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Understanding DADGAD for Fingerstyle Guitar (Mel Bay)

by Doug Young

Listen to a few of the examples from the book:

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Understanding DADGAD is a complete introduction to using DADGAD tuning for fingerstyle acoustic guitar. The book systematically explores the tuning, starting with simple chords and scale patterns, ultimately showing how DADGAD can be used to play in nearly any key and in many different musical styles. Topics include movable and open-string chords and scales, intervals, the harp-effect, common chord progressions in DADGAD and more, all in the context of either short musical examples or complete tunes.

Rather than just providing scales, chords, or tunes, this book guides the reader through the process of understanding the guitar from the perspective of DADGAD tuning. Topics are organized as a series of small self-contained sections - usually 2 facing pages - ideal for a single study session or lesson. After exploring extremely easy ways to get started with DADGAD, involving as little as a single finger on the fretting hand, the book progresses to examples that will interest even more advanced players. Two hundred musical examples, including several full performance-quality pieces, demonstrate each concept. The companion recording features the author playing many of the examples.

 Buy it online:



Guitar Player Magazine, Sept 2008

"Is DADGAD really an "altered tuning", as it is referred to by so many guitarists? Or is it a parallel universe in which open strings jangle vibrantly within chords and melodies, making them easy and satisfying to play, and helping riffs chime for days. Jimmy Page, Adrian Legg, and Doug Young (who wrote the excellent Mel Bay offering, Understanding DADGAD for Fingerstyle Guitar), would take the latter stance. And remember, DADGAD isn't only for the key of D. Get into the jangley tuning by dropping your sixth, second, and first strings a whole step from standard, play this splendid phrase from Young's book, and you'll hear how gorgeous the tuning sounds in A minor."


Bob Evans,
Winfield Fingerpicking Champion
(on the fingerstyle-i mailing list)

"Jim beat me to suggesting Doug Young's book "Understanding DADGAD
for Fingerstyle Guitar ".

Go to and you can preview chapter 1 of the book and also
view the table of contents to see what else it contains. The book
comes with a CD containing all of the musical examples. It's not
free, but it is packed with useful information and delivers big bang
for the buck.

Doug really covers all the bases in the book. Aside from pieces to
learn, there is also a lot of applied theory presented, including
discussions about intervals, scales and transferring the CAGED
system concept to DADGAD tuning.

More specific to your request, he discusses chord progressions in
DADGAD tuning - blues, II-V-I, I-VI-II-V-I, and playing in a variety
of keys.

Doug really moves out of the "Celtic mode" that DADGAD is so often
associated with, and really demonstrates its potential as a versatile
tuning. I say this as someone who has never really been taken with
DADGAD - I was impressed with what he's done.


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