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Free Guitar Tutorial

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John Doyle

John DoyleBorn in 1971 in Dublin, Ireland, John Doyle comes from an extended family of musicians and singers. His earliest musical influences were his father - a great singer and song collector - and his Co. Sligo grandfather, Tommy Doyle.

John was playing professionally by the age of 16 when he and singer Susan McKeown formed The Chanting House. Shortly after, John and McKeown moved to New York City and added the huge talents of Seamus Egan and Eileen Ivers to the line-up. The group played together for over a year, touring in the US and Europe. John, Seamus and Eileen later teamed up with African percussionist Kimate Dinizulu to form a group playing in and around New York City.

Around this time, John and Seamus Egan came together with Chicago accordionist John Williams, fiddler Winifred Horan, and Karan Casey, the Waterford-born singer, to form Solas. John's guitar playing provided the signature rhythmic backbone for the band, which went on to become one of the most successful traditional Irish music groups of all-time. While with Solas, John performed to sold-out audiences all over the world, received three NAIRD awards and a Grammy nomination for the band's self-titled first recording, and played and recorded with musicians such as Bela Fleck, Iris DeMent, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, The Chieftains, Donal Lunny, Sharon Shannon and many more.

John released his first solo album, ‘Evening Comes Early’, on the Shanachie Label in 2001 and currently plays with the Eileen Ivers band.

Tuning the Guitar

The Standard tuning system for the guitar is (starting with the note of highest pitch) : E, B, G, D, A, E

The first video example demonstrates tuning down from Standard to the Dropped D tuning system which is E, B, G, D, A, D :-

Play Video ⬇

The second video should help you check your tuning :-

Play Video ⬇

Beginners - The Lilting Banshee - Key of A minor, Dropped D tuning.

As with the previous tune I’m juxtaposing the notes C and B in the first chord: this is a simple way of adding colour to the harmonic texture. Also notice in the first part that each time I move to the G chord I do so half a bar late, again building and resolving harmonic tension. In bar eight I don’t play a G at all but instead continue with the E minor, the relative minor of G major, which resolves to the tonic. In the second bar of the B part I add in a C major chord thus adding to the harmonic tension created in the first part by delaying the move to the G.

The Lilting Banshee

Play A Part ⬇

Play B Part ⬇

Play Full Tune ⬇

Advanced - The Cliffs of Moher

This is a very popular jig in the key of A minor. The passing D chords in the second part serve to highlight the G major chords because within itself this motif creates a 'dominant to tonic resolution' ie. D to G. They also give a rhythmic push to the tune coming on beat 3. The repeat of the B part has a different ending but nothing too significant in this version.

The Cliffs of Moher

Play A Part ⬇

Play B Part ⬇

Play Full Tune ⬇