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Thread: Bouzouki chords, New player

  1. #1
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    Hey y'all,

    I'm new here, and also a new Irish Bouzouki player. I've been playing Guitar a good 6 years, and Mandolin for the better part of this one. I have real big hands, so Mandolin has become a pain at times. I've answered that with the Bouzouki! Been playing a Trinity College Zouk for a few days now, and it's just fine for me.

    So here's where I get to questions and such. I hear that GDAD tuning is far more popular than any other, because of the ease of playing chords, and because GDAE requires too much stretching. Well, I find this hasn't been the case for me as of yet. While I primarily use GDAD, I find GDAE with Mandolin chords makes for far less stretching. I also hear that GDAD is full of 2-or-3-finger chords, which heavily utilize open strings (and capos). Well, the only real easy chords in GDAD I seem to find using a chord dictionary I found online (pdf from this page) are bar chords, which just aren't as pretty or clean to me as open chords, and I while I can make some realy pretty sounds with just two fingers, I can't seem to find many set chords which fit this description, that aren't some complex Am/Gb#madd11. That's not neccessarily a problem for solo Bouzouki, but accompanying other instruments I forsee as being largely restricted to basic chords.

    What're your thoughts, experiences, in these areas? Can anyone recommend a real good chord dictionary? I'm also interested in books which'll teach me to read music for Bouzouki, and a real good book full of traditional Irish tunes for the instrument (either Irish or sheet music).

    Hoping for some excellent responses, as I've seen for others,
    Kenneth Sime
    Kenneth Sime

    MySpace Music page

  2. #2
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Links to chord charts for several common tunings can be found on Han's Irish Bouzouki Homepage.
    Register at The Session for free access to many traditional Irish tunes available in different formats.




  3. #3
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
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    Hi Kenneth, and welcome. The archives of the CBOM section here are -full- of great stuff. As you can imagine, when folks begin with Big Mandolins, in all forms, they come to the Cafe and have a lot of the same questions, and different generations of folks have answered, so there's a lot of good and useful stuff to be found. You'll find a great diversity in how and what folks play, too, and some great pictures of wonderful instruments.

    I'd also suggest that Zan McLeod's instructional DVD from Homespun Tapes is a very good resource, as is the CD-Rom for bouzouki from Mad4Trad.

    Most of the folks whom I know who like to play single-note melodies on OMs like GDAE tuning. I like GDAD and I like to make very open chords. I rarely use a capo, because I wanted to learn about the sounds of different keys up and down the neck and didn't want to be dependent on the capo. If there are guitars and mandolins in a session, sometimes I'll use a capo just to get into a tonal/timbral range between 'em.

    Enjoy,

    stv
    steve V. johnson

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    When I play backing (which is when I am not playing Flute or Whistle), I usually use more of a counter melodic line and chords when there is another Zouk playing that. I use GDAE as it makes getting the High B a lot easier and that can be useful at times.

  5. #5
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    I play rhythm and backing in a Klezmer band and I use GDAD. I make heavy use of open strings and droning sounds in D and G and I often capo at the second fret and have the same open tunings for E and A. It is easy to move between major and minor modes, and to create different sounds using the top vs. bottom strings.

    So far it is working for me.

    Danny

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