Blue Christmas

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!

  • 0:00 Lesson Overview
  • 0:37 Playthrough
  • 1:57 Capo & Key
  • 2:40 Verse
  • 9:00 Chorus
  • 11:37 Strumming
  • 15:19 Instrumental Riff

Lesson Discussion

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Print-Friendly Song Sheet 1 page

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Extended Video Lessons

Play-Along Practice Track

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.

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Instrumental Melody Riff with Filler Strums

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.

Click to download a one-page PDF with my exact tabs for this 8 measure section.

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Other Lessons to Help With This Song

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:

Famous Recordings of this Song

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!

Want to Learn it in the Key of E?

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.