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  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen  
 

Ted Greene Arrangement - December 7, 1972
Notation by Ted Greene; chord diagrams and TAB by P. Vachon

Ted's Original Lesson sheets
GodRestYeMerryGentlemen_TedGreene12-07-1972.pdf

Compilation Pages
GodRestYeMerryGentlemen_TedGreene_notes_grids.pdf

Ted wrote this arrangement in standard notation back in 1972.  His original arrangement is on a full page along with two other Christmas songs.  At the top he wrote: “One good way to get a lot out of playing these pieces is to learn the melodies first, then harmonize them yourself, then compare with given harmonizations.” 

I transferred his notation to the computer and included TAB, and then added TG-style grid chord diagrams.  Ted provided very little finger or string markings, so it’s not always perfectly clear where he intended each chord to be played.  The chord fingerings and positions are what I believe Ted would have played this arrangement.  Sometimes it’s obvious where Ted would have played a passage, based on how the chords fit together, and what precedes and follows.  Sometimes there is only one place to play a chord.  Ted tended to play these kinds of pieces without much open strings, so the first position and open strings isn’t used a lot.

The arrangement isn’t too difficult, but there are some challenges.  If you find any of the chords hard to manage, try finding the same chord on a different string set, or use a simpler voicing according to your current ability.  Experiment.  Below I’ve made a few suggestions to help with fingering some of the more difficult passages.

Some comments and fingering suggestions:

P.1, line 1:        For the second Dm chord you could play it in 5th or 10th position, however, I believe that Ted would have used this fingering.  Use the little finger to barre the 2nd and 3rd strings to get the A and F notes.  It may seem a little awkward if you’re not used to using the little finger that way, but work on it – it gets easier.  You’ll see how well it flows into the A/C# chord that follows it.  This was a very common chord move for Ted, and a good one to work on for strengthening the little finger, and for that common Dm to A/C# type move.

P.1, line 2:        The A(#9) sounds a little strange when played slowly and out-of-context, but Ted was bringing out the inner moving line of C – Bb – A (the A as part of the Dm chord that follows).  If you just don’t like the sound of that chord, then simply play an A/C# chord as, C#, A, E (strings 6,4,3) without the moving line.  It sounds good and flows into the Dm nicely. 

P.1, line 2:        You might find it easier to play the C9 on strings 5,4,3,2 instead.  Use the same notes, but in the first position of the guitar.  It seems to flow better here, and you can add a short descending bass line from the D of the G6 chord to the C of the C9 chord (D – Db – C).

P.1, line 3:        The eight chords following the 2nd ending (including the D7/C on line 2) provides an ideal exercise for developing your right-hand technique.  Notice the variety of different spacings in all the chords, requiring you to spread your right-hand fingers in 8 different groupings. 

P.1, line 3:        Finger the C#o7 – Dm – G7/B (on the top of p.2) as follows:  2,1,3,1  to  2,1,3  to  2,4,1,3.  This makes the transition to the G7/B much easier.  Just slide your fingers down and add the little finger.

P.3, line 1:        First learn this 2-measure section without the moving lines (the X notes), then add them later when you feel comfortable with the passage.  (It works fine without them, if you find it difficult.)

I hope you enjoy playing Ted’s arrangement of this classic Christmas song.
--Paul



 
   
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