Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Jens Wollschläger's ABC Transposer

This is a very useful tool if you have to transpose an abc-file from one key to another. Just paste in the abc and transpose it with the buttons on the right. And by the way look at the other pages of this website, too. It's the website of the Swiss band Sláinte and they are really worth listening. Many thanks to Jens for providing us with this tool.

You can find it here:

Irish Bouzouki Method by Roger Landes

So here's a new Bouzouki Book which will help the beginner to get in touch with our beloved instrument. I ordered it via Amazon, it took some time but finally it arrived. The book has got 48 pages and no CD, therefore it's only 7,95€ which is a really fair price. But don't worry, the audio files which go along with the book can be heard and downloaded from the website of the publisher ( Just fill in the Enter Code from within the book and here you go.

The book itself is aimed to the absolute beginner. It starts with an introduction on the bouzouki, it's anatomy, playing position, left and right hand and tuning. A short introduction on music notation, tablature and time signatures. That's pages 1-12.

After that you'll find some open-string studies with different pickings and one page on the fretboard.

On page 18 you'll find an introduction to Double Jigs (6/8 time). Lots of exercises which bring the jig rhythm to the beginner, which isn't easy for them. But after all the studies you should understand the jig rhythm when finished page 21.

And off it goes with the first tune, a jig called "The Kinnegad Slashers". First you have the chance to learn to play the melody on your bouzouki. Then follows the accompaniment. I really like the way Roger develops the accompaniment. First he drones without chord changes. This gives a feeling for the melody and the changes in it. After four different sorts of Droning he starts to build up the rhythm, step by step, also only with droning. Really interesting! After you have tried 6 different rhythmic drones there comes an exercise with simple chords. And that's really simple chords. By the way - you won't learn many chords in this book. But that's ok.
Right after the chords follows the first introduction to counterpoints which leads to another simple chord progression. Two more counterpoint exercises and that's it for the first tune.

What I miss after that is a hint to other tunes which can be accompanied with the things just learned.

Second tune is a reel called "The sunny banks" and it is almost the same way of exercises.

Third tune is a slip Jig "Drops of brandy". This one is in the key of G. First without capo and then with capo on the 5th fret, now you can use everything you learned before.

The last tune is a reel in Em "Dunmore Lasses". Here only two chord exercises, that's all.

So for a very good price you get a well thought book for the absolute beginner. If you play the bouzouki for some time give it a try for the later exercises. I'm pretty sure you'll find some new thoughts on how to play the bouzouki.

All in all I really like the way Roger concentrates on the playing of the right hand. Most teachers concentrate on chords and on the left hand. If you want that buy another book or the fantastic DVD by Zan McLeod.

More information: