Most of my involvement in playing Irish music has been either as a banjo player, or if playing guitar, as an accompanist. Playing tunes on the guitar throws up some challenges. Tonally the guitar is not really suited to sessions where it simply gets drowned out by the “main” instruments used in playing Irish music, although it is quite adequate for accompaniment. Because of the way the instrument is tuned, and I use standard tuning in this book, you can find yourself having to play across 5 or occassionally 6 strings. That's a lot of string crossing with your picking hand. And the size of the neck and spacing between the frets can mean some long stretches for your fretting hand. But I guess any instrument has its own challenges and one positive feature about the guitar is, if nothing else, it's versatility!
So after all these years I've put together this selection of tunes that I've picked up from a variety of sources and worked them onto the guitar . This book is I suppose part tune collection and part tutor. Aside from the tunes you'll find scale exercises, bits of theory, modes, and a (hopefully) lucid explanation of picking technique, the downfall of many a guitarist, and for that matter banjo and mandoline players. But even with an understanding of everything about the technical side of playing your instrument you still need to have the tune/s in your head and to do that you need to listen. With that in mind I've included an MP3 of each of the tunes in the book, played exactly as written, with accompaniment, but at a moderate tempo.(Tony O'Rourke)
You can download a free sample of the book which contents Crossing The Shannon music sheet (PDF, 543KB) and tune (MP3, 2.1MB).
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