Great DADGAD Guitar Players – A Baker’s Dozen

DADGAD “the other standard tuning” is very popular among acoustic fingerstyle guitarists. The name “DADGAD” spells out the tunings of the guitar’s six strings. In normal tuning, the guitar is tuned, EADGBE. To get to DADGAD, both E strings are tuned down a whole step to D, and the B string is tuned down a whole step to A.

DADGAD is also a fundamental tuning for Celtic guitar. DADGAD tuning is attributed to British folk guitarist Davey Graham. The first DADGAD recording was Graham’s 1963 arrangement of the traditional Irish tune, “She Moved Through the Fair.”

Richard Thompson plays “She Moved Through The Fair.”

Note: I’ve listed some notable DADGAD players and have grouped them into some loose categories. Each player would easily fit into two or more categories, but I’ve only included each guitar player once.

Best of Bert Jansch
Best of Bert Jansch

British Folk/Rock DADGAD Guitar Players

Many British folk (and rock) guitarists influenced by Davey Graham added DADGAD tuning to their folk repertoires. These DADGAD guitar players include:

DADGAD In Celtic Guitar Music

Caledon Wood Celtic Guitar DVD by Al Petteway
Al Petteway Caledon Wood

One great benefit of DADGAD tuning is this, it allows acoustic guitarists to use a variety of moveable chords with open strings. This is particularly suitable to Celtic music. It allows those open strings to act as a drone on either bass or treble strings. This is a prime characteristic of Celtic music. Celtic guitarists who often play DADGAD include:

Rock Guitarists Who’ve Played in DADGAD Tuning

Led Zeppelin 1 DVD Record Album
Led Zeppelin 1

As the lines between folk music and rock music blurred, it wasn’t unusual to hear established rock guitar players incorporating folk roots into their music. This included DADGAD tuning. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page is one such rock player who was influenced by Davey Graham and the British folk guitar players. DADGAD tunings have cropped up in a number of Led Zeppelin tunes, most notably on Black Mountainside from the album, Led Zeppelin 1.

Guitarists known for rock ‘n’ roll who have made DADGAD guitar music include:

Laurence Juber plays “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”

DADGAD and Acoustic Solo Guitar Players

Pierre Bensusan Vividly Guitar CD
Pierre Bensusan, Vividly

DADGAD has such a full sound that it’s a natural choice for solo, acoustic players who will benefit by open chords and droning strings. The following guitarists, known for their solo acoustic playing often employ DADGAD tuning in their music:

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Book Review: Understanding DADGAD for Fingerstyle Guitar

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