A lot has been and be said and written about the song House of the Rising Sun. I will leave it up to you to search the internet engines for all the lore, conjecture and legend that surrounds this enduring and fascinating piece of music.
For now here is a page for beginning guitarists to get started with. Just click the links ...or read on if you want some more support.
or read on for the beginners Bass Arrangement below...
or click here to go to the Beginners melody arrangement support page
or click here to go to the Beginners harmony arrangement support page
See the tab/score video below
The beginners can play along with others by grasping the
structure and relevant single note participation of the bass. (this page)
Upper level beginners as well as the bass can play the harmony OR the melody separately.
Intermediate players can play an arpeggiated harmony with variations and implied melody with common voicings and inversions.
Advanced players may find this an inspiration to arrange their own version of House of the Rising Sun. If this article helps please let me know. I’d be happy to share your arrangement should you wish it to be shared.
I must admit I, like many, am most familiar with the timeless House of the Rising Sun rendition recorded by Eric Burden and the Animals back in the 60’s. Saying that as a time served gigging musician who is old enough to remember, it was and still is a song that comes up everywhere from in books to at BBQ’s, parties and pubs, bands and buskers, films, TV, radio… LOTS of versions!
My goal here is to offer a PlayableGuitar.com version of House
of the Rising Sun, a bewitching song that has withstood the time test challenge.
Ok let’s try to keep it simple to start. Here is a playable bass line accompaniment for any new players who are capable of getting single notes to sound and ring clearly on a guitar.
For us beginners:
Look at the image of the tablature (or tab for short) above. If you don’t understand what you are looking at go to
Check out the video and/or give me shout for some support on understanding tablature.
If you do understand the tab above then here also are all the notes you will need shown in diagram form:
(if you don't get how the diagram works go to Go straight to Orientation Video )
1) Notice the that there are six "dots" (six notes) and six corresponding fret numbers on the "string lines" showing 6 beats per bar, or measure in the tab above.
2) You WILL easily be able to count to six (I'm sure) and on every word "one" spoken, which is beat 1 of the bar, play the note that is the number 1 beat slot in each bar. Replace the word "one" with the action of playing a note.
Ex: -"play" 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - So:
"play A" 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - "playA3" 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - etc...
So bar one you play open A string beat 1
Bar two you play A string fret 3 (or A3 in "verbal tab" for the note C) on beat 1
Bar three is open D string beat 1
Bar four is D string fret 3 (or D3 which is the note pitch F) beat 1
That's it! Well nearly...
You must follow the following sequence for this version:
One note (ringing for 6 beats) per bar which includes
OPEN LOW E STRINGS in bars 7 & 8 and bars 10 & 12 =
A A3 D D3
A A3 E E
A A3 D D3
A E A E
Download the *tab(s) and/or use you ear to play the 1st beat of every bar (open A, A3, open D, D3 -and the open low E when it comes up) to begin building you confidence, skill and technique. Play along with as many real people and recordings as you can.
*Big important "nota bene" here: The Bass Part tab above looks diferent than the first example tab because it shows only the bass note ringing for six beats throughout each bar. I wanted you to see the arpeggiated part that has a note on every beat so you could see how the six beats per bar time works! Don't let that visual difference confuse you!
Contact me if you have any questions. I love questions
If you are local to the United Kingdom West Midlands Coventry Kenilworth Leamington Warwick Rugby Stoneleigh CV8 Post Code area and are interested in tuition feel free to arrange a “First session Free” Guitar or Theory Lesson. Perhaps you just want to *chat over a cuppa about the options for your children’s music education.
*N.B. Until further notice all interaction will be virtual or in full observation of distancing practices.
Rural Innovation Centre Unit 32 Avenue H
Stonleigh Park CV8 2LG +44 2476 998 500
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