Deck The Halls Beginners To Advanced

It's that time of year. For my first Holiday tune "12 Days Of Christmas" I went with an electric/orchestral approach to the arrangement. This week it's time to strip it down to one classical guitar.

Ultimate Guitar
It's that time of year. For my first Holiday tune "12 Days Of Christmas" I went with an electric/orchestral approach to the arrangement. This week it's time to strip it down to one classical guitar.


I perform the full arrangement with the tab at 7:53. Prior to that are three stripped down versions of the arrangement (with the tab included). In the easiest version I strummed along with the chord changes. Here's a video performance of the four versions.
YouTube preview picture


Doing a solo guitar piece has its challenges. Here's how I took it on. First I started with the melody. Based on the lowest and highest notes in the melody the key of A seemed to fit well on the guitar. Especially since I wanted to play the melody in two different octaves (Easy level in Rock Prodigy). Then I added the bare bones bass notes to fill in the low end (Medium level in Rock Prodigy). The song plays the full melody three times so I decided to put the second time around down an octave in the bass. This left a lot of room to play in the higher register. For this I chose a few picking hand patterns that sounded good to me and a note or two of play. Next is the full harmony. Keeping my bass line and melody I added the bare minimum in chord changes (Hard level in Rock Prodigy). Also, I decided to palm mute the majority of the bass notes to add timbre and help the melody stand out. Finally to wrap it up I added some extra bass notes to keep a groove. When the melody is in the bass I chose a constant cascade of sixteenth notes. (Prodigy level in Rock Prodigy)


Finally for the performance I chose to use a soft attack for the first time through the melody. Then, since the second time around has the melody in the bass and the constant sixteenth notes I decided to ritardando into it to keep the build steady. Staying at the same tempo made the sixteenth notes stand out too much (and was more challenging). For the third time around I added a sharper attack and an instant accelerando to help keep the build. Repeat the last line a couple times as a tag (coda) and it's done.
YouTube preview picture
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol, 
Fa la la la la, la la la la. By Mike Georgia

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    You're making it sound like I must have rock prodigy to get good at guitar. And even to learn easy Christmas songs.... No thanks dude, I prefer the good old guitar pro, with a tabs that can actually be read...
    Rock Prodigy
    We included the second video "Deck The Halls four levels in Rock Prodigy" for people who don't have Rock Prodigy. And it sounds like you are a more advanced player... Rock Prodigy is more for beginners. Either way, hope you enjoy our Guitar Arrangement for Deck the Halls! Happy holidays.
    Poor right hand technique. Nearly every chord is overplayed, as marked by the percussive snapping. The performance is void of any dynamic or timbral contrast. The instructor's left hand thumb is way out of position. Why the harsh criticism? Because it seems your instructor needs to buy the course himself. You have better instructors than this.
    Thanks for you personal opinion, there are many ways to approach playing the guitar. Whether it's on a Nylon, Steel String, or Electric. Variety is the spice of life.
    And your instructor has chosen a fingerstyle arrangement on a nylon string guitar. While style and musicianship can be subjective topics, poor technique is objective. Your response is also a poor attempt to counter my point. Using a video of willie nelson playing with his thumb over the neck may in your mind absolve this instructor of technical sin, but the constant overplaying and too-short chords do not give students a good impression of prodigious playing.