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Thread: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

  1. #1

    Default Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    Ok this may sound crazy but I have noticed that some players will look like they are chopping on a 2 finger chord and slapping or muting with their ring and pinky fingers. What am I seeing? Any explanation would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    You're seeing exactly that. Two finger chords, usually the G and D strings, and the ring and pinky are used to mute/chop. I also do this with the two finger G chord, so it can really be any chord, but it's really useful on the low string. For example, making a D chord with fretting only the A note on the G string and letting the two higher strings ring out. An E chord is a good one for only the two bass strings as well. Also the A "power chord" where you fret the A and E notes on the G and D strings. You can play just these two or let the two open higher strings ring out. If you do that the notes are A E A E.

    A lot of time this sounds better than four finger chop chords. Especially when playing in a duet or with fewer people when you want to get more sound out of the mandolin. It also saves time when playing fast. There's no need to play four finger chords when blazing through a series of fast chord changes.

  3. #3
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    The gorilla in the room is called...

    "Voice leading!"

    We guitar and mandolin players think of "chords" as blocks of notes, or a chord form, where really what is happening is one or two notes within the "chord" moves a step or less up or down thus changing the "chord" to a related chord.

    What this means in mando-speak is that if you hold the C note on the G string and the E on the D string you have the heart of the C chord.
    If you move the E up 1/2 step it becomes F/C.
    Or if you lower the C to B and lower the E to (open) D you have a G chord, then raise the open D to F and it add's the 7th..

    In this way we can apply harmonic support and movement up close and simple with out being locked in a box, a chord box.

    Some of the best mando-comping I've heard was of the two-string kind, mainly on the G +D strings.

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    Thanks guys! That is really helpful. I've only be playing for about a year 1/2 and didn't know what I was looking at. Couldn't find any info out there about the subject so if y'all want to make a YouTube video that would be awesome!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    The "slapping" motion you described is to mute the open strings. Relaxing the fingertips a bit mutes the fretted notes. I usually do both at the same time to mute all four strings. I learned it by watching Sam bush play years ago.
    Last edited by Andy Hatfield; Jan-15-2017 at 9:46am. Reason: Typo

  6. #6

    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    Thanks. I notice Sam bush doing it a first

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    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    You can pinky chop at the 5th or 7th etc frets on open string to get a ringing harmjonic which is an interesting effect. You can do that higher up the fretboard but you have to calculate where 1/2 or1/4 or 1/3 of vibrating string length is.
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    Default Re: Slap chords? What am I seeing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    The gorilla in the room is called...

    "Voice leading!"

    We guitar and mandolin players think of "chords" as blocks of notes, or a chord form, where really what is happening is one or two notes within the "chord" moves a step or less up or down thus changing the "chord" to a related chord.

    What this means in mando-speak is that if you hold the C note on the G string and the E on the D string you have the heart of the C chord.
    If you move the E up 1/2 step it becomes F/C.
    Or if you lower the C to B and lower the E to (open) D you have a G chord, then raise the open D to F and it add's the 7th..

    In this way we can apply harmonic support and movement up close and simple with out being locked in a box, a chord box.

    Some of the best mando-comping I've heard was of the two-string kind, mainly on the G +D strings.

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com
    QFT:
    really is the 800# gorilla. Not many players think about voice leading or even know what it is. If you were to actually write out the real notes of what you were playing like a piano score what would it look like? Do the harmony lines make sense? Do the harmony lines sound good? What about when you add the rest of the band? Is there room sonically for what everyone is playing? IF you wrote everyone's notes down does the score look like mud with everything on top of everything else? IF you want to get really deep into it how many thirds and sevenths are being played around the band?
    well, I got a little off-topic but I was honestly a little thrilled to see someone mention harmony lines (voice-leading) and jumped up on my soapbox. I'll get down now...

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