Learn To Play The Irish Bouzouki

Zan McLeod
90 minute video, Includes music and tab. With Billy McComisky, Button Accordion
  • Code:DLZMCBZ21
  • Skill Level:Novice (1)

The bouzouki has, in the past thirty years, become a powerful addition to the instrumental line-up of many Irish session and performing bands. Zan McLeod, one of the Celtic music world's most talented bouzouki players, accompanists and arrangers, has created a lesson that is comprehensive enough to be of great value to beginners and experienced players alike.

The bouzouki is played with a flatpick and can cover both lead and rhythm roles. It's not unlike a large mandolin, with its four courses of double strings. Zan starts at the beginning, teaching tunings as well as basic scales and chords. He also covers right hand pick technique and rhythmic innovations such as cross picking, strumming patterns, accents and syncopations.

With the help of button accordion virtuoso Billy McComisky, Zan explores the bouzouki through the study of traditional reels, jigs and slip jigs. You'll learn to play in several keys using ringing drone strings, moving lines, chord substitutions, harmonized scales and counter melodies, all designed to enhance your accompaniments. The tunes you'll be working on include Lady Anne Montgomery, The Galway Rambler, Kesh Jig, Barney Bralligan's and The Butterfly.

Zan makes it easy to learn by playing each tune slowly, showing the various elements that can be used to make your tune come alive. At the same time, you'll learn aspects of music theory and musicianship that will enhance any style of music or instrument you wish to play.


"The octave mandolin, cittern, mandocello and bouzouki are basically the same. The tunings are the main variation. I use GDAD on the video. The mandolin also sounds nice with that tuning, especially when you play open chords. I also use the "standard" straight fifths tuning GDAE, but the GDAD sounds more Irish." -- Zan McLeod


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