Sleigh Ride Guitar arrangement

So the story with this goes:

Years ago I tried to teach the melody of this tune to a student who was asking for xmas tunes. I realized after 8 bars or so that I couldn’t “just hear my way through it” because there were too many key changes. It became a quest to learn the thing right.

Years later I started working on a Chet-Atkins style version of the tune, modeled after the Boston Pops Orchestra version (pretty much the original version).

Every November I’d trot it out and work on it. By December 24th I’d “almost” have it.

So this year, I’ve done a full notation (this is a first-draft… probably has some mistakes, but hey it’s free!) of the arrangement. I’m planning on recording it over the next week or so.

It’s pretty challenging. I’m having a hard time getting it smooth!

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10 Responses to Sleigh Ride Guitar arrangement

  1. Ronnie Evans says:

    I admire your guitar playing, especially this arrangement of “Sleigh Ride” which is great. That’s quite an accomplishment, one that I keep attempting but just don’t get it done by Christmas and then it goes on the back burner for another year.

    I also enjoyed your duo with Guy Van Duser on “St. Jon’s Wart”

    Thanks for posting it on YouTube and for the notation of “Sleigh Ride)! – Ronnie Evans in North Carolina.

  2. bfmcal says:

    really nice! but I would really like to see the tab for favthings, perhaps its deleted?

  3. cube.root.sam says:

    I love this arrangement Jon! Hmmm its May now, so I have enough time to learn this for Christmas =)



  4. Ryan says:

    Wow…that was the most incredible arrangement of that song I have ever heard…it will take me 20 Christmases to get it that smooth!

  5. Sharon says:

    Very nice. I enjoy your arrangment.

  6. Rob Shain says:

    Great job, John….after listening to the Boston Pops play this every year for 40 years, and after hearing you play this several years ago I learned it on the piano. While I go through the same thing every year trying to learn it……it’s never as smooth as your version. btw…..Where’s this year’s attempt?

  7. dwicksell says:

    Jon –
    Thanks for the awesome arrangement! Great of you to put it up for free on the site, I’m enjoying the challenge of learning it thoroughly.

    I wondered if you wouldn’t mind telling us a bit about the guitar you’re using in this clip. I’m quite beguiled trying to identify it; is it a custom made model? I know any player’s sound is in his head and hands, but I love how that guitar looks, and it sounds awesome in every video of you playing it.

    • Jon says:

      Thanks glad you enjoyed!
      The guitar I played in that is a custom Ibanez S-Classic. That one wasn’t ever made as a standard model. It’s nice though! Thanks!

    • Josselin says:

      I once had a Hand-made Yamaha Classical Guitar with the number hand-written (next to a siagrtune). If it were a fake, there would be other signs (inferior craftsmanship). [If anyone sees one with a Dia-de-los-Muertos necklace around the head, probably in a pawn shop, it's mine! I want it back! Damned burglar.] Jul 7 at 4:27

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