Guitar Tablature: Danny Boy
The lovely Irish ballad Danny Boy is actually based on an old traditional melody called Londonderry Air. And if you’ve ever checked out the derrieres in London, you can see why they changed the title. [Rim shot.] The lyrics were added later, as a poignant message from a father to his absent son.
To play Danny Boy on guitar, play slowly and gently, and try to make the one-beat chord changes (which occur in bars 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16) sound smooth and unrushed. Don’t worry if you can’t play the F chord in bar 14 cleanly at first; it takes some effort to cram three fingers onto the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings all at the 10th fret.
You can try this alternate fingering if you’re having trouble: Use your 3rd finger to barre the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings at the 10th fret, lifting it just enough to allow the 1st string (fretted by the 1st finger) to ring. It’s tricky, but you may find it easier than using four separate fingers for this form so high on the neck.