An Essential Guide To Playing Jingle Bells Chords

Tis the season for family gatherings and singalongs! Let’s have a look at some Jingle Bells chords!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • How to play Jingle Bells
  • Why Christmas songs are so easy to play & memorize
  • Tips for creating your own arrangements
  • What a ‘Medley’ is & how to make one

Winter Is Coming! Time For Some Jingle Bells Chords!

Nobody is really ever ready for Christmas, but for musicians this is the time of year to dust off your holiday repertoire and get it arranged and prepared for the holiday party season.

  • You are ready to begin preparing your own holiday repertoire to jazz up whatever holiday parties or functions you and your guitar wind up attending.
  • Of all the music you can play, Christmas songs and other holiday tunes are the best for sharing.

There are an awful lot of people who could use a little warmth and cheer during the holidays, and this music gives you the ability to provide that!

National-Guitar-Academy

Today’s awesome holiday tune is “Jingle Bells.” We’ll go over the “Jingle Bells” chords so that you can play and sing.

We’ll check out some different ways to arrange the song to make it fun and interesting for you and your audience or fellow carolers.

We will also figure out some ways to play the melody to “Jingle Bells” on the guitar in case you are called upon to take a solo!

jingle-bells-chords

Picking A Key For Playing Jingle Bells Chords

What makes “Jingle Bells” such a great holiday song is that EVERYONE knows it. Everyone has recorded it for a holiday album at some point. 

Here is a favorite version of ours by Gwen Stefani.

Check out how Stefani went the extra mile and learned the verses nobody knows!

“Jingle Bells” was written by James Lord Pierpont in the 1850s. He was a pastor in a Unitarian church in Savannah, Georgia at around that time, but the church closed due to its abolitionist philosophy.

The song is associated with winter and Thanksgiving as much as the holiday season, and it was popular as a drinking song, the role of the jingle bells being played by the ice clinking in the singers’ drink glasses.

To begin learning “Jingle Bells” chords, we’re just going to pick the key of G major because the chords are pretty easy to play and it’s a decent key for most people to sing in.

Here are the “Jingle Bells” chords you’ll need to play it in the key of G.

G (320003)

jingle-bells-chords

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

C (x32010)

Christmas-songs

A7 (x02020)

Christmas-songs-on-guitar

D (xx0232)

jingle-bells-on-guitar

If you are an absolute beginner to the guitar and some of these chords, particularly the G major and C major, are giving you a little trouble, never fear!

We have some easier versions of those chords for you.

Just check out these lessons.

4 Easy Ways to Play the G Chord

Easy Ways to Play the C Guitar Chord

jingle-bells-chords

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide

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  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly.

Jingle Bells Chords In The Chorus & Verse

Let’s figure out the chorus to “Jingle Bells” first. 

It may be that this is the only part of the song you need, although the verse isn’t any more difficult to play or sing.

Sometimes, particularly with the littles around, all you want is the main part of the song.

Jingle Bells Chords: The Chorus

The “Jingle Bells” chords for the chorus goes like this:

INSERT JINGLE BELLS CHORUS – PDF

If you’re a true beginner on the guitar, these are great chords to practice together because they appear together in songs all the time.

  • You can get through these “Jingle Bells” chords by strumming each chord once while you sing the melody!
  • Each chord symbol in the chord charts stands for a certain amount of time playing that chord.
  • That amount of time is called a measure, and a measure correlates to a certain number of beats.

In “Jingle Bells,” that number is four, so each chord symbol stands for four beats.

That’s why there are four Gs above the first line of lyrics, and each G is placed over the lyric you’re singing when the new measure starts.

For more support beginning to figure out how to play guitar in time with a steady beat, check out these lessons.

How to Strum a Guitar

How to Play In Time

“Jingle Bells” Chords: The Verse

The verse of “Jingle Bells” is the part that begins, “Dashing through the snow”. 

The same chords are involved in the verse and the chorus, but they are in slightly different order.

Here are the “Jingle Bells” chords for the verse, along with the lyrics to the first verse, the one that almost everyone knows.

Jingle-bells-verse

We’ll put all of that together, along with the extra verses, so you can make “Jingle Bells” your very own arrangement.

jingle-bells-chords

Jingle Bells Chords: The Entire Song

Whether you’d like it short and sweet or an extended dance party version, these “Jingle Bells” chords and lyrics are everything you need to make your personal arrangement.

Here’s a chord sheet, together with alternate verses.

To decide on a rhythm for your arrangement, decide how fast you’d like to play and sing “Jingle Bells.”

There’s a general range of tempo at which people like to perform this song, but there’s some room for you to decide, and the comfortable singing tempo that you pick will help you determine what rhythm to use.

Some people play “Jingle Bells” with a swinging, bouncy rhythm, using the guitar to imitate the sound of the bells.

Some people play it with a straighter rhythm, using the guitar to drive the song faster, imitating the speed of the sleigh.

Thinking about which role you’d like the guitar to play – the bells, the sleigh, the horses, the snow, the laughing – can often suggest a rhythm.

Here are some examples.

Michael Bublé’s drummer sounds like horses’ hooves.

Frank Sinatra just goes ahead and uses sleigh bells. Classic!

Ella Fitzgerald’s drummer is using a snowy-sounding ride cymbal, punctuated by the bell tones of the piano’s upper register.

Herb Alpert’s introduction is a windy chorus, contrasted by the racing sleigh sound of the rhythm section.

jingle-bells-guitar-chords

Pro-Tip: Can’t decide on a rhythm? No sweat!

You can try some of the rhythms presented in this lesson to get you going and inspire you.

Strumming Patterns: 5 Essential Patterns

Jingle Bells Chords: Other Options

Fun “Jingle Bells” fact: Today we learned that the original “Jingle Bells” chords weren’t the chords we know and love here in the 21st century! 

The original “Jingle Bells” melody was set to the same chord progression used in Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.”

This installment of “Today I Learned” has been brought to you by Wikipedia!

So far, we’ve been talking about Jingle Bells chords in the key of G, because they are fun and easy to play.

Perhaps however, the key of G is not your cup of tea because those chords are not fun for you, or because it is not fun for you to sing “Jingle Bells” in that key.

Here are a couple tips for getting the song into the key that you like:

Transposing Jingle Bells Chords With A Capo

Got a capo? It is the easiest way to get Jingle Bells chords from the key of G to the key you’d like it in.

If the key of G is too low for your liking, try putting the capo on the second or third fret, and keep moving up until you find the key you like to sing in.

  • If the key of G is too high for your liking, try putting the capo on the fifth or seventh fret.
  • You’ll be singing lower than you’re playing, which is a common trick of singer-songwriters like Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon.

By transposing with a capo, you have the benefit of putting the song in a different key without having to learn or play any different chords.

The Jingle Bells chords in the key of G work exactly the same way if you use a capo.

Remember, the capo works as the nut of the guitar, so when you play the G chord shape with the capo, your finger will be on the third fret up from the capo.

For more help with capos, check out this excellent introduction: How to Use a Capo in 3 Easy Steps

Transposing Jingle Bells Chords Without A Capo

There are plenty of ways to arrange these Jingle Bells chords in and out of the key of G. 

Converting the key of G chords we are using into numbers, G is the I chord, A7 is the II chord, C is the IV chord, and D is the V chord.

  • Turn another of the guitar-friendly letters of the musical alphabet into the number I, arrange the musical alphabet accordingly, and you have another key to play in!
  • For example, if you choose the key of D, then D is the I chord, E7 the II chord, G the IV chord, and A the V chord.
  • Substitute those chords in and you have Jingle Bells chords in the key of D!

This is not an exact method of transposition, but it works well enough with the guitar-friendly keys C, A, G, and D.

With E, the other guitar-friendly key, you have to use an F#7 instead of an F7 for reasons best explained by your ears, or this amazing guitar lesson: Music Theory for Beginners: The 10-Step System for Rapid Progress.

jingle-bells-on-guitar

Learning The Melody

Now that you’ve got a great handle on these Jingle Bells chords as well as the arrangement, you can add the melody and take a solo!

Here’s the tablature for the melody of the “Jingle Bells” chorus in the key of G major.

jingle-bells-guitar-lesson

If you’re interested in taking a solo through the verse, here is some tablature to get you started.

free-guitar-lessons

Pro-Tip: When playing for or with other people, it is helpful to extend your version of holiday songs by getting creative in the verses and choruses, making up verses for fun (please use your discretion for all “Batman smells”-related endeavors – read the room, people!).

If you’re confident, taking a few solos is also a great way to extend your arrangement for as long as you like.

You can always make up your own arrangements and versions of this song as well!

Rearrange verses and choruses as needed and have fun with it! There’s no need to stick to the original anymore than you feel you’d like to. Music is about creativity, after all.

Download our lead guitar cheat-sheet to make things easier

It can be disorientating for guitarists to understand which scales work with which keys.

With this in mind, we created a cheat-sheet; a key and scale-finder that you can use again and again.

Working Your Jingle Bells Chords Into A Medley

One last “Jingle Bells” tip before we leave you to it: Always Remember the Medley Option!

We’ve learned the Jingle Bells chords in the key of G.

  • If you also learn the chords to some other holiday favorites in the key of G, you can easily cobble together a fantastic holiday medley for everyone to sing along.
  • An example of how that might go would be, “What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight, oh! Frosty the Snowman…”. You get the idea.

Starved for other song ideas for your medley or holiday set? The following is an incomplete list of songs you can add to your repertoire for the holidays!

Winter Wonderland

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

All I Want for Christmas Is You

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Sleigh Ride

Jingle Bell Rock

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

Frosty the Snowman

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Blue Christmas

White Christmas

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

We Need a Little Christmas

Getting The Most Out Of Your Jingle Bells Chords

The best way to learn, memorize, and continually improve your skills at playing these Jingle Bells chords is to get out there and play them! 

  • There’s no need to work at memorizing your holiday music – plenty of people bring holiday books to holiday jam sessions, caroling excursions, and party performances.
  • You’ll find that with frequent repetition, your fingers will memorize the Jingle Bells chords before you know it. Get away from the paper as soon as possible!

Check with your local nursing homes, children’s programs or day cares, senior centers and residences, and pubs or bars to see whether they’d like to have you over there entertaining people during the holidays.

Practice with a purpose! Many places love to have you volunteering to play for them during their group activity periods.

Recommended Resources

We’ve got loads of free lesson content for you right here at the National Guitar Academy.

Check out some more lessons below:

 

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