Category Archives: Guitar

Cherished Hymns for Guitar

Announcing a new album: a collection of favorite hymns for classical guitar.

Cherished Hymns for Guitar

The great hymns of the faith are a treasure for the church.  They unite our voices in worship today to the voices of saints of old.  Early in the 1980s I began transcribing hymns for classical guitar. I played them for my own enjoyment and for preludes at church. When I began serving my first church leading music in worship, I used the transcriptions to accompany our singing. Since that time I have transcribed hundreds of hymn tunes. This album includes some of my favorite and cherished hymns.

Click here to download free sheet music (PDF) of these hymns arranged for classical guitar.

Click here for more hymns arranged for classical guitar; and here for additional music for classical guitar, including music by Bach, Christmas music, Wedding music, and student pieces.

The Star Spangled Banner

USA Flag
National Anthem

Oh, say, can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed
At the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free
And the home of the brave?

Words by Francis Scott Key (1779–1834)
Music attributed by John Stafford Smith (1750–1836)

Download free PDF sheet music of the national anthem for classical guitar

More music for Classical Guitar

Wedding Music for Guitar

I admit that I am somewhat biased, but the most beautiful music at a wedding is music played on classical guitar. These are some of the songs I have transcribed for guitar and played at weddings:

Canon in D by Pachelbel
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (from Cantata 147) by Bach
Ode to Joy (from Symphony 9, Opus 125) by Beethoven
Bridal Chorus (“Here Comes the Bride”) by Wagner
Wedding March (from Opus 61) by Mendelssohn

Download free (PDF) sheet music for these songs here.

Westside Baptist Church
Westside Baptist Church (former location) in Omaha, Nebraska

Learn this music and next time you are asked to play at a wedding, you will be ready.

You are welcome to copy and share this music with friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts. Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

For additional music, including music by Bach, Christmas music, and more visit: Music for Classical Guitar

And Can It Be?

Amazing Love

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me?

‘Tis mystery all, the Immortal dies:
Who can explore this strange design?
In vain the first born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above.
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all! Immense and free!
For O my God it found out me.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown through Christ my own.

Words by Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Download a transcription of this hymn for classical guitar (PDF sheet music) to the tune SAGINA.

More hymn tunes for classical guitar
More music for classical guitar

Hymn Tunes for Guitar

Guitar and Mountains

If you enjoy hymns and playing classical guitar, check out the growing online collection of free PDF downloads: Hymns for Classical Guitar. Several hymns have just been added:

O God Our Help in Ages Past  (ST ANNE)
Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound  (NEW BRITAIN)
I Am Thine O Lord  (I AM THINE)
Sweet Hour of Prayer  (SWEET HOUR)
Abide with Me  (EVENTIDE)
Hallelujah Praise Jehovah  (RIPLEY)
Holy, Holy, Holy  (NICAEA)

You are welcome to copy and share these hymns with friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts. Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

Find more music for classical guitar.

Music of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was a church musician, organist, music director, avid coffee drinker, and one of the greatest composers of all time. He was also a devout Christian who sought to honor God through his music. He once said, “the aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” Many of his scores he signed with SDG (soli Deo Gloria) to the glory of God.

Bach lived from March 21, 1685 to July 28, 1750. In celebration of his birthday I have posted some of his music arranged for classical guitar. Download the free PDF sheet music and enjoy. One of my favorite is the chorale “Herr Gott dich loben alle wir” (Lord God, we all praise You). It is a wonderful setting by Bach of the tune OLD 100th, also known as the Doxology.

Tornado Ride

This month marks a tragic anniversary for my home city. Forty years ago, on May 6, 1975, Omaha, Nebraska, was struck by a destructive tornado. I was thirteen then and remember the storm today, especially because it gave occasion for my first effort at writing a song.

On that day in 1975 I had arrived home from school when we heard the tornado sirens. My Mom was finishing the ironing and decided that she and my brother and I should take shelter. At the time she was not too concerned with the storm; she promptly put my brother and me to work cleaning when we reached the basement. My Dad, however, was out of town and worried about us. He knew we were in the tornado’s path, but he was not able to reach us.

We discovered later that the storm had been headed right for our house. We lived on Crown Pointe Ave, just up the hill from Orchard Park (I was attending Nathan Hale Junior High School). The tornado lifted near Benson Park and then went over our house. Though our house was spared, a large part of the city was devastated.

After seeing the damage done to the city, I imagined what it might have been like had the tornado hit our house like it did so many others. Imagination soon led to writing down the words of a song that I named Tornado Ride.

Below are the lyrics of the song and a recording that I made at the end of the summer of 1975 for my Dad (retrieved from an old cassette). It is the earliest recording I have of me singing and playing guitar.

Tornado Ride

Tornado Ride

Destruction and misery
Is all a tornado ever gave me

Tornados and twisters too
Kill and destroy are all they ever do
Tornados and twisters too
Better watch out when it’s coming through

Well, yesterday, everything was fine
And I was in school just wasting time
The bell finally rang and we got to go home
But we looked in the sky and black clouds did roam

Tornados and twisters too
Kill and destroy are all they ever do
Tornados and twisters too
Better watch out when it’s coming through

Well, I ran home as fast as I could
The weather was bad, not like it should
Sometimes it was hot and sometimes it was cold
In the sky a storm was clearly shown

When I got home, we ran down the stairs
Grabbed my radio, ‘cause we was mighty scared
Turned on the radio to hear what they’d say
But we ran and hid when it was coming our way

Tornados and twisters too
Kill and destroy are all they ever do
Tornados and twisters too
Better watch out when it’s coming through

Then all of a sudden we heard a loud sound
Looked up and saw the house come down
Then everything was calm, the tornado had passed
But we looked around and everything was smashed

Tornados and twisters too
Kill and destroy is all they ever do
Tornados and twisters too
Better watch out when it’s coming through

When I got up and saw all the rubble
Then I knew that we was really in trouble
So I looked around and started to shout
But I know it’s no use, so I climbed on out

Well, when I got out, the wind really blew
I needed help and didn’t know what to do
Along came the police and a rescue squad too
And the place was so wrecked it was hard to be true

Tornados and twisters too
Kill and destroy is all they ever do
Tornados and twisters too
Better watch out when it’s coming through

Well they took me to a motel and put me up for the night
And helped me all they could, ‘cause they knew I was in a fright
Then the next day we started to clean up
And find all we could in this terrible dump

Tornados and twisters too
Kill and destroy is all they ever do
Tornados and twisters too
Better watch out when it’s coming through

So my friends when it comes
You better go and hide
Unless you want to take a Tornado ride

Words and Music @1976 Kenneth Puls

I wrote the song early in May soon after the tornado struck and then shared it with my guitar teacher at one of my lessons. (I studied guitar with Leonard Mostek at his studio on Maple Street.) He liked it and entered me in an area talent show that summer called Show Wagon. I spent June of 1975 singing the song in several city parks in Omaha as part of Show Wagon.

Writing this song and having the opportunity to share with others was a defining moment for me. God used it in part to set the course of my life. Ten years after the tornado (after studying music theory and composition at the University of Nebraska at Omaha) I began what would be my life’s work, serving the church through music. For the past 30 years of ministry I have continued to write and arrange music, including many hymns and songs for worship. I am grateful for God’s protection in the storm in 1975, and grateful as well that through it I discovered an interest and joy in writing music. I have made it my aim to “praise the Lord as long as I live” (Psalm 146:2).

The cover art is from a charcoal drawing made by my daughter Anna Puls (2015). It includes the three TV towers at 72nd and Crown Pointe, not far from where I lived.

—Ken Puls

Hymns for Classical Guitar

If you are a guitarist looking for music to play this Easter weekend, here are some suggestions. These hymn transcriptions are free downloads (PDF). They can be used for accompanying congregational singing, playing prelude or offertory music, or simply playing for your own enjoyment. Click on the hymn title to view or download the free sheet music.

Hymns for Good Friday

Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed
O Sacred Head Now Wounded
There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Hymns for Easter

Crown Him With Many Crowns
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (EASTER HYMN)
Look Ye Saints, the Sight Is Glorious
Thine Is the Glory

You are welcome to copy and share these hymns with friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts. Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

For additional music, check out:

Hymns for Classical Guitar
Christmas Music for Classical Guitar
More Music for Classical Guitar

Guitar and Clouds