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Guitar DADGAD Tuning

Updated on April 24, 2016

Chord diagram

The DADGAD tuning is covered in my other hub Guitar in DADGAD tuning, and there is some video to show you what can be achieved - even if you don't play guitar yet, you might enjoy the music. DADGAD tuning for guitar is another hub, with more chord pictures added.

See also DADGAD chords, and the latest hub DADGAD Tuning chords, which includes Irish songs performed by Van Morrison and The Chieftains.

The first seven chords are the chords in the harmonised scale of D, which is all you need for most folk, pop and rock songs. The chord name is subject to discussion, but 99% accurate I think. After that you could explore some weird and wonderful chords - use the shapes I've written out, but move them up and down the neck in a spirit of playful exploration. I find red wine helps with this.

The DADGAD tuning is especially effective for Irish/Celtic/Breton music and for solo singer-guitarists can give you a really full and interesting sound with very little effort.

Important tip: Do try picking or playing arpeggios through these chords rather than just strumming. Also harmonics at frets 5, 7, 12 will sound terrific.

DADGAD tuning Chord Pictures

Open D tuning

Changing just one string (string 3 from G to F sharp) puts you in open D tuning. Of course, the chord shapes will be different. Open D = D A D F A D

Check out my new hub Guitar in Open D tuning for the chord shapes.

Songwriting

This tuning is great for songwriting. Many really original sounding chords are there to be discovered, and the open string ring will really bring out the best in an acoustic guitar.

The power of tunings is everywhere on the early Joni Mitchell albums. Hejira is one of my favourites.

I'll put in a link to a Joni Mitchell fan site, which has a very comprehensive selection of her songs with lyrics and chord changes. It's a work of art really, and essential as a source for songwriters and acoustic guitar players.

Big Yellow Taxi

This is one example of a song that sounds great in the Open D tuning ( D A D Fsharp A D) - using barre shapes on frets 0, 5, 7,with some E7 shapes hammered on. it's very easy to play, but the sound is full and will bring out the tone from most acoustics. Probably played on a dreadnought Martin.

More DADGAD chords

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    • Jon Green profile image
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      Jon Green 4 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi - you're welcome. Open G tuning is also great, as used by The Rolling Stones, Ry Cooder, Joni Mitchell.

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 5 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks napetv, you're welcome.

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      You're welcome Joe.

    • profile image

      Joe Emery 6 years ago

      I can work with that.

      Thank you jon!

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Joe - chords are posted above - only a rough guide.

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Joe - most of the chords are on the chord grids above. The intro and verse - first 2 chords, with the 4th fret hammer -on, slide into chord 2. (three times) Then there is a rundown on string 1 (see last box)to the G chord. Chorus is the G, A, D chords, then Em to D/f sharp. It's hard to hear exactly what's going on!

    • profile image

      Joe emery 6 years ago

      Our church has a general cycling license. It can be played just not distributed or projected. I have also emailed the artist for approval.

      It is Andrew Peterson's "God of our fathers"

      Thee are a couple videos on YouTube but not much. On one you can see the fingering pretty well but I am not as familiar with the tuning so I cant get it down as easy.

      Any assistance would be appreciated. Even the chord pattern and I can go from there

      Thank you for considering

      Joe

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Joe - there are copyright issues, will see what I can do though.

    • profile image

      Joe Emery 6 years ago

      Hi Jon

      Have you ever worked on figuring out songs for people?

      There is a very particular song I would really like to play for our 4th and last child's baptism. I am sure it is in DADGAD tuning

      thx

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi. It's great for Irish songs and harmonics, also John Martyn tunes like Spencer The Rover.

    • profile image

      Hughesy 6 years ago

      Hi mate, thanks for taking the time to draw out the shapes. I've been messing around with dadgad on a little parlour guitar i picked up while travelling Asia and you have given me the pointers I needed to progress with it. Got a new song written within 5 minutes of playing !! Nice one

    • profile image

      santossanchez 6 years ago from ga

      what is your email. i cant get that piece on here.

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi santos - OK, will do that. I'm not well known as a DADGAD player though.

    • profile image

      santos 6 years ago

      hey. if i sent you a piece since your a well known dadgad player could you give me notes on it ups and downs?

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi Santos - try asking other guitar players, maybe in a music shop.

    • profile image

      santos sanchez 6 years ago

      how do you tell if your good in dadgad jon and if you are should you take you music elsewhere and play for people?

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      It's to give you different sounds, usually fuller sounding chords. You could play any song in DADGAD, but it's most suitable for Irish or folk music that uses drone notes.If you want to play jazz or blues you would want to use normal tuning.

    • profile image

      reallynk 6 years ago

      hello jon, can you tell me the theory how can they change the tuning like that? what do they base on? and more over, why can the artist know when will they change the tuning?

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi heavenrooms - you're welcome

    • profile image

      heavenrooms 6 years ago

      great hub, thak's for the information

    • profile image

      israel nyathi 7 years ago

      dear sir/madam help me how can lean this style of DADGAD or drop C TUNINGS.MY EMAIL IS nyathiisrael@yahoo.com

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 7 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      It's easier than you think - but having a second guitar is a big help.

    • DaveL profile image

      DaveL 7 years ago from UK

      Cheers - I've always wanted to see how familiar chords look in a different tuning. I feel I have to improve a lot before I start with this tuning though, the new chord shapes will take me a while I think, but it's nice to be able to visualise them.

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