Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Suggestions for a beginner Christmas Duet

I’m looking for a beginners Christmas duet for mandolin and guitar. My wife (guitar) and I (mandolin) are both really new to music and love learning to play but we work a little different. She takes lessons from a local guitar teach where I prefer the online flavor of Banjo Ben. Anyway, any suggestions on a Christmas duet that might be on the site for beginners. If you have done any of the Christmas songs as a duet please let me know how it went. Thanks y’all!



With the voicings… I would think that Silent Night would be very nice… and very achievable in the beginner skill level.

It was the first Mandolin song I ever performed at our prayer group… as I played lead and the guitar accompanied.

Perhaps you can offer some details… on whether you want something slow as I mentioned Orr something more… Festive in mood?


Silent night is exactly what I was thinking as well. It’s waltzy and would be fairly easy to strum. Melody has a lovely flow, and not to tough of a range, with the exception of the lyric “heavenly”, which is quite dramatic at the period of the song.

Silent Night. :+1:

Great request! I don’t think I have a beginner Christmas duet on the site right now but I’m about to fix that. Perhaps this Christmas season (which is about to start) will be focused on playable duets for beginners. I do love this duet I made but it’s a bit more advanced:

I do have Joy to the World as a basic arrangement for all instruments and you could just put the solos back to back, the same is true for What Child is This. Looks like I also have a basic guitar and mando solo for We Wish You a Merry Christmas, too.

I’ll do a basic Silent Night duet for guitar and mando just for you, @stuart.gamble.


Silent Night sounds like a great suggestion. This is really just something I want to do for us to do a song together. We are pretty new empty nesters (one still in college but only home a couple times a month) and learning music is filling our time. My wife prefers playing rhythm and I like learning lead so that will probably work out well.

I will definitely check out Silent Night and see if this fits the chords she is working on.


Thanks so much @BanjoBen ! I will check out all of these. We are both really new to music and I really look forward to us playing together. My wife like playing rhythm guitar and I like playing lead on songs so you are giving some great recommendations.



You know what they say about great minds, right Jack?

I am also pleased that @BanjoBen is taking our suggestion under advisement too. Silent Night is just a classic.

Ok @BanjoBen, I have a brief story for ya since I know just how much you treasure music and family.

Just after I got my Mandolin and was leading into my 1st Christmas with her, I had practiced YOUR version of Silent Night for the prayer meeting I mentioned above.

Well, we were unable to go visit my mom in West Illinois (8 hours drive one-way) for the holiday as I was unemployed (as I am again now and request urgent prayers please).

A call to Ma revealed that she was struggling in being at the elderly care place with infrequent visits from my very busy brother who lives close by (Jazz Professor at WIU and Christmas time is hectic with Finals and many performances for he and his wife who plays Organ at Church) and so Ma seemed restless and on-edge.

Then, the thought suddenly occurred to me without any prior thought. Knowing that Silent Night was her personal fav Christmas carol, I reached for the Mandolin and played it for her on the phone.

This was not pre-planned because I didn’t know if I was “ready” to play it for anyone (I am shy about my playing) but I wanted to do something for her.

The rest of the conversion was so much smoother and calm.

That is part of the magic your teaching has on us - so THANK YOU!

Finally, at the unrehearsed prayer meeting, I think it played well - the @BanjoBen’s Mandolin solo over strumming arpeggiated chords with guitar accompaniment… but still, it was just the chords.

Knowing @BanjoBen (AKA… the Bach o’ Banjo… Named by me for his amazing ability to teach a skill by wrapping it into an entertaining arrangement that is enjoyable and to play and listen to… that reinforces the practice of the skill into mastery, just like Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier was composed to be keyboard exeecises… but I digress…), I am sure an arranged Duet will ensure the use of the two instruments into a greater whole of a complete song… working together and complimenting one another.

If I may suggest for @BanjoBen, perhaps the Duet can have the 3 rounds as you do in some “Build-a-Break” lessons… a solo for each and maybe some sort of melodic melody together leading into the Caboose or Tail (trying those terms on for size but not decided yet).

I suggest 3 rounds because our group enjoyed it so much… the first time was just an instrumental… but they wanted to SING and begged us to play it 2 more times so they could (in Portuguese, no less!).

It was a wonderful experience.


So when you say duet, you mean rhythm guitar with mandolin solo? To me, that’s a solo mandolin lesson with guitar rhythm. I have lots of those, and have the chords written in the mandolin tab so she can follow along. When I think duet, I think the instruments playing together and each taking a solo and working together in the rhythm.


To all that offered it before, I think “Silent Night” is a great suggestion. I do a version in G that is 80% just picking the melody out of standard chord forms. It is simple, but I don’t feel compelled to make it fancier. I had my wife learn accompaniment on mando and it is quite nice. She was just arpeggiating the open chord forms. She didn’t learn a lead part, but that would be pretty easy to come up with. Perhaps I can get her to do that for Christmas 2019.


@BanjoBen I guess that shows my beginners level of playing music :slight_smile: I just thought of a duet as 2 people playing together. I bet I can talk my guitar playing wife into taking a solo though.


It can, but typically it means that both players are playing something melodic. Otherwise an orchestra would be called a ochentatet, or whatever it would be, haha. We’ll get you fixed up!


Thanks @BanjoBen. Sorry had some things going on that I haven’t checked back on the forum.