The Mel Bay Book

Music is available for guitarists to learn these arrangements

All the arrangements on the American Treasures CD are now available in standard guitar notation and tablature in a book by MelBay publishers. The book also provides music and performance notes for all the selections on the CD.

"While all these arrangements seek to tap the rich polyphonic nature of the guitar, they are generally not that difficult or complex. I hope guitarists of all levels will enjoy these arrangements and be richly rewarded with the music that is unleashed in these great melodies." P.L.

Listener Feedback on the book

"American Treasures is a sensitive and tasteful collection of arrangements on classical Guitar for guitarists of all levels. I want to congratulate Phillip on this fine publication."

-- Christopher Parkening

 " On 9/12 we received a faxed concept letter describing an anthology of arrangements of patriotic tunes by various fingerstyle players. Several guitarists were very eager to contribute to this book. I said to Mr. Bay, "Phillip Lester has already done it as comprehensibly and as artistically as it can possibly be done." I didnít realize it then but my personal healing, the recovery of the nationalistic portion of my psyche had already begun, aided by your music. For all the right reasons, I hope you are as excited as I am about seeing your book in print." 

Ė Stephen Rekas, Mel Bay Publications

The American Treasures book may be ordered through www. Mel

The Preface
The Guitar Tunings used
Sample Arrangements

The Preface

(An excerpt from the American Treasures Book published by Mel Bay)

These solo guitar arrangements cover a wide spectrum of American music. They include early hymns of the Pilgrims, American Revolutionary War tunes, British folk ballads that later became colonial pop songs, sea shantys, spirituals, Civil War tunes, pioneer frontier ballads, military hymns, and songs of patriotism. They were selected for their heartfelt melodies and for their adaptability for solo instrumental guitar.

The idea for the collection evolved over a ten-year period, beginning with an arrangement of "My Country 'Tis of Thee." I crafted this arrangement while living in Boston during the time of the Persian Gulf War, and I first performed it for commuters who took the Red Line Subway Train at Harvard in Cambridge. Yes, I was a subway musician at that time, and the response of people I met while performing encouraged me to arrange similar patriotic favorites. These songs evoke a remembrance of the blessings of our great country and the heritage of our freedoms that we so easily take for granted.

The idea of doing this collection of memorable American tunes led me to visit dozens of libraries to better understand the history of their origins. While doing the research, I learned stories about the composers and other interesting facts, such as the popularity of the tune and how it affected a war or the political climate of its time. Getting this deeper understanding of the song played a major influence in my approach as an arranger. I attempted to reflect the spirit of the composition within each arrangement.

Historically, in times of war and national crisis, patriotic music has played a significant role in expressing courage and building morale. At this time in our nationís history, it is my hope that this music will once again stir national pride, encourage, and comfort listeners everywhere.

-- Guitarist, Phillip Lester- Glen Ridge, New Jersey

The guitar tunings :

Here is a list of the guitar tunings for each arrangement.

America (My Country Tis of Thee ) DADGBE

Old Hundredth DGDGBE

Thanksgiving Prayer DGDGBE

Chester DADGBE

Free America/Yankee Doodle DGDGBE

Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier EADGBE

Shenandoah CADGBE

Star Spangled Banner DGDGBE

Barbara Allen CGDGBE

Sweet Betsy from Pike CGDGBE

Stephen Foster Suite DGDGBE

Bound for the Promised Land EADGBE

Simple Gifts DGDGBE

The Water is Wide CGDGBE

Deep River CGDGBE


Civil War Suite CGDGBE

When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again CGDGBE

Armed Services Medley DGDGBE

America the Beautiful DGDGBE

The Battle Hymn of the Republic DGDGBE

Sample Arrangements:

Star Spangled Banner:  Small version (99k)    Large version (550k)

Shenendoah  Small version (87k)    Large version (520k)

To order the book of arrangements click here

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