Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

I have heard other guitarists talk about "shetland swing" style guitar. But I have been unable to find any books, articles, web pages, or artists that play in this style.

Any suggestions?

I have been playing guitar for 20 years. I am classically trained. But for Irish, I flatpick a martin steel string guitar.

While there is a plethora of material on modes and chords, I have found very little material on basic flatpicking patterns for jigs, reels, polkas, and hornpipes.

Reels and polkas are pretty easy, playing boom-chuck, boom-chuck-a, or chuck-a-chuck-a.

I still have trouble with jigs. I have tried:
Down-up-down-Up-down-up,
Down-up-down-Down-up-down,
Down-down-up-Down-down-up,
Boom-up-down-boom-down-up, &
Boom-down-up-Boom-down-up.

I prefer the last one, but it is difficult to play at fast jig tempo (120+).

kennyT

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Yes, one suggestion: try entering "shetland swing guitar" in Google (http://www.google.com). I just did, and got quite a few Web sites.

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Willie Johnson - the King of Shetland Swing. He’s also a jazz player, and I suspect he was partly responsible for popularising this style of guitar backing in Shetland and Scotland. As well as accompanying various Shetland fiddlers, he has recorded with Cathal McConnell (On Lough Erne’s Shore) and Performed with Jerry(banjo)O’Connor.

I only dabble very shallowly in accompaniment myself, but can I suggest another pattern for the accompaniment of jigs?
Whilst the patterns you describe for accompanying reels and polkas are more or less after the fashion of ‘oom-pah’ style piano accompaniment, the patterns you have tried for jigs all seem to be more in the fluid strumming style which is prevalent among Irish guitarists nowadays.

Have you tried leaving out the middle beat of each group of three? This allows you to retain the ‘boom-chuck’ feel, simply making the ‘boom’ twice as long as the ‘chuck’. This is how most pianists accompany jigs.

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

My own guitar abilities don’t extend to swing. I have tried some Texas swing chord patterns but the chords are unfamiliar. However, there are resources for swing guitar in general and Western (or Texas swing) and I found one web page with chords apparantly gleaned from Willie J. http://www.jackevans.net/10chords.htm
You may have found that too. The chords are three note chords and don’t contain any 9th or diminished chords, both of which seem pretty important in what I have read. The web site author claims you can do a lot with them though. In addition there are some swing lessons at the Mandolin Cafe (www.mandolincafe.com). Although they are aimed at mandolin players, I guess, they aren’t really specific to that instrument. They describe some principles of chord substitution. There is also a page of swing guitar chords at the site. All this in under "lessons". A site which goes into considerable detail on chord substitutions is this one. http://guitar-masters.com/Subst/index.html
It looks pretty good. As I mentioned, I tried to learn some Texas swing changes. Even had I learned them I wouldn’t have understood the principles underlying chord selection very well and wouldn’t have been able to apply them to another tune. I think that last site could help a lot with that. Finally there is a Mel Bay book on Texas swing by Joe Carr which might be helpful. I have one album with some tracks with Willie Johnson on it and his playing on it sounds different from Texas swing even though the underlying idea of both is to use four-to-the-bar swing changes to accompany tunes with relatively simply harmonic structures.

Steve

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Just my personal opinion, but - the less of swing backup I hear the happier I am.

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Thanks for the links.

Yes, already tried Google.

Yes, lots of info on Texas swing. One could learn Texas swing first and then try to adapt to Irish tunes.

Still very little on Shetland Swing in particular.

Thanks for tip on Peerie Willie Johnson.
(No relation to Blind Willie Johnson).
http://www.shetland-music.com/mgpwilie.htm
(check out real audio clip!)

Only CDs with Peerie now available are the Shetland Sessions and Boys in the Lough-Friends.

I understand he also recorded with Gerry O’Connor, but I have not been able to find out on which CDs. Most of Gerry’s catolog is out of print.

http://www.gerry-oconnor.com/albums.html

Yeah, all the fiddlers that I know don’t like swing guitar. Not pure-drop Irish and all that. Just trying to find a style that suits my own tastes. Maybe find some common ground between what I like and the fiddlers like.

Cheers,

kennyT

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

One more addition to swing guitar quest, go to the site
www.cowpie.com….the site mainly contains lyrics to a great lot of western swing tunes (no music), there is a nice easy but
good lesson on playing swing guitar that is worth printing out as a reference.

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

The October 2002 issue of Acoustic Guitar has an article by Jack Evans entitled "Scottish Swing" which explores this style of guitar accompaniment. Jack also has some information on "10th" swing chords at http://www.jackevans.net/10chords.htm

Frank Kilkelly has an instructional book/CD out called "Accompanying Irish Music on Guitar" and there’s a few lessons on the Shetland swing style.

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Not from Shetland, but Orkney. Check out Hazel Wrigley (As in Jennifer and …)

Posted .

Re: Shetland Swing Guitar-artists & resources

Check out Brian Nicholson at www.hombru.co.uk