Learning DADGAD - need help

Learning DADGAD - need help

Hi all

I’m into my 3rd class of DADGAD, and not doing too badly. Ihave 2 more classes to go!! THen its a case of what to do next? Do I just keep learning new chords? Go to a session and listen for months before I bring my guitar along, or what next? How do I put my 5 classes of DADGAD to good use so that I may become a good player, and not just another struggler!! (Bear in mind, that in my area, there aren’t a whole lot of trad sessions going on!!)!

Thanks all
Edja

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

And another thing!! (Sorry, answering myself here!!). What would you consider a good guitar to buy so that I can use it for regular gigging (as I do at the moment in a 2 piece playing acoustic rock type stuff), but also to use DADGAD tuning on!!!

THanks
Edja!

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

I recommend you go to the session and make friends with a melody player who is around your level of skill and enthusiastic, or above your level and patient, then ask them over to your place to practice some tunes. You buy the beer.

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Learn the tunes.

I don’t want to sound like a stuck record here, I know I’ve said this many times before, but it really is the only to to be able to strum along to this music.

But by "learn the tunes" I don’t mean you have to be able to play them up to speed on your guitar, but you do have to know intimatly, in your head at least. You see it’s not about knowing chords, its about knowing tunes

Posted .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

A friend of mine told me before to practice to albums you love firstly in order to get practise for the different chord structures of different tunes.I found this to be of great help.Arty McGlynn on Stony steps (Matt Molloys album) I listened to.Thought it was sound advise.

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Good advice here - especially learn the tunes (as a guitarist, I wince at the thought of someone adding harmony and rhythm when they don’t know the tunes).

Good books to buy would be Sarah McQuaid’s DADGAD book or Frank Kilkelly "Accompanying Irish music on guitar".

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Are your courses oriented toward Irish music? Are you primarily interested in accompaniment or melody playing? There’s a lot of stuff about fingerpicking melodies, which is great for solo work but not so useful in a session.

There’s not yet a whole lot written about Irish accompaniment in DADGAD, but Sarah McQuaid’s book, "The Irish DADGAD Guitar Book" is practically a standard. I’d also recommend Chris Smith’s book, "Celtic Back-Up for all Instrumentalists". It’s not instrument specific, but instead focuses on how to construct complementary rhythmic and melodic back-up. Both books are easy to find on the internet.

Antoher book to consider is "Lunasa, the Music, 1996-2001". Written by Donogh Hennessy, their guitarist at the time, it has all of the tunes from their 1st three albums along with the specific chords that he uses. He tunes to dropped-D, but the chord names certainly point you in the right direction. The book is available at their web site.

There are also not many videos dealing with Irish guitar accompaniment. The only one I know of is John Doyle’s "Irish Rhythm Guitar", which is now available in both VHS tape and DVD. John tunes in dropped-D for this tape, but there is a wealth of information on how to build interesting accompaniments. All you have to do is apply that to DADGAD.

I think Chris’s book should be required reading for anybody trying to accompany Celtic music. I use it myself for my octave mandolin playing. The guitar player in my band, who is quite good, is self-taught and used both the Doyle video and Sarah’s book to make the transition from standard to DADGAD. He also listened extensively to other Celtic guitarists to learn from what they do. That includes DADGAD players such as Altan’s Dáithí Sproule and Seamus O’Dowd of Dervish, as well as dropped-D players such as John Doyle of Solas and Donogh Hennessy of Lunasa.

(Interestingly, Dáithí is the only player still with the above mentioned bands.)

Good luck with your journey.

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

One last piece of advice, Edja. You asked about recommendations for a guitar suitable for both standard and DADGAD tunings. My advice if you really want to learn this style is to have separate guitars for each tuning. Retuning can quickly become a hassle and becoming proficient in DADGAD needs to be as hassle-free as possible.

This may not be possible for you, but I’ve been told that the best way to really get DADGAD under your fingers is to play ONLY in DADGAD for about 6 months.

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

I’ll echo the suggestion that you find a melody player to play with, fiddler, whistler, flutist. Playing along with recordings is how I began, and it was great fun and I got a good, long way with it. But when I got to actually interact with a player (then players) and hear how the chords, argeggios and melodies go together, it made an enormous difference. It isn’t really an either/or sort of thing; you can always play with recordings.

I learned the tunes much quicker with a live player, too.

As for the type of guitar… You might as well ask for someone to specify your next ‘significant other’… <GG>

I looked around to see what choices the professional DADGAD players had made in guitars (sizes, woods, luthiers, pickups, etc.) and then I made my choice, and it’s served me well thus far.

DADGAD is nice, but it isn’t The Magic Bullet of Irish Music. Lots of great players (Arty McGlynn, Pat Egan, Tommy O’Sullivan, etc.) play in standard and sound tremendous.

I hope this helps,

stv

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Some very good recommendations here, and I’ll throw in another: Work on finding different chord inversions so that you can change keys in a medley without having to take off or put on a capo. Although there are still some keys troublesome for me to play "open," being able to go from, say, D to G, or even to A, and not having to stop, fiddle with the capo, then get back up to speed, was a great revelation.

And, a DADGAD player though I am, I agree with stv culchie. I fully recognize that the tuning has its limitations (as do I as an individual player), and doesn’t necessarily fit in with every musical situation. But having been a DADGADer for a long, long time, and having expanded my understanding of its possibilities in the past few years, I really like it.

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Homespun also do a series of 3 DVDs by Artie Traum as an introduction to DADGAD. I have not seen them myself and could not tell you how good they are for Irish accompaniment but Artie did a Taylor guitar workshop in Glasgow a year or so ago and demonstrated DADGAD a lot. He seems to be a very thorough tutor.

The best thing you can do is just practice practice practice. I did this when learning DADGAD and it proved invaluable. For learning the tuning it can be helpful to learn as many songs in DADGAD as possible just to get used to the chords. Good DADGAD guitarists would include Dick Gaughan, Piere Bensusan, Dougie MacLean (more commonly Open C tuning), Ross Martin (of Daimh and Cliar), Pat Kirkley and Martin Simpson (he uses practically every tuning under the sun).

If you know any of the music of Dougie MacLean then you should check out his guitar site (http://www.weeguitar.com). Here you can get tabs for many of his songs emailed to you. These tabs are accurate and can help you become more familiar with the tuning. In fact 90% of what I have learnt of Open C tuning is from this site!!

Good luck in you search. Whilst I would agree with stv culchie that DADGAD is not the be all and end all it is certainly a very flexible tuning and is useful for many styles of music from traditional accompaniment and blues to Frank Sinatra and Harold Arlen (If I Only Had a Brain and Over the Rainbow - The Wizard of Oz).

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Good to hear you asking the right type of questions. I agree with all the advice given above - all good. Additionally, if you can, maybe try to attend a good summer workshop that offers a good DADGAD class. I’m a big proponent of Swannanoa, and this year I think Robin Bullock is teaching fingerstyle guitar. Robin’s a great DADGAD player, and a great instructor - at anything. John Doyle is teaching session accompanyment I believe as well. John mostly plays Drop-D, but I found much of his stuff carries over to DADGAD. Best advice I can give you is to leave your instrument in DADGAD and just play your known repertoire of stuff (not necessarily Irish) adapting the usual way you phrase stuff into DADGAD. It works great with any kind of fingerstyle melody stuff for the most part, and sounds so cool - especially the electric stuff. "Man of Constant Sorrow" is a good example of applying it to that type of music. It’s in your basic D-modal/minor kind of structure, and is usually capo’d at the third fret. Remember, the capo is your friend. Hope this helps. Email me with any questions.

-M

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Great advice and great links added, even as I type! Wow. One trick you might try is to use a Shub capo. If you position it open end facing up, it’s possble to "pop" it off with your thumb on a downbeat, letting it hit the floor and allowing you to get back to open quickly. They do have movable capos, but I haven’t found one that works for me. The advice of finding other ways to play the chords up the neck is quite right as well. Whatever works best - there are no rules.
-M

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Try playing along to a tune that needs no chord changes at all - which is possible if you find the right ‘drone’ open chord (easier in DAD) and concentrate on your strum. Treat your guitar as a percussion instrument. Touch, feel and timing can be more important than chord changes - specially for jigs: down up down, down up down etc.

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

A quick question here to you guitarists.
My friend just started to learn guitar, and her goal is to eventually play along with me and my band ( ITM ofcourse).
Is it better to start ‘normal’ (sorry the expression) playing and after time also learn DADGAD, or start DADGAD from the beginning ?

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Go DADGAD from the begining. No question.

the whole headspace of backing in DADGAD is completely different to noraml tuning. If you had to go from normal to DADGAD it’s like learning a whole new instrument!

(that’s if you like the sound of DADGAD… I know a lot of guitar heads who hate it and swear by normal or drop D. the cheek of it! you should get them to listen to some recordings of different backers playing different tunings and get them started on the one they like. word.)

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

I’ll second what SirNose said, silly name not withstanding. ;-)

If DADGAD is your, or her, ultimate goal, start with it first. I see no advantage to doing otherwise. DADGAD is so different from standard tuning that she would have to relearn the fingerboard. Plus, with the modal chords and drones of DADGAD that work so well in Celtic’s predominate keys of D and G, there is a lot of stuff that just doesn’t translate between the two tunings.

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Lads, fair play to ye’s all. Thanks for the good advice…looks like I have years of reading and practice ahead of me….I live in the middle of Ireland where there are very few sessions going on. So I’ll be relying on buying melody CDs!!!
Thanks again, and sure I’ll let ye all know me progress.

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Craymcla isnt exactly the most interesting name either……..

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

I take it bb stands for Bloody Interesting then? ;¬)
Cx

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Hahaha!

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

hahhaha. You so funny Conan.

Posted by .

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

Do I detect a note of sarcasm? :)

Re: Learning DADGAD - need help

LearningDADGAD
FIRST STEP
Make the guitar as easy to play as possible. Have a Luthier set it to flatpicking or fingerpicking,whatever your style is. Remember this is a very fast music and flexibility is the missing key
You need to change the string guages to suit DADGAD .
I use Steel strings

from 6th-1st
.054 / .042 / 030 / 020 / .017 / .013
Sorry have n’t a clue on gut or nylon string guages