriptions listed below in PDF form with audio play-along tracks, then click this link:
Here is another selection of simple songs that guitar players can perform that incorporate traditional melodies. The songs are slightly more difficult than the original examples found in this blog, so if you’re just starting on guitar, you might check that out first. You can download example below with audio attached at this link:
I took private guitar lessons during the late 1980’s. My experience as a student had me in an entirely different environment than the one I currently teach in. Guitar Tablature had not fully been an accepted form of notation (although it is arguably the most accurate), educational resources were not as readily available as they are today, teaching methods were often dry and uninteresting. The location where I learned guitar was drastically different. Instead of a first class studio overlooking a tidal estuary, as a I currently reside, I was attending lessons in a section of a city that was vaguely crime ridden and located just a 1/2 block away from an adult movie theater in a room that was filled with cigarette smoke as common custom encouraged the habit in basically every situation.
My field of study with the guitar focused on jazz music, so I learned a limited amount of rock songs. I spent the majority of my time reviewing a large variety of jazz concepts and technical skills, both conceptually and in real life situations. I applied my learned knowledge to jazz standards. Below, I’ve provided to the general public scanned versions of all the material that I used in my private lessons program, for either study or interest.
It is important to diversify your practice routine. It might be more fun to improve your skills by learning different songs, but songs usually don’t allow you to really examine a specific technique. It is not a bad idea to spend just as much time working thru tedious exercises on the guitar as you would spend working on songs that are enjoyable to play.
Chromatic Exercises can improve the control you have of your left and right hand. They are basically simple repetitive actions, so you don’t usually have to think much about what comes next. Therefore you can concentrate on your technique.
Click the Link Below to View PDF of Chromatic Exercises:
Chromatic Exercises Outline
Chromatic Exercises have almost no musical value, so you shouldn’t be tempted to play them fast. They are not any more entertaining; no matter how fast you play them. Practice them slowly and on cue with a metronome. Focus on placing your right hand in the correct location (open or closed fist/planted on the bridge-pickguard or free floating). Hold your pick with the proper method. Keep your fingers on your left hand arched and place them accurately against (not on top of) the actual metal fret closest to the soundhole or pickups on the guitar. Press with your fingertips, not the flat part of your finger. If you carefully practice these exercises on a regular basis your skills will improve and you will have an easier time learning things that are more fun such as songs or soloing.
Click the Link Below to get Examples of Easy Chord Songs for the Guitar:
Easy Songs that Use Chords on the Guitar
Most of the Songs Below Are Available at this Link:
Virtual Drive – Popular Songs
Easy Songs that Use Open Chords
America – A Horse with No Name
Bob Dylan – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Bob Seeger – Turn the Page
Colbie Caillat – Magic
Four Non-Blondes – What’s Up
Howie Day – Collide
Johhny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
Lynrd Skynryd – Simple Man
Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Tom Petty – Breakdown
Tom Petty – Free Falling
Moderate Songs that Use Open Chords
Adam Sandler – Hanukka Song
Avril Lavigne – Nobody’s Home
Blind Melon – No Rain
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
Colbie Callait – Bubbly
Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
Green Day – Time of Your Life
Guns n’ Roses – Patience
Guns n’ Roses – Used to Love Her
Gary Jules – Mad World
Jimmy Buffet – Margaritaville
Jimmy Cliff – Over Rivers of Babylon
Neil Young – Heart of Gold
Oasis – Wonderwall
Pearl Jam – Black
Poison – Every Rose has its Thorn
Sugar Ray – Fly
Steve Miller – Joker
Van Morrison – And it Stoned Me
Wallflowers – Three Marlenas
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
Difficult Songs that Use Open Chords
Beatles – Back in the USSR
Beatles – Rocky Raccoon
Beatles – Twist and Shout
Bob Marley – Redemtion Song
Carly Simon – Anticipation
Cat Stevens – Father and Son
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon
Everlast – What It’s Like
Grateful Dead – Ripple
Green Day – Warning
Led Zeppelin – Tangerine
Lynyrd Skynryd – Sweet Home Alabama
Outkast – Hey Ya
Tim McGraw – Live Like You Were Dying
Janis Joplin – Me and Bobby McGee
Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream
Tom Petty – Yer So Bad
Woody Guthrie – This Land is Your Land
A typical dilemma that guitar instructors immediately encounter upon entering the teaching profession has to do with the material that should be taught to beginner students during their first few lessons. The initial subject matter that each teacher covers should excite and motivate his or her students. Most people are familiar with popular rock songs and traditional American music so I usually teach them a few of these standards during our first lessons, but before covering songs, I quickly review proper posture and technique with my students.
Basic Concepts, Posture, and Technique:
- Posture and Placement of the Guitar on the Right or Left Leg
- Holding the Guitar Pick
- Placement of the Right Hand Against the Guitar
- Placement of the Left Fingers on the Fretboard
- Pressing Hard with the Left Hand
- Gently Striking the String with the Right Hand
- Using a Guitar Tuner
- Reading Guitar Tablature
- Labeling Each Student’s Guitar with Fret Number Stickers
Keep in mind….. I do not force my students to use the “correct” method when playing their instruments during the first few lessons. I often allow young or disabled students to use their thumb to play notes on the low ‘E’ string. In other words, I remind my students of the proper technique, but I don’t force it on them.
I have computer software in my studio that slows music down and changes it’s pitch. I use the Amazing Slow Downer, but there are many products available that serve this function. With this software, students can play along with recordings that would otherwise be too fast for them to keep up with. They can also play along with songs that are not tuned to standard tuning.
It took me years of trial and error to discover what arrangements students enjoyed and which songs are easy enough for them to learn in only a few lessons. Here is a list of some songs that my students have an easy time understanding.
For the absolutely uncoordinated student (or very young student):
- The Theme Song from the Movie Jaws
- Green Day – Brain Stew
- Using only the low ‘E’ string.
- Change the pitch up a half step with software.
- Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4
- Using only the low ‘E’ string.
- The same as Brain Stew, but slightly more difficult.
- Metallica – Nothing Else Matters (Intro)
- Uses only open strings.
- Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused
- Using all open strings except for a ‘D’ note on the 2nd string.
For the student who appears to be more coordinated:
- Black Sabbath – Electric Funeral
- Played only on the open ‘E’ string.
- Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water (Intro)
- Played only on the open ‘E’ string.
- Change the pitch down three half steps with software.
- The Stray Cats – The Stray Cat Strut
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (Verses and Choruses)
- Hot Cross Buns
- Played only on the high ‘E’ string
A typical first guitar lesson with a beginner student will have me review proper posture and technique for the first five minutes. We then review “Jaws” and “Nothing Else Matters” or “Taps” for about ten minutes. In the last ten minutes of our lesson, we cover “Brain Stew” or “25 or 6 to 4” until the student can play along with a slowed down version of the recording. Most students really get into the fact that in one lesson they can play a few popular rock songs. It takes us five minutes to pack up the guitar at the end of our lesson while I explain my payment policy.
There are many things that I do not teach during the first guitar lesson with a beginner student. My students usually take lessons with me for months or years, and I realize that we will have plenty of time to get into more advanced challenges as time goes on. Our first lesson should be fun. Keeping things simple gives my students a chance to see how it really feels to play the guitar.
Guitar Lessons in NH
Each line represents a string on the guitar.
e|------------------------|(Skinny) B|------------------------| G|------------------------| D|------------------------| A|------------------------| E|------------------------|(Fat)
If you press on the first fret of the skinny string of the guitar and play the same note four times it would look like this:
e|--1---1---1---1--| B|-----------------| G|-----------------| D|-----------------| A|-----------------| E|-----------------|