Amazing Grace

Greetings! In this edition of Guitar Nine we will be learning an arrangement of "Amazing Grace." "Amazing Grace," perhaps the most well known hymn of all time, was written by John Newton (1725-1807) in 1748. However, the origin of the melody has been attributed to two sources. Some have speculated that it may have been the tune to an Early American folksong. Still others believe that the melody was derived from a slave song. Whichever the case may be it is one of the most beautiful and recognizable melodies ever written. My arrangement is written in theme and variations form. We will commence with the learning of the theme and in the next several months two variations. Let me give a list of things that will facilitate the learning of this piece.

Things List

  1. The piece is written in "low D tuning." This simply means that the 6th string or E must be tuned down one whole step to D.
  2. A c with a vertical line through it indicates a half bar. (Ex. measure 1)
  3. A wavy line in front of a chord indicates that the chord is to be "rolled."
  4. In measure 15 there are legato (pull-offs) markings above the notes.
  5. Remember, the general rule is that the thumb will play all the down stemmed notes. Index will play the 3rd string, middle will play the 2nd string and ring will play the 1st string.

In closing, you will notice that measure 17 begins the first variation. I have included measures 17 and 18 so that you will get a sense of where I am heading with the first variation. As always, have fun learning and playing. If you have any questions or comments don't hesitate to contact me. I will see you soon with the first variation.


Steve Pappas is a guitarist, composer and teacher from Ohio specializing in fingerstyle guitar who believes in daily practice, and expressing emotions and feelings through his playing.

His latest CD is entitled "Refuge", a blend of Folk, Spanish, Classical, Latin and Rock influences.

Steve Pappas