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Celtic Flatpicking

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

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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 Kathy Barwick on January 27, 2011 at 9:16am

hi Dan! ok, lots of thoughts on this, as it is my favorite Irish guitar topic. Of course the first thing is, listen to others (Arty McGlynn, John Doyle, lots more...). Figure out what they do and try that.

Like you I started out with the obvious stuff (like, E mix would be mostly E-D, E dorian Em-D ... I hope I have that right!).

Next, try the obvious substitutions (say, if you're in E dorian you can play Em-Bm... or G-D or G-Bm OR, later on, C-D or C-Bm). Though I usually wait a bit for the C sub, as Doyle advises "you don't want to give up the goods too soon.") In A dorian that C chord (in D dorian) would be an F... 

Next is, after you learn a tune you can try chords with the current melody note in them. I've found some interesting things to do that way.

I got most of my ideas from listening or looking at Chris Smith's stuff:

http://coyotebanjo.com/music-group-28.html (esp the one on chord subs). Smith has a book out on this. I sorted through some of his essays on the website and came up with 2 things: you can play ANY chord you want as long as there's not a note in it less than a full step from the melody at that point" which in my mind turned into "try anything and see how it sounds."

I was pretty amazed to find out that an E dorian tune can sound good with an A major chord in it... I did that by mistake one day and said, whoah, that sounds cool, gotta put it in the bag of tricks. 

The obvious problem with this is, in a session, what's the other guitar player going to do? Well I don't know... esp if he's in DADGAD.... so that's a challenge.

One strategy youcan use in a session is to stay on the I.. or do the "obvious" easy stuff.... while you hear the tune initially. Gives you a chance to get additional ideas.

Comes down to this: there is no "right" way, and "try anything and see what you like."


I was going to record more ornaments for Jacky Tar but I'll do a sound file and mess around with the chords.... stay tuned.


(by the way Smith's short discussion on modes in the Chord Subs essay goes a long way for me to explain Monroe's music!)

Comment by Kathy Barwick on January 27, 2011 at 6:10pm

2 additional thoughts: don't worry about dorian vs mixolydian... just try stuff and see what sounds good.


also: an exception to the "full step" rule I've notices is playing a C chord against a B note.... makes a Cmaj7 which is cool. I'm sure I could figure out why but I haven't yet...

Comment by Dan Forney on January 28, 2011 at 1:47pm

Well that's a relief! I'm all about try stuff and see if it sounds good. Here's what I came up with (I'll put a recording on my page):

A Part:

B Part:
Comment by Kathy Barwick on January 28, 2011 at 6:39pm

that's awesome Dan! I love it!

I should have time tomorrow to record my take on it. Close to yours, but not exactly. this is fun!

Comment by Bryan Floyd on January 29, 2011 at 12:57am

Kathy and Dan - you two are a real gem to this group!!  Nice recording Dan, I enjoyed it!


So, I admit, this is the first time I heard the tune Jacky Tar - does anyone have a link to the tab of it?  It's a great little tune.


Looking forward to hearing your backup as well Kathy...

Comment by Dan Forney on January 29, 2011 at 5:47am

Bryan - thanks, but do not be confused about who is the real gem here. I learned the tune by watching Kathy play it. There are a couple other versions on youtube, but not on a guitar and not as clearly shown.


I listened to the tune many time until I could hum it, then got my guitar and learned the piece in small increments. Making many mistakes (and I'm still not quite sure about a couple notes - but that's part of the fun) until I had one that sounded right. I still can't do those high e-string pull off's Kathy does, but I'll keep working on it.


So give it a try - you can learn it right off of Kathy's video.


One other really good resource for these tunes is www.thesession.org.

I looked and Jacky Tar is there, but only in notation - another skill that is easy enough to learn and well worth your time. Here is the link: http://www.thesession.org/tunes/display/10389


Have a good weekend everybody!

Comment by Bryan Floyd on January 29, 2011 at 6:13am
Thanks Dan! I'm fine with notation, just takes a bit longer for me :) Much appreciated!!
Comment by Kathy Barwick on January 29, 2011 at 8:52am

thanks Dan.... gonna record this afternoon.


btw there's an unfortunate wrong note (not a bad one, just a wrong one) right at the top.... refer to the thesession.org dot version.


Dan I love your description of how to learn a tune...that's the best way. I learned this from my friend Alan Fuller, who sent me a recording of him playing it, but cheated by printing the dots from thesession.org.

Mostly to get the tune back in my head...The other hint about how to learn stuff, which really worked well for me on this one, Alan has put this one in a medley with Cuckoo's Nest. They're in different keys, but the shape of the B parts of both tunes are the same. So really, other than transposing, I almost already knew the B of Jacky because I knew the B of Cuckoo.

More later!

Comment by Mark Thatcher on January 29, 2011 at 9:12am
I just posted an mp3 version of the tune. I learned it off of Peter Coopers book, The Mel Bay Complete Irish Fiddler. I used the recommended chords in the book. Sounds a lot like Kathy's (not as clean :).
Comment by Kathy Barwick on January 29, 2011 at 9:26am
wow Mark, that's great. You hear the same G chord I do....


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