Lisa Hannigan – Knots (Tab)

Lisa Hannigan – Knots (Tab)

I’m going to have to revise my opinion that Lisa Hannigan and Damien Rice are the Brian Clough and Peter Taylor of Irish music; earth-conquering genius together but a bit disappointing apart. This song and the free track you get when you join her mailing list have got me very excited about her next album.


You need to tune all the strings down three frets so you get e – A – C# – F#. Which sounds like this:

Tuning Notes


The picking pattern stays the same the whole way though. But she takes advantage of the re-entrant tuning to make it sound more varied than it actually is.

The picking pattern goes like this:

Thumb picks g-string
Index picks E-string
Thumb picks C-string
Middle picks A string

Here’s how the pattern sounds slowed down:

Picking Pattern

Because the pattern doesn’t vary and is fast you need some hand strength to get all the way through.

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Joe Dan emailed me with some interesting info about the tuning Lisa uses:

That tuning, e-A-C#-F#, is the tuning recommended in Wendell Hall’s Ukulele Method (edited by May Singhi Breen and copyright 1950, published by Forster Music, Chicago, Ill) for his “Taraguitar” (played like a uke but tuned three tones lower), an instrument I have never seen pictured or identified anywhere. Some believe the Taraguitar might have been modeled on the taropatch ukulele, but perhaps with a somewhat larger body and longer scale length. Hall, of course, was one of ukulele stars of the 1920s ukulele boom (“It Ain’s Gonna Rain No Mo” was his biggest hit of that era.)

Breen, of course, is in the Ukulele Hall of Fame. Hall also developed a variation of the tenor ukulele that he called the “Teeviola,”which was made by Regal and carried Hall’s signature on the peghead, and I own one of those instruments. Sometime after acquiring my first quality ukulele, a Martin concert model in 1961, I stumbled on that same tuning and used it, entirely by ear without even realizing exactly what I had done, and did not fully understand until many years later when I happened upon a copy of the Wendell Hall Ukulele Method, mentioned above. I liked the lower tuning on my Martin concert ukulele because it seemed better suited to my voice and I still use it today on my concert, my tenor and some of my baritone ukuleles.

It was not until the advent of electronic tuners that I knew exactly what tuning I was using, as I had previously only tuned the instrument by ear without comparison to pitch pipe or piano. Perhaps someday you can do the research and publish some background and photos of the elusive Taraguitar mentioned by Hall?

View Comments


  1. Logan September 15th, 2011 6:27 pm

    I pumped my fist when I saw this post- I was thinking to request this tab a week or so ago, and then swiftly forgot about the song. This just goes to show us that it’s not just largely futile to request a song, but it’s wholly unnecessary- Al reads minds.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  2. milko September 15th, 2011 6:34 pm

    I am a bit shy to ask this in case it’s super-dumb, but hey. Noobs are ok, right? When you say tune all three strings 3 frets, is that something I could do with a capo?

  3. Ambient Doughnut September 15th, 2011 7:28 pm

    Tune DOWN 3 frets right?

    Nice! :o)

  4. milko September 15th, 2011 10:27 pm

    Hmm, that did say UP before, right? Tsk, even I’m not dumb enough to think a capo makes the strings longer.

  5. Ambient Doughnut September 15th, 2011 11:45 pm

    I don’t think it said up or down before. It must have been a test!

  6. Woodshed September 16th, 2011 11:33 am

    Logan: I certainly do. And you’re a very naughty boy!

    milko: Sorry, yeah there was a gaping hole where a word was meant to be.

    Ambient: Thanks very much for picking up on that.

  7. issy October 20th, 2011 7:59 pm

    Is it just me or are there a few wrong chords in this tab? Look at this vid: but I am a noob so you probably just used some other versions of the same chord…idk just checking

  8. Woodshed October 21st, 2011 7:26 am

    issy: Yeah, probably. I didn’t have that video to work from when I did it.

  9. issy October 24th, 2011 7:15 pm

    no prob, u do much better work than I could possibly imagine anyways :)

  10. Jen October 24th, 2011 7:17 pm

    Could you correct the tab? She’s playing too fast for me to figure out what’s wrong!

  11. Lucas December 16th, 2011 7:16 pm

    Thank you thank you Woodshed!

    Perfect song to work on my fingerpicking and build me some hand strength. Beautiful song to boot. Shame she and Damien Rice aren’t together anymore… I loved their music together.

  12. Woodshed December 17th, 2011 11:35 pm

    Lucas: You’re very welcome!

  13. Eleanore May 2nd, 2012 7:53 am

    I love this! Thank you!

  14. Woodshed May 16th, 2012 11:22 am

    Eleanore: Me too!

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