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Thread: 2 finger chords

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    Hey im pretty new at playing the mandolin and some of the normal chords can get so stressful to the hands. The 2 finger chords save me every time. How many of you'll use the 2 finger chords. If im trying to hav a pickin party with me and my mandolin i luv those little 2 finger chords. They also will save me this thurs at practice where some of the chords jump so much i hav to use those helpful things. How many people reading this use those 2 finger chords.

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    Can't do it....Mando teacher won't let me....all four fingers needed to make the bluegrass chop sound right....I'm practicing and hurting, but one day it's gonna be clean and smooth.....
    You only get one chance. Make the best of it.

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    Been on both sides of the fence, started with two-finger chords just to get goin', then went on to closed positions as much as possible, now I'm back to usin' the two-finger chords again more & more. Learn 'em all as you go along & ya can't go wrong.
    mandollusional Mike

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    I'm w/ duuuude. I'll use different "types" of chords depending on the style I'm playing. I think it's also a good idea to know which notes make up the chords (that way you're not just relying on the shapes). Also, that allows you to come up w/ your own voicings when needed.

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    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Is there a printed guide to the 2 finger chords? Every one I've looked at contains only the closed chords.

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    The old Mel Bay books have two finger chords in them. I think it is very helpful to know them. It is a big aid in learning your double stops since that is what a lot of them are.
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  7. #7

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    They are here at the Cafe somewhere, try looking under "Lessons" They are great and most importantly...easy! #The 4 finger chords aren't for everything and everywhere.

    Came back with a edit to say I checked and they are under Lessons at the Cafe home page



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    Quote Originally Posted by (mandonewbie @ July 21 2004, 09:10)
    Can't do it....Mando teacher won't let me....all four fingers needed to make the bluegrass chop sound right....I'm practicing and hurting, but one day it's gonna be clean and smooth.....
    You can play more music on the mandolin than bluegrass.

    When I'm playing bluegrass, I use chop chords. But for everything else, I use whatever suits me at the time, including two finger chords.

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    yea...I know Toco...concentrating on Bluegrass right now....one day I want to do some blues mando....so I'll learn em all eventually.
    You only get one chance. Make the best of it.

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    2 finger chords, also known as double stops, are excellent to use when soloing. Adds depth to the solo in my opinion. If you're playing straight rhythm in a bluegrass situation, learn those 4-finger chords though. I feel your pain because I've been there, but you'll thank yourself down the road for learning them as soon as you can. I'd suggest working on them during your practice time alone, and whip out the 2-finger chords when you're in a group setting. Pretty soon, you'll be able to whip out the 4-finger chords without even thinking about it.
    Mandofiddle

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    A great resource is NILES HOKKANEN'S GUIDE TO MANDOLIN CHORDS. It is an excellent book, comes in standard size and pocket size, and is a great value at less than $10 for either size.
    Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?

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    I'll look for that one. I do have the Baxter chord book which is missing a lot of this sort of thing.

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    I use nothing BUT two- and three-finger chords because I *love* the sound of the open strings.

    OK, OK ... it's really because I'm lazy -- but "open strings" makes a better story! # ;-)

    Don Smith

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    Thumbs up

    I do! I do! With my teeny-tiny fingers I am at this time only capable of managing the two or three fingered chords. (I can barely do an A or an Am!) I have been playing old Hank Williams and Chett Atkins songs for my brother's kids with the C, G, F, D, and Dm. (Little Amy can now sing "Your Cheatin' Heart". Not that she"s old enough to really understand those lyrics yet). I have also been playing some old show tunes from the Sound of Music, etc. Yes, I would love to learn bluegrass and jazz chords, but if my physical limitations are too great, then I'll just have to make due with the alternatives.
    You are only young once, but you can be immature forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by
    I'll look for that one. I do have the Baxter chord book which is missing a lot of this sort of thing.
    There is also an accurate sub-title to Niles' book that sets it apart from others, IMHO: NILES HOKKANEN'S GUIDE TO MANDOLIN CHORDS, AND HOW TO USE THEM.
    Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?

  17. #17
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    I like to use the 2 finger and the 4 finger in bluegrass rhythymn. You can get a great chop sound with a lot more tone using the 2 finger chords. The 4 fingers dont have much sound to it.

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    Two finger chords (actually double stops) can be used as chop chords quite effectivly, and in a bluegrass setting may be more appropriate than the common two finger open chords. Since the emphasis should be on the G and D strings anyway, one could strike only those strings using the following formations and keep rhythm while only exercising two fingers. #This is of course not intended to minimize the need for the tried and true chop chords but can offer a simpler approach to those unable to make the stretch at first. #Also in a large jam setting a half dozen mandos chopping the same way can be overwhelming if not boring.

    In these examples, A is the I chord, E is the V chord and D is the IV. #These examples are moveable for different keys.


    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|x|=|=|=|=|
    Use this formation for the I chord. #Consider it "home base." #Remember the patterns are important to learn, not just memorizing the notes.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|x|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|x|=|=|=|=|
    Just move the index finger to the left one fret for the V chord. #Be careful not to allow the A and E strings to sound.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|x|=|=|
    From the "home base" position, move the finger on the G string to the right two frets for the IV chord. #This position doubles as the vi chord (f# minor in this example)

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    This can also be used for the IV chord but does NOT double as vi chord.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|x|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    This can be also used for the I chord but the first example is a better choice most of the time.


    The remaining examples are a different set of patterns. Here D is the I chord, A is the V chord and G is IV.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|x|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    A different "home base" position. #This is the I chord. Note it is the first and third of a major triad, making it definitely major.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|x|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|x|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    Get to V by sliding left one fret on the G string and two frets on the D string.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|x|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    From the "home base," move the index finger one fret to the right for the IV chord.

    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|x& #124;=|=|=|=|=|=|
    |=|=|=|=|=|=|=& #124;=|x|=|=|=|=|
    Another way to get the V chord is done by sliding the IV position up two frets.

    Remember, these are not really chords at all but will function well in their place for bluegrass. They will aid in understanding double stops and the mandolin fretboard. #Other types of music will benefit from open chords.



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    Can somebody help me here. #I thought the two finger chords from the lessons section of the cafe (see the link in my post above), were true chords that provided the required notes with only two strings fretted and the open strings provided the appropriate note. #Contrasting that with double-stops where only two strings are actually played, a situation that frequently can give the key elements of a chord, especially in a group where another instrument will likely fill in the missing notes.

    Did I misunderstand or does this thread vary between these two similar but different concepts?

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    Tim, I agree with you completely. But as with soo many things, I'm sure there will be those that disagree with us. Let's just sit back and be smug in the knowledge that you and I are right. #

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    The 2 finger chord chart is under lessons on this site.

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    I know two verry good bluegrass mandolin players that only have three fringers on there left hand. Rick Rose has part of his bird finger, and Einus Johnson has no ring finger at all. They chop 3 finger chords and it sounds great. They use there little finger like most people use there ring finger. Fast pickers! They both lost there finger after they had been playing for some years. If you want to play you will find a way.

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    Being a fairly new mando player ( a year or so ) the 2 finger chart off this site has been a godsend. I can sort of play along with buddies and people say "wow you play the mandolin" I also play a couple of 3 finger chords just to show off . I really like it though , sure does dress up the sound of a guiatr or 2 .

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    Quote Originally Posted by (mandonewbie @ July 21 2004, 08:10)
    Can't do it....Mando teacher won't let me....all four fingers needed to make the bluegrass chop sound right....I'm practicing and hurting, but one day it's gonna be clean and smooth.....
    Had I seen this discussion earlier I'd have been out here ranting. Anyone teacher that won't let you use two-finger chords doesn't know very much. Quote me. I'd suggest you find a new teacher.

    There are all kinds of uses for these in all kinds of music. Mandolin is an instrument that's capable of a wide range of dynamic expression. Two-finger chords used in chopping for bluegrass is a widely used technique that your instructor probably doesn't understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Tim-n-VA @ July 25 2004, 07:25)
    Can somebody help me here. I thought the two finger chords from the lessons section of the cafe (see the link in my post above), were true chords that provided the required notes with only two strings fretted and the open strings provided the appropriate note. Contrasting that with double-stops where only two strings are actually played, a situation that frequently can give the key elements of a chord, especially in a group where another instrument will likely fill in the missing notes.

    Did I misunderstand or does this thread vary between these two similar but different concepts?
    That chord chart I did several years ago that's linked to above, those chords can be used with open strings as chords as indicated. Someone started talking about double-stops which may be confusing, but they're correct that the fretted strings are often useful double-stops that could be used in lead playing.

    I'm ready to give a group lesson on using these. Where do we convene?

    BTW, for the O'Carolan classes I teach we work on this alot, using partial chords as lead tones, leaving the melody note on top and the other chord tones on the bottom. Good technique that's reasonably easy to learn and has unlimited application in everything from bluegrass to jazz.




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