DADGAD/session guitar advice urgently needed!!!!!
I’m desperately looking for some guidance in making the transition into being a session guitarist using DADGAD. I’ve played guitar for 15 years but, in spite of listening to the likes of Ian Carr for years, my playing has been limited to 4/4 rock/blues based stuff. But I want to be a functioning (and later bloody decent)session player and having watched some folk guitarists in sessions, I have no doubt that my fingers are mechanically capable of doing what they have to do. In spite of this, session playing with DADGAD remains a frustrating mystery to me. I have dredged through a pile of videos on you tube and some websites but they don’t seem to bring me any closer to having a clue what I should be doing with DADGAD in terms of backing up a fiddle or whistel or whatever in a session. Here are some basic questions that are driving me up the wall:
1. From what I understand, folk tunes are backed up by a group of chords which are determined by the key of the tune. So if the key is G, the chords played behind that will be some sort of combination of G, C, D, F, Em, Am, Bm, and Dm. Yes? OK, Here’s my first question then… Say I’m going to back up a whistle playing a jig. Is there one fixed pattern of chords that will work with that particular jig(are the chords fixed?) or is it open to interpretation within that chord group? I have messed around quietly in somes sessions and it seems to me that some chord combinations (within that group) that definitely DONT work but that there are VARIOUS simultaneous chord combitions/changes for that given tune that DO work. If we take say a jig in a given key… Is it open to interpretation for the DADGAD strummer or should the guitarist always be playing the same chords for that song?
2. The drone. I keep reading about this drone. Where is the drone supposed to be centered around? The bass strings or the ‘trebel’ strings or is it just a general thing that you get from that tuning?
3. Next, chord prioritising: Which chord shapes should one start with? I printed out THE DADGAD GUITARIST CHORD CHART from the ‘world wide web’. The problem is that it consist s of nearly 500 chords and I have no idea where to start.I don’t assume for a second that every ok session player has a repertoire of 500 chords that they regularly rotate around. IAnd I want to get going NOW 🙂 So which G are they playing most? Which D are they normally playing? Which A is best?..etc…
4. Question 3 relates to my ‘drone’ question? If you want to let a certain string or strings ring out, the chord pattern must allow this?
4. What does the term ‘modal chords’ in folk guitar playing mean? Are all chords in DADGAD modal?
If anyone can help me solve these mysteries you would make me an extremely, extremely happy man.