“Danny Boy” – Irish Ballad

Below is the lesson for “Danny Boy”.

Helpful Tips

A timeless Irish ballad; this arrangement begins as a chord melody, but transitions into a fingerpicked harmony with vocals. This song is split into three sections (Intro, Verse, Chorus); each being 8 bars in length. The Intro is played as a chord melody in 7th position (frets 7-10), before moving down the neck for the Verse and Chorus, which is played in open position (frets 0-4). By using the entire span of the neck, we create movement, which makes the piece sound like it’s flowing and developing, similar to if we were telling a story (i.e. there is a beginning, middle, and end).

So when you get to the Verse and the Chorus, that’s when the vocal comes in; and this is when we switch over from playing chord melody style to fingerpicking chords. Now there’s two things that are great about this:

1) Only the Intro is a chord melody. This allows you to test the waters with playing chord melody, instead of feeling overwhelmed by trying to tackle an entire piece in that style.

2) The Verse and the Chorus has you fingerpicking plus singing, not strumming plus singing. A lot of times when we learn songs, it’s in the style of the latter; but if we want to push ourselves and get to the next level, we need to focus on the former.

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

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