Thanks again to Sean Deighan for his guest appearance in our class. It’s important to recognize that melody players each have their own unique style. I actually find that my accompaniment will be different depending on whom I’m backing up. For example, generally fiddle players have more “swing” to their playing than string players (such as mandolin or banjo) due to bowing (and slurring) vs. pick. So, if you find yourself playing somewhat differently, that’s not only okay, but encouraged. It means you’re really listening to the melody player and picking up on their unique style.
I also encourage you to find people to play with. Playing along with a recording is great for practice and learning chord positions, etc. But it is extremely important to learn how to play with other people (and, it is a heck of alot more fun!). It will also stretch you and that is an important elemen to improve your playing ability.
I’m hoping that our last class encouraged you to explore the upper part of the fretboard, especially when playing out of D or Em (capo 2). Just to drive the point home, it is another way to bring out new sound combinations when playing a tune multiple times. And, once you get more confident in the upper half of the fret board, it is fun to venture up there.
The Em chord progression shown below is the one I showed you and is an alternative to the minor progression that we worked on out of the Am (7th fret position). It is also a really nice example to show the importance of fingering (1s for minors, 2 for majors in this pattern). Once you practice it some, the patterns become second nature and much more logical than how we typically play out of standard position.
Play along with and practice the Em progressions on Sheep in the Boat
This past week, we kept with the jig theme and talked about the use of the Em chord in a G tune. In our case we tried it in the B part of Mulhaire’s Jig. This is a fairly common pattern in Irish G tunes where the A part is very clearly major and the B part can have a more minor flavor to it. Here’s an example of another tune you can try it with.
Play along with Out on the Ocean
The second half of class was devoted to minor progressions which we played out of the A position (just to change things up again). So place the capo at the 7th fret. Here are the finger positionings for review.
As an example, we learned a well known jig, “Lilting Banshee”. It is sometimes known as Killaloe 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
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)
In last Tuesday’s class, we added some new fingering patterns to the basic D scale progressions we learned last week. Below are some of the fingerings for those chord positions.
Note that although I didn’t include it in the above image, an “A” chord is the same pattern as the G chord shown, but moved up the neck two frets. Also, recall that another very similar approach is to leave the lowest D string open and move the two fingers that are close together (ring and pinky / 3 and 4) one string higher for an alternative voicing.
Next we saw how using the capo made it very easy to play in different keys. In our class we placed the capo on the 5th fret to play in G. To play in A, we could put the capo on the 7th fret. G and A are the two other most common major keys. The other fairly common capo position is on the 2nd fret to play Em tunes, though we will cover another approach next week in class.
The last thing we covered was an introduction to the jig rhythm. Jigs are in 6/8 time, which means beats are grouped in 3’s, which some people refer to as deee – ya – das or pine-ap-ples. While different guitarists use different strum patterns to play jig rhythm, we all started with a down-up-down down-up-down approach as shown below (note, I’ve also created a diagram for the reel pattern we covered in the previous class).
You’ll want to practice this pattern a fair amount. If you haven’t done new strum patterns much in your guitar playing, playing a jig pattern can take a little while to get down cold.
To practice jigs, try playing along with Claire and Breda again this week with Mulhaire’s jig, one of my new favorites!
Play along with Mulhaire’s Jig