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Thread: What's the best mandolin chord book?

  1. #1

    Question What's the best mandolin chord book?

    I have the Hal Leonard "Mandolin Chord Finder." I have to modify most of the chords in it, to make them easier to play. Another drawback of that book is that it only has 3 chord examples for each type of chord. I've looked at reviews of the Mel Bay "Deluxe Encyclopedia of Mandolin Chords" and it doesn't sound like what I need, either. I'm a pretty good mandolin player, have a band and host an Old Time Jam. I just bought an octave mandolin, and am learning my way around that fun, fun, fun instrument! On my small mandolin I play mostly fiddle tunes, and know lots of them but on the octave mandolin, I treat it like a guitar. My hands are small, so I need easy chords -- 1, 2, and 3 finger chords. I take a lessons sometimes with a world-class mandolin player, who is also a very good teacher for me. In the lessons, I show him what I need and want, and he answers my questions, making suggestions and giving me new chords, runs, and arrangements to songs I already like. When I want an arrangement, he says, "Do you want easy or hard?" (So far, I say "Easy!") He's splendid! He shows me some amazing, easy chords. Does anybody know of a really good source of chords -- either in a book or online -- that would have a whole lot of easy chords? And by the way, as an experienced music teacher myself, I highly recommend this approach to lessons. That way, you get exactly what you want, if a teacher is willing to work with you as a "partner." In Education lingo, this is called "student-centered lessons."
    Last edited by stringalong; Feb-14-2015 at 10:28pm. Reason: adding stuff; typo correction

  2. #2

    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    I don't have a chord book recommendation for you. But I like the approach described by Zak Borden in his "Build Your Own Chords" series. This is the approach that's worked best for me, and Zak's explaination is good.

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    Registered User zedmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    This is kind of what I've been trying to do--so why I want to learn where the notes are--I already know how to construct chords from years of playing--plus lessons and theory lessons.
    And I'm starting to see some progress.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    I have ''The Gig Bag Book of Mandolin Chords'' - every chord you'll ever need if you lived for a 100 lifetimes Ivan
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    As stated and since you

    - are a pretty good mandolin player, have a band and host an Old Time Jam
    - take lessons from a world-class mandolin player
    - are an experienced music teacher

    I would think building your own chords would come rather easily.

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    Spencer Sorenson Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    I have a version of this, and have found it quite useful. Eldery has it.

    NILES HOKKANEN'S GUIDE TO MANDOLIN CHORDS (AND HOW TO USE THEM) by Niles Hokkanen

    Spencer

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    Music theory for modern mandolin has Chord construction Too

    http://elderly.com/books/items/172-1.htm
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  14. #8

    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    As stated and since you

    - are a pretty good mandolin player, have a band and host an Old Time Jam
    - take lessons from a world-class mandolin player
    - are an experienced music teacher

    I would think building your own chords would come rather easily.
    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for this compliment/encouragement. Yes, I can build my own chords. So far, though, my mandolin teacher has been coming up with some easier chords to fit with certain components of my songs and tunes. I am guessing that as I learn my way around the octave mandolin, I'll use these as examples for other chords. I also found Zak Borden's video, posted here by Marty Jacobsen, interesting and will give a go to Zak's chord shape.

  15. #9

    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    I have ''The Gig Bag Book of Mandolin Chords'' - every chord you'll ever need if you lived for a 100 lifetimes Ivan
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hi Ivan, Thanks for this reference. Would you say this book has a lot of easy chords? I hope they're not all 4-note complex chords? As I wrote in my first post, the Hal Leonard chord book is way too complex for my use. I have to alter just about every chord this book shows, to make it easy to play.

  16. #10

    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this discussion! I don't know how to write Thank You's to each person who wrote -- there must be a way to do this as some have already done, but I don't know how. Went to Zak Borden's Lesson 1 video -- really like it. Trying to find his followup video lessons, but only found Lesson 4. Also interested in both books people recommended.

  17. #11
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    stringalong - That book has ALL the chords in it,easy to finger & not so easy. Just pick the right ones for you. One thing i don't really care for are 2 or 3 finger chords on a 4 stringed (4 pairs) instrument,where a pair of strings is left out of the chord,the sound always seems incomplete to me,so i use all 4 finger chords & pick the chord shapes that 'sound right' to me. It's another case of personal choice. As long as i'm playing the right chord at the right time in the right way,who's going to say i'm wrong ?,
    Ivan

    How to do it if you can get away with it !!
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  18. #12
    Wood and Wire Perry Babasin's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    I have ''The Gig Bag Book of Mandolin Chords'' - every chord you'll ever need if you lived for a 100 lifetimes Ivan
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hey Ivan! My son bought me this book a few years ago and it is great... It is also small and easily stowed away for quick reference.
    ===================================
    ... I'm a California Man!

  19. #13
    ♪☮♫ Roll away the dew ♪☮♫ Dan Krhla's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    I have this too:

    NILES HOKKANEN'S GUIDE TO MANDOLIN CHORDS (AND HOW TO USE THEM)

    Got mine from elderly. Still refer to it.
    do good things

  20. #14
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the best mandolin chord book?

    Hi Perry - That book has so many chords in it,i've wondered if anybody ever uses some of them. I suppose that the Jazz mando.guys might be the only ones to explore the 'further reaches' of mando.chords,but for Bluegrass,maybe a chord book for Bluegrass chords only would be nice to have. - but would a book containing 5 chords sell ?. (i'm being facetious there !!),
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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