DADGAD Guitar – Week 4

Just to review what we covered on Thursday, I had two main goals for you. First was to think about how you might accompany tunes that had two parts in different keys where you can’t move the capo up and down. We used Out on the Ocean to explore that (noting a change from G major in the B part of the tune). We then followed that up with trying to play an E minor tune, “Sheep in the Boat” with the Capo still on the 5th fret (G position).

The second goal was to learn play out of the E minor position (2nd fret) and show you a third alternative run that could be used in minor tunes. As you may recall, it started with the same E min chord that we’d use to move down the fretboard (Open/Open/5/7/7/Open/Open), but instead of shifting our shape down two frets, we kept it on the same fret, but “switched around” the position to the shape we would use moving up the fretboard (Open/7/7/5/Open/Open) and moved up from there with the appropriate major and minor shapes.

So that gives us two alternatives for playing Emin tunes – out of the usual Capo 2 (same shapes as Amin / Capo 7) and out of G (Capo 5). During this week, see if you can come up with a way to play Emin tunes with no capo (D).

Here is Sheep in the Boat to practice an Emin tune. Note that I found out that it is better to play mandolin with a plastic paperclip than a credit card while recording this one at work.

Listen to Sheep in the Boat

Mountain Road

Here’s the reel that Alex taught on Tuesday. Maybe we can surprise her and have the B part down by next week 🙂 I’m not sure if the notation below is consistent with the version she taught, so make sure you learn by listening to the recording!

Listen to Mountain Road
Listen to Mountain Road (slow version)

Also, you may not have heard Alex’s passing comment that the name of this tune is the same as the name of her fiddle camp. In case you’re interested or curious, here’s the link to her Mountain Road Fiddle Camp. Katherine, Karen and I have been going for quite awhile and always have a great time. Be sure to check it out!

DADGAD Guitar – Week 3

You all sounded great this week on the jigs. Keep practicing a little each day! The difference from the beginning of the hour until the end was really significant this week. You both really started to get a good feel for the jig rhythm and chord changes on those last few times through Cliffs of Moher!

In the last 5 minutes of class, I introduced a new tune, “Out on the Ocean” which is a “G” tune. But as you recognized in class, something a little different is happening in the B part. During this week, work on two alternative chord approaches for the B part and we’ll go over it next week along with some potential variations on jig strum patterns.

Also don’t be afraid to try playing along to other tunes on this site or on the BRIMS site ( The more you practice and experiment, the quicker you’ll pick up the accompaniment. Also, this week I’m posting the notes to the tune, so if you can read music a little, potentially use the notes to help you determine some chord options. Have fun!

Listen to Out on the Ocean

Added Sunday: And for a little inspiration, I came across this YouTube video today – two of the best playing together. Watch what Paul does to emphasize different parts of the tune by changing up the strumming patterns.

Listen to Arty McGlynn & Paul Brady

DADGAD Guitar – In between weeks 2 and 3

Once again, class was canceled due to weather. What a winter here in Virginia. Work got away from me today, so I wasn’t able to post a new practice tune and I’m now on my way to Michigan for two days. Hopefully I’ll get a new tune posted on Sunday after I return. In the meantime, try accompanying the tune “Cliffs of Moher” which is listed under the fiddle class. It is also a A minor jig (like Lilting Banshee), so similar chord progressions will work for it (but not exactly the same). When we get together next week, we’ll give that one a try at the beginning of class, so practice up!

Sunday update: I snagged Katherine to record it one time with me as our ships passed today… we apologize for a few of the mistakes, but listen for the F position in the b part (two options). A min Jig.

Listen to Cliffs of Moher with guitar accom.

DADGAD Guitar – Week 2

Last week we worked in D major on a reel, using the full fretboard. Today we will change all those dimensions and work in A minor on a jig (capo 7), which is the least amount of the fretboard you will have to work with.

Let’s start with a little theory (very little) and talk about scales. The scales I’ll use are in D (2 sharps in major), but can be transposed to any other key. I’m using D because it is the basis for DADGAD tuning and certainly one of the most popular keys in Irish music.

Key Mode 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
D Ionian “Major” D E F# G A B C# D
D Mixolydian “Major” D E F# G A B C D
D Dorian “Minor” D E F G A B C D
D Aeolian “Minor” D E F G A Bb C D

So there are four “modes” that typically come into play in Irish music. I’ve notated “major” or “minor” next to each mode because this is likely how melody players will refer to them. “Note” that the “key” thing to recognize between the commonly used major and minor is that in “minor” modes, the 3rd note of the scale is one note lower than in “major” modes (natural instead of sharp or flat instead of natural). At this point recognizing a tune as major or minor is enough. Long-term, the mode comes more into play.

Now let’s look at a basic minor chord progression in D. Also recall the single finger approach from class as an alternative.

Now, to use this for today’s tune (in A minor), we’ll need to place the capo at the 7th fret. But use the same chord shapes as you would in D (for those with shorter fingers, this will actually be much easier). Also watch to see if when you put your capo on that you don’t lose your tuning too badly. That can depend on your guitar, string gauge, and tightness of your capo.

Finally, we need to change the rhythm we’re using from a reel (4/4 time) to a jig (6/8). Here is a graphic showing the difference in the strumming patterns. You’ll see that a jig rhythm is down-up-down-down-up-down… also known as pine-ap-ple, pine-ap-ple. It can take awhile to get down, try to practice it everyday without changing chords at first and then add in the changes.

Today we’ll work on a well known jig, “Lilting Banshee”. It is sometimes known as Killaloe Boat or as Tes used to call it, “Killer Boat”. It is a two-part jig in Am. (Note: Thanks to BRIMS and Tes for this recording… much better than my mandolin version).

Play along with Lilting Banshee

Accompaniment Hints:
A Part: Try D, C, A shapes capo 7
(or actual chords Am, G, Em)
B Part: Same as A part will work, but a nice alternative is Bb, A, Bb, C shapes capo 7
(or actual chords Fmaj7, Em7, Fmaj7, G)