1. Getting Started
2. Right Hand
Finger Freedom
3. Harp Style
Examples and Chords
4. Celtic Ornamentation
Triplet Variations
Thumb Triplets
5. Related Tunings
6. Scales in DADGAD
Detailed Charts
7. Chords in DADGAD
Detailed Charts
8. Tablature
Performance Notes
Notation Guide
9. Articles
Miscellaneous Topics

Play DADGAD - Simon Fox


Of all the open tunings DADGAD is arguably the most popular. The tuning offers new and interesting sounds that are not readily achieved in standard tuning. The most obvious reason for using DADGAD is the ability to use the open strings in a number of keys, to fill out the sound. Particularly for a guitarist wishing to arrange tunes for solo performance, this is a key feature. The tuning is very flattering in that pleasing sounds are possible with relatively little effort.

There are two sides to this, however. The ease of playing in keys such as D, A and G can lead to a dependence on the open strings and a laziness in pursuing musical ideas to their full potential. The open strings can become boring to listen to after a while, particularly in live performance. This point has been well made with a fair amount of criticism leveled at guitarists using tunings such as DADGAD. However, the solution to this problem is not obvious, since on the surface the tuning is biased towards certain ways of playing. This can be frustrating and just as in standard tuning, players might feel they are in a rut. In DADGAD the ruts are particularly deep.

This book was written to help players expand their use of DADGAD beyond the obvious elements. A section is given to note selection using the modal scale system. This section was written especially for DADGAD tuning, and scale harmonizations are provided which reference over 300 chord diagrams. The modal framework allows a number of key signatures to be surprisingly accessible in DADGAD, for example Bb, F and A minor.

The use of ornamentation is described, particularly for rendering Celtic pieces as a solo guitarist. Techniques for mimicking instruments such as fiddles and pipes are covered including finger triplets, thumb triplets, left hand ornamentation and percussive effects.

A section on harp style guitar explains how DADGAD is ideal for producing melodies in a cascading manner across several strings. The open strings in the tuning can be used to great effect to create a harp like sound. This topic requires a degree of right hand organization and a section is given to avoiding bad habits which hinder right hand freedom.

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