Silent Night - Simple, Three-Chord, Christmas Ballad

I took this straight from Justin’s Christmas Songbook. (I’ve got a few of his books now… :slight_smile:) I’m just doing the one-strum-per-bar pattern which he recommends starting out with. Maybe by next Christmas I’ll be able to do a more advanced version of it.

Like many of you, I’ve had a rough go recently. The Holiday Season is not so jolly for some of us due to things in our personal histories. Yet, and still, I love Christmas, and what it means for me, which is the Birth of Christ. Because I’ve been in such a funk, I haven’t really been practicing guitar for a few weeks, which is something which had brought me a lot of joy the past few months. So, I am truly just sending this song out on a wing and a prayer! I hope it finds you well.



Hi Todd, apart from being a little quiet , It’s quite good I think. I note that you’ve progressed some in grade 1 with new chords to play for us all.

Thank you for such a lovely song, and keep going :slight_smile: :guitar:


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Regarding the volume, it’s mainly an issue with this microphone. It’s a cheap immitation of a Shure SM58 which I found on Amazon. I can’t get it to go much louder than this (I’ve tried adjusting the gain, but I have to turn it so high as to pick up a ton of line noise, and it’s still sort of quiet.). So, to make things somewhat level, I just turned down my guitar.

Yes, that’s true. This may be a very simple way of playing a rather simple song, but, it does involve some new chords for me, compared to my last posting: G, C, and D7. So, I am happy with my progress in that way. Other than that, I know it’s not a great representation of skill (even of my own meager skill), but, I figured people may enjoy it anyway, even if they are just laughing at or with me.

Best Wishes,

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Hi Todd, I wish for you to make new memories over time that December can be less depressive funk inducing.

Good job on the playing, generally steady and clean playing. Good to see you back at it.

My only suggestion, over and above your own insights shared, would be to keep the hand moving up and down continuously, even when playing just the first beat of the bar. I couldn’t see if you had a foot tapping away to serve as your own inner-gnome (gawsh, sorry, couldn’t resist that far-too-obvious homophone).


Hi David!

That all makes sense.

I don’t really tap my foot, no. I know it’s recommended by Justin and everyone else… I just don’t find it natural to do, and sort of uncomfortable while sitting on this chair as I do. I know in the lesson where Justin introduces the idea of foot tapping he says some people bob their head instead, but he finds that funny-looking. Maybe I should try it. :rofl: Maybe tapping my foot would also feel easier while standing. I don’t know, but, I’ll work on it.

If/When I work on this song in the future (or others where I’m only strumming once per bar), I’ll keep the strumming hand moving. I can see how it would help keep time, and also help you feel the beat. To be honest, as I was playing this song with zero practice, it basically seemed easier, sort of a cheat, to just think about singing it and knowing when I would strum related to the words, so I didn’t have to put much thought into it.



You are not alone, Todd!

I have also found it difficult, especially when playing songs. I don’t tap my foot, I bounce my heel which works better for me. Maybe swaying side to side could be an option as well. Anything really to keep the beat while you get creative with your playing and singing.

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Thanks for this Todd. I look forward to your videos as you always bring a sort of wholesome sense of joy to my day.

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Hi Todd, and thanks a lot for sharing your video. This was very nice playing and singing :hugs:.
Silent Night is a very calm song, so playing it one strum per bar, suited well. And playing it at a slow pace throughout the whole song, is definitely not easy. You did a great job :+1::smiley:.

Congratulations on having learnt new chords :clap:. D7 was also new to me this December. It seems to be quite commonly used in X-mas songs :thinking:.

Todd, I wish you all the best for 2023 and look forward to hearing more from you and your guitar journey :hugs:.

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Well done Todd. A classic Christmas song played and sung with feeling despite your history of not so jolly Christmases.
Some good advice given above. My advice is next time don’t put up a 7 minute video with 4 minutes of you talking. AVoYP is a busy section and if I hadn’t seen that some others had commented positively I would not have fast forwarded and would not have listened beyond the first minute of dialogue. Sorry.

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@sairfingers That’s a good point. Maybe I’ll just post in my learning log next time. Also… if someone decides they don’t like hearing me speak and so don’t watch the video, that’s perfectly fine, not every performance appeals to every audience.

@hobart Thanks, Howard! That is a big part of why I do things how I do them, to bring a little joy, a little levity to people. I’m glad to hear it’s working. :slight_smile:

@NicoleKKB Thank you so much! Here’s to a great 2023! :slight_smile: And, yeah, I think I had picked up D7 trying to learn some other song at some point, though I don’t remember which. It’s not one that’s been covered in my lessons here yet. So, when I looked in the Christmas Songbook and saw that Silent Night just required D7, C, and G (having recently learned G, as I’m currently in Module 6), I figured, “Hey, I’ve already got all of the chords down for this one, and Justin says you can just strum it once per bar…” So, it seemed to be about the easiest song in there, for me.

Hey Todd, even without practice your chord changes were bang on to me. As you are early days in the course and missed some days or weeks over Christmas of practice I wouldn’t really expect any complex strumming off you for now, so overall really cool job! Couple of things I wanted to quote here;

Nothing wrong with bobbing your head, arm, ankle, heel or whatever that keeps your groove going and can keep you in the rhythm. I lean backwards and forwards in early days when I learn a song as this is least distractive to me. It later sort of moves onto my knee and is less apparent. Foot never worked for me too so just try to find whatever works for you.

Although I don’t mind either a video with a vlog type of entry or scrolling through it if I do not wish to watch it my suggestion would be to split the clip like Toby used to do, so two videos two links and this will be an advantage for people like Gordon if they want to quickly skip through it.


Thanks! That is a good suggestion, regarding making two links, one could be the whole video, the other just the song, isolated unto itself. That way it can be one post, but allow people to easily find the song immediately if that’s what they prefer. Everyone wins!

I know you can also make YT links that take you to a specific timestamp in the video. Maybe that would work for this as well. I’ll try it!


Hey Todd,

Thanks for the post. Do your talking thing if you want to. You do you. Some will like it, some won’t. I was going to fast forward through it but ended up listening to you talking and enjoyed it.

Your playing is improving. And singing for a lot of it was quite good, Way better than me. You’re very self deprecating about it at the end. Still very basic guitar skills of course, but an enjoyable video.

A couple of other things…

The foot tapping. I know it’s hard, it’s super important. Rhythm is a major, major element of all music. Once you can tap your foot without thinking - it will happen - it lifts your game. Start tapping while playing along with a backing track or the app so you’ve also got that keeping the beat for you. Or a metronome!

Your talk. You’ve had a pretty rough time, and not feeling great. Sorry about that, I hope it gets better for you soon. If you want to get good at guitar, I’d recommend you play it for at least 10 minutes a day, even if you feel like crap. Make it a thing like brushing your teeth, or going for a daily walk (if you do that). Don’t make it mood or inspiration based, make it a habit that happens regardless of how you feel. I noticed you read books as well. Have you read Atomic Habits?


Hi JK!

Thanks, man! I always look forward to your comments; I appreciate you! :slight_smile:

I actually have read Atomic Habits! It’s a good one. I was reading it, thinking in terms of my diet and exercise routine (I’m someone who has been successful at getting fairly fit multiple times in my adult life, but always end up falling off and re-gaining the fat, so, obviously, I need to work on making life-long habits in that regard!). So, I totally understand what you’re saying there!

Also, and I think I mentioned this somewhere in some post on here, I’ve read that music practice can actually be good for mental health. Obviously, it’s not a cure-all or anything, but there was a study that found music practice had similar benefits to starting a regular meditation time. I think that makes sense, as we can get into a sort of flow state while practicing. So… I guess just one more reason I should really try to make guitar a habit, as you said!