Get my book of Irish tunes for campanella ukulele here.
The Blarney Pilgrim is quite easy to play and is an excellent example of how to get the best out of re-entrant tuning. A lot of the tune is played on open strings – it’s a simple tune – which makes campanella picking the most convenient and pleasing to listen to.
Not spectacularly original, I wrote this as a study in campanella picking. It’s a simple 32 bar slow jig. The hardest part is the notes A and G on the 12th fret – you will have to play a barre with your little finger (which is what I do) or an easier way would be to play the notes as 12th fret harmonics.
Nice tune. The guitarist Martin Simpson has a couple of beautiful versions of this tune, one of them on slide guitar. He says that some musicologists couldn’t believe that a folk song could be so rich – it’s almost impossible to say what key it’s in – but I think that someone with little musical education is less constrained by rules and conventions and therefore could come up with a tune like this more easily than someone with a classical education.
This isn’t what I normally do but I love this song and I’ve had it stuck in my head for quite a while now. I haven’t tried to play the Gary Jules version intro to the song, but just a simple intro using the structure of the chorus.
About the tab: My intro didn’t lead that naturally into the verse so there’s an extra beat. My music theory is very rusty and this was the only way I could make it sound nice. Sorry about that. Tab is also rather approximative, I kind of improvised the melody around alternate picking patterns that I would do on the guitar. In the pre-chorus I’ve indicated single chords as I move up the melody, you could (and I do in the video) pluck chords for every note in the melody. The last chorus has alternating chord melody and fingerpicked chords – this is not indicated in the tab, but just do what you feel is right.
Here is the download link for the tab: Mad World – fingerstyle ukulele cover
I’m starting to get interested in ‘old time’ country music. These are the predecessors of modern bluegrass and many of the tunes have their roots in Irish, Scottish and Northern English traditional music. This version of Betty Likens (or Betsy Likens) seems to have been altered to sound more bluesy, there’s a lot of pentatonic stuff going on here. I’ve used Lisa McCormick’s guitar part (her lesson is on Youtube) and added ukulele and my diddley-bow (this one is a cigar box version).