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Celtic Flatpicking

A place to talk about anything related to celtic / irish flatpicking

Members: 28
Latest Activity: May 23, 2017

Discussion Forum

yet another vid

posted another'n. Yes, retirement is good!Continue

Started by Kathy Barwick Jul 20, 2012.

The Golden Castle 7 Replies

I added another video....Continue

Started by Kathy Barwick. Last reply by ganon Jul 5, 2012.

new video 12 Replies

hey guys, I just posted a new video, check the videos page.well now that I'm retired and have a little more time.... time to get this group active again! (ha ha). What do you say?Continue

Started by Kathy Barwick. Last reply by Bryan Floyd Jul 5, 2012.

Of some interest for celtic/trad guitar players? 4 Replies

Seamie O'Dowd probably isn't well known outside Ireland but he's worth checking out - see…Continue

Started by Cathal Cusack. Last reply by Kathy Barwick Jun 19, 2012.

Comment Wall

Comment by Bryan Floyd on November 6, 2010 at 4:34am
I have become a great fan of celtic flatpicking and irish fiddle / flute tunes and just wanted to see if there is any other interested folk out there to share with.
Comment by Bryan Floyd on November 14, 2010 at 5:10am
Well I better add some content to this group seeing how I started it :) From a recent thread over on the forums, there is a dedicated FGM issue to celtic/irish flatpicking found here and availabe for digital download:


I also stumbled across a flatpicking Irish, Scottish, British Isles, Canadian and English FGM instructional download here:


I have also found a wealth of other published Celtic/Irish flatpicking books found here:





And some nice Steve Kaufman material here:



And there's still much more out there. Here's some rhythm guitar for backing up Celtic and Irish players:



I just wanted to share some of this material to those as interested in this style of music as much as I am :)
Comment by Kathy Barwick on December 22, 2010 at 11:59am
yes! this is my main interest right now... Irish tunes.
Comment by Bryan Floyd on December 23, 2010 at 5:24pm

It's great to see more interested players in this.  In the interim I picked up Steve Kaufman's Encyclopedia of Celtic Tunes for Flatpicking Guitar and there is soooo much material in there to keep one busy for years!!  Everything is in standard tuning which may be both a good and bad thing.  Good for the picker that doesn't want to steer away from traditional tuning, and bad for celtic traditionalist that prefers drop D and DADGAD.  I'm just fine with standard tuning so I guess I fall into the former.  I have never dwelled in the alternate tunings much other than a little bit of drop D, so I would like to try DADGAD some time.  Still, this Kaufman collection is a great collection on tunes.


I also picked up Bill Brennans Irish, Scottish, and Border Melodies for Flatpicking Guitar and this is a great collection as well.  The Kaufman collection is very good with a guitar backup (as is heard on the recordings that come with the books if purchased by seperate volumes - the complete encyclopedia does not come with the recordings), but there are many tunes in the Brennan collection that sound great just as solo guitar (as heard on the recordings that come with the book by download from the Mel Bay site).  Some of them would be preferred with a second guitar backup, but many are just fine for a solo guitar, mixing some melodies with chordings and also some crosspicking tunes.  Great stuff.


All in all, both are great books for us flatpickers wanting to get into the celtic world, whereas most celtic guitar seems to be aimed for fingerstylists.  Nothing at all wrong with fingerstyle guitar, but this is a flatpciking forum :)

Comment by Bryan Floyd on December 23, 2010 at 5:27pm

I forgot to add - here's a godd little read, and something that you might find beneficial, Gil :





Comment by Kathy Barwick on December 24, 2010 at 10:47pm

there's some great stuff here:http://coyotebanjo.com/music-group-28.html


So. It's my experience (coming from a bluegrass place) that my only hope is to listen listen listen. I use the dots to get reassurance about what the melody is... but the difference between what I do as a bluegrass-based flatpicker and a real Irish feel is pretty obvious. And it seems to me that there isn't any written music that'll help you learn that, you have to listen. And I listen, and I can hear it, but I can't do it. 

Of course just because I don't have the right feel doesn't mean I don't love the tunes. They're awesome, and I keep learning them. I keep hoping that if I listen long enough some of the feel will get into my renditions... 

Comment by Bryan Floyd on December 25, 2010 at 2:46am

Thanks for the link Kathy!  Very good words.  I agree with you about the listening as there is a difference between what's on the paper and what's being felt from the musicians.  I use the music to learn the melodies and perhaps prefered fingerings, but one needs to take it from there and expand on it.  I believe a major part of celtic style playing is ornamentation, which is not largely found on paper.  I studied celtic flute for a short while (as well as whistle), so I was able to learn a good deal about the ornaments used.


At this point, it is my fatherly duty to back up my daughter as she begins to explore the world of celtic flute.  She is 13 yo and holds the first chair in her school band.  She really has a great talent for it and I am very proud of her.  So for now, I learn some melodies in "my" time and spend alot of my time learning proper celtic back up for her.  Again, "listening" is my biggest source. :)

Comment by Kathy Barwick on December 25, 2010 at 10:28am
cool, Bryan. And the tunes are wonderful but the MOST fun about it for me is doing the backup. I'm always looking for someone else to hold down the melody so I can fool around with the chords....
Comment by Kathy Barwick on December 25, 2010 at 12:49pm

say Gil, about the ornaments. I would guess there's many ways to go about them... where I've ended up is exploiting opportunities on the guitar neck to add them. So, I don't worry about them at all when learning the tune, I just play it straight. Then after I'm pretty comfortable with it I'll see where I can add some flavor. I'm pretty sure they don't necessarily correspond with where a whistler or fiddler would put them but at least they're not impossible to learn.

For instance, in D tunes....you can play a triplet ending in a D note (say, that's the target note in the melody) by playing the B string open, then double hammer to C#, then to D. Another useful option is pulling off on the high E string, say from G to F# then to E. Or a "cut" from F# to E.... the cut being more of a grace note and done very quickly.


Double pull-off on the D string... F# to E then D. Or double hammer the other way. Or, hold the 2nd string D note down (with your middle finger) and then you can hammer from fret 2 to 4 on the 3rd string then pull them off again, either landing on the A or continuing to pull off to the open G note.


And my most recent effort to approximate the single-string triplet (which has eluded me mightily) is to play an F-shape G chord with the 3rd string open, then fret it at 4 and pull it off, alternating with the 4th string 5th fret G note. 


So anyway I add these in one at a time and hopefully it doesn't mess me up. So I have ornaments now... but I still don't sound Irish. I like it though, I finally decided to just keep at it.

Comment by Kathy Barwick on December 28, 2010 at 12:34pm
also see Dan Mozell's helpful article here: http://www.danmozell.com/guitart.htm


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