Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Transcription available

Level: Int/Adv     Tuning: Standard


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Yikes! We’re already half way through December. I figure I better get this out before I slide right through the holiday season into the new year.

Lyrically, Santa Claus is Coming to Town has to be one of the creepiest tunes in the Christmas song catalogue.
Sung to a beguilingly cheerful tune, the lyrics are an Orwellian view of Christmas, where Santa is a punitive Big Brother. He monitors everything you do and judges you accordingly. He knows all about you: when you’re happy, sad, good, bad, awake, asleep … everything! He is watching YOU.

Phew! Listen to this song a couple of times and it won’t be the anticipation of presents on Christmas morning that makes it difficult for you to get to sleep at night.

Fortunately, this is an instrumental version of the song. You don’t have to be worried about a seasonally induced dose of paranoia while listening to this arrangment.

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About Bob

... is an award winning, Canadian finger-style guitarist and the 2003 U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. He combines an eclectic mix of contemporary finger-style guitar and traditional roots music with a warm vocal style, tilted sense of humour and down to earth stage presence to provide a refreshing performance experience for music lovers in general. Definitely not just for "guitar geeks".

7 thoughts on “Santa Claus is Coming to Town

  1. frenzitti

    Hi there,
    I really like your guitar playing. Very nice.

    I can’t help but notice that you like the key of A major a lot. Other than having the open bass string on the 1,4 and 5 chords. How do you make this key work for you? I find keys like g, c, or d major much easier as you only have to fret the bass and the melody. The harmony can come from open strings. Do you have any insight on making this key and e major work for you? The problem is that open g.

    Thanks for your time


    1. Bob Evans

      Thanks Francesco. Yes, I do seem to be drawn to the key of A and Am. I also do a lot of work in E/Em and Drop D. I just like the way things lie on the guitar in those keys for fingerstyle guitar, and how the open bass strings allow some freedom to reach for melody notes further up the neck.   Playing in keys like G or C tend to anchor me more in the lower position. 

      That’s an oversimplification, of course, because you quickly run into basic chords in those keys that require you have to fret the bass notes. But it’s a starting point.

      I also like those keys because I feel those bass notes are giving me the fullest range.  I feel when I am playing in C or D ( standard tuning) I am missing out on some of that richness in the bottom end.  Arranging for solo guitar I like to get the biggest/fullest sound possible.

      In this arrangement (Santa Claus is Coming…) you’ll notice that I move out of the lower position for the melody pretty quickly on the A and D chords – made possible because of those open string bass notes.


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