Roxburgh Castle (Blanchard’s Hornpipe)

Thanks to Stanley Parker, this is a great hornpipe, probably from Scotland or the north of England. I’ve reworked his arrangement to make the fingering a little easier to play fast.

Pressed For Time – Gordon Duncan

This tune, written by the Scottish bagpiper Gordon Duncan is interesting in that is has some guitar-style licks in it, not at all what you’d expect from bagpipes! I listened to the Irish group Flook playing this and the guitarist used a simple backing of G, D and A (it’s in the key of D). The way he played them reminded me of early AC/DC songs like “Live Wire”, so I decided to add electric guitar to my arrangement. The 16th notes which are played for ornamentation are done by ‘chicken picking’ the same string (so not campanella) -thumb, middle, thumb. I’ve written out the tab so you can try for yourself if you wish.

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the Road to Ballinamuck

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My tribute to Maggie Boyle who died last year at the young age of 57.
A lovely person who I had the privilege to meet a couple of times on the UK folk scene. If you think you’ve never heard of her, you might remember the theme tune to Patriot Games with Harrison Ford ( ), and also Legends of the Fall, both scores written by James Horner, a big Celtic music fan.
This simple tune is actually quite tricky to play in the campanella style – the repetition of E’s and F’s in the first part need to played alternately on the third and second strings. The original had Maggie on flute and tin whistle and Steve Tilston on guitar.
Listen to it here:

Thanks to Baton Rouge Ukuleles for my new instrument, the V6 C Venus

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Campanella Pentatonic Scale

I made this improvisation to demonstrate how playing a simple pentatonic scale can produce very relaxing sounds which are great for meditating or just chilling out. I’m not the kind of person that finds it easy to meditate properly, but I do find it incredibly relaxing to take my guitar or uke and play these scales. Pentatonic scales are common all around the world and might remind you here of what we imagine oriental music to sound like.

Here is one way to play the D minor scale:

Going up the neck a bit higher:


In the video I also use harmonics to go higher – natural harmonics on the first and fourth strings 12th fret and artificial harmonics on the C – first string third fret (touch the string on the fifteenth fret to produce the harmonic); C – second string first fret (13th fret for the harmonic) and D third string second fret (14th fret for the harmonic).

If you like this and want to use it for chilling out, you can download the MP3 (for free or for a donation if you feel like it) here: here at