Orkney Guitar Chords

Way back when I first started this blog I put up some basic chords in the CGDGCD (Orkney) tuning. They were created using a piece of software called Fretty Charts, which was put together by guitarist Simon Fox. I think he has since taken it down, but this software filled the simple need of quickly being able generate chord graphics and charts. Programs like Finale and Sibelius are great, but if you want to slap a bunch of chord symbols on a 8.5 x 11 PDF file they can be overly complicated. It would be great to see Simon bring this software back.

I recently came across a fairly convenient way to output chord charts on my iPhone. The Guitar Toolkit app plus add on allows you to generate chords, place them on a chord sheet, and print or email the file. Not bad for being totally self contained on the iPhone. The software isnt perfect, if you notate chords with a capo on the capo shows up as a fretted string on the chord diagram, which is a bit problematic. But other than that it works well, and its very convenient to able to notate chords when I have a few minutes and email them to students.

The Orkney chord chart below is for a guitar with no capo. Whenever I backup irish music I almost always have a capo at the second fret. So try that as well and move the chords up a whole step. C becomes D, G becomes A, etc. I have tried other tunings for backup and I just keep coming back to Orkney. Perhaps I am just used to it. Other people certainly sound great in Drop D or DADGAD. The one downside is Orkney is not great for flatpicking, not having a D on that open fourth string is awkward. But I do not really flatpick a ton of irish tunes, so its not a big deal. If I need to I just go to Drop D, though i would like to explore the CFCGCD tuning more that John Doyle uses. Its not a far leap from Orkney, and with a capo at II makes it DGDADE, which is much better for flatpicking. I guess in the end its hard for me to settle on one tuning.

Download Orkney Chord Chart PDF