‘Tis the season to be jolly! There’s no better way to get into the spirit of the holidays than listening to Christmas music. Let’s be honest, we hear the same songs every year, and they start to get old. Since you’re an advanced guitarist, it’s your duty to put a fresh spin on these tired holiday classics. For that reason, we present the 5 best Christmas songs for advanced guitarists.

We flipped these carols on their head with jazzy and neo-soul spice. Bust out one of these bad boys at your next Christmas party, and you’ll be an instant hit. Each rendition captures the core quality of the hymns while adding some modern soulful flavors. 

These Christmas carols are for advanced guitar players, but even if you’re not yet an advanced player, there’s still value in watching these tutorials. You can study certain chord progressions and voicings. And practice alternating between time signatures.

Watch the tutorials then play along to the jam tracks.

Merry Christmas and happy playing!

1. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” gets a neo-soul glowup

Make it a neo-soul Christmas with Oslo-based guitarist Nicklas Myhre’s flip of this classic Christmas song.

Out of all the Christmas guitar songs on the list, this is the most upbeat. It’ll work perfectly at a bar gig, in front of the family, or simply something to play for yourself to get in the Christmas mood. 

This is also perfect if you want to practice hybrid or fingerpicking. For rock guitarists who want to enter the world of soul and jazz, this song is a good starting point. The guitar solo is in the familiar pentatonic scale, too.

"We Wish you a Merry Christmas" – Video tutorial:

"We Wish you a Merry Christmas" - Backing track:

"We Wish you a Merry Christmas" - TAB:

2. “The First Noel” gets a fresh injection of Christmas funk guitar

Who said tender Christmas carols can't be funky? Full TAB are exclusively available to our members.

Jude's rendition of “The First Noel” features all the groove and spice you've come to known from this funky Nashville guitarist.

This arrangement has a lot of movement for both rhythm and lead guitar players. Comfort with fingerpicking is key for jamming along to this track.

The First Noel - Video tutorial:

The First Noel - TAB:

3. “Silent Night”, but it’s super sultry

This neo-soul version of “Silent Night” is ideal for serenading your lover in front of the fire during the holidays. Nick’s playing it in C major with 6/8 time.

The lyrics are so well known, the guitar practically sings it for you. This reimagining of the classic Christmas Carol will help you add some new tricks to your chordal vocabulary and ramp up the expressiveness of your playing.

"Silent Night" - Video tutorial:

Note: Keep scrolling for the backing track and TAB!

Want to take the next step as a guitarist?

Silent Night - Backing track:

Silent Night - TAB:

4. “Joy to the World” – a Christmas guitar song to help you hybrid pick

This version will surely warm up any living room. One aspect of Christmas is storytelling, and Nick’s version does that in an expert manner. It captures the essence of the traditional hymn while infusing it with grove and emotion.

In addition to helping you hone your hybrid picking skills, this rendition will teach you some seriously colorful chord voicings. The soul beat works effortlessly with the melody and chord progression. It’s in B major.

"Joy to the World" - Video tutorial:

"Joy to the World" - Backing track:
"Joy to the World" - TAB:

5. “Jingle Bells”, but make it gospel

Even without the sleigh bells, this rendition of the “Jingle Bells” is just as recognizable. The holiday season is about tradition. But that doesn’t mean a classic song like “Jingle Bells” can’t be infused with a little more swing. 

Canadian gospel guitarist TJ Whitelaw’s soulful “Jingle Bells” build up plenty of tension. The way he revolves to the I chord is super tasty as well.

"Jingle Bells" - Video tutorial:

"Jingle Bells" - TAB:

We think these are some of best Christmas songs to play on guitar. These tutorials all played on electric guitar, but they work as fun Christmas songs for acoustic guitar as well. 

Music brings joy to the world, and we hope you enjoy these spruced-up reimaginations of tired Christmas guitar songs. Use these tutorials as the foundation, but don’t limit yourself. Make your own version of these timeless Christmas guitar songs. 

Tips for learning these Christmas songs on guitar

If you’re struggling with these songs, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start with the melody: These songs all have an iconic melody that’s a great starting point for learning. Start by getting comfortable with the melody, and the chordal aspect will be much easier to grasp.
  • Get comfortable with each individual chord: Take note of which chords appear in the song, and make sure you can play and change between them before you try to play them in the context of the song.
  • Start slow. This is counterintuitive, but trying to play a new song at speed will slow you down in the long run! Use a metronome and start playing verrrryyyy slow – you should be able to play through each section clearly while holding no tension in your body.
  • Take it one chunk at a time. If you try to learn the full song at once, you’ll get really good at the beginning part, but the rest of the song will sound sloppy. Break each song into chunks, and you’ll have a much smoother learning process.

If you’re looking for more guidance in your guitar journey, check out a free 14-day trial to Pickup Music. We have guided Learning Pathways for every step of your guitar journey.