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We will be adding more tablature arrangements regularly... please visit again.


Each time a new file is posted in Current Tablature, the previous file is moved to "Archived tab files".


The Old Rugged Cross




Crux immissa - Drawing by Justus Lipsius (1547 - 1606)




George Bennard was born to a coal miner in Youngstown, OH in 1873, and moved to Iowa as a child. He worked with the Salvation Army, was ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and became a traveling evangelist. He loved music. He was not a trained singer, but when he was preaching, he would often sing songs he had written. One of these – The Old Rugged Cross – is this month’s selection for the 135 website.


Rev. Bennard saw the cross not just as a religious symbol, but as the heart of the gospel he preached. He saw it not as the well-wrought crosses that most often hang in churches, made to look lovely so as not to offend, but as a rough, splintery, rugged piece of wood that was used for execution. He spent time studying and thinking on the cross, and finally put his thoughts into this song.


When asked about his arrangement, Merv had this to say: “Readers will find that this selection is very easy to play. This is because the D-F#-A (D major) tuning exactly fits the range of notes in the hymn and includes the two accidentals (G# and A#) required in the first few measures. You will find that your fingers rest in barre chord position on the third fret most of the time, even when chording. A lot of the chords are played as two notes, and this also makes fingering quite easy. In the D-F#-A tuning, this hymn can also be played in the key of A major, but now the accidental notes become D# and F, and fingering becomes  more difficult. I first arranged this old hymn for my chromatic dulcimer in 2000, thinking it could never be played on a diatonic instrument... how wrong I was!”


We hope you will enjoy this one as much as we do.


Your 1-3-5 Team



Download files 


Old Rugged Cross.pdf


Old Rugged Cross.tef


Old Rugged Cross.mid



Historical Links:








  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

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  Our PDF music files are produced from music created with Finale® notation software.


Our .MIDI music files are produced by TablEdit notation software.





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