Our Advanced Package has arrangements from Neil's Christmas album that he still plays in concert occasionally. This set of level 7 pieces includes God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Here Comes Santa Claus, I Wonder As I Wander, Let It Snow, and O Come All Ye Faithful. There is also a bonus DADGAD lesson on Silent Night from our talented colleague Doug Young.
Lesson 1: Here Comes Santa Claus - Holiday Sing Along
This is one of the more challenging Holiday songs in that it uses quite a few barre chords up the neck, and they change pretty quickly. It is done in the key of D Major.
Lesson 2: I Wonder As I Wander - Solo Fingerstyle Arrangement
I Wonder As I Wander is based in American folk tradition and was first collected by John Jacob Niles in 1933. The melancholy melody makes a great base for a solo guitar arrangement, and lends itself well to improvising as well. This arrangement is similar to the way I played it on my album A Christmas Collection. It is in 3/4 time and includes 2 verses with different feels. It includes some advanced right-hand techniques as well as thoughts on playing it with feeling.
Lesson 3: Let It Snow - Holiday Sing Along
This arrangement is done in the key of D Major and introduces a few diminished chords, common in many of the pop-holiday songs from this era.
Lesson 4: O Come All Ye Faithful – Fingerpicking Solo
This is another Christmas Carol that is fun to play in ragtime. It includes some quick chord changes. We run through two verses, each of which uses an important fingerpicking technique.
The first uses many filler notes on the ‘and’ of beat 4 to create a pick-up feel into the next measure. The second verse makes great use of syncopated bass notes, meaning bass notes hit on the ‘ands’ rather than on the beats.
Lesson 5: Silent Night - Solo Fingerstyle Arrangement
Silent Night is generally played in the key of A Major and this solo arrangement uses that as a starting point to combine the melody with bass notes for the chords into a fairly easy lesson. It is in 3/4 time and uses a bass patter similar to What Child Is This where the 2nd and 3rd bass notes are the same.
Lesson 6: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Solo Fingerstyle Arrangement
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen is a traditional English carol that goes back a few, if not many centuries. It has a modal melody (Aeolian) that lends itself very well to a bluesy-ragtime interpretation. This version is another of many that I have to give credit to John Fahey for taking it in this direction. It is played with a steady alternating bass (Travis style), although we take the bass notes off the beats for some catchy syncopation as well.