Folky Fridays Jazz chord theory

Folky Fridays #40 – What makes a great sounding Irish guitar chord progression?

In this week’s Folky Fridays free online guitar lesson live stream from Folk Friend I will be running you through a few features of great sounding chord progressions.

Jazz chord theory

The secret to using jazz chords in Irish trad guitar – tetrads part 3 from Folk Friend

In this week’s free Irish guitar lesson from Folk Friend I’ll be showing you how you can use your new found knowledge of tetrads to invent loads of cool jazz chords to use in your Irish, Scottish and general trad guitar backing!

You can watch part 1 of this series here…

…And part 2 here.

Celtic music theory Jazz chord theory

Jazz chords for Irish guitar lesson 2 – the ionian, dorian, mixolydian and aeolian modes

This is the second free Irish guitar lesson from Folk Friend covering tetrads or four note “jazz chords”. This week I’ll be demonstrating how to use the principles covered in part one with classic Irish tunes in each of the four modes used in north western european folk music, ionian, dorian, mixolydian and aeolian.

Part 1 is available here

And part 3 here

I’ll be demonstrating with my playalongs for:

Maid Behind the Bar

The Butterfly

Fahy’s: Become a Folk Friend member now for access to this and 20 other playalongs, with guides to the theory and diagrams for all the chords used!

Celtic music theory Jazz chord theory

How to add jazz chords to Irish guitar backing PART 1: The three types of seven chord

In today’s free Irish guitar lesson from Folk Friend, I’ll be running you through the three families of 7 chords and how you can implement them to make your traditional folk guitar accompaniment sound more jazzy! We’ll be looking at major 7 chords, minor 7 chords and dominant 7 chords and discovering which ones fit with traditional tunes in certain keys and why.

My Celtic music theory for beginners videos can be found below:

Part 1

Part 2


The rest of my series on jazz chords in folk guitar can be found below:

Part 2

Part 3

Jazz chord theory

V-Is: most important chord progression in Celtic guitar!

Hello viewers! I had a comment from Ed Wright last week asking about chords for V-I progressions, so in this week’s Celtic guitar tutorial, I’ll be showing you a few of my favourite chord shapes along with some more unusual jazzy things you can do to make your V-Is more interesting!

You can find diagrams for all the guitar chords I use in this video on my blog, linked here.

Check out my blog on chord construction if you want to a simple music theory guide to help you learn more about how jazz chords are formed.

Chord scales for modes Folky Fridays Jazz chord theory

Folky Fridays #4 – Interesting chord progressions and music theory – Irish jig in the dorian mode

I’m sorry that I was cut off by a technical difficulty so didn’t have time to look at the other two modes I had planned to cover. Next time I’ll be finishing this topic off going through a few classic Irish and Scottish tunes in the mixolydian and aeolian modes and showing you, first how to pick out simple chords and second how to use substitutions to make them more interesting.

The fourth Folky Fridays livestream Irish guitar lesson covered how to pick chords by ear for Irish, Scottish or Celtic tuned in the dorian mode. I was working with the jig Slieve / Sliabh Russell, which is in the mode of A dorian. You can find it played slowly here:

And faster here:

As ever I’d love to hear any questions you have! Leave me a comment in the box and I’ll do my best to help however I can :).

Jazz chord theory Styles of great guitarists

How to play Irish guitar like zen master Dennis Cahill – part 1

In this video I’ll be running you through an Irish folk guitar chord progression and unusual strumming technique used by Dennis Cahill. The clip I show is from a live performance with Martin Hayes Live at the Irish Arts Centre, NYC, which you can watch in full below.

I should point out that in the B part of the clip, the second and third time through Dennis Cahill actually plays a slight variation on the chords I show. You can find diagrams for the variation on the accompanying blog for this video which is available here.

If you’d like to buy a whole album of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, I particularly like Live in Seattle, which you can buy here. Please support Folk Friend by buying through these affiliate links, which gives me a small commission and enables me to continue to make more free videos!

Of course all their albums are brilliant and if you like more orchestral, arranged sounding folk music then check out The Gloaming too.

Chord scales for modes Jazz chord theory Styles of great guitarists

Using Django Reinhardt’s Gypsy Jazz guitar chords for Irish tunes in the dorian mode

This week’s free Irish guitar lesson from Folk Friend will be delving into some of the shapes popularised by Django Reinhardt which went on to define the sound of gypsy jazz… and how you can recycle them to make your Celtic backing guitar sound cool!

For examples of the amazing “Hot Club” sound of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappeli, check out the brilliant Platinum Collection album available here. Support Folk Friend by buying through this link- I will get a small commission if you do, which enables me to make more free videos!

For this Irish guitar lesson, we’ll be working with a reel in the dorian mode called The Star of Munster. The recording I play along with in this clip is by Matt Coleman:

There is also a slower version here:

And an even slower version here:

Celtic music theory Chord scales for modes DADGAD Drop D Ear training Fingerstyle Jazz chord theory Picking patterns Strumming patterns

Top Ten guitar practice tips for Irish, Scottish and Celtic guitarists – Folk Friend

It can be difficult to get started learning Celtic backing guitar. There is so much to learn, from ear training, to music theory, to strumming patterns to rhythms to memorising tunes…. So much to practice- so little time! In today’s free Celtic guitar lesson from Folk Friend, I’m going to be telling you my top ten practice tips to make your guitar practice time more efficient.

I’ll also be demonstrating my brand new invention, the Folk Friend Guitar Practice Diary (click the link to buy now)! It uses a targeted system of quarterly, monthly and weekly reviews alongside an events calendar and my revolutionary Tablusic system to help you achieve your goals quickly. It also contains lots of handy tidbits for the budding Celtic guitarist, like chord shapes, mode diagrams, practice techniques and a ready made section for you to write your own tabs and chord diagrams quickly and easily.

The Stephen Guise book I mentioned (Mini Habits) is available here.

I receive a small affiliate commission if you buy it through the above link.

Jazz chord theory Strumming patterns Styles of great guitarists

Dennis Cahill Guitar Tricks – Accompanying The Old Bush Reel with “vague” and contrapuntal chords

I had a lot of positive feedback from the first Folk Friend Irish guitar lesson covering the unusual playing style of one of my acoustic guitar idols, Dennis Cahill. In fact I had so many messages about it that I’ve decided to have a more in-depth look at some unusual chords he uses to accompany a cracking Irish reel called The Old Bush. Thanks to my mum as ever for acting as my inexhaustible encyclopedia of tune titles!


You can watch part 1 of my guide to Dennis Cahill’s guitar style, which covers picking technique, using dynamic changes to build energy and some more standard chord choices, here.


The original clip of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill live from the Irish Arts Centre in New York City is available here:


Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill play this tune on their album The Lonesome Touch, which you can buy here:

Full disclosure- this is an affiliate link so I get a few pennies if you buy through it! Thanks.