How to Play Thistle of Scotland Chord Melody for Guitar

The Thistle of Scotland: Chord Melody Arrangement for Intermediate Guitar

In this tutorial, we will look at how to play the popular Scottish folk song the “Thistle of Scotland” as a chord-melody. We will return to our rhythm guitar tutorial series in the next blog post.

The Thistle of Scotland was originally named “The Badge of Scotland”. The arrangement that I’ve created for this song is an intermediate guitar chord-melody.

Everything is notated in tab (tablature) and standard notation.

You can play this piece using either finger-style or pick-style.

The Chords for Thistle of Scotland

Although it may look like there are many different chords used in this song, there are actually only three.  I’ve harmonized this song using several different voicings and inversions of the A, D and E major chords.

About the Melody

The melody line for the Thistle of Scotland uses the A major pentatonic scale.

The A major pentatonic scale is a five note scale that consists of the following notes:

A B C# E F#


Tips for Playing Guitar Chord-Melody Arrangements

Before you begin to play the full arrangement for the Thistle of Scotland, I would highly recommend that you play the melody line through a few times.

First and foremost, you need to learn the melody line. Once you’ve got the melody in your ears, you will find it much easier to learn the full chord-melody arrangement.

When you first start to learn a chord-melody arrangement, it is very easy to get lost trying to play both chords and melody at the same time. This often results in the melody line getting buried in the arrangement.  This is why it’s best to play through the melody a few times before you begin the full chord melody arrangement.

The melody line consists of the highest pitched notes of the arrangement.

thistle-of-scotland-melodyHere is the chord-melody arrangement for the Thistle of Scotland in sheet music (in tab and standard notation).

Thistle of Scotland Guitar Chord Melody in Tab

Have fun!

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