View Full Version : Chord substitution

Brian Ray
Mar-23-2004, 10:23pm
I'm interested in Django-style chord changes for Mandolin. Anyone out there care to share some of your chord selections via charts, diagrams, description or ideas?

Basically, I'm working on some Django tunes and find it difficult to translate some of the chord vibe over to the Mando... What say the cafe?

Mar-24-2004, 7:04am
A terrific set of possibilities for Django type of music is listed at JazzMando # (http://members.aol.com/teesch/ii_V7_I.html). This particular page will at least get something under your fingers which will start to sound right / jazzy. The problem with a lot of Django (and other jazz) voicings is ... you have four strings to make a 5 or seven tone chord.

Depending on the size of your ensemble, it'll be up to you to choose which notes - phrases - progressions fit best. If you haven't explored Ted's remarkable site, I'd suggest spending some time looking through the various pages which have a wealth of information and ideas.

Enjoy -

Mar-24-2004, 7:46am
Just listened to a mandola piece this morning, If Jethro Were Here. Steve Goodman on the dola, and very good.

Slightly off topic, but I don't care http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Brian Ray
Mar-24-2004, 12:36pm
I guess what I'm looking for is for some of the folks out there to share a few of their preferred changes for a tune. Too often, the tab out there only includes the melody or solo of a tune. Rarely is there a good exchange of chording ideas. I especially like three finger chord changes ala Django on guitar and would like to see how others take that style to the mando.

Is that more clear?

Mar-24-2004, 2:27pm
I've been asked to a do a book of Django (and Stephane) solos for mando, I hope to start on that soon. Meanwhile, you can try this:

Am6 243x
Dm7 535x
E7 767x

For Minor Swing (Django's, not DGQ). The voicing of the Am6 is a direct cop of the Secret Gypsy Jazz Guitar voicing. Sorry, I must now kill you http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

PS a little more about jazz chords at http://www.johnmcgann.com/mando.html AND Ted Eschliman's excellent site http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/teesch/myhomepage/

Brian Ray
Mar-24-2004, 4:03pm
Thanks John,

That's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Now I just want more (greedy)!

I'm down with the m6 voicing... that's really what opened everything up for me on guitar. What you touch upon on your site is the reason for my post... I've made the switch from guitar to mando a year ago and will never go back. I want to open a discussion on voicings for mandolin and Django's style makes the most sence to me.

I hope some others chime it...

Mar-25-2004, 10:16am
I was just thinking about making a post asking about three finger chords for Minor Swing! This site is cool...........

I've been working on the head (?) to Minor Swing and some of the easier (!!) solos from the Mike Strangeland tablature. (BTW I owe a lot to that guy - anyone know where I can thank him for tabbing out so many tunes for everyone to use) It's amazing how if you slow things way, way down and concentrate on timing and tone nothing is that difficult. I'm only playing about three and half years (mando's my first and only instrument) but once you build up the strength and dexterity in your fingers and you are making each note clear even (some of) Django solos aren't that hard played real slow. I'm rambling here but my point is I can't hope to play lead along with my Django records yet but I can play rhythm and those chords are sweet! Thanks Mr Mc Gann and I hope you do that book of transcriptions.

How about three finger chords for Limehouse Blues? The reason I pick that tune is cos the melody is easy even for a jazz newbie like me.

Mar-25-2004, 10:19am
never go back:( #your poor guitar......

do you already know the basic chord sub rules?

you can use a two tone rule, where if the "new" chord has two common tones, then try it out, of course they dont always work that way....
for static changes, you can use b5 dom 7 chord and scales to walk you into your IV or other.... for the progressive or cadences , you also use a #V minor chord and scale and resolve it into the V or the tonic... depending.. I like using harmonic, neapolitan and byzantine minors, to keep consistant with my overall repetoire and style...

my common example. georgia on my mind....
fake book says... G,B7, em, am, Cm.... G,E7,am,D7.. and so on.
I go: # # # # # # G/amsusp4, B-B7, em/em7, A MAJOR-cm .... G-F#7, am-(Ebm7) D7...

then you have relative minors.....

hope that helps.... of course, you want your G to walk up and down as chromatically as possible... you definetly have to work with it..... think two tones.. some music teachers will disagree with this of course,, but we are talking jazz....

Mar-25-2004, 10:23am
oh yeh, am6 like the other guy said, maj 9 chords are popular with the "gypsies" too, if you cant tell

Brian Ray
Mar-25-2004, 12:20pm
Yeah, my guitars are lonely... is it wrong that I wish they would shrink?

Limehouse would be a fine one to talk about especially seeing as it came up in a jam last night. So here's what my brain told me to do...

C6 #577x # ////
A # #677x # ////
G # #455x # ///
Em #957x #/ # #(or 4223)
A # #677x # //
C # #557x #/
D7 #545x #/

Please correct me or make suggestions...

Mar-25-2004, 1:05pm
I feel like we are missing a chord or two in here, I dont have my charts with me..

I m only going to number# the frets on G..

C* #O
A # 2
G # 3
em #7 (rooting the dom7)
A # 6 #(C#)
D # 3 # (Bb or #5)

you can often flat or sharpen the 5 tone in your V chords especially at the progressive points.. I think it works statically too...

walk inside each measure kinda like this
C (o) - C#5 (1) # * can also sub in gm6 for this
A (2)Ab9 (3) A (6)
G (7) G7 (4) G9 (2)
em (0) emb5 (3) em (4) em7 (7)
A #(9) (6) (3=b9) (2)
C (0) C6 (2) C7 (3) C (5)

just ideas , I dont throw in ALL of those subs, I wrote the potential. It depends on how far you want to walk either direction before yo have to turn around and come back.

limehouse is an awesome tune.

Mar-25-2004, 1:08pm
dont be afraid to "root" flat fives, flat nine's, sevens, sixes, its all game....

Brian Ray
Mar-25-2004, 4:15pm
I'll root anything! A beer, a canal, ...tooty fresh n' fruity... anything.

Very nice... so, it looks like you're saying that someday these roots are gonna walk all over me... and that day, will actually be tonight when my mando's back in my hot little hand.

This is great... keep it coming...

Brian Ray
Mar-25-2004, 11:38pm
After reading through jeffshuniak's post I'm not sure I totally followed. Let's start here... this stays in the lower register and seems to work well.

C # 023x # ////
A 224x # ////
G # #455x # /// (walk down)
E7 # 102x #/ # #
A # # 224x # //
Am 223x / (or C)
D7 # 243x #/


Mar-26-2004, 8:57am
thats a good one too. maybe try to work on another one, where you start up at the 12 and go down. you need different ones to go behind different solos that your partners will come up with? if you dont already think about this kind of stuff, you want to use contrary and parallel motion in very choice or aware ways... you hear the solo going up, you have to choose, will it sound better to walk with him, or against him, different times have different moodes, you know that..

what I was trying to say, sorry for the chaos...is , since this particular song leaves each chord hanging around so long, two or four measures for the opening C, its so I was trying to show was, you can make it move a little more...maybe in following verses.... while playing the first C, you can shift it into a C+5 (aug5) so the G voice crawls to the A. the A can start on the 2nd fret then, and we have been chormatic until now... ok... now on the second measure of A , move the root up to the C#. then you could keep going, hit the G with the D root, to the Em (7), those go quick right? no need to play with those for now.. you could even voice the following A from the 12G , why not? or you could go back down , whichever, I think using them all is the best way to go...different verses, different walkes.. you hear some guys, not django, but if you hear barney kessel play this tune with grappelli, its nice, he voices a different chord every two beats.
I am still working on that myself..

Mar-26-2004, 9:27am
I just wrote the 4th string notes in the previous post
so for each chord that sticks around for more than a measure, I will write more than one voicing, you go from one to the other, however it sounds best.. here's another walk... I have small fingers, you may have a hard time with some of these..also, on the 3 and 4 beats of a measure going into another chord, you can squeeze in chords, usually a half step above a IV chord, and a minor chord , half step above the V chord. for going up whole steps, sub in susp chords.

C (12)(10) (10)// (9-10-7)
A 677// 254// 020// 220
G 452//655 or 656
em 757// 879
A 97(10) // 879
D 779 or (777) // 676 (Db+5)

Mar-26-2004, 4:09pm
Here's a possible way for Limehouse Blues (there are many as you can see from this thread!) (notes in () are possiblities for the 1st string)

C7 323(2 for #11) 4 bars
A7 657 (7 for 9th) 4 bars
G6 425 2 bars
B7b9 213 1 bar
Em7 #425 1 bar
A79 652 2 bars
D713 #542 2 bars

C7 323(2 for #11) 4 bars
A7 657 (7 for 9th) 4 bars
G6 425 1 bar
E7+5 1030 1 bar
Am6 243 2 bars
Cm6 213 1 bar
D7 545 1 bar
G69 0000 2 bars

Mar-29-2004, 3:59pm
I'm a tad confused. What do you mean by '2 for #11' and '7 for 9th'?


Mar-29-2004, 8:16pm
on the 1st string, the 2 (2nd fret) is F#, which is #11 on the C7 chord-an optional but cool color note ( you can hear it on the Monroe ending of Grisman/Grapelli live "Shine"); Likewise the A7 can take the 9th (B note), 7th fret 1st string.

Now, there are tons more possibilities including nice notes on the 1st string- usually, the bottom 3 will give you the meat and potatoes that you need- and if you are backing a soloist, sometimes it's better to let them lead the way in terms of the color notes (like, if I decide to play a b9 on that A7 and you back me up with the 9th, we are gonna have a harmonic disagreement!)

Mar-30-2004, 7:01pm
Thanks, that makes sense now.