Carol Of The Bells

Happy Holidays! OK, in this lesson I want to show you one of my all time favorite Christmas tunes called "Carol of the Bells". Being a former member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I had the honor of playing this song with them. This version is off my Christmas CD "The Meaning of Christmas" and I will be only showing you the main guitar line. There are other guitars in the mix like harmonies and rhythm guitar, but in this lesson we will just focus on the main lead guitar in the first section.

I use the two-hand tapping technique for the main repeated haunting melody in the first section. By doing it this way, It has a fuller sound when you are playing this by yourself, but it can be tricky. The bottom line of the notation is the left hand and the top line is the right hand. When I play this live I sometimes play the top melody up an octave. The trick is to keep your pick in your hand while you are tapping because, as soon as the next section begins you have to be ready. You can hammer the first few notes in bar 3 and then start picking when you play this up to speed, feel free to experiment.

Harmonically, this whole tune is based in the E minor scale (E, F#, G, A, B, C, D). When it goes to the B major chord in bar 5, the notes are derived from the B Mixolydian (b6) mode (B, C#, D#, E, F#, G, A), which is the 5th mode of the melodic minor scale. I included the background melody behind the shredding section just so if you didn't have the shred section up to speed you could play the main melody instead.

MP3 - Carol Of The Bells, Slow

MP3 - Carol Of The Bells, Fast



OK, that is it for now! Let me know if you would like more of this piece, and if you are interested in listening to the whole tune, check out my CD "The Meaning Of Christmas" - you can purchase it right off this site. Visit for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within