Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD, MUSIC

How to tune to your guitar to DADGAD tuning

If you are new to open tuning a guitar

 Open Tuning = tune the guitar differently

DADGAD = tune your your lowest bass string to D

Your A string stays the same

Your D string stays the same

Your G string stays the same

Your B string drops down to A

And your high E string drops to D

This is a very good tuning to start with and there are a number of resources available.

 I have TAB and dots in DADGAD at

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD, MUSIC

DADGAD BLUES arrangements

Lastest updates of my DADGAD Blues and other arrangements are:

Four fingerstyle blues that are simple and musical.  There are a few twists that might be challenging for some players.

 An old folk song called Gypsy Rover with a simple bass part.

 Amazing Grace with a bluesy feel, a bit of new life breathed into it.

A 3 octave D blues scale, more of a rock style fingering.

 And also an Eastern sounding scale.

 Go to they are free tab and music notation in DADGAD downloadable in pdf format

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD

DADGAD guitar arrangements

I have written a couple of very playable DADGAD arrangements that are posted at These are free, extremely musical and will be really useful if you are swapping over to playing in DADGAD open tuning on acoustic guitar.  Although they are fingerstyle arrangements for both classical and steel string guitar there would be no lproblem in using a plectrum / pick or a combination of fingers and picks.  These tunes could easily be extended and modified  into songs that you’d play in an acoustic guitar repertoire.  Enjoy them, they are in acrobat reader format pdf, I have found that pdf prints much better than saving guitar tab and notation in an image format.

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD

dadgad blues scale

DADGAD Blues Scale

I’ve had a couple of requests from people wanting to know how to play a Blues scale in D. I purchased some new software today, (that’s right, a guitarist who purchases guitar software).

I’ve decided to change the fingering a little to help players get out of the normal patterns and allow a few open strings to ring out.  Put it this way, if you want to do normal fingering, just stay in normal tuning; open tuning is about expanding as a guitar player.  

Below is a gif image, if you want a better print copy, Download the PDF at the link  dadgad blues scale for acoustic guitar in pdf

 dadgad blues scale

This is a Minor Blues scale (note the Flat 3 note, the F natural) , it also has a flattened 5th note which gives it that BLUE sound as well, yes it clashes sometimes with other notes, it’s about tension ……………..and………….release.

 Use it against a standard blues pattern in D.  As you may know the foundation chords would be D, G and A or A7th.

I thought very carefully about the fingering, I was going to write in the fingering but I thought, why not offer a challenge.  My first fretted note would be with my 1st finger on the 3rd fret.

Good luck…plenty to follow on this topic.

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, DADGAD

Open tuning guitar – beginning

The first thing we notice when we start playing open tunings after playing in standard tuning is that the guitar suddenly relaxes.  It’s a bit like wearing a suit and tie and then suddenly being barefoot on the beach wearing shorts.

I was ready to post an article on something else today but I received a question from a blogger called MulledVine, it got me thinking.  He was wanting to find some online resources e.g. good basic arrangements of DADGAD songs.  OK, on the spot I couldn’t answer that because I write my own arrangements if I want to play a song.  But I’ll see what I can find in the near future.  But the question had a number of things that prompted me to write this article.

 I had a great teacher (and many others)  Ike Isaacs (Stephane Grapelli Quartet), I’d been playing 20 years when I met him and what he said was ‘you only need to learn about three songs (contrary to popular opinion)’.  What he also said was you need to learn them inside out, play them in every key,  play them with lots of chord substitutions and improvise over them.  If you do all this to three good songs that have great chord changes, by the end of it you’ll be a great player.

Getting back to DADGAD.  If you play an open chord in DADGAD it will give you a chord that I would call a Dsus4(no3rd). 
This chord is neither minor or major because it doesn’t have a 3rd; a 3rd being the defining factor of whether it is min or maj.  It has the first, a D note, a 5th an A note and the 4th note of the D scale G ( D, E, F sharp, G,  1234). 

 A lot of people would like the 3rd ( an F sharp)  to make a standard D chord, me I don’t mind, it’s implied in some way, the ear fills in the gaps.  One of the beauties of DADGAD is that it doesn’t sound like normal tuning.  But if you want a D sounding chord without the frills, the added G note, all you need to do is add a finger at the second fret on your 3rd string and it will give you another A note, so what you have now is a stack of D’s and A’s.  This is very useable regardless of all the repeated notes.


Lots of songs have 3 chords, so for this post I’ll add a couple of other chords.  To play a  G (type of) chord is very simple, just add three fretted notes, one to the 3rd string on the 4th fret, one to the 6th string on the 5th fret, and also a note at the 5th fret of the 2nd string.  The notes you would have then would be G A (avoid this low A when you strum) D B D D.  This is a G chord. In some tunes,  leaving the 2nd string open and adding that high A is quite sweet and useable.

DADGAD G chord how to

The next chord we add will be an A chord.  All you need to do is slide the fingers up two frets. 
You’ll have A A D C sharp E D. You can use the added high D note depending on the tune. 


Now, above we have three foundation chords in the key of D, with 3 chords we can play a lot of simple tunes.

Many classical players have a glorious guitar technique, but sometimes ( not always) they haven’t developed an ear because when they studied guitar they learnt to rely on dots, dots are a bit like training wheels, there’s a time to get rid of them.  The remedy that I find is useful for fixing this is to sit with a guitar, hum a few notes and then play them.  Then gradually get to the point where you can hum a whole melody and then play it.  Whenever I work with a singer I always learn to play a complete arrangement of a song that includes the melody and the chords together.  If the singer falls off the stage or falls in love with someone in the audience and runs off, I can keep playing.

 If you are interested in DADGAD.  I highly recommend two things, artilcles from acoustic guitar magazine Oct 2007 edition and also the April 1997 edition if you can get your hands on it.  Also the Mel Bay Complete Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar Book By Stefan Grossman, Duck Baker and El McMeen has some good arrangements. update I have checked the book this evening and I have noticed there are only three tunes in there that are DADGAD, but there are numerous arrangements by El McMeen in CGDGAD, these tunes are beautiful to play. There is a simple arrangement at  which is worth a look and could easily be developed into something much larger.

 In a nutshell, what I’m implying in this article is:

  • Develop an ear for melody and the ability to play what you here
  • Learn some basic chords in DADGAD
  • DADGAD is different to normal tuning and chords are implied not necessarily played

The idea of playing in DADGAD is to broaden your musical possibilities.  Take a simple 3 chord song that you know and try and put it into the key of D.

To be continued…

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar

DADGAD tuning and similar tunings

DADGAD and other similar tunings

There are times when each of us as musicians feels a little musically ‘stale’. The general tendency for most of us is to put our instrument down and find something a bit more stimulating to do – that is anything except music. These times in our musical life may possibly be signposts to expand out of our limited musical habits.  Most of us fear change; this is probably one of the greatest stumbling blocks that we as humans seem to be burdened with.  The most difficult thing as an artist of any medium to do is to balance the ‘creative aspect’ with the ‘practical side’ that gives us the necessary tools to develop technique.  When we’re not feeling creative it’s the perfect opportunity to look for building blocks to help us expand our musical vocabulary.  Not for the sake of being artistically clever but to develop a broader creative palette to draw from and venture out and explore new musical directions.

I wrote the article was written in 2000 to read the rest of it and find out and get some good simple ideas about playing in similar tunings go to

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar

acoustic guitar blog – guitar review

I purchased a new guitar three days ago.  Because buying a new guitar is a special event in most guitarists lives, I decided to start a new blog about guitar reviews.  To read the review, and why I purchased it go to The blog is hosted elsewhere and is still in the testing hase, I’m currently designing and debugging the blog.

Tony Hogan acoustic  guitar player

NOTE:  currently this article is offline due to a technical hitch

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC

What makes a good guitar player version 2

These are some of the basic things that make a good guitar:

  • The ability to listen
  • Leaving space for other musicians to play
  • Knowing that you are not the most important member of a group 
  • Having the humility to turn down to the same level as other players
  • Keeping a good sense of time and not speeding up
  • Being open to learning
  • Not soloing through the whole of a song
  • Having a sensible practice routine
  • Taking good care of your instruments
  • Ability to read chord charts
  • At least a basic understanding of harmony
  • A basic understang of music theory
  • Being in tune
  • Playing with feeling
  • Improvising in a suitable key to the rest of the band
  • Not sulking …yep you read this correctly

Continued from previous blog
Below is a link to a blog with a sample of my music

Posted in acoustic, Acoustic Guitar, acousticguitar, MUSIC

Did you stop playing guitar?

Someone visited my blog yesterday and she said had tried learning guitar, was useless and gave up.

After teaching for many years I’ve noticed there are phases to learning, and this is not just about guitar, it’s in all learning.

 When we first get the idea to play guitar we’re wide eyed and have lots of dreams.

The first week or two we’re in seventh heaven and are really clear…’I want to play music..that’s we’re I’m going and what I’ve always wanted.  Does this sound familiar?  If not, read on anyway.

 Week three we wobble, it starts to hurt a bit, the fingers suffer, co-ordinating the two hands is difficult and you’re wondering why you don’t have two brains…one for the left hand and one for he right…your confidence goes down.

 Week four is when most people drop out of playng an instrument, that’s if they don’t have the right things in place.

So what are the things that need to be in place?

 Firstly (and I’ve mentioned this in one of my other posts.)

It’s important to create something musical as soon as possible.  Unfortunately a lot of the old school ( I don’t mean old age) teachers are hell bent on shoving music theory at you straight way.  They suffered…you must suffer.  This is a really, really bad teaching practice and contributes to the dropout rate.  They don’t have an understanding of music, it comes from a limited mindset.

Find yourself a teacher that can inspire you. 

So how to chose a teacher?  Audition them…yes that’s right, they are working for you, audition them, make them show you their worth.   Oddly enough, I did this at 13 years age…I said to a guy …i want to play like Santana…he said ‘a what’…i said ‘latin music’…he played something that I couldn’t relate to, I went somewhere else and the guy taught me Blind Faith, Cream and some other stuff…this was about 1971.  Within a few years I was studying with great jazz musicians.

See if the person you are auditioning can play what you would like to play.  Give them a clear understanding of what you like, take a CD.  Be wary of the guys that want to sell you their ‘kit’…it might include a T shirt with their pic on it 🙂 .  There’s a teacher I know that teaches like that,  he’s a good player but starts everyone from the same place.  I don’t like it at all, music is personal.  It’s possible to deliver a professional service but also have respect for the needs of others.  The Internet marketing guys are telling everyone to ‘give em what the want’…’not what they need’..well my obligation is to music and not to Internet Marketing. 

 But I’ll tell you something, sometimes a teacher may not play the style you like but if they have their head screwed on correctly they’ll be able to take you a certain level, make it enjoyable and inspire you to play what’s in your heart.

 Music is very personal and what you need is someone that can:

  • Teach you what you need to know to be a good musician.
  • This means the basics to start playing simple music that is in time and in tune and most of all WITH FEELING.
  • Teach you to be a good self-learner and not dependant on them
  • Help build your confidence
  • Help draw the music out of you

Now here’s an interesting one that no one has ever mentioned to me but I know from personal experience.

The music that wants to come out of you may not necessarily be what you like to listen to.  This is a major factor that has not been addressed by any teacher I’ve met or in any magazine that I have read in the 37 years that I have been playing.  It’s an obvious one really. 

If you play the music that suits your nature and not what is fashionable, you’ll get a much better result musicaly and emotionally. ..And this may not be a thing that you will appreciate when you are younger but it’s worth considering.  It’s just a matter of being yourself.

 Thanks Lady Banana for the inspiration.