Old Rugged Cross (guitar chords, tabs, and arrangement)

Last updated on February 8th, 2024


Old Rugged Cross is a popular hymn written by George Bernard. In this lesson, we cover the guitar chords, sheet music for the melody including tabs, and also a finger style guitar arrangement.

Grab your guitar and let’s get started!

How to read the guitar chord charts

To clarify how to read the chord charts in the next section, the top horizontal line represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string. The vertical lines separate each fret. The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand. 

For example, on the A Major chord, you use the:

  • 1st finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret
  • 2nd finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
  • 3rd finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret
  • Circles represent open strings
  • X means to avoid the string

You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.

Old Rugged Cross guitar chords

In the key of A Major, the basic chords for Old Rugged Cross are A Major, D Major, and E Major. You can click on the chords with links to learn different ways of playing that chord.

Try the following chords one at a time until you feel comfortable switching between them. These chords will be written above the melody in the next section.

Old Rugged Cross guitar chords

Here are some other resources on chords:

Old Rugged Cross guitar tabs

This section shows you the melody of the song with guitar tabs and the chords written above the staff. Keep in mind that the melody and chords are meant to be played as separate parts. We’ll look at how to connect these parts later in the arrangement section of this lesson.

The numbers next to some notes on the top staff indicate which fingers to use on the fretting hand.

You can refer to this simple guide to understanding music symbols if needed.

By the way, you can get all the PDFs of this song below.


Old Rugged Cross guitar tabs


You can learn a finger-style guitar arrangement of this song after the lyrics below.

Old Rugged Cross lyrics

Verse1:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

Chorus:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

Verse 2:
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary. (Chorus)

Verse 3:
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me. (Chorus)

Verse 4:
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I’ll share. (Chorus)

Reference: The Old Rugged Cross. hymnary.org

Old Rugged Cross guitar arrangement

In this section, we are essentially connecting the melody and chords together using a finger picking method of playing. This guitar arrangement features harmonizing the melody using 3rds and 6ths intervals. If needed, check out this lesson to learn how to finger pick on guitar.


Old Rugged Cross guitar arrangement


If you like this style of playing, you can check out this lesson to learn how to connect a melody and chords on guitar.

📘 Get the free guitar practice guide here!

Want to learn more songs? Check out the sheet music with guitar tabs resource on this site.

All the best,

JG Music Lessons

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