I love DADGAD tuning, and have used it in two of my publications for the guitar: Scottish Traditional Music For Guitar (Hardie Press) and The Scottish Guitar (Centerstream). But I can now announce a new DADGAD series published by Mel Bay, which I’m very excited about.

DADGAD is an alternative tuning for the guitar – the letters spell out the string tuning, bass to treble. It’s one of the most popular alternative tunings used by acoustic guitarists. Check out the virtuoso use of the tuning by Laurence Juber and Pierre Bensusan – to name just two amazing musicians.

N.B. All books contain Easy to Intermediate levels, with maybe one or two pieces knocking on the Advanced door – except the Ragtime book, which is Intermediate to Advanced. 

All SIX books in the series are now available:

1. The Easy DADGAD Celtic Guitar Book


The Book + Online Audio version HERE

The eBook + Online Audio version HERE

Distribution in the UK is through Music Sales, so the books will be available in most music and book shops. Just ask the salesperson to order a copy, if they don’t have one in stock. The usual online bookshops should have it as well. NB As this edition has just recently come out, it will take a while to get into shops.

About the book:

I’ve arranged thirty well-known session tunes in DADGAD tuning, using standard notation and TAB. The “easy” of the title refers to their being no bass lines, chords, or funky rhythms. What we have here is the tune, pure and simple, which is the essential thing you need for playing traditional music. The great thing about DADGAD tuning is that a single melodic line sounds full and resonant on the guitar. Have a look at the promo video, where I read through a selection of pieces from the book:

There is also a BONUS TAB SECTION of 25 traditional pieces taken from 17th-century Scottish lute manuscripts. I’ll be recording a video of some of these soon.

Included in the book are some tunes taken from an 18th-century Scottish guitar source, the Jean Kirkpatrick manuscript. You can read more about her and her manuscript on a website I created, devoted to the guitar from that period: HERE. Many of the tunes Jean played on her guitar are still played in sessions today, in almost exactly the same arrangements. For me it is important that we recognise that the guitar and cittern (Jean’s guitar was a cross between a guitar and a cittern) have been played in Scotland and Ireland since the mid 18th century. We guitarists have our own rich tradition of playing traditional music!

Here is a List of Contents:

Introduction, Banish Misfortune, Carrick Fergus, Comely Garden Reel, Cooley’s Reel, Da Forfeit O Da Ship, Da Mirrie Boys O Greenland, Drowsy Maggie, Father Kelly’s Reel, Jack Lattin, Lord Kelly’s Reel, Maggie Lawder, Morrison’s Jig, O’er Bogie, Roslin Castle, Sleep Soond In Da Mornin, Sleepy Maggie, Soldier’s Joy, St Anne’s Reel, St Patrick’s Day In The Morning, The Balleydesmond Polka, The Concertina Reel, The East Nook Of Fife, The Humours Of Tulla, The Kesh, The Lasses Trust In Providence, The Maid Behind The Bar, The Parson And His Boots, The Rights Of Man, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Willafjord, BONUS – 25 Scottish 17th-century lute tunes in DADGAD TAB

The Introduction includes a TECHNIQUE PRIMER to get you fit and ready for playing the tunes. And there are written notes on the background to each individual tune.

2. Easy DADGAD Classics for Acoustic Guitar


I’m delighted to announce the publication of my Easy DADGAD Classics for Acoustic Guitar, from Mel Bay Publications.

Music by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and others, arranged from Easy to Advanced levels.

It can be purchased from Mel Bay stockists, or from their websitewith the option of downloading it as an eBook. All sound files for every piece in the book also available from the Mel Bay site.

Promo video, where I read through several pieces from the book, culminating in the Prelude from Bach’s first cello suite:

3. DADGAD Blues – Easy to Intermediate


The third in my series of DADGAD books for Mel Bay Publications is dedicated to the Blues!

I’m really proud of this one folks, so please don’t miss out. The book is available as a paper copy, and also as an eBook from here:

Here’s promo video, where I play through a few pieces:

Here are some of the soundfiles:

The standard goes from Easy to Intermediate, knocking on the door of Advanced.

Eventually it will be available from your local music store, and can be ordered through any bookshop that sells Mel Bay products. Currently available as Worldwide eBook download from

4. DADGAD Old-Time, Bluegrass and Flatpicking


From the Mel Bay website: “Make your old-time and bluegrass music sing through the warm open-string sound of DADGAD tuning! This book includes twenty classic old-time and bluegrass tunes, arranged and recorded by Rob MacKillop. The material is ideal for players of easy to intermediate levels and is designed for flatpicking, but can also be played fingerstyle. Repertoire includes Angeline the Baker, Blackberry Blossom, Fire on the Mountain, Old Joe Clark, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Wildwood Flower and much more. Additional content includes DADGAD chord diagrams, instructions and a technique primer. Includes access to online audio.”

5. DADGAD Ragtime and Early Jazz

Ragtime Cover.jpg

From the Mel Bay website: “Ragtime music and DADGAD tuning seem to be made for each other, or so you will believe after playing these wonderful arrangements by Rob MacKillop. With performance levels running from intermediate to advanced, there is plenty here to challenge and delight the player and audience too. With titles by Scott Joplin (The Entertainer, Weeping Willow, etc.), James Scott (Grace and Beauty), Charles L. Johnson (Dill Pickles Rag), Fred Van Eps (Rag Pickings), to popular jazzier pieces by A. J. Weidt and the rag-influenced Piedmont blues of Blind Boy Fuller, there is quite a variety of styles to explore. Additionally, recordings by Rob MacKillop will guide and entertain you in the art of DADGAD ragtime guitar! Access to online audio is included. Written in tablature and standard notation.”

6. DADGAD Easy Christmas Favorites

For beginners – the easiest introduction to DADGAD tuning.

The twenty Christmas carols presented here form a perfect introduction to playing guitar in DADGAD tuning. The melodies are presented without added bass notes or chords – just those great melodies, once heard, never forgotten. This means you already know what the tune is supposed to sound like, leaving you to concentrate on playing the notes on the right string and fret, and for the right length of time.

This book is the easiest of Rob Mackillop’s DADGAD books. It assumes you know how to hold and tune the guitar, and play some notes and a few simple chords. The book includes a “Technique Primer” to help get you up and running, plus the essential chord diagrams for playing in DADGAD tuning. Book includes access to online audio featuring Rob MacKillop’s performance of each piece.