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Irish Flatpicking Guitar
with Flynn Cohen
 
 
About This Course
 
Learn to play traditional Irish dance tunes such as reels, jigs, and hornpipes on the guitar in the style of Paul Brady, John Doyle, Arty McGlynn, and others. With technique lessons on jig picking, triplets, and other techniques derived from traditional Irish tenor banjo playing.
 
 
Try a Sample Lesson
 

The B part of “Tuamgraney Castle” starts with a slide up to third position. Flynn walks you through the second part of “Tuamgraney Castle” in this video.

 
 
 
Meet the Instructor
Flynn Cohen
 
 
Acoustic guitar and mandolin player Flynn Cohen has performed all over the world with many notable acts in traditional and contemporary acoustic music. He can be seen in concert with the American folk band Low Lily and legendary Irish accordion player John Whelan, as well as in duo shows playing music from his four solo albums. A former guitar student of John Renbourn, Davey Graham, Scott Nygaard, and Paul Binkley, Flynn has degrees in music from Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England, and Mills College in Oakland, California.
 
 
 
Peghead Play-Along Tracks
 
Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly.
 
 
Irish Flatpicking Guitar Source Material

Check out these songs featured in the Irish Flatpicking Guitar course.


The Irish Flatpicking Guitar Subscription Includes:
  • Detailed instruction on playing Irish dance tunes in a traditional style, with advice on ornamentation, picking, and phrasing
  • A variety of tunes, including reels, jigs, slip jigs, hornpipes and O’Carolan tunes, with Irish-style ornamentation
  • New lessons added every month
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see close-ups of both hands in action
  • Detailed notation and tablature for each lesson
  • Play-Along Track videos and audio downloads of Flynn playing the melodies so you can play along
  • Rhythm Play-Along Track videos and audio downloads of Flynn playing rhythm guitar in an Irish backup style
 
 
$20/Month For One Course
 
Additional courses only $10/month each!   •   Save 20% with an annual subscription
 
 
Get started now!
Use promo code FlynnLand at checkout
and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription.
 
 

Learn to play traditional Irish dance tunes such as reels, jigs, and hornpipes on the guitar in the style of Paul Brady, John Doyle, Arty McGlynn, and others. With technique lessons on jig picking, triplets, and other techniques derived from traditional Irish tenor banjo playing.

 
 
Irish Flatpicking Guitar Course Outline
 
Irish Flatpicking Technique
 
Alternate Picking

Flynn talks about the basic flatpicking technique used in 4/4, 3/4, and 2/4 time (reels, waltzes, and hornpipes) in Irish music: alternate picking, which involves alternating down- and upstrokes in a regular manner. It’s also the basic pick technique used in bluegrass, old-time music, etc. Flynn also shows you the most common scales you’ll use in Irish music: D Dorian, D Mixolydian, and D major, all played in open position. You can use these scales to practice alternate picking.

 

Jig Picking

Jigs are in 6/8 time, with two beats divided into two groups of three eighth notes, so alternate picking doesn’t really work for jigs. Instead, in traditional Irish music the players of plectrum instruments (guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin, bouzouki) usually pick jigs with a down-up-down, down-up-down pattern, which creates a groove that works well with 6/8 time. Slip jigs, which are in 9/8 time, are also played with the down-up-down pattern. Flynn gives you a few scale exercises you can use to practice jig picking.

 

Picking Triplets

In Irish music, triplets are an important part of how people ornament the tunes, and in the tenor banjo tradition, picked triplets are essential. In this lesson, Flynn talks about different kinds of triplets and how they’re used. He also gives you a few ways to practice them.

 

 
Irish Flatpicking Tunes
 
Tuamgraney Castle

“Tuamgraney Castle” is a hornpipe in the key of A minor (or A Dorian). It has a bouncy swing feel, and Flynn plays it with a few ornaments, including a roll on the A note at the second fret of the G string.

 

The Morning Star

“The Morning Star” is a single reel in the key of G and its relative minor, E minor. Flynn ornaments it with grace notes (called “cuts” in Irish music) and triplets. Single reels are shorter than standard reels; each part is only four measures long and while each part is repeated, sometimes, as in “The Morning Star,” the second B part ends differently than the first.

 

Garrett Barry’s Jig

“Garrett Barry’s Jig” is in the key of D modal (D Mixolydian) and is a very common seisiún tune. Like all jigs, it uses “jig picking,” so if you haven’t gone through the lesson on jig picking, you should do that before tackling this lesson.

 

The Geese in the Bog

In this lesson Flynn introduces you to playing triplets with “The Geese in the Bog,” a jig in the keys of C and A minor. Flynn first learned “The Geese in the Bog” while teaching Comhaltas Ceoltoírí Eireann classes in Boston. Comhaltas is an organization devoted to the preservation of Irish traditional music. Since “The Geese in the Bog” is the first tune you’ll learn with picked triplets (“trebles”), if you haven’t gone through the lesson on Picking Triplets, you should do that before you tackle this lesson. 

 

The Hare’s Paw

“The Hare’s Paw” is a reel in the keys of G and E minor. Flynn plays a lot of it in second position and uses guitaristic slides, “trebles,” and slurred triplets.

 

The Boyne Hunt

“The Boyne Hunt” is a reel in the key of D major. It’s part of the Comhaltas Ceoltoírí Eireann catalog of standard tunes and is played all over the world. Flynn plays the entire tune in second position with two different kinds of trebles and a roll in the B part.

 

A Fig for a Kiss

“A Fig for a Kiss” is a well-known slip jig and is popular at seisiúns. It’s in the key of E minor (E Dorian) and has a few ornaments: cuts and picked triplets. Slip jigs are in 9/8, so you’ll use jig picking to play “A Fig for a Kiss.”

 

Planxty Irwin

“Planxty Irwin” was composed by the 18th-century harper Turlough O’Carolan, who lived around the same time as J.S. Bach. He wrote numerous harp pieces that are a combination of traditional Irish music and Baroque music, and many of them have become popular at trad seisiúns. “Planxty Irwin” is in 3/4 time in the key of G major.

 

The Connachtman’s Rambles

“The Connachtman’s Rambles” is a jig in the keys of D and B minor and is a very common seisiún tune. The A part is clearly in D major and the B part is clearly in B minor. The B part includes some stretches and strong cuts on the top string.

 

Elizabeth Kelly's Delight

“Elizabeth Kelly's Delight” is a slip jig in A minor (or D modal). Flynn was influenced by Paddy Glackin and Micheál Ó Domhnaill’s recording and there’s also a great Lúnasa recording of it. You can compare versions, if you want, on The Session.org. Flynn plays the whole tune in second position, fingering the B and C notes on the G string rather than the B string.

 

Mrs. Carolan’s

“Mrs. Carolan’s” is the name Flynn gives for a reel in the key of D modal that he learned when he was playing with acclaimed Irish button accordionist John Whelan, who recorded it on Come to Dance, where it was called “Sleepy Maggie.” Flynn plays “Mrs. Carolan’s” in second position, with a lot of trebles. In this lesson, he also shows you how a more flexible pick can help when you’re playing a tune with a lot of trebles.

 

Lark on the Strand

 

“Lark on the Strand” is a jig that is commonly played in the key of G, but Flynn plays it in D because it sounds great on the guitar in D, and because there’s a great version of “Lark on the Strand” in D played by the band Dervish, with Séamie O'Dowd on guitar.

 

Palmer’s Gate

“Palmer’s Gate” is a reel in the key of E minor and G major. It was written by Joe Liddy and it appears on the Dervish album Midsummer’s Night. It includes some trebles and rolls on the E note on the second fret of the D string.

 

Captain O’Kane

“Captain O’Kane” is a waltz written by Turlough O’Carolan. It’s in the key of E minor, and in the B part, the E harmonic minor scale appears in a couple of places, with a D# instead of a D natural.

 

 

Jim Ward’s Jig

“Jim Ward’s Jig” is a popular jig in the key of G major. It has a nice shift toward D modal in the B part. Flynn plays it entirely in second position.

 

This Is My Love, Do You Like Her?

“This Is My Love, Do You Like Her?” is a slide, which is similar to a jig. Slides are in 12/8 time and have more of a quarter/eighth feel than jigs. 12/8 can also be thought of as like 4/4 but with a triplet feel for the quarter notes. “This Is My Love, Do You Like Her?” is in the key of A minor, and there’s a great recording of it by the Bothy Band on the album After Hours.

 

Stack of Barley - New Lesson

“Stack of Barley” is a traditional hornpipe in the key of G major. It’s played with a swing feel, and there are quite a few triplets but Flynn plays them all with slurs. You’ll be shifting back and forth between first and second position quite a bit as well. Flynn’s arrangement is based on the Comhaltas Ceoltoírí Eireann version.

 

 
 
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    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
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    ● Repertoire
 
 
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