Jingle Bells guitar tabs, two versions to download and print for beginner guitar students. The new arrangement uses four chords (see farther down the page), and the easy version has just two chords. The melody is in standard notation and guitar tabs.
The easy version - why just 2 chords?
The most satisfying arrangements of this Christmas song will have 3 or more chords (the I, IV, and V chords, and perhaps the V of V), not just 2 as I have in this version, but for a very new beginner, 2 chords to worry about is enough! My students use the "small C" and "small G7" (see my Big Guitar Chords page) in Jingle Bells, and the song sounds just fine. Plus, the guitar tabs melody has lots of open string notes, making this a workable key for a duet.
Uh-oh... they have to change strings!
Well I didn't say that the melody will be easy for a new flat-picker! Changing strings as it does, a beginner will probably struggle with it at first.
They will have to find
Which is why familiar songs are so useful for beginner guitar players...
But at least there are lots of repeated notes, and the main note is an open string. And phew! -- almost all kids know this song, so it makes it much easier to learn!
Okay, here's the fancier version with 4 chords:
Your younger students won't be pleased about the F chord, in all likelihood, but they need to start working on it sometime! For newbies, I always start with a "little" F chord - 1 string, or 2 strings, or 3 strings.
Use the familiarity of this Christmas song to practice counting.
I recommend encouraging your student to sing the words as they play Jingle Bells guitar tabs. When they get to the half and whole notes, that turns line 2, for example, into "Jingle all the way -2 -3 -4! O what fun it is to ride (in-a) one horse o-pen sleigh -2 -eigh - 4!"
Now... music theory time!
When your guitar player knows the timing of the chord changes, have them change to a different key with you. Talk about the I and V chords (1 and 5 chords), and hold up your fingers to count from C up to G. Even if they are a little familiar with the concept of "I" and "V" chords going together, it is good to review every lesson.
Can they change keys without using music?
What happens if we change to the key of G? Help them think their way through it: The I chord would be G, of course, but then what would the V chord be? Hold up the hand, point to finger 1, and say, "G... A... B... C... " and stop to let them say "D!" Then play Jingle Bells with those two chords.
Saying the alphabet is easy, right? But what about BACKWARDS?
If your student has trouble remembering the musical alphabet, then you need to put it on their lesson sheet for a few weeks, until they can say VERY QUICKLY "A-B-C-D-E-F-G; G-F-E-D-C-B-A!" Believe me, saying the alphabet backwards fast a lot of FUN. Make it a race!
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