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The pros and cons of DADGAD

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chris nightbird childs 06 Nov 04 - 04:01 AM
the fence 06 Nov 04 - 05:33 AM
Davetnova 06 Nov 04 - 05:58 AM
PennyBlack 06 Nov 04 - 07:42 AM
Chris Green 06 Nov 04 - 08:09 AM
Pete Jennings 06 Nov 04 - 08:23 AM
Bobert 06 Nov 04 - 08:27 AM
Mooh 06 Nov 04 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Seaking 06 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM
Cluin 06 Nov 04 - 12:03 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Nov 04 - 12:29 PM
davidkiddnet 06 Nov 04 - 12:42 PM
Phil Cooper 06 Nov 04 - 12:43 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 06 Nov 04 - 12:46 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 06 Nov 04 - 12:55 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Nov 04 - 12:57 PM
chris nightbird childs 06 Nov 04 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 06 Nov 04 - 04:00 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 06 Nov 04 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 06 Nov 04 - 04:59 PM
Mooh 06 Nov 04 - 05:09 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Nov 04 - 06:49 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 06 Nov 04 - 07:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 04 - 08:35 PM
chris nightbird childs 06 Nov 04 - 11:05 PM
chris nightbird childs 07 Nov 04 - 12:44 AM
GUEST 07 Nov 04 - 03:16 AM
chris nightbird childs 07 Nov 04 - 03:20 AM
mooman 07 Nov 04 - 05:34 AM
Jeri 07 Nov 04 - 08:39 AM
Davetnova 07 Nov 04 - 12:23 PM
Phil Cooper 07 Nov 04 - 12:34 PM
gigix 07 Nov 04 - 05:44 PM
Guy Wolff 07 Nov 04 - 07:12 PM
Guy Wolff 07 Nov 04 - 07:13 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 08 Nov 04 - 05:58 AM
greg stephens 08 Nov 04 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 08 Nov 04 - 07:38 AM
Grab 08 Nov 04 - 07:49 AM
greg stephens 08 Nov 04 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 08 Nov 04 - 08:13 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 08 Nov 04 - 10:07 AM
chris nightbird childs 08 Nov 04 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Nov 04 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born again Scouser) 09 Nov 04 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 09 Nov 04 - 04:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Nov 04 - 07:49 AM
moocowpoo 09 Nov 04 - 08:43 AM
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Mooh 09 Nov 04 - 09:45 AM
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Subject: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 04:01 AM

I'd like to explore this tuning. I've heard how beautiful it sounds and would like to know the good and bad of it...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: the fence
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 05:33 AM

Wouldnt mind knowing a bit about it myself!!!


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Davetnova
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 05:58 AM

I started using this tuning when I got my new guitar earlier this summer and got back into guitar playing after a long absence. I don't think I've touched standard tuning for about three months. Three chord songs you can accompany with one finger and a capo and nine times out of ten sound accomplished. And with perseverence and work you can (notice I said you not me) play the most amazingly complex instrumental arrangements. The more I explore this tuning the more I realise just how versatile it it.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: PennyBlack
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 07:42 AM

As well as DADGAD - why not try a Partial Capo?

You will have the fun of experimenting with "open tuning" but you can use standard chords at same time and mix and match.. all without re-tuning (handy at sessions or in guitar shops).

Its one way of seeing the advantages/disadvantages of DADGAD and adding variation to your guitar backings.

PB


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Chris Green
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 08:09 AM

DADGAD is without a doubt my favourite tuning in the whole wide world. The only drawback is that it becomes addictive and you don't want to play anything in standard tuning anymore! I have a link to a page which has loads of DADGAD shapes, but since I'm not on my own computer I can't put a link in at the minute, but I will as soon as I get a chance!


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 08:23 AM

db: Is this the site you mean?

http://home.hccnet.nl/h.speek/dadgad/


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 08:27 AM

Now I play a lot of open tunings, some of which I know what I'm tuning to and others don't take the time to figure out but...

in this DADGAD which strings are the G and D strings so I can orient myself. If the G is the 3rd and the D the 4th isn't this just an open D tuning?

If so, I play it all the time and occasionally kick the 5th string (bass) up to a B thus making it a Double Dropped D.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Mooh
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 08:35 AM

Bobert...Open D is DADF#AD (low to high). Double drop D is DADGBD (low to high). Mooh.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Seaking
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM

I use DADGAD probably 75% of the time. The only disadvantage I personally find is finding my way round some minor chords, I still tend to play some songs in minor keys in Standard tuning or with a dropped D. Otherwise it's the greatest tuning ever and lots of fun and very versatile for all sorts of different styles.

Dick Gaughan uses this tuning fairly exclusively I think, if you want to know why it's a good tuning it have a listen to some of his stuff.

Happy exploring...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Cluin
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:03 PM

It's a great open tuning for sure; technically, an open Dsus4 tuning. But you will find it can get a bit limited without a major investment of exploration in it. Everything tends to sound the same after a while (even with a capo)and the novelty will wear off, after which you move on to explore other open tunings or return to standard tuning.

In general, concentrate on the 2nd and 4th frets for the D major scale and the 2nd and 3rd frets for the D minor scale. Have fun with it; those 1 and 2 finger chords allow you to throw in a lot of fills and "colour notes" to your chords.

Then move on to try some other open tunings: open G (DGDGBD), Open D (DADF#AD), Open Em (EBEGBE, which I call Eebee Jeebee tuning, great for a bluesy sound, but open minor tunings are called "crossnote" tunings), and DADGAD's equivalent tuning with respect to A (EADEAE, an open Asus4 tuning, nice and drone-y for a bagpipe feel).

Learn which notes make up which chords then work out the fingerings for yourself. It's a lot more fun and instructive that way. You find your own way of playing it that way too. And remember, the great things about open tunings are all those ringing drone strings (the Ds and As in DADGAD). Don't lose those in your creative fingerings. ;)


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:29 PM

The best primer for DADGAD is the Stan Rogers songbook, "Songs From Fogartys Cove"...

There's also a DADGAD chord chart on my web site for download... in the Gear And Guitar Section...

My Site Here


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:42 PM

Here's something very similar, open G minor tuning: D G D G Bb D decribed by Chris Proctor in Acoustic Guitar #121 Jan 2003.

some of his chords may be useful to the DADGAD fans: just move 2 up a bit


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:43 PM

I like the DADGAD tuning as well. Everyone's posting so far is right on. I also try playing in keys other than D and get some interesting results. G and Gm work pretty well, as does some modal A tunes. F is easier in this tuning than in standard.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:46 PM

Pros... Some keys are excellent (uncapoed)

Am,A#, Bm, C, D, Dm, D#, Em, F, F#m, G, Gm

Cons... Some keys are unpleasantly difficult to master

A, A#m, B, C#, D#m, F#

All in all, I'm very satisfied with this tuning... Though I'm never far from my capo... ;^)
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:55 PM

Uhhh... nix the F#m... it's just as hard for me to play in as A... and you'll notice that I didn't even mention G#...

Things get a little hairy around here when I've misplaced my capo... ;^)
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 12:57 PM

G# is as easy as capoing 6th fret...

:-)


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 02:59 PM

Thank you all for your help. I'm off to explore now >>>>>>>>>>>


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 04:00 PM

I've been playing guitar for about 35 years and accompanying traditional singers and instrumentalists for about 30. DADGAD is a hugely useful tuning and I do use it - but I feel it has limitations.

Now, when I started backing Irish music there weren't that many guitarists around who knew their way round traditional music. I didn't, either, but I made up my mind to learn. I'm still learning. At the time there was no 'standard' way of accompanying Irish music on the guitar so you actually had quite a lot of freedom. People tried using blues progressions, bluegrass flatpicking, swing jazz chords and all sorts of techniques. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was just a bloody awful mess.

Now there seem to be two main approaches to Irish music on the guitar: DADGAD and the Steve Cooney heavy-metal flamenco approach. Both perfectly valid, but the drawback for me is that so many players use each approach they all tend to sound the same after a while. That's no reason not to use DADGAD but I wouldn't give up on standard tuning. It does, after all, exist for a reason and many of the effects guitarists are seeking when they take up DADGAD are perfectly achievable in standard tuning if you know your fingerboard and your inversions (so to speak...).

It is, of course, a bit of a 'cheat' and if anyone asks me for advice about playing Irish music on the guitar I tend to warn them off goig down the DADGAD road unless or until they really know their way around the instrument in standard tuning and until they have learnt a lot of traditional tunes from performances by players of other instruments. Basic musicianship, really. Otherwise, it's not hard for a relatively inexperienced player to become rather stuck in the limitations of the tuning. I don't often find, for instance, that players who use DADGAD are very adept at playing for dancers.

Of course, there are other styles of playing where DADGAD is used and it's great for accompanying songs (especially, in my case, if someone else is singing). I just feel sometimes it's become a little cliched - celtic twilight and all that.

Great for backing Uilleann pipes, mind.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 04:17 PM

Cute... the gentle sting of of patronization... coupled with an irritating familiarity... Don't you EVER get tired of being so...

I played standard tuning for 20 years... and I played just about every cliche that the jazz folk rock revival had to offer... inside and out. I don't even like listening to standard tuning... unless the player has his/her own style... which is tough.

I ain't goin' back, baby...
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 04:59 PM

'Don't you EVER get tired of being so...'

What? Right?

The thread was called 'Pros and Cons'. I think there are both. I said as much.

Fuck you.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Mooh
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 05:09 PM

I find that double drop D makes a nice compromise tuning between standard and dadgad and I'm using it more these days.

For the celtoid band I'm in I split between standard and open G, dadgad, or double drop D, though since it's mostly a vocal group I only really change things for my own benefit, doubting whether anyone else notices. The drawback of too many drones, suspended and diminished chords, common to my approach to dadgad, is that the keyboard player and I don't always jive, and I never am sure if there'll be keys.

In the guitar/violin duo I use standard if I carry one axe, multiple tunings if I carry more. Having just got a bouzouki (tuned in fifths), there's even more possibilities.

I really prefer to use lower tunings, even if it is just standard tuning intervals, because it provides easier transposition down for singers who can't make up their mind (including myself), and gets me further out of the way of other instrument's range. So even dadgad is more versatile when dropped a semi-tone or two, at least for me.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 06:49 PM

Chris B... Ignore Thomas The R... he's an idiot and not worth your trouble...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 07:03 PM

I couldn't agree with you more, Clinton... Thanks for covering for me!
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 08:35 PM

DADGAD is fun and pretty and all, but if I'm playing n a session, and need to be able to change keys all the time, I find standard tuning is a lot more flexible, for me.

Also if there's someone there who isn't too sure about things, it's a lot easier for them to follow what you are doing. (When they've got it, I would probably capo up few frets and play appropriate chords, because I think it gets too crowded if there's more than one guitaer playing in the same range.)


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 06 Nov 04 - 11:05 PM

Well, it's not that I'm ignorant of Standard Tuning, I use it, but I tend to play a lot of open or two-note chords that make it SOUND like an alternate tuning. The reason for this is I think that "normal" chords in a "normal" tuning sound quite boring, and well... normal.
I don't have much knowledge of tunings like DADGAD & Open D, and I figured I'd "broaden my pallet", as it were...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 12:44 AM

One more question about this : Would DADGAD be considered a "Modal" tuning?


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 03:16 AM

I just stumbled in tonite, not expecting to find anything very intriguing but I really enjoyed Chris B's little essay on the benefits and possible limits of DADGAD tuning when it comes to Celtic music. I am far from an accomplished guitarist and I understand what he means about getting stuck on using the DADGAD tuning when you really aren't that well-versed in what you could do in standard if you tried harder.

I admit its something of a cheat for me, but then I don't have much choice on the occasion when I'm the only one with a guitar. I'm usually just trying to NOT screw up everybody else's experience or detract from the song. DADGAD permits me to help round out the sound when I feel I can join in, other times, I just opt out and play something I'm better at!

However, even the better guitarists I know do choose it and of course, they get a wonderful sound which rounds out the band. I don't think its wrong of players such as myself to lean on it when we need to but I agree, I'd be most likely be better off spending more time trying to master aspects of standard tuning and fingering that continue to elude me. someday.....

The suggestions about Double Drop D are also interesting. Alternate tunings become addictive after awhile. you find one, you run with it, then another and another.....


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 03:20 AM

Well, I'm a solo performer, and I tend to favour tunings and techniques that make my guitar sound bigger. I have only spent about a day with the DADGAD tuning, and I'm finding that it could be very helpful to me...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: mooman
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 05:34 AM

After about 10 years virtually exclusively playing in DADGAD I have, over the past year, moved back into using "normal" tuning more. I love DADGAD and the possibilities within it but, with Irish music, extensive capoing is inevitable and, with the more blues/jazz tinged repertoire we do now, regular tuning is more versatile.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 08:39 AM

Rick tried to convince me to play in DADGAD or an open tuning because they were easy. I think the whole idea was 1) Learn basics, 2) Play with others, and 3) Get better. Now, I can usually tell if I suck, and I'll play quietly if I'm not absolutely sure I've got it. Others sometimes won't, and it may be that DADGAD is the bodhran of guitar playing: it can be played with skill and grace, but it also can be played intrusively and incompetently by folks who can't tell when they suck and don't care to listen to themselves.

Anyway, open D was TOO easy and I just plain didn't get DADGAD. That is, until I got back to playing my dulcimer. I had a little epiphany: if I can play dulcimer, I should be able to play DADGAD! The third string is the melody string of the dulcimer. I learned some chords, and moved 'em around a bit, and a friend who plays Greek music (and a 5-course cittern) showed me some movable positions.

This dulcimer-like playing is fine for accompanying one's self or melody instruments only, but if you play with folks who are playing chords or harmonies, you're going to clash unless you're playing the same chords with no extra notes. It's OK - I've got three basic chords down and printed the charts from duellingbouzoukis' site to work on. (WOW!!! Thanks for that, DB, and to Pete Jennings who gave us the link.)

Anyway, I'm new to DADGAD, and I'm posting from the perspective of a newbie. If your opinions on playing differ from mine, you're probably right. Although if I say something sounds crappy, I'm right (unless I change my mind).


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Davetnova
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 12:23 PM

Jeri - I love that "the bodhran of guitar playing". One of the reasons Bodhran gets so much stick is that people go out and bang it as soon as they get it and DAGDAD can be just the same. I agree with above comments about getting stuck in it but I'm still exploring and will do till I get stuck. Still love it.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 12:34 PM

There are limitations to DADGAD, but I like working around the limitations. Backing people up at song circles is challenging, especially if they are playing something in Bb and I don't have time to use a capo. But then, using the middle three strings that are tuned like standard can let you play a few well chosen counter point single note parts. (This is a song circle where playing along is invited and I strive to never play louder than the person who is singing).

As a finger-picker, playing at instrumental, loud pub sessions can be a frustrating experience. Then, I try to come up with interesting bass runs and fills and figure that no one can hear what I'm doing anyway.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: gigix
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 05:44 PM

Dadgad hooked me like dope. When I heard myself playing blues and experimenting jazz over this tuning, I realized it was time to fight like a woman and get rid of it. Bought three more guitars including a 12: all ended up tuned dadgad. Got one mandolin and one octave mandola: they both ended up tuned gdad. Got one baritone guitar: I tuned it aeadea. I have been physically stopped by a friend a second before I put my hand over a bouzouki. Now I play only a cheap ukulele, it sounds so lousy that I don't care about changing its tuning: it would sound out of tune any way. Help.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 07:12 PM

This is an intetresting thread. Firstly there are no rights or wrongs in any of this . THank god people like different things for different reasons. I did invent DADGAD . No kidding . I had played in spanish or G tuning for years and worked up to D tuning ( is it vestapole ? ) and since I had played Gsus4 on banjo( Sawmill ) had used that on guitar and one day said hey what about "sawmill tuning in D !!! It took about an hour to figure out I was in this very popular tuning .


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 07 Nov 04 - 07:13 PM

SORRY I HIT THE WRONG BOTTON .. MORE SOON . ALL THE BEST . GUY


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 05:58 AM

As far as Irish sessions are concerned, I'm with McGrath on this one. For the most part, I find standard or dropped D tuning most versatile. Interestingly, we just had the Liverpool Irish Festival up here and Phillipe Masure and Michael Sands were both over. Phillipe especially seems to be known for using DADGAD but most of the time both he and Michael seemed to be using dropped D. John Chandler was playing in DADGAD (when he got the chance to play - he is the chairman of the festival so he was extremely busy. Also he knows as a musician when there are enough guitarists in one session)and I bashed away on the occasions I played in my usual mixture of standard, DADGAD and dropped D. It worked as often as not.

Michael also has a thread about the guitar and Irish music which he started a couple of weeks ago. Don't know how to do a link but it's well worth a look.

I remember seeing Micheal O Domhnaill with Relativity several years ago. It had been a long time since I had seen him play and I was surprised to see him mostly play in standard tuning. I suspect his choice to do that was largely down to the mixture of instruments he was playing with at the time.

Chris Nightbird, you say you are interested mostly in solo playing so I guess we were talking about different things as I mainly back Irish music. Yes, DADGAD is considered a 'Modal' tuning though that is a slightly overused term. What it seems to be shorthand for is the fact that, for instance, if you are backing a tune in D then using DADGAD you can play the tonic chord without including a third, whether major (F#) or minor (F Natural).

You can then use a variety of Dominant, Subdominant and relative major or minor chords which can be characterised by the presence or absence of ninths, suspended fourths or major or dominant sevenths in addition to the third. For the most part, this is what is going on when you hear the distinctive effects that most players are aiming for when they employ DADGAD in their playing.

So, for instance, if you are playing in D major you can shift to a subdominant chord (a G chord) which may or may not feature a strong ninth (the A, usually on the open 2nd string) as well as a strong third on the 5th string (B) giving it its characteristic warmth, a relative minor (say, B minor chord) featuring (often) a dominant seventh (the A again) or sometimes a ninth (a C#, which is also the major seventh of the tonic (D) chord. Your domainant (A major) chord may have a strong Sus4 (D) on the top string.

It goes on and on and your ears will tell you what works. Chord diagrams are helpful but if you have some theoretical grasp of what is going on you won't need them as much. Plus you'll be able to think about arrangements and other possibilities when you are away from the instrument.

Playing with your fingers probably gives you more opportunities to explore these sort of melodic and harmonic options than flatpicking but of course, there are always exceptions.

All the possibilities and options I pointed to above also apply, of course, to other altered tunings and they are all pretty addictive once you get stuck into them. But then, that's 90% of the fun.

You're gonna love it - especially if you use it to expand your possibilities and don't allow a new tuning to limit them.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 07:13 AM

DADGAD is undoubtedly spot on for the new kind of Irish style of playing folk music(and a lot of British stuff as well). But I think Chris B is being reasonable as categorising this as a "Celtic twilight" sort of approach, given that is is very suitable for the modern "mythological" style, but not so useful for the approach to Irish music used by actual traditional players...say pre-1950. The danger that it is "too easy" has been commented on,too. That seems very true, you could so easily get hung up on the basic tricks of the trade involved in DADGAD that you might find it very hard to escape into another world, should you so which.
    Ian Carr is an interesting guitaist in this context, in that plays incredibly fluently in standard tuning, and can actual deploy most of the effects that you might be tempted to associate with DADGAD style playing. Now that is a skill.
Personally, I am pretty happy with standard tuning. Especially at sessions, where fidllers are liable to play "Sweet Georgia Brown". And then where are you if you're in some weirdo tuning! But, let's face it, if you want to sound like a DADGAD player, tune it DADGAD, It's that simple really.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 07:38 AM

Greg,

Well, yes it is and no it isn't. You make the point about Ian Carr being able to achieve many comparable effects in standard tuning which was part of my original message. I think that once you have learnt your way around (for instance) traditional music and around the instrument then that is the time to go and explore alternate tunings in order to expand your options as a musician. As I said, in solo fingerstyle guitar, different considerations can apply.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Grab
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 07:49 AM

Pros: Useful for playing melody in some keys, especially D and G. Also useful for producing interesting harp-like arpeggios as backing, which can be nice for more mellow pieces. Low D gives nice drone note, and having open strings close together allows high drones on other notes as well. And it being almost an open D5 chord means that you can do some "power-chord" stuff with it if you're really short on inspiration.

Cons: Not so useful for playing melody in some keys, unless you capo. Harp-like arpeggios can get very same-y if you overuse them, and only really work if you're the only instrumentalist. Drop-D tuning gives you the low drone note without as much retuning (this will do your "make your guitar look bigger" thing). If you're competent enough to go higher than 5th fret and use open strings to fill out the chord, you can get the high drone effects in standard tuning. Power-chords are just as available in standard tuning.

Basically, it's just another altered tuning. Some songs/tunes work in some tunings, and some don't. Personally I find myself using drop-D a lot, because it gives me a good bass range and still leaves me with the upper strings working normally without a reduced range.

Choosing the "best" tuning is like choosing the "best" pair of shoes. They'll all get you around, but some are better suited for one task than another - sometimes you want a walking boot and sometimes you want a sandal. Some are even only suited to one event, like sprinter's spikes. And anyone who says "this is the only shoe to use" probably just isn't doing enough different activities to see where other shoes are better. :-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 07:54 AM

A evry real CON of DADGAD(if you get stuck in it) is that you cut yourself off from a huge range of music created for standard-tuned guitar over many centuries. One of the joys of the guitar is just picking it up and having a noodle, and that for me often involves trying out different sort of pieces(often music which is miles from the style in which I normally work).


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 08:13 AM

Good point, Greg.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 10:07 AM

Hey there Chris B, what's a liverpudlian like you, going and making an excellent post like your 5:58? ;^) Nice synopsis!

I employ DADGAD for the purpose of accompaniing my voice, mostly... However, I do improvise alot (read extended indulgent 'diddly bit' you Brits..), and I find that DADGAD is fantabulous at freehand playing, and it's obvious shortcommings give me plenty of engaging challenges... which up to a point, I really get inspired on.

One of the shortcommings I find, is that when I get tired or am distracted by too many projects and stuff in my 'other life', I 'lean on' the key of D with an excessive inertia. I believe that this is the cheif foible that DADGAD players face.

So... If you make an agreement with yourself like I did, to play in D (and G too, Darn it!) as little as possible, all this talk about the 'limmitations' of DADGAD go by the wayside, leaving the player to invent, and reinvent... to question key and position and capo... and to create one's own unique playing style as a result.

I'm not sure... but I think it might be working.
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 12:33 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL points of view. Since I've been fiddling with this tuning I've found another!
I have a few songs that I play in a faux Open tuning (via Standard), where I utilize the opens to a great extent. These mostly use the bottom 3 strings. I found a way to use the 'normal' with the 'open'(or "Modal").
Right now I have it tuned with EADGAD. I also tried EADF#AD, and it sounded very promising...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Nov 04 - 08:49 PM

"if you are backing a tune in D then using DADGAD you can play the tonic chord without including a third, whether major (F#) or minor (F Natural).

You can get the same effect in G when playing in standard tuning,   by playing an F shape on the third fret, but with the second finger lifted, so the G string is played open (of course that assumes you are playing the F shape with the thumb fretting the bottom string, rather than a barré). A very satisfying chord I find that, for some reason.

I've never worked out an equivalent on D with standard tuning. If you drop the D you can guarantee the tunes will all be in G.

...................

"DADGAD is the bodhran of guitar playing" Basically I feel the essential role of the guitar in Irish sessions, regardless of tunings, is to be a kind of bodhran with strings. It's there to drive, not to lead. And that's a pretty important job.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born again Scouser)
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 04:03 AM

McGrath:

Third finger, Sixth string, Ninth fret.
First finger, Third string, Seventh fret.
Fourth finger, Second string, Ninth fret.

There's your D.

'...the essential role of the guitar in Irish sessions, regardless of tunings, is to be a kind of bodhran with strings. It's there to drive, not to lead.'

Well...no. At least, not entirely. I think the mistake that a lot of guitar and bodhran players make is to think that they are there to supply the rhythm in a session. In fact, the rhythm should come from the melody instruments and from the tunes themselves (assuming the melody players are any good).

The two constants for me in Irish music are rhythm and melody. These are generally supplied by melody instruments and the rhythm is supported (not supplied) by the guitar and/or bodhran. If the guitar and bodhran are supplying the rhythm (or 'driving') then you have a problem with your melody instruments.

Where guitars come into their own, for me, is in supplying harmony and the warmth and richness that goes with that. Yes, guitars and bodhrans can complement the rhythm and enrich it (though if I hear one more Samba accompaniment to 'The Silver Spear' someone's gonna be eating soup for a month) but I've always found that the better the melody players I'm with the better I play myself, both rhythmically and harmonically.

I guess some guitar players can hold a session together when the melody instruments are falling apart but it's bloody hard work and frankly I don't find it much fun. Plus at that sort of session you've often got too many thumpers and strummers anyway.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 04:08 AM

What am I saying?

What I meant was:

Third finger, Sixth string, Tenth fret.
First finger, Third string, Seventh fret.
Fourth finger, Second string, Tenth fret.

It's too early for this. Go to work, Chris.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 07:49 AM

"I think the mistake that a lot of guitar and bodhran players make is to think that they are there to supply the rhythm in a session. In fact, the rhythm should come from the melody instruments and from the tunes themselves"

That's exactly what I meant by "drive not lead". I entirely agree - that's the big mistake that tyro bodhran players especially seem to make, because having the drum lay down the rhythm seems a natural sort of thing for people used to other types of music.

.......................

I'd do that chord with just two fingers, - the first finger holding down the third string, and one of the others holding down to other two. But there's still the first string left out. And the same goes for the other way, where you make down an ordinary D, but hold down the sixth string at the fifth fret. (It is just about possible on some guitars and some hands to fret the sixth as required with the thumb, or a spare finger but it's not got a natural sort of feel to it, unlike that G.)

And, of course, there's no need to use all the stings - but sometimes it's fun to do that.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: moocowpoo
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 08:43 AM

hey mooh!, I play ONLY GDAD on my bouzouki, If you haven't tried it, give it a go, it's lovely!. It's comparable to DADGAD on guitar.
I disagree about open tunings being 'limited', they are only as limited as your willingness to experiment, (and travel up the neck) might (or might not)be.
It was a bit frustrating coming from 12 years of mando to this tuning, more of a stretch for anything high,,,however I love the sound of the long slide to the high notes (not that you have to slide, I'm not lazy, I just like it).
anyway, sorry for interrupting the guitar gabble with bouzouki babble
muh


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: SINSULL
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 09:08 AM

Absolutely basic question from one just the other side of virgin:
What is wrong with standard tuning? And (having had the misfortune of breaking an autoharp string while tuning and nearly losing an eye) do the strings stay the same (big to little) or do they get moved around as well? Bill Staines has his upside down and backwards and thoroughly confuses me.
Mary, who hasn't mastered the F


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Mooh
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 09:45 AM

Moocowpoo...Yup I've tried GDAD on the zouk, but I prefer GDAE because of my mandolin experience, and I like how the chords fall under my hands. I've pretty much decided to stay with one mando and zouk tuning since I have trouble enough keeping several guitar tunings in my head, and I'll play alot of the same tunes on zouk and mandolin.

Peace, Mooh.


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