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Help: Beginners Mandolin

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GUEST,Jawbone 23 Aug 01 - 04:11 AM
mooman 23 Aug 01 - 04:21 AM
IanC 23 Aug 01 - 04:22 AM
mooman 23 Aug 01 - 04:26 AM
mooman 23 Aug 01 - 04:28 AM
IanC 23 Aug 01 - 04:34 AM
mooman 23 Aug 01 - 04:59 AM
IanC 23 Aug 01 - 05:16 AM
GUEST,Les B 23 Aug 01 - 06:35 PM
Jon Freeman 23 Aug 01 - 08:02 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Aug 01 - 12:29 AM
Cappuccino 24 Aug 01 - 03:33 AM
MandolinPaul 24 Aug 01 - 03:15 PM
RWilhelm 24 Aug 01 - 05:55 PM
Dunc 25 Aug 01 - 04:37 PM
IanC 28 Aug 01 - 10:04 AM
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Subject: Beginners Mandolin
From: GUEST,Jawbone
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:11 AM

Hi guys, I have just bought a mandolin, (having no idea how to play it!), but I am having great trouble tuning the thing. Are the strings E-A-D-G ? and do the frets work the same as a guitar, i.e. 5th fret on E = A, 5th on A = D, 5th on D = G? plus it seems to go out of tune very easily; and does anyone know any chord shapes that actually sound right!? or is it just that the instrument is out of tune? thanks for you help ; Jawbone


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: mooman
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:21 AM

Jawbone,

It is tuned GDAE going from the bass to the treble. 7th fret on the G (lowest) string will be D, 7th on the D will be A, 7th on the A will be E.

The damn things do tend to go out of tune easily, it goes with the job! But the better the quality of instrument and quality of hardware, the less this will be.

Here is a link to some mandolin chord charts for you.

Glad to be of service!

mooman (avid mandolinist)


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: IanC
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:22 AM

Jawbone

Yes, it's tuned GDAE. Yes, it's tuned in fifths (means 7th fret on A is E, by the way). No, it isn't really meant to be played in chords (though you can) as it's essentially a melodic instrument like the fiddle (actually, you can think of it as being a fretted fiddle which is plucked rather than bowed). Any help?

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: mooman
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:26 AM

Jawbone,

It is tuned GDAE going from the bass to the treble. 7th fret on the G (lowest) string will be D, 7th on the D will be A, 7th on the A will be E.

The damn things do tend to go out of tune easily, it goes with the job! But the better the quality of instrument and quality of hardware, the less this will be.

Here is a link to some mandolin chord charts for you.

Glad to be of service!

mooman (avid mandolinist)

PS Hopefully the link will work now (branin not in gear yet!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: mooman
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:28 AM

IanC,

Not played in chords! Not played in chords!

If you're not careful it's "the chop" for you my lad!

mooman


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: IanC
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:34 AM

mooman. I didn't say you couldn't but the mandolin wasn't originally designed for it. Would you play chords on a fiddle?

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: mooman
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 04:59 AM

Dear Ian,

Yes I agree, the mandolin was essentially designed as a melody instrument. My own playing however is a chaotic mix of melody, partial chords, chords and chops (chaotic being the key word here!).

Yes, I would play chords on the fiddle (if it wasn't for that annoying curve on the fingerboard and bridge!)

(;>)

mooman


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: IanC
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 05:16 AM

Mooman

I also a Mandolin player. Me too with the chords!

Gotcha!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 06:35 PM

As a friend of mine frequently says - "mandolin" means "out of tune" in Italian !!


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 08:02 PM

Jawbown, you could tune the way you seem to be suggesting, ie, tune the first string to E, fret it on the 5th, and that would give you an A an octave above where the A string should be, fret that on the 5th and that gives you a D...

I do prefer to work the was mooman has suggested though (lowest to highest) and agree they can go out of tune very easily.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 12:29 AM


As a rank (emphasis RANK!) beginner on mandolin myself, I think it's fair to suggest that you begin with picking out a few simple melodies.

One of the most difficult - and most rewarding - things for most beginning mando players is developing a good, rythmic, down-up pick motion. It seems that even good pickers on other instruments have to work on this.

Ideally, on the mando, you should be able to pick any note going either way - whatever fits the tune.

Once you have a good feel for where the notes are, and can play a few melodies, you can start to get into the semi-chords that can be played on a mando. Realize that "chords" on a mando are generally used more as a rythm effect - you're really being the snare drum when you chord a mando as it's usually done.

The main thing is to practice, fondle, and explore. Soon you'll get the feel of it.

And unless you have already built up your callouses with some other instrument - use short, frequent sessions at first. Since the strings are small, and tighter than on most other instruments, long sessions before you "condition" yourself can be painful enough to spoil your enthusiasm.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: Cappuccino
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 03:33 AM

How fascinating to see that both Ian B and Ian C on this forum are both mandolin players.

The great thing about the instrument for a beginner (and I will *always* be a beginner on it!) is that the tuning lends itself to helping you make an impressive sound fairly quickly... noodling away on some improvisations using only open, second, fourth and fifth frets, on any couple of strings (but preferably the middle two pairs) will help you build up speed and will actually sound rather good. Great for the self-confidence.

Mandolin is the kind of instrument on which, to people who don't play it, something fairly simple can sound quite brilliant.

God luck! - Ian B


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: MandolinPaul
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 03:15 PM

Hey Jawbone.

Here are all of the mandolin sites I have bookmarked:

Comando
   Mandolin Cafe
   The Mandolin Page
   Mandolin chords
   Bluegrass Mandolin Home Page
   Mandolinist.com
   Simple Gifts: Mandolin tablature 
   Grass Clippings
   Solid gold bluegrass 
   Bluegrass Jamming
   




Paul


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: RWilhelm
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 05:55 PM

I agree with those who say mandolin playing is a mixture of notes and chords. I think if you learn the chords first you will be a more flexible player when you want to improvise. Also, if you play with other musicians you can't play lead all the time.


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: Dunc
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 04:37 PM

I am still a beginner on the mandolin, even though I have three of them.
I found the biggest leap forward I made in playing the mandy was when it dawned on me, that a flat backed instrument fitted my rounded abdomen better than the armadillo backed version... the strings are so much closer!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Beginners Mandolin
From: IanC
Date: 28 Aug 01 - 10:04 AM

I've just added a new INSTRUMENTS subsection for Mandolins on my Website for The Basic Folk Library. There are plenty of online links but currently no books. I learned mandolin using a fairly nasty classical tutor. Can anyone recommend anything better?

Cheers!
Ian


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