Dublin Blues

by Guy Clark • Lesson #445 • Jul 14, 2022

In today’s lesson I’ll teach you how to play Dublin Blues, the Guy Clark classic from 1995. This is a three chord song (D, G, and A) where we’ll have a capo on the 2nd fret – but we’ll only put the capo on the thinnest five strings. This gives us a tuning similar to Drop D, where the D-major chord is played with all six strings (e.g. 000232) — but the G and A major are played like normal, which is great! I’ll teach you the chords, break down the intro riff step by step, and show you a few options for strumming. Enjoy!

Free Video Lesson

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 Playthrough
  • 1:17 Chord Shapes
  • 1:55 Intro: Bass Notes
  • 5:25 Intro: Adding Basic Strums
  • 8:37 Intro: Adding Full Strums
  • 10:37 Strumming (Verse & Chorus)
  • 16:07 Adding an Optional D-Riff
  • 19:03 About the Texas Chili Parlor

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Guy Clark Performing This Song

Album version:

Live version from Austin City Limits:

Additional Tuning and Capo Notes

To the ear, this song is in the Key of E (using the chords E, A, and B). But by adding a capo on the 2nd fret, we’re able to use the chords D, G, and A. This is what I do in my lesson, and likewise what Guy Clark does when he plays it. With regard to tuning and how you apply the capo, you have a few options.

Option 1: Stay in Standard Tuning, Capo 2nd Fret on thinnest 5 Strings

I suggest playing this song with a capo (2nd fret) across the thinnest 5 strings only, while keeping the strings tuned to standard tuning (EADGBe). This lets you play a D chord using all six strings, while also playing the G chord like you normally would. Best of both worlds! This is what I recommend, and likewise what I use in my main video lesson.

** e --2---3---0--
** B --3---0---2--
** G --2---0---2--
** D --0---0---2--
** A --0---2---0--
   E --0---3------
       D   G   A

Option 2: Tune Thinnest String Down to D, Capo 2nd Fret on thinnest 5 Strings

To play it exactly like Guy Clark, use the same 5-string capo approach as above (2nd fret), but also tune the thinnest string down a whole step, to a D. This modifies the chord voicings slightly, as shown below. Note, I don’t think you need to use this approach — as option #1 shown above gets the job done just fine, especially if you’re just getting started with things.

** d --0---0---2--
** B --3---0---2--
** G --2---0---2--
** D --0---0---2--
** A --0---2---0--
   E --0---3------
       D   G   A

Option 3: Drop-D Tuning, Capo 2nd Fret on all 6 Strings

You can also play this song with typical Drop-D tuning, along with a capo on the 2nd fret (across all strings). For the G chord, use your left ring finger on the 5th fret note. That same finger can mute the 5th string, so it doesn’t make a sound. Meanwhile, put your left index finger on the 3rd fret note (thinnest string).

** e --2---3---0--
** B --3---0---2--
** G --2---0---2--
** D --0---0---2--
** A --0---x---0--
** D --0---5------
       D   G   A

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