Lesson 9 – Star of the County Down

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Historical Comment Archive:
  • bob seeley May 9, 2022

    Brad, you are right about that being a catchy tune. It has proven to be great practice for playing 8th notes as well as hammer ons. Playing the chords of this song with proper quarter notes and eighth notes has also been very helpful in timing practice for me as well.

  • Joanne Craigie May 22, 2022

    The explanation of the 3-note fingering windows was an ‘aha moment’ helpful in mapping out the BC EF patterns (Be Cause Elephants Fart) in the chromatic scale. Had to repeat the lesson but time worth spent. Thanks for encouraging learning by ear. It’s not that hard at all and truly motivating when you get it!

    • Brad Bordessa May 22, 2022

      LOL! Be Cause Elephants Fart. Can’t wait to tell my students that one!

  • Stephen Smith Jan 1, 2023

    Really loving the course so far! I’m finding a lot of joy in using the metronome, focusing on playing every note cleanly and fretting it in the right spot 2/3 up the fret, pressing just enough, etc. I’ve never really been into metronomes before and would usually just rush through a song like this and try to get to the harder stuff…haha. But slowing everything down, hyper-focusing on technique and efficiency, and entering into that zen state of trying to play it perfectly has been so rewarding.

    • Brad Bordessa Jan 1, 2023

      So glad to hear it, Stephen! It’s not for everybody, but I think it’s a good way to approach an art like this.

  • bob seeley Jan 10, 2023

    After learning this piece by ear and watching the play through video many, many times, I loaded your recording of “Star of the County Down” and “Hawai’i Aloha” into Garage Band and practiced playing along to them in time. First started by plucking muted strings to see how close I could get to hitting your notes at exactly the same timing. Then after successfully matching the play through, I tried playing the actual notes along with your video. This has really helped improve my timing but also my listening skills, as I am used to just practicing solo with the metronome. Also having a critical listen to what I have recorded after each take has really helped me focus on playing legato and letting the notes ring out as long as possible.

  • Susan Murry Aug 7, 2023

    Feeling like an Irish minstrel playing this tune.
    Once again singing this tune while mowing the lawn!

    Brad your lessons are very focused and interesting.
    They are proof you have taken a lot of time and thought into
    creating your lessons.
    The lessons are seamless in learning new skills and putting them
    together to actually be able to play a ukulele and sound great!
    I am amazed how easy I am really learning to play.
    The videos are outstanding seeing your fingers close-up and your
    speaking very clearly.
    They are the perfect speed…not being too fast or to slow to learn
    the lessons.

  • Lauren Steely Jan 19, 2024

    Great course so far. One thing that would really help is to have LH fingerings and position shifts noted on the music. I began this course hoping to develop more of an intuition for what position to be in, what fingering to use in that position, and when to shift position.

    • Brad Bordessa Jan 19, 2024

      Aloha Lauren! Thanks for joining us here in the course!

      This is a very personal thing and there are a hundred ways to finger any song. I hate to notate it out and commit everyone to doing it a specific way. You’ll find that I’m very big on “teaching a person how to fish” (teaching the concept and why behind something so you can do it yourself) VS “giving a person a fish” (putting additional notation on the sheet).

      To me, fingering is not about specifics, but having a good feeling of the big picture (where you’re coming from and where you need to go and how to react). If you only learn to play something one exact way, you’ll get backed into a corner every time you make a fingering mistake.

      My hope was that you’d be comfortable understanding how to parse the fingering for a song like this on your own by this lesson. Did you find beginner lessons 5 and 6 helpful or were they lacking in instruction? The concepts they present are the heart of everything and I expect students to usually take a couple weeks getting familiar with them.

      I feel like taking the approach outlined in the “Hawaiʻi Aloha” TAB/lesson for highlighting three-finger-windows is a great technique to apply to this or any song when you’re unsure about the fingering. If you’re at all vague on this concept, I recommend you review those lessons.

      Happy to send a custom version of the song sheet if it’s really important to you. But, as a teacher, I’m really much more interested in what I can provide to increase your understanding, not just the amount of numbers on a page.

      Looking forward to your response,


  • Troy Brown Feb 7, 2024

    Aloha, Brad! What a fun song to learn to play! Thank you for making “The Star of the County Down” part of this course. And, loving that first hammer on – great practice of the technique!