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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:27 am 
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I've been playing guitar for years, but just started playing DADGAD. I love it! Also, I've been experimenting with tuning the fifth string (second from lowest one) to a G so that I can just as easily play in G major/minor as D major/minor. I play a Martin D-16 and the other thing I like to do is tune it down a half-step so I'm actually playing in Db versus D. I'm looking for a really mellow, round sound to accomplany my whistles on my next album. I tried for years to find a guitarist to record with me, but I live deep in the country. Finally decided that I'd have to be that guitarist. It sure is a lot tougher on your hands than playing the whistle! I'd love to hear from other DADGAD Celtic players about whatever you're doing...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:42 am 
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I like to tune Guitars to DADF#AE (open D9 chord) as it is easy to play lots of Tunes in that tuning plus I come from Mandolin which is tuned in 5ths.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:23 pm 
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Do y'all play melody in those tunings? Fingerpick? Flatpick?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:18 pm 
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I flatpick myself but chords are really easy but I am usually playing Flute.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:45 pm 
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I play a combination of chords and countermelodies--arrangements for my favorite tunes that I play on the whistle. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who does fingerpicking (which is all I do right now). I wanted a really mellow sound, so I use the pads of my fingers. Are there variations of how to fingerpick that someone knows about?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:45 pm 
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I play a combination of chords and countermelodies--arrangements for my favorite tunes that I play on the whistle. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who does fingerpicking (which is all I do right now). I wanted a really mellow sound, so I use the pads of my fingers. Are there variations of how to fingerpick that someone knows about?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:49 pm 
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I pretty much play for fun and not to be good or anything and dont' play with other people usually although I have done some guitar duets which are cool.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:19 am 
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I play in DADGAD because the strings I'm not plucking resonate sympathetically, because it's easy to play both melody and harmony and employ drones, to play modal chords, to play melody in unisons (strings 2 and 3) and in octaves. I flatpick or finger pick as the mood takes me or the tune demands. When I move away from D, I capo. Pierre Bensusan (one of the very best DADGAD exponents) recommends that you learn to play in every key without a capo but I think it has disadvantages as an all purpose tuning so I disagree with his approach.

Nevertheless, if you want to hear just how wonderful virtuoso guitarists can sound in DADGAD, get a copy of the CD Pierre Bensusan Presents DADGAD Guitar in which he and other superb players strut their stuff. It comes inside a book containing sheet music for each performance.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:24 pm 
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I just realized that I had an old nylon string guitar tucked away in a closet, so I got it out and tuned it to DADGAD.

I found it pretty easy to play Dorian mode tunes. which I normally play out of Dm position in standard tuning.

I want to work at it for a while before I listen to anyone else playing in it. At the moment, I'm fingerpicking a bit like two-finger, thumb-lead banjo, with the outer strings serving as drones, and coming down for most melody notes with my thumb, with lots of hammer-ons and pull-offs, but some single-string bits using alternating thumb and finger.

It's fun, but I probably won't stick with it. I'm already spread pretty thin with whiste, 5-string banjo, guitar in standard tuning, and a mandolin on the way. It's just as well I sold my bass and lost my fiddle. :P

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:06 pm 
Emrys to tell you the bare naked truth about this one is both a kind and cruel thing. I used fingerpick tunes such as the Siver Spear but I quit. I used tune in 'modal' tuning but I quit that too.

Nowadays I flatpick Itrad tunes on a Martin in standard tuning because the instrument rings better that way. Don't ask me to explain why it does, it just does.

Also I find it far far more intuitive to leap about through keys in standard tuning and when the need arises I can create modal sounding chords as I need them. Which leads on to the issue of backing.

If you are playing Irtrad most tunes follow a very simple droney pattern and can, at a push, be backed with pricipal notes only, ie for C those would be C G c g etc. Since the rhythm of the music isn't umpahh - suprise suprise - it is possible to get the pricipal beats from watching dancers. OTOH you can play it all umpah and get away with it; in which case, play a bassnote/chord just like the pianists do - sorta Bluegrass sounding.

Hope that helps
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:28 pm 
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Toasty, you've got my ear here... What you have to say is very interesting indeedy. I'm just starting out arranging all my whistle tunes on the guitar, so I can back myself on my albums. It's a big job (fun, but real time consuming, to be sure) and I only wanna do it once. You've got me wondering a couple of things. First of all, I was really impressed by how intuitive it felt to play in DADGAD, but truth be told, since the last time I really played guitar (a few decades ago) I have become a lot more intuitive, period. So maybe it's ain't the DADGAD, it's the DADGAD-er! Hmmm. The other thing that really hits me is you saying that your Martin rings even better when tuned to standard tuning. I love my Martin and I'm a grand devotee of beautiful sound. Just can't get enough of it. So, maybe I'll waste a set of strings and tune it to standard (which, this time around I've never even done once).[/quote]


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:51 pm 
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toasty wrote:

Nowadays I flatpick Itrad tunes on a Martin in standard tuning because the instrument rings better that way. Don't ask me to explain why it does, it just does.



Here's a possible explanation. Your guitar was probably set up to play with an easy action in standard tuning with light guage strings. To get to DADGAD you tune down, thus making certain strings a bit loose for the action. Those strings won't ring well. If you only play in DADGAD, use medium guage strings on the ones you tune down and light guage strings on the ones that stay the same. Since Martin tell you to only use light guage strings, check with a good guitar tech before following my suggestion and he/she will suggest what guage is the best match.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm 
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My Guild sounds better in the lower tuning, with medium strings not thin.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:42 pm 
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While playing my standard-tuned guitar, and messing with drop-D tuning (not wanting to completely retune it), I remembered something I'd tried before, but didn't see much use for. Now that I'm playing more Dorian-mode Irish tunes, it seems more relevant.

If you have a C-type capo, like the Shubb, you can put it on the second fret, with the opening at the top (bass side), but leave the low E string uncapoed. This gives you the four bottom strings like DADGAD capoed up two frets, making the low drone available, but leaving the 1st and 2nd strings in standard.

It's nice for E Dorian, but won't help with D major. Oh, well...

An advantage of partial capoing over drop-D tuning is that you can fret the low string normally. This may not ever be needed for tunes, but can be handy in songs. The other advantage is that you don't have to actually retune any strings if you have only one guitar. I think that if I were going to play much in DADGAD, I'd want a dedicated DADGAD guitar.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:38 pm 
Wombat wrote:
toasty wrote:

Nowadays I flatpick Itrad tunes on a Martin in standard tuning because the instrument rings better that way. Don't ask me to explain why it does, it just does.



Here's a possible explanation. Your guitar was probably set up to play with an easy action in standard tuning with light guage strings. To get to DADGAD you tune down, thus making certain strings a bit loose for the action. Those strings won't ring well. If you only play in DADGAD, use medium guage strings on the ones you tune down and light guage strings on the ones that stay the same. Since Martin tell you to only use light guage strings, check with a good guitar tech before following my suggestion and he/she will suggest what guage is the best match.


It ain't that simple - and I truely wish it was.

It is set up for SP mediums . Clatters like a 88 Honda with lightgauge on.


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