Celtic Folk Music on the Guitar

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Celtic Folk Music on the Guitar is a blog dedicated to helping guitarists of all levels learn and enjoy this wonderful genre of music. Here you’ll find lessons, tips, and resources for playing Celtic Folk music on the guitar.


Celtic guitar music is a genre of folk music that developed in the late twentieth century. It is characterized by the use of acoustic guitars and traditional Celtic instruments such as the bodhrán and penny whistle. The music is often written in compound time signatures, such as 6/8 or 9/8, and employs a variety of chord progressions.

Celtic guitarists often use alternative tunings to create unique sounding melodies and harmonies. Some of the most common tunings are DADGAD, open G, and open D. Celtic guitar music can be tracing its roots back to the work of Scottish singer-songwriter Bert Jansch, who popularized DADGAD tuning in the 1960s.

In recent years, Celtic guitar music has seen a resurgence in popularity due in part to the rise of singer-songwriters such as Ed Sheeran and Passenger. If you’re interested in learning how to play this style of music, there are a few things you should keep in mind. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to get started playing Celtic guitar music.

What is Celtic Folk Music?

Celtic Folk music is music that has been passed down through the generations by the people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. The music is often characterized by its unique melodies and rhythms. Celtic Folk music is often played on traditional instruments such as the fiddle, penny whistle, accordion, and Celtic harp.

Guitarists who are interested in playing Celtic Folk music will find that it is not too difficult to learn. There are many easy melodies that can be learned by ear. In addition, there are a number of books and online resources that can teach guitarists how to play Celtic Folk music.

The Instruments Used in Celtic Folk Music

The music of the Celtic people is a rich and vibrant genre that has its roots in folk traditions from countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. Over the centuries, Celtic music has evolved and incorporates elements of classical, jazz, and rock music. The instruments used in Celtic folk music include the following:

-Fiddle: The fiddle is a stringed instrument that is played with a bow. It is similar to the violin but has a lighter sound.
-Uilleann pipes: The uilleann pipes are a type of bagpipe that originated in Ireland. They are played by squeezing a bag of air with one hand while simultaneously playing notes on a flute-like melody pipe with the other hand.
-Guitar: The guitar is a popular instrument in many genres of music, including Celtic folk music. Guitars can be acoustic or electric.
-Bodhran: The bodhran is a type of drum that originates from Ireland. It is traditionally made from goat skin and played with sticks or mallets.
-Harp: The harp is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking the strings with the fingers. It is a common instrument in Celtic music.

The History of Celtic Folk Music

The history of Celtic Folk music is long and complicated. It is a genre that has been used for centuries to tell stories and express emotions. The music has its roots in the ancient Celtic cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany.

Celtic Folk music was originally created by the Celtic people, who were a group of people that lived in Europe during the Iron Age. The Celts were known for their love of music, and they would often play their music loudly on their drums and other instruments.

Celtic Folk music has been passed down through the generations, and it is still popular today. Many modern folk singers have been inspired by the Celtic Folk tradition. Some of these singers include Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Simon & Garfunkel.

Celtic Folk music is still played today by many different people. It is often played at Celtic festivals, which are held throughout the year.

Celtic Folk Music Today

Celtic music today is a vibrant and ever-changing genre that encompasses a wide range of styles. From traditional ballads to upbeat reels, there is something for everyone to enjoy. While the genre has its roots in the music of Ireland and Scotland, it has since been adopted by cultures all over the world.

If you’re a fan of Celtic music, why not try your hand at playing it on the guitar? It’s a great way to show your appreciation for the genre and connect with other like-minded people. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Choose the right guitar. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to choose an acoustic guitar. You can always upgrade to an electric guitar later on if you want to play louder and faster-paced tunes.

Learn some basic chords. Before you start playing Celtic tunes, it’s important to learn some basic chords. This will give you a solid foundation to build upon as you progress.

Listen to lots of Celtic music. One of the best ways to learn how to play Celtic music on the guitar is by listening to as much of it as possible. Not only will this help you familiarize yourself with the genre, but it will also give you a feel for how the music is supposed to sound.

Find a teacher or tutor. While it’s possible to learn how to play Celtic music on the guitar by yourself, it’s often helpful to have someone else there to give you guidance and feedback. If you can find a teacher or tutor who specializes in Celtic music, that would be ideal.

How to Play Celtic Folk Music on the Guitar

Celtic folk music is a very popular genre of music to play on the guitar. There are many different ways to play this type of music, but there are some basic principles that you can follow to help you get started.

First, it is important to understand the different types of Celtic folk music. There are three main types: Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. Each type has its own unique sound and feel. You will need to decide which type of music you want to learn how to play before you begin.

Once you have decided which type of Celtic folk music you want to learn, the next step is to find some guitar tablature for the songs you want to learn. Tablature is simply a way of writing down music for the guitar so that it is easy to read and understand. You can find tablature for Celtic folk songs online or in many guitar magazines.

Once you have found some tablature for the songs you want to learn, the next step is to practice playing them. You may want to start by learning just a few simple songs so that you can get a feel for how the music sounds on the guitar. As you become more comfortable with playing Celtic folk music on the guitar, you can begin learning more complex songs.


In conclusion, Celtic folk music is a great genre for the guitar. It is interesting and challenging, and can be very rewarding to play. There are many different ways to approach it, and there is a lot of room for personal expression. I hope you have enjoyed exploring this style of music on the guitar.

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