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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
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Mooh 06 Nov 04 - 05:09 PM
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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
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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
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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
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GUEST,Chris B (Born again Scouser) 09 Nov 04 - 04:03 AM
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moocowpoo 09 Nov 04 - 08:43 AM
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Thomas the Rhymer 09 Nov 04 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Jim 09 Nov 04 - 10:13 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Nov 04 - 10:17 AM
Mooh 09 Nov 04 - 11:02 AM
chris nightbird childs 09 Nov 04 - 11:10 AM
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Nick 09 Nov 04 - 08:05 PM
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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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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Mooh
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 09:51 AM

Moocowpoo...Just saw your message from the Gila Eban thread. My zouk is a Joshua House guitar shaped bouzouki, walnut back sides and neck, cedar top, purpleheart rosette and neck lamination, ebony fingerboard and bridge, figured maple rising sun inlay in the fingerboard, Schaller mandolin tuning machines, side port, 25.4 " scale length, no pickup yet. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 10:10 AM

Well now, Chris B the liverpudlian, I must respectfully disagree. I fear you are forgetting your supportive roll as an accompaniist, when you said :

..."then you have a problem with your melody instruments"...

I don't believe that there is a "problem" with anyone's playing... Lets just say that the guitar, bohdran, bouzuki, and even the piano... are translators... or cheerleaders... that can make that 'rocky road to Dublin' a little smoother... and more congenial. Yes, and everybody wins.

When sessions are getting a bit murky and undefined, finding the rhythm and 'moving' chords in a confident fluid fashion can bring it together no matter what the guitar tuning is. While it is readily apparent that the tunes themselves contain the latent rhythm and establish the beat... It is a darn good player ideed that doesn't benefit from a supportive and responsive accompaniist... and sessions... well... lets just say... all those 'correct' versions... do vary slightly...

Cheerio!
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 10:13 AM

I think DADGAD, Dropped D and double-dropped D tunings are great for variety and increasing versatility. Other tunings too, why not?
I play stuff like Big Yellow Taxi, Vincent Black Lightning, Diamonds on the soles of her shoes, and Words of Love etc with a double G bass (E up to G, A down to G) ? easy to play (well, apart from Vincent BL which takes a bit of practice!) and a good big sound.

I played DADGAD almost exclusively for a while (very seductive ? great sound, easy to play and develop) but eventually went back to standard and found I was prepared to experiment much more because of my experience with open tunings. Also saw Isacc Guillory at a couple of gigs and asked him about his tuning (expecting him to tell me it was some form of open tuning) and was very surprised to find out he was in standard tuning. That convinced me I needed to push my own barriers further outward. Guillory's guitar playing was out of this world ? I've got no chance of ever getting anywhere near that of course, but hearing it made me push on with my own playing in standard tuning, and I'm very grateful for that.

After playing DADGAD for a while I re-visited some of my favourites from the 60's, including Davey Graham, and was able at last to see how the magic of his guitar was achieved ? via open-tuning ? and not nearly as difficult as I used to think. I also started experimenting with some Buddy Holly songs in DADGAD, slowing them down and playing around with the melodies to suit. I like to think maybe he'd have re-visited his early work and done something similar???..

Variety's the spice of life ? but my advice would be not to turn your back on standard tuning.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 10:17 AM

You might try ADAD some time, moocowpoo.

Anyone ever set up a guitar as ADADAD or DADADA?   That's a question. not a recommendation. I never have, but it might be interesting top hear from someone who has.

But there are good reasons why the standard tuning became the standard tuning, and I think there's a lot to be said for exploring it pretty fully before moving on to others, except as a special effect. Which is what the people who have really mastered the alternative tunings have generally done. DADGAD as a quick fix because standard chords seem a bit hard doesn't strike me as a good idea.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Mooh
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:02 AM

McGrath...Yeah, I've used DGDGDG and CGCGCG on guitar using an octave G string from a 12 string set for the first string. Also BEBEBE and AEAEAE on the baritone. Lots of great big fat two notes in three octaves chords, and repeated patterns all over the neck. HUGE sound!

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:10 AM

I don't agree on going with standard just because it's "standard". It wasn't always that way...
I love people's ideas about backing musicians, but I'm accompanying myself. This has turned into a nice thread though. Don't wanna ruin it.
Well anyway, has anyone ever used the hybrid EADGAD tuning I mentioned earlier?


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: moocowpoo
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:31 AM

ok McGrath, I'll give that tuning a try.
Although, what I like about GDAD is, that it's a nice tuning for chords and, it's not tooooooo far from mandolin tuning that I have to rethink my tunes so much.
mooh, I've also got a guitar shaped zouk! (carved top, Graham McDonald),,,what country is
Joshua from?
I don't play GDAD beause it's a 'quick fix', (mando tuning would be much better for me),,, I just like the sound of it.
ps::::::I believe it's possible to do amazing things in ANY tuning, (standard included) it's just a matter of preference.
moo


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:35 AM

I've got a book here that list all kinds of tunings various people havr used, and EADGAD doesn't show up, so maybe you've got a new one, nightbird. EADGAE was the nearest I could find - various people, including John Renbourn on occasion.

Sure, standard wasn't always standard, it caught on because it worked pretty well for the kinds of music people were playing on guitars, especially when they were playing along with other people. But there's never been anything sacred about it.

One question occurs to me, and it's for anybody out there who builds guitars - when people prefer to use specific tunings other than standard, should that ideally mean some adapotation in the way the way their instruments are built?


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 11:38 AM

I haven't seen that tuning listed anywhere McGrath. I couldn't have come up with it though. There are no new tunings left...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: synbyn
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 01:30 PM

I've used CGCGCC on a Martin 12-string to get a dulcimerish sound- worth it to see the look on the owner's face...thanks, granpop!


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Nick
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 08:05 PM

Last time I looked there were 40 something tunings here... Joni Mitchell tunings - I wonder if she knows how to tune it 'properly'?

Think there's mention there of Stephen Stills C#C#C#C#G#C# tuning for Carey and Suite:Judy Blue Eyes which sounds surprisingly ok.

I can't help but feel it's what you do with the tuning rather than the tuning per se. Some examples -

* I went to see Chris Newman recently who I find an incredible accompanist. I think he drops the odd D string now and again but otherwise stays in a standard tuning (I think). But he plays chords all over the fretboard with such incredible fluidity that I would doubt he sees much advantage in open/modal tunings
* I went to see another performer recently who plays almost all his songs in DADGAD and usually in the same key. After the third song the similarity of style/progressions/sound made me yearn for some contrast
* There's a favourite tune of mine written by John McGann called Canyon Moonrise in which he creates a DADGADish sort of feel and sound using a standard tuning


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: reggie miles
Date: 09 Nov 04 - 10:25 PM

I've been foolin' around with a version of this for some time. (GDGBDG) I suppose if I moved that B up to C I'd have the equivalent of the DADGAD tuning but I've never seen the need as of yet. There seems to be plenty of room to poke around in the tuning I've been exploring.

I guess I believe, as moocowpoo has stated, that you're only as limited as your willingness to experiment. I don't feel trapped by the open tuning I've explored. It certainly doesn't serve me in every song and so I have a standard tuned guitar. I attribute my inability to my inexperience with my own exploration. I keep at it, and occasionally make a few new discoveries by noodling my way blindly along. I have no great knowledge of the structure of chords only what seems to sound appropriate to my ear. I'm certain that, given this rather lazy approach to my exploration I may never get very far with any of this.

I do see the need to try to vary song approaches so that they don't all sound the same and I try to do this a couple of different ways. First, I have several guitars tuned in alternate keys but using the same basic pattern in the keys of C, D, and G. Along with my standard tuned guitar (which is tuned a whole step low) and a capo, I have a variety of keys to play with. Second, if I have two or three songs that might have a similar approach, key or tempo, I try to space them far enough apart during the evening's set list so that there won't be too many songs that sound the same too close together. Variety is, after all, the spice of life. Like many others, I have keys that I favor or that seem to work best for my voice within a given melody pattern. Sometimes during my combinations with other folks I'm forced to play in only a narrow range due to the limitations of what I'm trying to accompany. Often, the limitations of one musical partner, coupled with my own, offer enough variety to satisfy most listeners.

It may be time to branch beyond the one open tuning I've been so doggedly hounding all these years. I think I'd like to try that Dobro lap style open G tuning that so many other friends of mine have been exploring.

What is it they say about idle hands?


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 12:42 PM

"Alternative tunings" aren't a new idea. George Formby used to have a range of ukeleles (or rather banjoleles), all tuned to different keys, so he could always use the one lot of chords.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 01:18 PM

That's interesting. I just bought one of them George Formby grills...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: PennyBlack
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 02:44 PM

Gdd Grills nowt goes wrong in 'em

"He He - Turned out nice again"


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Hess
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 04:23 PM

OK - now, I need help (that what all from friends say!)and DADGAD (or similar)might be the way through - I've a "frozen" left shoulder, which means I'm unable to move that arm much. I'm pretty frustrated in playing instruments (and I was before as well!) and I need to revisit how I do lots of things at the moment. My left hand struggles to reach above the 7th fret, so I'm looking at capo'ng and playing ULTRA simple chords.I seem to choose to sing lots in aroung E
Suggestions please!
Hess


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 04:39 PM

You could try a DADGAD variant, but to play in E rather than D - EBEABE. It'd be the same as if you had DADGAD, but capoed up two frets (which would be the other way of doing it.) Simple chords and a good sound.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Hess
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 07:17 PM

Thanks for that thought - sorry to be dumb, but on which fret does the capo go? and any suggestions for easy chord figurings would go down a treat.
Cheers
Hess


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 10 Nov 04 - 09:02 PM

Hess,

The variant I use is EBEAbBE and it works as well. Besides the E chord, which is the chord your guitar is tuned to without fingering the neck in this open tuning, there are two simple fingered chords that make the A and B. The A chord in this tuning looks very much like the normal E chord in standard tuning, only without fingering the note on the second fret of the fourth string. The B chord in this tuning looks like a D7th in standard tuning except you move the two upper fingers in the shape up one string. I hope this is clear enough to visualize.

You might also try using your guitar as a lap guitar with this tuning. Laying it, back facing down, in your lap the way bluegrass Dobro pickers do. You'll have to purchase a slide bar of some sort. Lap style playing can be an easy alternative given it's simplicity. Of course, you can take this stylistic approach as far as you wish and many have.

They also make capos that work for lap style square neck Dobro guitars should you start to explore this alternative.

All the best


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Hess
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 03:03 AM

Cheers Reggie
The problem is in not beng able to crank the arm outwards/upwards (ouch/wont go). It's all a bit distressing really! Reckon I can do it with a capo ? - guess I've just got to experiment huh!
Thanks for the thoughts
Hess


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 09:34 AM

A guitar-playing friend of mine had an op for his frozen shoulder 3 weeks ago and it's been successful - but I assume you've explored that one already Hess. Good luck with it whichever way you go


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: shepherdlass
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 03:51 PM

Check out Pierre Bensusan's stuff (recorded and tablature) - it really opens up the possibilities of DADGAD. The only thing is, if you're looking to emulate his harmonies (which go way beyond the obvious DADGAD sounds) you need big hands (I don't, so I just listen and wonder at the possibilities).


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 07:31 PM

Hess,

Lap style might be the alternative you seek because of the relaxed position of the upper arms while playing. It is certainly worth some experimentation to see how well it may work given your condition.

Keep the faith


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Hess
Date: 11 Nov 04 - 09:15 PM

Thanks for the thoughts - lots of stuff for me to give a go over the weekend. Apparently these shoulders do come right of their own accord - may take a couple of years though, so I don't want to put everything on hold while I wait! Operation - ouch ouch ouch - pleased its worked out for him though.
Cheers Hess


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 06:44 AM

just a note of minor interest..

instructions supplied with a Jerry Jones electric baby sitar..
-the budget version without the sypathetic drone strings-
[my latest new music noisemaker]

"tuning from the factory is a 'drop D'.
You may prefer a DADGAD tuning
or even a standard tuning."

so now theres another reason
to treat yourself to one
of these cool fun sitars this xmas..


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 07:34 AM

punkfolkrocker

not sure if these are available in Australia - anybody got a link or a pic?


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 07:48 AM

http://www.jerryjonesguitars.com/Baby%20sitar.htm


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Brendy
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 07:52 AM

7th fret, Clinton... ;-)

The only thing that holds one back in DAGDAD, is one's imagination.
As you're only 'suggesting' chords, at the best of times, you tend to think in different terms.
Especially when accompanying Irish Trad.
The nuances within the melody are more accurately reflected, IMO, by its modal undertones.

.... thinking of writing a song about Iraq, and doing it in the BAGDAD tuning ....

B.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 04 - 03:47 AM

I've always found DADGAD very usefull. The difficult bit is playing in a range of keys. It's OK for D, Dm, G, Am, Bm, Em, and Gm but can be difficult for C. Yoy realy need a good capo. As a derivitive I had Steffan Sobell build me a Cittern (5 course Bouzuki) to tune DADGD. Works very well.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: open mike
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:16 PM

does anyone know of a site where there are DADGAD chord charts
to copy or print out?
i know i have a book and set of instruction tapes around here somewhere.....


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:27 PM

just checking back to what i wrote here nearly a year ago..

since then i can definitely confirm that electric sitars
and danelectro 12 strings sound brilliant in this tuning..


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 21 Nov 05 - 11:52 PM

Pierre Bensusan is reputed to have tabulature for his music on his website... but I've never looked.

www.pierrebensusan.com

Cheerio!
ttr


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 12:31 AM

I always shunned this tuning thinking of it as the devil and all his works. just utterly opposed to my view of folk music. It always represented to me the self conciously 'traditional' sound that totally alienates anybody not actually wearing a fisherman's smock.

I think the guitarists that changed my mind were Eric roche and ken Nicol. Particularly the latter. he gave a seminar at Fylde folk festival and played some exquisite ragtime and blues. Also Tony Dean of No Fixed Abode, being younger and more open minded than myself, used it as a songwring aid and there was nothing in his approach that sounds like the the St Vitus Dance school of folk music.

I've played it for a few months now, and found it very rewarding. Although there is nothing as yet I'd consider performance standard in it, I hope there will be soon and I'd recommend it as a lot of fun.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 09:35 AM

One pro is how well sueted DADGAD is for all the great " dorian" mode tunes and songs . .: Jefferson & Liberty , Shady Groves, Lovley Joan , Royal Oak
East Virginnia , Polly Dutch Burgers , John Barleycorn ....... Marshall Bearen has written a great tune book for Viol called something like Golden Dorian .. I will go get the exact name but most of them work well with this tuneing ...

All the bst , Guy


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: rhyzla
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 09:49 AM

Just out of interest, a play a twin neck, with the 6 in DADGAD and the mando in GDAD.

It's good fun playing on one, and letting the other resonate, and to jump from one to another in a song!

Back to the start of this thread - don't see how you can have a con from a tuning - only how it's played.

I've used DADGAD for 10 years, but use lots of others aswell.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 22 Nov 05 - 10:56 AM

"does anyone know of a site where there are DADGAD chord charts
to copy or print out?"

There's a chord chart on my web site I linked to above...

:-)


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: David C. Carter
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 11:29 AM

To GUEST HESS,I saw Kevin Coyne one time back in the dark ages,and he played lap style,he was fretting the strings with just his thumb.I tried this,using open G.You don't have to hold down all the strings,you kind of move your thumb across the fretboard selecting which strings you want to play.Did you ever hear his album"Marjory Razorblade",if not,it's well worth a listen or three.......


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: tonyteach1
Date: 03 Sep 11 - 12:44 PM

I thought I would revive this thread as there is discussion about strings I am a guitar and piano teacher DADGAD seems no more useful to me than a lot of other tunings if you like it good but its no good if you want to play All theThings You Are in A Flat

Great admirer of Martin Carthy and Wizz Jones Bert Jansch


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 11 - 12:59 PM

Martin Carthy does not use Dadgad these days, hardly at all.I PREFER CGCGCD,
Or second fret partial capo standard tuning 543 strings, very similiar to dadgad, handy if you can sing in e modal [which i can] and avoids a lot of retuning .


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: olddude
Date: 03 Sep 11 - 01:30 PM

Good News - anyone can play it
Bad News - Anyone can play it


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Sep 11 - 07:58 PM

Yes, Dick - and with another capo you can run that mock DADGAD up three frets (if the heel on your guitar is small and it is 14 frets to the body) and in fact IMHO the internal fingerings are better than true DADGAD.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 07:48 AM

tonyteach1, all tunings, including "standard" have their strengths and weaknesses. You're right, you wouldn't use DADGAD or a lot of other open tunings to play "All the Things You Are" in A Flat - but for the styles of music which this forum is mostly about they have some advantages. Using different tunings opens up different possibilities - the trick is to match those possibilities to the particular piece of music and choose the most appropriate tuning for the job.

There's also a cultural aspect. The guitar is a traditional instrument in American folk music and there is a traditional guitar sound based largely on standard tuning. The instrument isn't widely found in British traditional music, and its use is mainly a feature of the folk revival. A British style of folk guitar has developed which is largely based on open tunings.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: tonyteach1
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 08:51 AM

FAO Howard Jones - I have been going into folk clubs for nearly 50 years There are people who play open tunings and people who dont't Classical and flamenco use altered tuning as well There are altered tunings in the blues for slide and the Vestapol tuning in the US

I would also dispute that the guitar is not widely found in British folk music I have seen lots in in every folk club I have been to.

I was asking about the specific advantages of DADGAD


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 08:53 AM

I detect a "what is folk" moment coming on...


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 10:29 AM

The point has been made already but, to reiterate it, one of the main advantages of DADGAD (apart from the greater depth it adds to the D chord - a chord that crops up very commonly in accompanying fiddle music) is that it encourages a range of chords with no thirds, i.e. neither major nor minor. To my ears those chords sound appropriate when accompanying the kind of modal tunes that you find in English folk song and much dance music. Of course it is possible to add the thirds, and deliberately warm up the sound of the chords, but you don't have them imposed on you as you do with standard tuning.

It's also very good if you like the sound of a drone - playing partial chords of G, C, Bm, Em, etc., whilst leaving D and possibly A strings open.

The main problem with it is that it can become very monotonous if you just play in the key of D and hammer away at the basic one-finger D chord. There are half a dozen of more versions and inversions of D and G chords, all of which give different flavours, and playing DADGAD in the key of G or A modal also gets away from the cliched sound.

Howard Jones is quite right about American music - the standard-tuned guitar has been a part of that since the first commercial recordings of early country and bluegrass music (blues slide gutarists used open tunings, not DADGAD), and DADGAD tends to sound inauthentic when added to a country song or Southern fiddle tune. Though to my mind it can sound good with a modally-tuned banjo or modal Appalachian ballad. There's no comparable history of guitar accompaniment to English folk music predating the 1960s folk revival, so the guitarists experimenting in that period with accompaniments to English folk songs started with a more or less clean slate.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 10:38 AM

Without getting into a "what is folk" argument, I distinguish between the original folk tradition and the folk revival as reflected in folk clubs. I was referring to the use of guitar in the British musical tradition, where it was seldom found (although there are some examples). The guitar is widespread in folk clubs, but this is a feature of the folk revival. Without a true traditional style to emulate, a style of playing British folk music has developed which relies heavily on open tunings. That's not to say that standard tuning isn't also widely used.

With respect, Tonyteach1, your post did not ask about the advantages of DADGAD but commented that it seemed no more useful than other tunings. My point in reply was that all tunings have their strengths and weaknesses, and you have to pick the one that most suits the music you're trying to play.

The advantages of DADGAD is that it seems particularly suited to folk music, and perhaps expecially Irish music, for reasons which are set out above. In particular, the chord voicings seem to be particularly suited to tunes which are often modal (and let's not start another discussion about what "modal" means)

Personally I've never got on with DADGAD and prefer DADEAE (one of Carthy's tunings, although he's since developed it further)


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Stringsinger
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 11:38 AM

I have found that DADGAD tuning is interesting for the first fifteen minutes. It has distinctively harmonic limitations.

An interesting use of alternate tunings is David Crosby's "Guinivere". Does anyone know what that tuning is? Was it DADGAD?

My preference is for Pierre Bensusan who has explored this tuning to an art.

Even so, don't expect that tuning to fare well in the area of jazz,due to its inflexibility.

Joni Mitchell has come up with some interesting tunings also, probably her own and not DADGAD. "Micheal From Mountains" for example.

Here's another tuning to experiment with used to good results by acoustic jazz guitarists Karl Kress and Marty Grosz, Bb,F,C,G,B,D, the bottom four strings are like tenor banjo tuning and the top four (C-D) are like plectrum banjo tuning. This tuning uses the bass lines in chord progressions effectively.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 12:31 PM

"I have found that DADGAD tuning is interesting for the first fifteen minutes. It has distinctively harmonic limitations."

Well, it's held my interest for thirty years now - perhaps you should have stuck at it a bit longer. And what are "distinctively harmonic limitations"?


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: tonyteach1
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 01:02 PM

FAO Howard Jones - do not disagree with you about DADGAD but take issue on the British folk tradition and its use of guitars


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 01:14 PM

it does have distinctive harmonic limitations.
1. The inabilty to modulate easily to different keys,WHICH IS ONE OF THE GREAT ADVANTAGES OF STANDARD TUNING.
String singer is correct Bensusan is one of the few people who has explored Dadgad extensively.
the reason why Carthy hardly uses dadgad these days, but uses dadeae, or the c based variant of this.. is because it is less limited harmonically than dadgad, And because it allows the player more flexibilty key wise .
Another tuning which has less harmonic limitations than dadgad is orkney tuning, cgcgcd.
dadgad is not the only tuning suited to folk music, or especially irish music, that is just untrue, dadf#ad dgdgbd, dgdgcd, are all tunings that really suit[in the first 2] blues and all suit american 5 string banjo tunes.
irish tunes are very suited to dadeae[ that is why it is known as Irish tuning[check out paul de grae]
finally one of the finest irish gutarists arty mc glynn, uses dadgbe[ drop d], and proves it is eminently suitable for irish music, playing tunes and as well as rhythym.
Dick Gaughan[i believe used a tuning for coppers and brass which was based on the tenor banjo daddae]
Dadgad is ok but it does have certain limitations, in fact more limitations than some other open tunings, check out Martin Carthys opinion on this and martin simpson and nic jones.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: GUEST,Phil B
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 01:36 PM

1. The inabilty to modulate easily to different keys,WHICH IS ONE OF THE GREAT ADVANTAGES OF STANDARD TUNING.


Couldn't agree more. Standard tuning has evolved over along period and exists for the very sound reason that it allows a far greater range of possiblities than any of the others. I use it 80% of the time.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 02:09 PM

Martin Carthy appears to use cgcdgd,cgcdga,for tune playing
MARTIN states in his book that dadeae enabled him to play in two keys d and a, he then dropped the tuning a whole tone to suit his voice he goes on to say that later on he dropped the top d down to a and ... by using cgcdga, he could play in four of five keys c.g.f.d. and possibly a minor.
he also says he used dadgad for sailors life and although he liked the sound he found it confining and never felt comfortable using it as he could only play in the key of d.
of course this is only Martins opinion, but his comment about more flexibilty of keys in cgcgda while retaining the open key sound is very interesting.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 02:12 PM

of course cgda is a tenor banjo tuning, and for those people who are used to flatpicking irish tunes on a tenor banjo , those irish tunes can be transferred straight away.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 02:28 PM

"he used dadgad for sailors life and although he liked the sound he found it confining and never felt comfortable using it as he could only play in the key of d"

See my previous post about DADGAD in G and A positions.

I don't doubt that standard tuning is the most flexible, and I wouldn't use DADGAD if I were trying to play jazz. It's just that standard doesn't give me the sound I like, to accompany traditional songs and dance music.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 02:39 PM

I can think of very few British traditional players who used guitar. "Peerie" Willie Johnson from Shetland, of course, and I've a photo in an EFDSS magazine from the '60s of an Orkney trio comprising fiddle, accordion and slide guitar. The Norfolk melodeon player Percy Brown was sometimes accompanied on guitar by his son-in-law Fred Devo. No doubt there were others, but the guitar never found a place in traditional music to compare with fiddle, the free-reed family, flute and whistle, or even bagpipes.

It was the folk revival, influenced by American music, which saw the introduction of the guitar in large numbers into the folk clubs. There's no question that among folk revival musicians the guitar has a significant presence. However in the absence of any traditional British styles the British folk scene has developed its own, which makes considerable use of open tunings - of which DADGAD is just one.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 02:47 PM

ok, Brian but dadgad still only gives YOU 3 keys, so it is limited harmonically compared to cgcgda [5 keys] or standard or drop d.

"I don't doubt that standard tuning is the most flexible, and I wouldn't use DADGAD if I were trying to play jazz. It's just that standard doesn't give me the sound I like, to accompany traditional songs and dance music"
"Well, it's held my interest for thirty years now - perhaps you should have stuck at it a bit longer. And what are "distinctively harmonic limitations"?
you liking it is not what is under discussion, what is under discussion is it harmonically limited?.
I have given you an answer to its limitations.
I like it too on occasions, but I do not like to use it exclusively, although as I stated before, Bensusan has explored it in depth and shown what its possibilites are with a lot of work.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 02:58 PM

here is what Steve Baughman has to say about orkney tuning
This tuning has nothing to do with the islands off the northern coast of Scotland. I have simply chosen Orkney as a shorthand way to refer to CGDGCD tuningwhose rise to prominence has been hampered solely by the fact that, unlike DADGAD, it is impossible to pronounce.

The Orkney tuning (CGDGCD) has become my favorite over the years. It is a wonderful tool for melodic (non-linear) playing, in which you avoid playing subsequent notes on the same string. This technique (Pierre Bensusan calls it "harp style,") allows for a very smooth and gentle delivery of the melody and avoids the staccato effect that marks many guitar arrangements of fiddle tunes.

The Orkney tuning is also a great tuning for session back-up. I like it better than DADGAD. You get one extra note's range in the first position and when you're in C, (which in Orkney is often,) you've got a fifth in easy reach at the fifth fret of the first string. This allows for a nice ringy sound. In DADGADyou'd have to stretch your pinkie to the 7th fret to get the equivalent effect.

Drawbacks are that the 6th string tuned down to a C note can sometimes become a bit spaghetti-like and hard to tune. I find, however, that using a heavy 6th string makes this problem quite manageable. Another possible drawback is that playing in D or A is best done with a capo at the 2nd fret. Some people prefer an, un-capoed sound. On the other hand, you may like the higher, ringy sound of the second fret D and A chords.

In all, it's a great tuning. In fact, my theory is that the only thing keeping CGDGCD from overtaking DADGADas the session player's tuning of choice is that its name has heretofore been impossible to pronounce. Accordingly, I hereby christen it "ORKNEY" to sharpen its competitive edge. Try it out and let me know what you think.
this idea of what he describes as melodic plying comes from a 5 string banjo player called Bill Keith who used other banjo tunings other than dgcd, including dgbd[similar to guitar tuning dgdgbd see below.Melodic Style Banjo Introduction

Melodic Style Banjo has been around since the 1950s and 1960s...introduced by Bill Keith and Bobby Thompson...brought to further popularity by the likes of Alan Munde, Bela Fleck, Butch Robins, Tony Trischka, Larry McNeely, Pat Cloud and Pete Wernick. (along with many others)
What is Melodic Style Banjo? Melodic Style Banjo has its origins in the adaptation of the 5-string banjo to playing note for note fiddle tunes...Bill Keith spearheaded this approach and even played this very same style within Bill Monroe's band. He adapted many fiddle tunes including: "Devil's Dream", "Sailor's Hornpipe" and even standards such as "Caravan". His facility with this style has been well respected by most every aspiring banjo player since the 1960s...and even today, Bill still travels most of the year teaching this style along with music theory at banjo workshops. His influence has been well established and is now considered an integral part of the evolution and legacy of the banjo.

Melodic style banjo is known by a few other names: Keith Style, Chromatic Style and Fiddle Tune Style...today, it doesn't seem to hold the same popularity it once did in the '70s. This is surprising considering this style offers another dimension to what can be accomplished with the 5-string banjo. The cascading beauty of melodic banjo cannot be emulated by any other approach...including Single-String Style (made popular and innovated by Don Reno), Scruggs Style (the bluegrass standard), Classical Banjo (known as parlor style), or Frailing (clawhammer and traditional Appalachian)...all of these approaches to the 5-string banjo resonate with their very own beauty...and deserve the highest regard within the history and development of the 5-string banjo. Notwithstanding, Melodic Banjo deserves its very own place within this legacy of banjo styles. Outside of the fact that this approach always seemed to lay in the shadows, while a few progressive exponents of the style have carried it forward, it may still be discovered as a mainstream approach in its own right. It has its very own uniqueness of which no other style can emulate...the flow of cascading notes falling down like a colorful waterfall over precipices of never-ending scales lays down the simple fact that Melodic Banjo is here to stay...whether in obscurity or not.

Now, as a complete banjoist, having some Melodic Banjo technique in your arsenal will add to your ability to create optimal lead or back-up for most any musical setting. Keep in mind, there is a time and place to apply the melodic style...many times you'll want to consider the origin of the tune you're playing. Your goal as a tasteful player is to contribute to the song; you should not haphazardly arrange nor play a passage for the sake of displaying technique. When putting together your first melodic passages, find ways to make it contributory to the song's message. Technique in itself can be fun to pursue...however, when it comes to the ultimate goal of contributing to a musical setting, whether a recording session or a performance, make your best effort to contribute to the message...no matter how simple or complex the final arrangement becomes, the main question you want to ask yourself is: Did I contribute or take away from this musical setting? Having Melodic Banjo Technique to tap into may just add a new dimension in your efforts to master your banjo.

Now, let's dissect this approach to 5-String Banjo called Melodic Banjo:
1. What classifies Melodic Banjo? Melodic Banjo can be easily differentiated by its unique sound...there's a cascading quality to it...it can sound almost like a harp or a harpsichord...some notes will continue to ring while other melody notes go floating by. This is caused by the consecutive notes being played, which classifies this style, are almost never played on the same string.
2. How is Melodic Banjo different than Scruggs Style? Melodic banjo offers note-for-note melody lines. Scruggs Style is based on chords and rolls with accents on the interspersed melody notes within chordal forms.
3. Melodic Banjo differs from Single String Style in the approach to the melody. In Single String approach, the melody is played in a linear fashion. For instance, three or four notes will be consecutively played on the same string. Whereas, in the Melodic approach, the melody will be played in a more vertical fashion. From note to note, the strings are played alternatively...one note per new string played. Very seldom do two consecutive notes occur on the same string...and on the rare occasion that they are played on the same string, the two notes would be connected by a slur through a hammer-on or a pull-off. This retains the floating effect that's characteristic of Melodic Style Banjo.

The best methodology for learning to play Melodic Banjo, is the scalar approach. First become familiar with the scales and patterns that constitute this style, and you'll have the skeletal framework necessary in arranging and executing melodies as a Melodic Banjo player.
Copyright ©2000-2011 Mystic West Media


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 03:18 PM

"you liking it is not what is under discussion, what is under discussion is it harmonically limited?.?"

What is under discussion is the question of "The pros and cons of DADGAD", which is what I addressed. I'm not sure that pasting five paragraphs on melodic banjo has advanced that discussion very much, Dick.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 04:21 PM

I think it does because dadgad or rather adgad is a tuning used occasionally on the 5 string banjo, and dgcd and dgbd and other open tunings are used on 5 string banjo, furthermore Steve Baughman is discussing a style of guitar playing in cgcgcd AKA Orkney [ a tuning closely related to dadgad]melodic playing which has its origins in 5 string[KEITH OR MELODIC PLAYING].
any person who has played banjo and guitar will see that the two stylescan become interchangeable, a melodic banjo style player can transfer that style to Dadgad, or any other open tuning such dgdgbd dgdgcd cgcgcd daf#ad, among the 5 paragraphs it explains the idea of not playing the tune on the same string, it also refers to BENSUSAN, and his harp like style in dadgad, as far as I understand the articles there is a link between melodic banjo playing, melodic guitar playing.
example 1.. What classifies Melodic Banjo? Melodic Banjo can be easily differentiated by its unique sound...there's a cascading quality to it...it can sound almost like a harp or a harpsichord...some notes will continue to ring while other melody notes go floating by. This is caused by the consecutive notes being played, which classifies this style, are almost never played on the same string.
example 2.The Orkney tuning (CGDGCD) has become my favorite over the years. It is a wonderful tool for melodic (non-linear) playing, in which you avoid playing subsequent notes on the same string. This technique (Pierre Bensusan calls it "harp style,") allows for a very smooth and gentle delivery of the melody and avoids the staccato effect that marks many guitar arrangements of fiddle tunes.
connection 3.Pierre Bensusan calls it "harp style,"Pierre Bensusan DOES THIS IN dadgad


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 06:28 PM

Sounds good this tuning, will have to explore it a bit.


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Subject: RE: The pros and cons of DADGAD
From: ollaimh
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 10:26 PM

i use dadgad and standard tuning both. usually for different things.dadgad is difficult for sessuin backing--but then i usually play a mandolin, or bouzouki at a sessuin, however a friend of mine used to play dadgbd--two dropped ds for sessuin backing. you get regular chords in the middle four strings and two drones for d or g which reduces the capo needs--he rarely uses one. i almost never use a capo either.

with dadgbd you only have to tune up the high d to e and you get dropped d when wanted or tune the b down to a for dadgad. however he is a fantastic guitarist--he sounds great playing anything.he recorded a smithsonian folklore album in the sixties and toured with john lee hooker.

i used to also play several open c tunings and open d, both are great for certain songs. on a strong guitar those low c notes resonate like crazy. and yeah joni mitchell used many many tunings. she is a genius . she even played revolutionary dulcimer music--for the time


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Mudcat time: 25 November 6:37 AM EST

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