How to Transpose Glorious Ruins

Hillsong Worship's Hit in the Key of C

I got an email asking for help on this one.  Glorious Ruins is originally recorded in the key of Gb but the acoustic guitar is capoed on the second fret and playing those open E chords we've grown so accustomed to in worship songs.  

While I love to teach you how to own the key of E with different chord voicings, there are times when that's the voicing that best fits the song.  So what are we to do when transposing to a key those shapes don't work in? First of all, if you are unfamiliar with song, check out our Glorious Ruins lesson and be sure to go back to my original article to learn how to transpose a song in under 5  minutes.

In this case, it's not just the type of chord that matters, but the way the open strings ring out.  In order to accomplish the closest effect to the original chords I first have to figure out what the transposed notes are.  I'll use the E shapes along with my handy chart so we see how our chords translate.

This makes our verse chord progression C5 Gsus Am7 Am9 F2

This is simple enough.  Now the question arises as to what shapes to use.  I could use a lot of the same shapes by moving them down the neck like this (I'm opting to emphasize the suspended note in the G rather than the 3rd which is also present in the original Bsus chord):

The issue here is that you have to mute so many strings the chords don't have the same punch.  Instead I chose these shapes:

You'll notice there are a whole lot more open strings and the F2/C is a fatter sounding version of F2 that still rocks the open G string.


Transposing isn't just about shifting chord names. It's about keeping the feel of the song.  For that you have to get creative.  As always, I'm taking questions and transposing requests in the comment section below.  The only criteria is the songs have to come from our lesson library.  If you want to learn Glorious Ruins, you can with the related lesson below.


Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for

How to Transpose Glorious Ruins

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Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) - in A


We are doing this Chris Tomlin tune in A (modulating to B) in a couple weeks. Do you have any suggestions for playing that muted verse part? I'm going to see if I can shift the idea from the 2nd and 3rd string and play an approximation on the 3rd and 4th strings, leaving the open A for beef where needed. The chorus is easy to move.

Any thoughts? Please feel free to email me at

thanks in advance,

That's the way to go.

The thing to watch the higher note will have to shift down 1 fret. So for example, you first position would be open A, 7th of D and 6th of G. Does that make sense?

Yes, sir.

I'll give it a shot during my personal practice time (usually after the family goes to bed) :o) Thank you.