Now that we have a good grasp on the chords and harmony, it’s time to start to look at the melody and lyrics. Take a look at this sheet.
I want to point out what I did when I tabbed this out. I took the approach of playing the notes as low on the fretboard as possible. Again this gets into positional playing. This is in what I would call “open” position which just means we are using open strings. As I have been working ahead, I’m rather sure most of our chord melody will be close to the nut (0 fret) of the fretboard. Alternatively, this won’t always be the case and it can be a fun challenge to create chord melodies that NEVER have an open note or chord!
Learning the melody and lyrics is a two pronged step. First, I would say you want to play the melody over and over until you have it under your fingers. As you repeat, start to sing along but not with words quite yet. A long standing technique with learning songs and soloing is simply singing a blank tone like la, loo, dum, doo, etc along with the melody. This does two things: 1) It helps you learn the vocal part before confusing yourself with lyrics, and 2) it builds ear training (your ability to hear and recognize notes and their position on the scale and fretboard). Lastly, once you can play and sing along through it from start to finish, you should start to sing the lyrics along with it and start learning that.
Additionally, when learning lyrics, you can easily do a lot of work away from the fretboard. I find myself working on memorizing lyrics while doing chores, driving, walking, playing video games, etc. In fact, doing alternative activities that require concentration and focus while singing lyrics and such is a mind trick to memorizing things (especially lyrics).
A bonus step that I am going to show in the following video is to play the melody along with a backing track. If you have iReal Pro, then I highly recommend using it as a backing track. It’s amazing useful. Playing along with a backing track is like getting a test on a particular subject. Suddenly, you can’t rely on sloppy timing for the tune and it forces you to really get the tune under your fingertips.
If you don’t have iReal Pro, get a simple voice recorder or tape recorder and play the chords (very simply) through the tune a few times start to finish.