Trad Backup Guitar

Guitar as played most often at sessions. Chord selection, right hand techniques, tunings, etc.

Members: 77
Latest Activity: Apr 29, 2020

Discussion Forum

Any experts in DADGAD here ? Cara live - Mike's Ride

Started by Phalaina. Last reply by Frank Kilkelly Mar 16, 2016. 3 Replies

Hi !Probably a big challenge for most guitar players to find the right tuning and chords used in this brilliant piece of music by Cara, Mike's Ride :…Continue

Tags: chords, tabs, experts, guitar, Ride

Mícheál O' Domhnaill at the 1981 Milwaukee festival

Started by Tradconnect Reviews. Last reply by Jean Banwarth Jan 28, 2015. 2 Replies

This is an interesting clip of Míchéal O' Domhnaill at the 1981 Milwaukee festival for you guitar playersContinue

Guitar Cords in DADGAD or Dropped D

Started by Tradconnect Reviews. Last reply by Richie Lloyd Jan 31, 2013. 16 Replies

Would anyone have a good guide to guitar cords in DADGAD or Dropped d, by Key with good cord progressions, alternative positions etc. Can only find the Michael Eskin one's online. Most guides don't…Continue

Tags: traditional, music, irish, guitar, dadgad

Playing session tunes on guitar

Started by Paul Dengate. Last reply by Paul Dengate Sep 5, 2012. 4 Replies

After playing backup guitar in sessions for quite a number of years, about a year ago I thought I’d start learning to play some of the popular session tunes at session speed. I had a number of…Continue

Tags: tune, session, guitar, music, traditional

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Comment by Frank Kilkelly on April 29, 2020 at 16:09

Today, I'm very excited to announce the launch of my new video courses on the accompaniment of Irish music on guitar. A lot of work has gone into putting these courses together, to make sure that the information is clear, easy to follow, and enjoyable to listen to. The video lessons are graded so that you can start at a place that fits your level, and because you have lifetime access, you can move forward at a pace that suits you. More info on my website,

Comment by Frank Kilkelly on April 17, 2020 at 9:43

Hi folks, new online video courses in guitar accompaniment coming soon:

Comment by gl on July 23, 2012 at 11:31

I found out a nice chord  that can be used in dorian mode recently.lets say d dorian,you can sub the tonic chord(Dm) for  Bb major seventh(fingered x13231 on dropped d or standard tuning) .I know that there is an A and D present in this chord but shouldnt the Bb clash?its not in the d dorian scale.Maybe there is some name for this relationship?

Comment by Anton Emery on April 27, 2012 at 20:51

Are there any specific keys you have in mind? DADGAD works pretty well uncapoed for all the typical celtic keys. E minor might not be as nice as in some other tunings.

If you know the basics of chord construction its pretty easy to come up with some nice ones in DADGAD. There are plenty of chord charts online, here is a pretty extensive one.

Hope that helps

Comment by Kathy Barwick on December 24, 2011 at 17:27

Hi all. I'm new here.... looking forward to catching up on discussions and such.

By way of introduction, here's a little recording I made a while back. I was just exploring what all I might do backing this tune.

Comment by Kavan Donohoe on December 3, 2011 at 1:50

Would anyone have the John Doyle tutorial online they could send on, 

I'm DADGAD myself thanks to Sean Mclwain from teada, also it's my third instrument so the capo is needed when you dont have time to learn all the chords, if it sounds good thats all that matters.

Comment by Tradconnect Reviews on November 30, 2011 at 22:01

A reminder to use the discussion box above rather than this comment section for main discussion points. It allows threads to develop and also helps with site SEO

Comment by Anton Emery on November 29, 2011 at 22:37

I play backup mostly in CGDGCD with a capo at II and in Drop D sometimes as well. I like a chunky sound with lots of roots and fifths and thirds sometimes as well. Don't really use sevenths at all. Like alot of other folks I enjoy John Doyle's playing and his rhythmic energy has rubbed off on me a bit.

I started using CGDGCD exclusively for fingerstyle work and later learned how to back in it as I didnt want to change tunings. Ged Foley uses a similar tuning CGCGCD. 



Comment by Anton Emery on November 28, 2011 at 23:45

Good point Bruce. I guess by newcomer I meant not appearing until the early 1900's, which to me is new in a tradition where some of this music is hundreds of years old, if not more.

Comment by Bruce Evans on November 26, 2011 at 21:43

Anton Emery
"Thought I would see if I could kick off some discussion on the guitar in celtic music. Its a relative newcomer to the tradition and there are such a variety of ways to play it."


I'm going to respond to your thought here in the group, Anton. I hope this doesn't seem like I am picking nits. 


That the guitar was essentially nonexistent in Irish music in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is undeniable. But as another thread here on the site recently noted, the session is a fairly recent event, becoming popular in the pubs only since then end of World War II. It was at this time that the Folk Music movement began to form in the U.S. and U.K. Indeed, groups like The Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are in part responsible for the popularity the genre. The guitar was (and is) used heavily as a background for vocal music, and the style in which they play it is the defining style for much of the way the music is played today.


So, what is my point? 


My point is, as an accompaniment to instrumental tunes where the melody is carried by a fiddle, harp, whistle, flute or pipes, the guitar is still very much a newcomer. But as a vocal accompaniment in sessions, it has been here from the very beginning of that tradition. 


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