Hey there, friends! Today I’ll show you how to play Blue Christmas, the classic song we all know from Elvis Presley. Unlike Elvis, I’ll be teaching a Key of C arrangement of this song - which I transposed back in lesson #465 in order to play along with a friend. A year later, I returned to this song and polished it up – and am pumped to share this lesson with you.
As usual I’ll walk you through all the must-know aspects: the chords, strumming patterns, some licks & fills, and an instrumental riff that combines melodic bassline with filler strums. This all makes for something that is relatively easy to play (no barre chords!) and manages to capture a ton of the magic in Elvis’ 1957 recording. Let’s get into it!
Follow along with my print-friendly guide for this song! It’s available for purchase at Musicnotes.com, the web’s leading provider of licensed sheet music.
On the fence? Here's a guide I made showing the purchase & print process, including answers to common questions about my song sheets.Buy at Musicnotes.com
Here’s a zoomed-in playthrough from start to finish, where you can see exactly how I play each section. This includes my arrangement of the instrumental melody riff, which I do a deep-dive on in the video just below.
Here’s a closer look how I combine filler strums with melodic bass line, which I use during the 8 measure instrumental section before the final chorus. I touch on this in my main lesson (above) but wanted to go the extra mile and show you exactly what I’m playing.
If the F chord is tripping you up, here are some videos to help:
If you need some help with strumming (in particular the alternating bass note strumming technique I use), check these out:
Finally, if you’re interested in how (and why) I decided to change the Key from E major to C major, here’s an earlier video I made showing the process:
Elvis Presley (1957) - Remember, add capo 4 (using the chords I use) to play along with him.
Doye O’Dell (1948) - As I understand, this is the first ever recording of the song!
Here’s a few lessons from other YouTube teachers, all of whom teach this in the Key of E (which matches the Elvis recording). Again, I teach things in Key of C which uses different chords entirely.