Sunday, 17 May 2020

More finger practice

Some more finger practice I found somewhere.

First an easy one, but watch your ring finger:

Take care of the rhythm And where to change finger positions

Easy one. Leave the first finger always on fretboard

This one is a bit harder. Maybe practice one bar after another

Friday, 15 May 2020

Finger warmups for Mandolin and Bouzouki - Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien speaks about Mandolin Warmup Exercises. What works on mandolin must work on bouzouki also. So have a look at it and decide for yourselves.

By the way, some years ago Tim produced a DVD where he explains some of his techniques on Mandolin and Bouzouki. If you don't know it already have a look at it. You can order it from his website:

I tried to translate this concept to bouzouki in G-Major. It would look like this:

In D it could look like this, first D chords from D-string on, second line D chords inversed from G-string on:

Here are some short videos as introduction to his DVD:

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Folk Friend - Learn to strum Irish/Scottish Hornpipes and Reels

Nye Farley (Folk Friend) has published a new instruction video for guitarists. As he explains some strumming patterns it is interesting for bouzouki players also. In this video he focuses on Hornpipes. He shows a straight and a swung pattern.

If you don't know him already check him out on youtube. There are some interesting videos to be found on his channel.

On his website you can find some tips for practicing:

You might also have a look at his book which I really like: Or here in paperback:

Friday, 8 May 2020

Dolores Keane - Craigie Hills - Chords

Craigie Hill performed by Dolores Keane and Reel Union.

I posted this video many years ago. Now I added some lyrics and chords to it.

John faulkner - Bouzouki
Mairtin O'Connor - acordion
Sean Keane - flute
Eamonn Curran - whistle

Unfortunately you can't see too much of John's zouk playing. Nevertheless a real gem.

{t:Craigie Hill}

It a [Bm]being in [D]spring, when the [G]small [A]birds  were [Bm]singing,
Down [Bm]by yon [A]shady [G]arbour I    [D]careless[A]ly did [G]stray;
Where the [Bm]thrushes [A]they were [G]warbling, The [D]vio[A]lets they were [Bm]charming:
To [G]view fond [D]lovers [Bm]talking, a [G]while I [A]did de[D]lay.       

She said, „My dear don’t leave me all for another season,
Though fortune does be pleasing I'll go along with you.
I'll forsake friends and relations and bid this holy nation,
And to the bonny Bann banks forever I'll bid adieu.“     

He said, „My dear, don’t grieve or yet annoy my patience.
You know I love you dearly the more I’m going away,
I’m going to a foreign nation to purchase a plantation,
To comfort us here after all in Amerikay.

Then after a short while a fortune does be pleasing,
It’ll cause them for smile at our late going away,
We'll be happy as Queen Victoria, all in her greatest glory,
We'll be drinking wine and porter all in Amerikay.

If you were in your bed lying and thinking on dying,
The sight of the lovely Bann banks, your sorrow you'd give o'er,
Or if were down one hour, down in the shady bower,
Pleasure would surround you, you'd think on death no more.

Then fare you well, sweet Cragie Hill, where often times I've roved,
I never thought my childhood days I 'd part you ever more,
Now we're sailing on the ocean for honour and promotion,
And the bonny boats are sailing, way down by Doorin shore."

Please don't forget to comment!

Andy Irvine - Bonny Woodhall - Chords

What a wonderful song by Andy Irvine. From his album "Rainy Sundays, Windy Dreams" released in the 70s.

Here's a version from the Celebrating of the 40th anniversary of the Paul Brady/Andy Irvine album.
Andy Irvine, Paul Brady, Donal Lunny, Kevin Burke, Vicar Street Dublin. 21 May 2017

{t:Bonny Woodhall}
{st: Andy Irvine}

Down [D]by yon green bushes near [G]Calder’s clear [D]stream
Where [G]me and my [D]Annie so [G]often have [A]been
When the [Bm]hours that flew [D]past us, right [G]hap[D]py [A]were  [G]we
It was [D]little she [G]thought that a  [D]sol[G]dier I’d [D]be

But it’s [D]farewell to Annie and [G]I must a[D]way
For the [G]King he needs [D]soldiers and [G]I must o[A]bey
But if [Bm]providence prove [D]kind love un[G]til [D]I [A]re[G]turn
I will [D]wed with my [G]Annie near  [D]Cal[G]der’s clear [D]burren.

On the [D]fourteenth of August our [G]regiment was [D]lost
And a [G]ball from the [D]enemy our [G]lines came a[A]cross
O it [Bm]struck me in the [D]temple and the [G]blood [D]trick[A]led [G]down
I [D]reeled and I [G]staggered and I [D]fell to [G]the [D]ground

Come [D]here, says our captain, come [G]here with good [D]speed
For I [G]fear by this [D]bullet young [G]Dinsmore lies [A]dead
Two [Bm]men with a [D]stretcher did [G]quick[D]ly [A]pre[G]pare
And they [D]carried [G]me a[D]way to a [D]hospi[G]tal [D]there

Cold [D]water and brandy they [G]poured out so [D]free
They [G]turned me all [D]over my [G]wounds for to [A]see
But if [Bm]I had my [D]Annie to [G]bind [D]up [A]my [G]wounds
One [D]kiss from her [G]sweet lips would soon [D]deaden [G]the [D]stoun 
{c:stoun - sting}

And it’s [D]when I am weary and [G]think on lang [D]syne
When [G]I was a [D]miner and [G]wrought in the [A]mine
O the [Bm]tears they do [D]trickle and [G]down [D]they [A]do [G]fall
Like the [D]roses that [G]bloom around  [D]bonnie [G]Wood[D]hall 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Julie Fowlis - Song from Fonn Mo Bheatha - Bouzouki Arrangement Eamon Doorley

Julie is one of my favorite female singers in trad music. With her husband Eamon by her side she even gets better. I once found this recording of a song which I can't find on CD (if I am wrong please let me know) on youtube and managed to download it at that time. Lucky me, because it isn't available there any more.

For this entry I uploaded it again, but made it not searchable, because I'm not sure if I am violating any laws or rules by posting it again.

Here it is. Listen to the intro, it is so easy but so lovely:

Now that I had the time I tried to manage to tab the intro and the first two verses of this recording. Here is my Tabledit file:

Monday, 4 May 2020

BB's hopefully helpful Harmony hints for Irish Traditional Musicians

Bill Black is hosting an interesting website with some information for Irish Musicians.

You'll find some original tunes, trad. songs, writings and other useful things. Especially the section called "Reference Library" contains interesting documents.

Here you'll find his text: "BB's hopefully helpful Harmony hints for Irish Traditional Musicians" which he has updated and extended in 2019. Here you'll find information about building chords, harmonization, Scales and Modal tunes.

Also a basic Session Tune list and a text concerning the concept of the Session and some Banjo hints and tips.

Chordhouse - Find notes on the fretboard

I posted this more than 10 years ago and still like it. Too good to be forgotten. So here it is again.

A site for guitarists, but you can use the advanced guitar room for bouzouki, too. Custom tunings are possible. Look for scales, notes etc on the fretboard.

Example for Bouzouki D major scale. Now you can figure out possible chord shapes.

I made a helper with a little help from chord house which you can find here:

Fretmaster App - iPad - Learn notes on your fretboard

Some years ago I mentioned this app. I found it again and think it is really worth to try it.

Fretmaster can help to lern the notes on the fretboard. It's Easy to use and it's free.

To use it for bouzouki select mandolin and then click on the tune fork icon and alter the tuning to GDAD.

Then click on the play button. You will hear a note and see where it is on the fretboard. Now you have to tip on the correct note name on bottom of the page.

Here's a short video about the app:

Accompanying Tunes in Am with Gm-Chords Capo 2 - The Castle Jig

A nice way of accompaniment for A Dorian tunes (Am) is to put the capo in 2nd position and play in Gm. This way you can use the G-string and or the D-string as drone (with capo then A and E).

I made a chord chart with lots of chords for this occasion:

As an example here are some possible chords for the tune Castle Jig. Your ears have to decide what sounds good for you:

I found this nice version of the Castle Jig, so this one might be used to try to accompany.

This is Kevin Burke teaching the Castle Jig. I cut out his performance and looped it, so I could play along with him. I used some of the chords shown above in the chord sheet. I had lots of inspiration from the Guitar Course at OAIM which is well worth a look at, even for players of the bouzouki.

Here's a second video with some slightly different chords:

Dennis Cahill Style - Tutorial Video by Folk Friend - Nye Farley

Today Nye Farley published a video in which he explains a bit the style of Dennis Cahill. It's a video for Guitar, but maybe some of the parts could be interesting for bouzouki players as well. Example tune is approx. 107 BPM.

I tried to find chords for bouzouki which might be suitable for this style. Here is my chord sheet, G-Drone on the Bass String:

Sunday, 3 May 2020

A selection of strumming patterns - Nye Farley

Nye Farley (Folk Friend) offers a series called Folky Fridays where he talks about several techniques for Irish Guitar. In No 3 he talks about different strumming patterns. So this might also be interesting for bouzouki.

The sound quality is really bad, but the content make it worth having a look at it.

Nye also has written a book which I can really recommend called Backing techniques for Celtic Traditional Music which is available on his website:

Planxty - Live at Vicar Street 2004

The legendary concert on youtube. Buy the CD and DVD if you haven't got them already.

Paul Brady - Wearin' The Britches - Chords

Paul plays greek bouzouki and sings this ode to traditional values with Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny in the Embankment, Tallaght in 1976.

And here he is solo with greek bouzouki from 1977.

Here's lyrics and Chords: Paul plays capo at 2nd fret

{t:Wearin’ The Britches}
{st:Paul Brady}

[Dm]Come all young men where e'er you be and listen to me lamentations
[Dm]I courted a girl beyond compare and I loved her with admiration
[Dm]At length in time she became my wife, 't was [C]not for beauty [E]but for [Am]riches
And [C]all the time it [F]causes strife, to [Dm]see which of us will [Am]wear the [Dm]britches

[Dm]O Paddy Kane it is my name, me height it is five foot eleven
[Dm]and Me wife is nearly not so big, she only measures four feet seven
[Dm]The hedges I have oft times stripped, [C]I've left them bare of [E]rods and [Am]switches
[C]Her skin with blows sure [F]I’ve turned black, but [Dm]still she says she'll [Am]wear my [Dm]britches

[Dm]Well I am a tailor to my trade, at cutting out I am quite handy
[Dm]But all the money that I make, she lays it out on tea and brandy
[Dm]Now sometimes I do shout and ball with [C]nothing going with [E]rogues and [Am]witches
[C]Her head goes oft times [F]to the wall, [Dm]still she says she'll [Am]wear me [Dm]britches

[Dm]One morning at the tea and eggs, content and sitting by the fire
[Dm]Well She broke the teapot on my legs, and left me leapin to retire
[Dm]How often do I shout and moan, as [C]I go hopping [E]on my [Am]crutches
[C]I wished I'd broke her [F]collar bone, the [Dm]day I let her [Am]wear me [Dm]britches

[Dm]So come all young men where e'er you be, don't marry a wife if she's enchantin
[Dm]For if you do, you'll be like me, with other men she'll go gallanting
[Dm]Now my advice it is to you, to [C]marry for love and [E]not for [Am]riches,
[C]And be sure of a wife with a [F]civil tongue, who'll [Dm]give you leave to [Am]wear your [Dm]britches.

Chords which might be used:

Dm  7000
Dm  2003
C     0232
E     0220
Am  2202
F     2300 or 2330

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Planxty - Yarmouth Town

An old video of Planxty. It's a song only available as Single, and on a compilation, as far as I know. Yarmouth Town.

Here are the chords the way I use to play it. If you use the app "songbook" from Linkesoft, I wrote about it some time ago, you just have to copy and paste.

{t:Yarmouth Town}

Capo 2
{pause: 15}

In [D]Yarmouth Town there [G]lived a [D]man,
[G]kept a little [D]tavern down [A]by the strand
The [D]landlord had a [G]daughter [D]fair,   
a [G]pretty little [D]thing with the [A]golden hair.
Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yar[A]mouth [D]town.

2. At [D]night there came a [Bm]sailor man
and he’s [G]asked the daughter [A]for her hand.
„Oh, [D]why should I marry [Bm]you, she said, 
I [G]have all I [D]want with[A]out being wed.

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

3. „But [D]{soh}if{eoh} with me you do [Bm]{soh}want{eoh} to linger,
I [G]tie a piece of string all ar[A]ound my finger
and [D]as you pass by, just [Bm]pull on the string
and [G]I’ll come [D]down and I’ll [A]let you in.“

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

4. At [F#m]closing time the [Bm]sailor man
he’s [Em]gone to the tavern down [A]by the strand
and [F#m]as he passed by, he [Bm]pulled on the string,
and [G]she’s come [D]down, and she’s [A]let him in.

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

5. Now [Bm]he’s never seen such a [Em]sight before,
‚cause the [G]string around the [D]finger was [A]all she wore. 

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

6. The [F#m]sailor stayed the [Bm]whole night through
and [Em]early in the morning went [A]back to his crew,
and then he [F#m]told them about the [Bm]maiden fair,
the [G]pretty little [D]thing with the [A]golden hair.

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

7. Well, the [D]news it soon [Bm]got around
and the [G]very next night in [A]Yarmouth Town
there was [D]fifteen sailors [Bm]pulling on the string
and [G]she’s come [D]down and [A]she’s let them all in.

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

8. So all young men that to Yarmouth go,
if you see a pretty girl with her hair hanging low,
well, all you’ve got to do is pull on the string,
and she’ll come down and she’ll let you in.

Oh, [D]won’t you come down,
[G]won’t you come down,
[A]won’t you come down
to [G]Yarmouth [D]town.

Yarmouth ist ein Hafen und Civil parish an der Nordwestküste der südenglischen Isle of Wight. Der Ort liegt an der Mündung des Flusses Western Yar in die Meerenge Solent. Yarmouth ist die kleinste Town im Vereinigten Königreich.

{define: D 11 x 1 1 1}
{define: D 6 1 0 0 0}
{define: D 0 x 0 0 0}
{define: D 3 4 1 0 0}

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Liam O'Brien, Ciara Ní Bhriain & Macdara Ó Faoláin - Stone of Destiny

Macdara is one, if not the best bouzouki player of the younger generation. He also builds bouzoukis and other instruments. Here he is with  Liam O'Brien and Ciara Ní Bhriain. The tunes they play are The Stone of Destiny (written by Maurice Lennon), The Liffey Banks & Music in the Glen.

I tried to transcribe the first tune. Here it is for your pleasure (hopefully)

West Coast Of Clare - Intro

Just found this really old post of mine. The video link did not work anymore. The link to my tab either. So here is the re-post, 12 years after the first one. Now I added the tab on the page.

I'm playing my old Stevens Bouzouki here, trying to play the intro of West coast of Clare, one of the best songs by Andy Irvine. I tried to copy the arragement he once played live on his bass bouzouki. I restringed my zouk for this to achieve that bass bouzouki sound.

Here's the tab for this intro,  I made it with Tabledit

Ceird an Cheoil - Bouzouki, TG 4

This fantastic RTE-Programme about the bouzouki is not available on youtube anymore as far I know. But I just found it on Dailymotion. Here's a lot of information on this lovely instrument. I mentioned this programme before, but it's always worth to look at it again.

Si Bheag Si Mhor - Turlough O'Carolan

Si Bheag Si Mhor is one of Turlough O'Carolan's (1670-1738) waltzes. Translated into English it is called "Little hill, big hill". It is said to take inspiration from folklore surrounding two hills in which lie to mortal remains of ancient warriors.

Niilo Sirola made a recording with some more instruments.

He also made a tab for this tune. You can find it on his website:

Here's fine arrangement on the zouk by Carol Murgue.

And another one by Eamon Coughlan

Here's a very differnent approach by someone who calls himself CW, a multi instrumentalist. He has lots of videos on youtube, there are some more with bouzouki.

He writes on youtube:

"It is usually played at a slow and leisurely pace by most musicians; I had the melody in my head one day, and it started morphing into a Planxty-esque jam in 4-count rhythm (as opposed to 3 count as it's usually played), and sitting down with my zouk last night, this is how it came out. I like it a lot, and I'm still practicing it/smoothing it out, but I think this video turned out well! Tuning: FCGC - capo 5th fret"

Tuesday, 28 April 2020


Over the last few days I updated or deleted several sites on the blog which were outdated. Since I started the blog more than 10 years ago there are lots of videos which are not available anymore on youtube. It takes a lot of time to look at all the old posts. I found out that youtube changed links to videos, so all the older movies are not available anymore. I looked up some of the old videos, but this is hard work. So I decided to delete a lot of old videos.

If you come across dead links on the blog please report them to me or leave a comment. It's a lot of work to review all the pages on this blog so I would appreciate your help.

Also if you come across any good information regarding the Irish Bouzouki feel free to inform me and I will put them on the blog.

Many thanks in advance!

Chords Am and G - Matt & Shannon Heaton: Reels in the Heaton Kitchen - Flute and Bouzouki [Leaving the Station, Rollin, Maud Millar]

A lovely video made in the Heaton's kitchen.

In the first tune Matt plays Am C G chords (Capo7, so it's Em)

In the second tune he plays G C D chords (so it's D with capo 7th fret)

I did not check the third tune yet.

I made a chord sheet with these chords:

Here's a short video where I play these chord progressions slowly.

Friday, 24 April 2020

The Greene Tunebook

While updating some of my entries I found that the link to this tune book had changed.

By accident I found this tunebook on the web.

Here's the original one, the link has changed since I last looked at it:

42 pages with lots of tunes, most of them with chords. A great learning base.

Julie Fowlis & Eamon Dooley - Live Webstream for Lindblad Expeditions

What a pleasure: Julie and Eamon together, just the two of them. A livestream made for Lindblad Expeditions on April 23rd, 2020 as part of the Virtual Music Lounge concert series.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Páraic Mac Donnchadha with Mac Dara Ó Faoláin

While looking for videos featuring Mac Dara Ó Faoláin I found this beautiful video of Páraic Mac Donnchadha with Mac Dara Ó Faoláin. Beautiful music with banjo and bouzouki. Páraic Mac Donnchadha released an album some time ago which you can get on bandcamp or at Custy's in Ennis.

Yvonne Casey & Macdara Ó Faoláin

Some videos of Yvonne Casey & Macdara Ó Faoláin. Macdara is one of the finest bouzouki players of the young generation. He also is a Luthier and he builds fantastic Bouzoukis, Mandolins and Ukuleles.
Look here:

He plays with Band Nuadan:

The Oliver Plunkett - 40th Cork Folk Festival, 06.10.19

" Eanna’s Dance"  - 40th Cork Folk Festival

 "Tune For Yvonne Casey" composed by Tommy Peoples. Cork Folk Fest

and just for the fun of it, here's a very old video of young Macdara

Macdara Ó Faoláin Dungarvan from TRTÉ on Vimeo.