Bodhrán Tutorial: Jig and Variation

by | Sep 26, 2019 | Teach Yourself Bodhrán | 2 comments

Dancing a Jig with Coton Morris

As a bodhrán player,  you need to have some good jig rhythms in your repertoire.  Jigs are just delightful to play, the tunes are so catchy and cheerful, hardly anyone can sit still when a jig starts up.

So in this second of our series of tutorials, we teach you a basic jig and variation in 6/8 time.  A jig is characterised by a strongly emphasised first and fourth beat, one downward and one upward.

If you are still working on getting a really crisp and strong sound from your strokes, here’s a tip I often share when teaching workshops: when beating, think of describing an arc with your beater that would pass through the face of the drum and back out again – as if you were trying to hit an imaginary skin at the back of the drum. You should get a much stronger and cleaner sound, as you will be hitting with more force.

Now have a listen and play along to a standard jig rhythm.


Here is your downloadable PDF of the strokes for a Standard Jig

Now have a bit of fun and skip the second beat.  As always in a jig, you will have strong first and fourth beats, but this time stop and do nothing for the second beat.  I tend to beat strongly on the third as well, as you will hear in this recording, to emphasise the re-entry to the music after the skipped beat.


And here is your downloadable PDF for the Jig Variation 1 which I have written out with the strong 1st, 3rd and 4th beats.

In both of these recordings I am playing my Harlequin air-brushed BOD Drum with a centre spot head and using a Rock-Mo beater to give you a really crisp clear sound to follow.

Finally, when you are comfortable with the jig rhythm play along with Saul Bailey again, playing a lovely jig called Tripping Upstairs on his melodion.  Don’t forget to try both the basic and the variation, and listen to how each version interacts with the melody.




  1. Lzabeth

    Hiya John, Thoroughly enjoying playing my drum, getting many comments about it. Two things, firstly can you advise what mike to get for the drum, with its rim not sure what will suit. My other drum has mike but is attached permanently, so any help is much appreciated. Secondly we discussed that I would get a new drum head when the damaged drum was returned, is this still ok? One last thing, my sister, not good, she is only 6 stone, not wanting to eat nor drink, had to give her some tough love She was at Hospital last week, they she they cannot offer her Cemo as she is so frail, the operation was a success however they are concerned that secondary cancer cells could be lurking. Take care keep the hints coming for my drum practice. All the best from Bonnie Cullen Lizabeth

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. boddrums

    Hi Lizabeth, glad to hear the drum is going down well 🙂

    Mics: On my drums, both trad and Cormac’s, I use an AKG C518. It has an adjustable clamp that goes over the rim and an adjustable ‘swan neck’ to position the head. It is a condenser type and hence requires power; this can be via a battery or through a mixing desk. At some stage in the future I’ll put together a blog post about microphones and will probably lean on Cormac and Evan to get their views too.

    My apologies Lizabeth, it’s manic here and your drum head has slipped through the cracks, I’ll get one away to you straight away.

    Really sorry to hear about your sister – I’ll send you a separate email.

    Take care and enjoy your playing, John



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