The Old Man With Three Thumbs reel

Also known as Bodach Na Tri Ordagan, Bodach Nan Tri Ordagan, Loch Glassie.

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

The Old Man With Three Thumbs has been added to 9 tunebooks.

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One setting

X: 1
T: The Old Man With Three Thumbs
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
dA (3AAA A2 AB|defe dBAB|dB (3BBB B2 Bf|(3aaa ag fgef|
dA (3AAA A2 AB|defe dBAB|dB (3BBB B2 Bg|agfe edBe||
d2 df afdf|(3eee df edBe|d2 df afdf|(3eee fd feef|
d2 df afdf|(3eee df edBe|dA (3AAA A2 Af|(3aaa ag fgef||

Six comments

The Old Man With Three Thumbs

I got this from Gabe McVarish’s fiddle workshop, Gaelic College, Skye, July 2004. The title Gabe gave it as was ‘An Bodach Io Tri Ordachen’ (if I have deciphered his handwriting correctly). I have also seen ‘Am Bodach le Tri Ordagan’ in Ho-Ro-Gheallaidh Scootish Session Tunes Vol.3. Maybe a fluent gaelic speaker could help straighten this out.

Curious tune anyhow with a hint of Jenny Dang the Waver about it.

Whoops that shoudl be ‘Weaver’ not ‘Waver’

Waver is a river near where I live - maybe will make a good title for a new tune someday

Here’s the Jenny Dang…tune for comparison


I am an old man and I apparently type using three thumbs 🙂


Now I’ve got it. I thought the name rang a bell. You were on the banjo/bouzouki course as well with Colm O’Rua, if my mind serves me correctly.

Skye 2004

That’s right - i did Colm’s course two years in a row and the second time we were lucky to be able to join a different class for the final session each day - so I chose to do fiddle with Gabe. Learnt a lot from them both

Note flip

On the “Piper and the Maker” I hear the d and f reversed in the B part, 2nd and 6th bars e.g. (3eee fd.

I hear the similarity to ‘Jenny Dang the Weaver’ as well, the odd numbered bars mostly.

Did Gabe say who or where the tune came from?